Hints from the Health Department. Leaflet from the archive of the Society of Medical Officers of Health. Credit: Wellcome Collection, London
Report, Medical Officer of Health, on rat repression in the City 1920
FORM OF POSTER ADVOCATED BY THE MINISTRY
RATS AND MICE (DESTRUCTION) ACT, 1919.
This Act comes into operation on 1st January, 1920.
PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO DESTROY RATS AND MICE.
Any person who shall fail to take such steps as may from time to time be necessary and
reasonably practicable for the destruction of rats and mice on or in any land of which he is the
Occupier, or for preventing such land from becoming infested with rats and mice, shall be liable on
summary conviction to a fine not exceeding Five Pounds, or where he has been served with a
Notice under this Act requiring him to take such steps, not exceeding Twenty Pounds.
The expression "Occupier" means, in the case of land not occupied by any Tenant or other
person, the Owner of the land.
The expression "Land" includes any buildings, and any other erection on land, and any
cellar, sewer, drain or culvert in or under land.
This Act shall apply to a Vessel as if the Vessel were "Land," and the Master of the Vessel
shall be deemed to be the "Occupier" thereof.
Methods and Preventive Measures.
The most effective methods for destroying rats and mice embrace the use of traps, snares,
ferrets, dogs, fumigation, and the use of poisons. The safest poisons have been found to be
preparations of Squills and Barium Carbonate. Poison should be laid in such a way that human
beings, domestic animals, poultry, &c., cannot obtain access to it. The laying of baits containing
any poison should be carried out with the utmost care. The actual amount laid in each single
rat-hole or burrow should be as small as possible to obtain the results aimed at. The position of
these places should be noted, and any dead rats found afterwards should be burnt or destroyed to
prevent domestic animals getting at, the carcases. Previous to the laying of poisons the owners of
poultry, dogs, pigs, and other animals frequenting or likely to come near places where poison has
been laid should be warned, and, after an interval of a few days, all unconsumed baits should
be removed and destroyed.
Attention should be specially directed to all drains, waste, food and grain stores and
Before threshing commences sacks should be surrounded with fine meshed wire, not less than
four feet in height, to prevent rats escaping.
Persons desiring information on the subject of rat or mice destruction, or experiencing any
difficulty in obtaining suitable materials for that purpose, should apply to*
to whom all complaints should be addressed.
* Insert here Name and Address of the Officer appointed by the Local Authority to enforce the Act.