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What It's Like to Kill Thousands of NYC Rodents for a Living

"I don't think you can ever come to terms with being a murderer."

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In most cases compassionate is not the first adjective one might use to describe an exterminator, but for Michael Sabov, a New York City pest management professional, the word is hardly adequate. “It’s not easy to do, and when you see a lifeless body it's not easy to deal with,” says Sabov in Of Mice and Man, the short film above. With the five boroughs' rat population estimated at over 30 million, times are tough for the big-hearted exterminator. “Sometimes you get numb to it and that’s just scary. And the day I get numb to it is the day I’m going to want to get out of this business,” he says.  

In their latest short, filmmakers Tom Mason and Sarah Klein go beyond the standard interview format with inventive visual effects and animation to reveal the surprisingly humane mindset of this New York City exterminator. Collectively known as Redglass Pictures, Mason and Klein have been featured on The Atlantic Video Channel before with On Story, an intimate conversation with documentary filmmaker Ken Burns about the craft of storytelling.

For more work from Redglass Pictures, visit http://redglasspictures.com/.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

  • Paul Rosenfeld writes and produces for Atlantic Video. His work has also appeared on The Daily Beast and CNN.com.