For the rats of Zhanggong district in Ganzhou, September is proving a genocidal month. In a bid to eradicate the rat population as part of a nationwide campaign launched on September 1, the district’s officials have decided to incentivise their local residents. According to the Dahe Daily, they are offering a bounty of Rmb5 ($0.70) for every dead rodent handed into neighbourhood committees. Rat trapping has boomed as a result, the newspaper reports. To get the cash, the catcher has to hand in an entire rat, which is then bagged, photographed and confirmed by an official.
However, there were soon concerns that the collection system could be open to abuse, with dead animals being illicitly sold back into the market. ‘Rotten rats’ – i.e. rodents that had already been caught and killed – could not be handed in again, the authorities stressed, in what would surely count as one of the strangest ‘black markets’ ever to emerge.
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