A Berlin politician has sparked an outcry after suggesting poor people play pied piper in the rat-infested city and catch the vermin for $1.40 per dead rodent, Spiegel Online reported.

Head of the Free Democrat party, Henner Schmidt, has been called "inhuman and cynical" after suggesting "people who usually collect bottles could get one euro for every dead rat" as a solution for the city's growing infestation.

"Everybody who needs to earn extra cash should be allowed to become a rat bounty-hunter," Schmidt was quoted in the Times of London.

The party's suggestion that it may formally propose the idea at a meeting of the district council on Thursday has been met with sharp criticism.

"If the FDP actually goes ahead with its absurd and inhuman proposal on Thursday in the district council, we can only call on Berlin's long-term unemployed to chase Berlin FDP politicians rather than hunting rats," German Forum for People Without Income spokesperson Martin Behrsing was quoted by Spiegel Online.

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