Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fascinating Development Case Study

A lot of third-world countries have a big landmine problem.

Training rats to detect landmines costs 1/3 what it costs to train
dogs, and they're less susceptible to African disease, they're too
light to trigger the landmines themselves and they're easier to
transport. Rats can also detect tuberculosis.

Rats live a lot shorter than dogs, so I wonder if this actually ends
up being economical, but if a lot of dogs get blown up by landmines or
die of disease, or transport is really expensive relative to training,
then this is valuable. It's particularly helpful because Africans are
more able to implement this themselves, as opposed to dogs, which may
require more foreign support.

In any case, it's an interesting development field study.

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