An 80 per cent majority of pest controllers, farmers and gamekeepers believe climate change will have an impact on the UK rat population, according to the results of a survey published last week by the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) taken earlier this year at The CLA Game Fair. Among that majority, 92 per cent say they expect the impact to be experienced in the form of a significant increase in rat numbers.

Based on evidence they see in their work, 61 per cent of the survey’s

respondents said the rat population is rising, while 30 per cent believe it is static and nine per cent believe it to be falling. Anecdotal evidence from many in the shooting community backs the belief that the rat population is flourishing.

The survey identified two areas in which widespread knowledge of the consequences of rat infestation was lacking — the spread of disease and the risk of fire associated with rats. While 80 per cent of people named Weil’s disease or its causative agent, leptospira, as one of the diseases associated with rats, only five per cent mentioned salmonella and no-one mentioned the dangers of campylobacter, cryptosporidium, listeria or toxoplasma. Equally, only nine per cent of participants to the survey answered correctly that an estimated half of all farm fires are started as a direct result of rat damage.

The rest of this article appears in 20 November issue of Shooting Times.

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