PETA is advocating the use of non-lethal rat traps in towns over run by the rodents.
The animal rights groups says rats are affectionate animals and home owners should not kill them.
It has launched a poster campaign in the US city of Green Bay, Wisconsin, which has a big rat problem.
The campaign on the city’s buses reads: “Only a Dirty Rat Uses Cruel Pest Control. Be Kind.”
The ad campaign comes after residents took to the media to complain about a growing rat infestation.
But PETA president Ingrid Newkirk said home owners should try to deal with the problem humanely.
She said: ”Rats are intelligent, affectionate animals who form close bonds with their families and friends, enjoy playing and wrestling, and even giggle when tickled.
“Killing these animals only causes others to move into the newly available spaces, so PETA urges homeowners and building managers to avoid unwanted houseguests entirely by rat-proofing buildings.”
PETA recommends that residents store rubbish in sturdy containers that rats can’t chew through, feed pets indoors, trim vegetation around buildings and seal holes on building walls.
But Bill Paape, neighbourhood development manager for Green Bay, didn’t sound convinced by the tactics.
He said: ”If PETA would like to come and assist the great citizens of the city of Green Bay with the removal of these rodents from their properties, I am sure we would have folks that would gladly utilise that service should PETA provide it.”
A panel of City Council members has asked the city to form a plan to address the rat problem.