Farmer in Bangladesh kills more than 83,000 rats and wins a color TV

I’ve seen a rat scurry across a New York City street at night. It looked like a small cat. Startling. Rats in New York are one of the city’s long-standing jokes. The idea of the 83,450 rats that one farmer in Bangladesh killed over the last nine months, thanks to a government rat killing campaign, is astounding–seriously disgusting. Truly.

Pair those rats with the 37,450 that another Bangladeshi farmer caught and YOWZA! They are not the only two farmers who have been killing rats. Five hundred farmers showed up to the event this last week where the contest winner was named.

This massive rat killing campaign with a color TV as the grand prize was part of Bangladesh’s government’s response to the country’s serious rat problem. The rats destroy at least 1.5 million tons of grain each year, half the amount that the country exports. Last year the rats destroyed the rice crop.

Along with getting rid of a massive amount of rats in one year, the campaign has had another positive effect. Farmers have learned that they can do something about the rat problem and have motivation to do so. No, it’s not the idea of winning a color TV.

As Mokhairul Islam, a poultry farmer and first place winner found out, he needs to buy three less bags of poultry feed a week now that 83,450 rats aren’t chomping away at his chickens’ food. Killing rats makes good economic sense. Islam has vowed to keep up with his efforts.

I imagine that lessening the rat population certainly would have a positive effect on other aspects of the country’s economy– tourism for example. If there are that many rats around two people’s farms, imagine the rest of the country.

Bangladesh is a country worth visiting. For starters, it offers part of the Sundarbans National Park, UNESCO World Heritage site that protects the Royal Bengal tiger and the Ridley Sea Turtle, and also Cox’s Bazar, a fishing port town that boasts the world’s longest natural sandy beach.