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Parliamentary questions
30 October 2013
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Cristiana Muscardini (ECR)

 Subject:  Rat population in Italy

One of Italy’s most popular weekly magazines recently published worrying figures concerning the number of rats found in Italy’s largest cities. According to the magazine, there are 15 million rats in Rome, 13 million in Milan and 10 million in Naples. Across the country, there are 500 million rats which together eat 20 million tonnes of food each year. The article also quotes veterinarians who believe that most of the rats are infected with the plague. People are not at risk, fortunately, because they hardly ever come into contact with the rats themselves or the fleas which transmit the disease. Nonetheless, the fact that ever‐increasing numbers of Italians are in dire financial straits, and that many of them are forced to sleep on the streets, rummage through bins for food and have little chance of receiving medical attention and maintaining proper personal hygiene, could increase the risk of new infections.

1. Is the Commission aware of these statistics? Can it confirm the accuracy of the data?

2. How does it monitor the size of the rodent population and/or request that the Member States do so?

3. What measures and/or instruments has the Commission implemented or does it intend to implement in order to reduce the risk of a possible outbreak of the plague or other diseases that can be transmitted by rats?

4. Does the Commission believe that it is possible to combine veterinary checks and measures to control the rodent population in European cities with animal welfare?

Original language of question: ITOJ C 221, 11/07/2014
Last updated: 13 November 2013Legal notice