Rats and mice are the only wild mammals to be found in the Faroe Islands. The latter are presumably brought to the country by the Irish hermits. Mice are not to be found on all the islands and the damage caused by them is not so extensive as to require special legislation.
The black rat has presumably come to the Faroe Islands in the Middle Ages, as an epidemic like the Black Death could hardly develop without the presence of rats. There is some indication that the rats — apart from Tórshavn — have disappeared from the islands after the Black Death, and that only towards the middle of the 17th century they have gained ground again.
It is supposed that the brown rat came to the Faroe Islands in 1768. Ii soon spread over most of the islands and crowded out the black rat. It caused serious damage at the beginning, but it looks as if the damage has been less in the 19th century. In 1895 and 1902 there are grannastevnur (meetings of the landowners of a village) which deal with matters concerning rat extermination. In 1907/08 the question of the coming into force of the Danish Rats and Mice Destruction Act of March 22, 1907, is submitted to the Løgting (the Faroese Parliament), the members of which take no interest in it. The subsequent Danish Rats
and Mice Destruction Act of April 18, 1910, is put into force by promulgation without having been submitted to the Løgting, but it becomes of no importance. On the other hand, in 1915/16 the Løgting deals with a matter concerning the rat nuisance but leaves extermination to private enterprise, and from 1916/17 there are a couple of regulations adopted at grannastevnur concerning rat extermination. The Danish Rats and Mice Destruction Act of March 29, 1924 is put into force in the Faroe Islands without submission to the Løgting, but as was the case with the Act of 1910, it acquires no importance. It has hardly been
realized that it was in force in the country, which, among other things, appears from the discussion of the Løgting in 1937/38 on the organization of rat extermination in the Faroe Islands. In the last part of the paper the author goes through the Løgting Act of June 1, 1961, governing rat extermination and the annexed circular of May 16, 1962.
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