MTA to Launch Rat Birth Control Trial

March 4, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

The MTA has an inventive new solution for our subway’s ever-growing rat infestation. New York, it’s time for rat “birth control.” Or forced sterility, if you want to be blunt about it.

The sterilization product ContraPest was developed by SenesTech Inc., and functions by inducing early menopause in female rats (who typically start birthing litters at four months old, and do so multiple time per year, ugh). The goal is to reduce–not wipe out– future rat populations, without the risk of harming humans and other animals with poison. By using food as bait, ContraPest will lure the rodents into their own infertile fates.

The only obstacle? Choosing flavors that rats will find even more tantalizing than the smorgasbord of treats already at their disposal. This will be a process of trial and error: NYC being the gastronomical melting pot that it is, different rats tend to have quite different tastes.

“Rats that grow up, say, from the dumpster behind a fast food chicken place, will love chicken,” Dr. Corrigan of SenesTech said. “Bagel place, bagels. And so on.”

Aww, they’re just like us… they love their food just like mom used to… bring home from the trash… wait, what am I saying. Let the sterilization commence!

(Image: Matt Hurst, Flickr)