Tuesday, July 7 – 1914
Last year the Liverpool Port Sanitary Authorities’ rat-catchers obtained on ships and quays 8,901 rats, bringing the total number of rats trapped since 1902 to 48,458.
This war against the rodent is waged to prevent the dissemination of plague, as it is known that rats on vessels from plague-infected ports play an important part in spreading the disease.
The number of rats trapped per vessel varies. The longer the voyage, the greater the number of rats, as a rule. For instance, thirteen vessels from the West Coast of South America had 402 rats on board, an average of thirty-one per vessel; from River Plate, 2,044 rats on 125 vessels, Burma, 270 rats on twenty five vessels; India, 712 rats on sixty seven vessels; Levant, 382 rats on thirty seven vessels; other areas, 258 rats on eighteen vessels.
Ratcatchers have been employed since 1910 to catch rats in the freight sheds and warehouses on the line of docks, the numbers for the past three years, including Birkenhead and Garston docks, being 934 in 1911, 1,098 in 1912, 958 in 1913. None of these rats showed any evidence of plague.
In addition to the rats caught by the Port Sanitary Authority, large numbers are caught by shipowners and warehouse-keepers, who employ their own rat-catchers.
Returns received from one such firm state that 10,629 rats were trapped by them during the year 1913.
(Liverpool Echo, 07-07-1914)