Target: The Honorable Boris Batura, Chair of the Minsk Oblast Executive Committee
Goal: Demand that authorities in Minsk release stray cats confined to the basements of apartment buildings.
Officials in Minsk, Belarus recently enacted a plan to keep rodents out of apartment block basements by sealing off the areas. However, the move has trapped large numbers of stray cats as well. Tell officials in Minsk not to condemn the cats to a slow death by starvation and isolation. Sign the petition and demand an alternative solution to the city’s rodent problem.
The recent push to keep rodents out of the basements of Minsk’s apartment buildings comes as part of an effort to make the city more sanitary. However, it is hard to see how basements full of rotting cat carcasses are more sanitary than basements full of live rodents. The city must make sure that the basements are vacant before sealing them off. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), this can be accomplished simply, quickly, and inexpensively: placing a rag soaked in ammonia in a basement “will drive out all animals because they hate the smell. After 24 hours have elapsed, entry points can be safely sealed.”
According to a report by the Washington Post, residents of the neighborhoods affected are deeply disturbed by the cats’ effective entombment. The residents of the buildings can hear the cats crying at night, and some have even defied the city’s projects and drilled holes in the metal plates placed over the basement windows, freeing the cats. While these efforts are noble, change is needed on a much larger scale to avoid a tragic and messy problem in Minsk’s basements. Sign the petition and demand that officials in Minsk revise their plan to tackle the city’s rodent problem.
Dear Chairman Batura,
While limiting rodent populations is crucial to public sanitation, Minsk’s current program, which involves sealing off the basements of apartment buildings, creates an even larger problem: the confinement of stray cats caught unawares in the basements of Minsk’s apartment blocks is neither sanitary nor humane. I urge you to revise your policy immediately and avoid both further sanitation issues and public outcry.
While rats are certainly an undesirable presence in a building, the carcass of a dead cat is arguably much worse. Aside from the immediate unpleasantness of a rotting dead animal, the cats’ bodies will simply attract the very rodents the project aims to get rid of. Furthermore, area residents are disturbed by the cats’ plaintive cries as they remain confined to basements without access to food or water. Such treatment is not humane or acceptable by any standards.
Luckily, there is a simple, quick, and inexpensive way to make sure the basements are empty before they are sealed off: a rag soaked in ammonia will drive away all animals. After leaving the rag in the basement for a day, the exits can all be sealed and the basement will be free of both cats and rodents.
Please consider not only the welfare of the cats, but the welfare of the citizens you aim to protect. Revise Minsk’s rodent control program to ensure that cats will no longer be cruelly confined.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: buildscharacter via Flickr