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How a self-proclaimed 'rat-man' has caused uproar in Bergen

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
How a self-proclaimed 'rat-man' has caused uproar in Bergen
A man in Bergen has caused uproar with his pro-rat antics. Pictured is an Urban rat. Photo by Michelle Gordon on Unsplash

City officials in Bergen have seen their pest control efforts thwarted by an activist going by the moniker "rat-man", who has caused uproar after sabotaging traps. 

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Police have arrested an activist in Bergen and charged him with damaging rat traps in the city centre, with his pro-rat antics ruffling feathers in west Norway. 

The activist began interfering with and sabotaging traps in Bergen in January while city officials were in the midst of fighting off a "rat invasion". 

The man, in his 30s and has not been identified by the police or media, has said that his goal is to "give rats a voice". 

"It (the sabotage) is an art project, a kind of 'performance'. The idea is just to give the rats a voice," he told Norwegian broadcaster TV 2

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"I look at rats like any other animal. (I see them as) living individuals with feelings and personal relationships. The rats, like humans, have the ability to think abstractly," he explained. 

Rottemannen (the rat-man), as he is known in Norwegian, has posted videos of himself sabotaging rat traps and is said to have spray-painted messages around Bergen in favour of the rats. Below you can see one of the videos the activist has posted to social media. 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @rottebyen

His tactics attracted the ire of city officials in Bergen, who filed a police complaint against him. 

"This is vandalism. Sabotage of a measure that we see as necessary," Trude Jordal, head of outdoor operations in the Urban Environment Agency in Bergen Municipality, told TV 2. 

She added that the city council didn't want to eradicate rats from the city entirely but instead get the population down to more manageable numbers. 

Rats enjoy a less than stellar reputation everywhere, but particularly in Bergen, where they were responsible for bringing the plague to the city and the rest of Norway in 1349. 

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