Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Rats at work

I'm fascinated by stories about human-animal working partnerships. What are the ethics of these collaborations? Can an animal ever really "collaborate" with a human, or will animal labor always involve exploitation? What would it take to make these relationships just?

Here's a story on the NYTimes about rats who sniff out land mines in Angola. The accompanying video is below. The men quoted in the story clearly want to provide a fair and just arrangement with their rat co-workers. Do you think they succeed?

1 comment:

  1. Whoa this is super interesting. I feel like the video showed how they were doing it in collaboration which I would agree with. But this makes me wonder how the trained the rats to sniff out the TNT. Did they use a reward system or did they starve out the rats until they did what they wanted them to do. Another thing I noticed is the cages they carry the rats in. I'm no rat expert, but from observing them in the wild, they like to burrow in the earth and it doesn't seem like they could do that in the metal cages. They don't have enough room to live adequately, just enough room to be able to have lots of rats to do the dirty work for the humans.