Rats and Landmines

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For years, landmines have been effectively used to invade nations, to slow down enemies, to acquire resources from other countries as well as to reduce the human population in enemy countries so as to weaken their defense in times of war. Even though the use of landmines has significantly reduced over the last decade, there are still problems such as rehabilitation and clearance. The clearance of old minefields has often been impossible as it is always dangerous, risky and time consuming. Nonetheless, the entire process of clearance and rehabilitation of mine fields have been eased off with the use of sniffing rats

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Rats have become handy in undertaking the mines clearance process. They are trained to spot the smell of TNT, a common explosive material used for landmines. A rat is placed in cages with various pockets of distinct smells and it rewarded with food for every instance it identifies TNT. Rats swiftly learn this reflex and they keep coming for more food as they detect more TNT. Even though, this idea has proven effective, most people do not like rats. But, unlike other animals, rats are cost-effective; they are easy to train and transport, and cannot set off mines because they are light. Bonding is also a non-issue since rats does not belong to anyone and can work with anybody unlike dogs.

On most occasions, the specific placements of landmines are not accurately recorded; hence demining efforts are incredibly risky and challenging as there no clear targets. Moreover, once a mine is laid, it might remain active for approximately half-a-century. Unless enthusiastic actions are taken to clear land mines, they would still be killing and laming people into the next couple of years. Mines also strike subtly at the reconstruction and development efforts of a country. The extensive use of mining land that can be use of agriculture has resulted in famine, starvation and malnutrition. Mines may also have been laid on the roads and tracks hence impeding the delivery of aid to people and their safe repatriation. Clearance, therefore, is needed as it gives life back to the people; it gives them a chance to be productive instead of relying on aid. It also presents the locals with the opportunity to take part in building the economy; there would be no need to hire labors from other country which is expensive.

As discussed, rats are important instruments in the clearance of mines. They are smart; have a keen smelling sense, and are sociable animals; it is just a shame that people fear of rats spreading diseases. Apart from detecting landmines, rats can be used in many scenarios to save humanity. For instance, rats can be used to detect explosives; they can be used to identify the location of bombs whenever there are threats of terrorist attacks. In this case, rats are effective because they are easy to transport and train, and do not have to be handled by specific persons. They can also be used to sniff contraband, such as any narcotic drugs as well as their generic equivalents.

In conclusion, the specific placements of landmines are often not recorded during times of war. Once a mine is laid, it might remain active for approximately half-a-century; hence many people are at risk of becoming lame or even dying unless enthusiastic actions are taken to clear the mines. Nonetheless the process of clearing and rehabilitating mine fields has been a near impossibility due to the associated risks and dangers. However, the use of rats to detect TNT; an explosive material has eased off the entire process of clearing land mines

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