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Magawa the mine-detecting rat wins PDSA Gold Medal
A rat has absolutely no idea what a land mine is, the danger it may represent, and in any case a rat is too small to set one off.
Awarding medals to animals is idiotic, and an insult to humans who exhibit genuine bravery.

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PDSA persecuted my granny for about the last ten years of her life with constant junk mail and demands for 'donations'. My mother didnt realize the amount (I forget what the exact figure was, but it worked out she was getting stiffed for something running into the several hundreds every year)until she took control of granny's financial affairs, but was pretty shocked at how much they were getting out of a little old lady who really didnt have much to spare. I presume this is fairly common tactic, to make constant demands off little old ladies. Got to pay for the CEO's salaries, after all. 

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2 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

It has made newsworthy that rats can be very efficient mine detectors which I didn't know.

Though from the rat's point of view though probably feel like they're being punished as somebody has hung a weight upon them.

The story is years old I have seen numerous pieces on these rats before. 

They also don't show it in its wee harness they use as if it didn't have one - it would just run away. Rats ain't dumb. 

The people who go out and do this stuff are the brave ones. They know the risks and choose to do it. That's actual bravery.

These rats are just doing what they are trained to do with zero choice and with food treats as rewards. 

It's still a good story in general but as per usual they have to add some nonsense to it like this "bravery" pish. 

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4 minutes ago, ccc said:

The story is years old I have seen numerous pieces on these rats before. 

They also don't show it in its wee harness they use as if it didn't have one - it would just run away. Rats ain't dumb. 

The people who go out and do this stuff are the brave ones. They know the risks and choose to do it. That's actual bravery.

These rats are just doing what they are trained to do with zero choice and with food treats as rewards. 

It's still a good story in general but as per usual they have to add some nonsense to it like this "bravery" pish. 

Yes.  It's what the press does.

I've always thought similar of the "Children of Courage" awards which are given out to seriously / terminally ill children; usually by Carol Vorderman.

On one level it's great that they get a day out and are on TV, the centre of attention and applauded in their short lives.  I like that.

It doesn't however take courage to become terminally ill; it's a misnomer.  And for every child who bears up cheerfully to the treatments and gets an award do we dismiss the ones who cry themselves to sleep every night through fear and pain because they're not "courageous"?

If it was something like "Brief and shining lives" I would have no issue with it whatsoever.

 

I didn't previously know the rats detecting mines story; are you a subscriber to Rat Fanciers' World? 

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1 minute ago, sarahbell said:

Gambian pouched rat (Cricetomys gambianus)

growing up to about 0.9 metres (3 ft) long including their tail which makes up half their length.

 

Can you buy them here?

 

They sound pretty impressive.

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14 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

Yes.  It's what the press does.

I've always thought similar of the "Children of Courage" awards which are given out to seriously / terminally ill children; usually by Carol Vorderman.

On one level it's great that they get a day out and are on TV, the centre of attention and applauded in their short lives.  I like that.

It doesn't however take courage to become terminally ill; it's a misnomer.  And for every child who bears up cheerfully to the treatments and gets an award do we dismiss the ones who cry themselves to sleep every night through fear and pain because they're not "courageous"?

If it was something like "Brief and shining lives" I would have no issue with it whatsoever.

 

I didn't previously know the rats detecting mines story; are you a subscriber to Rat Fanciers' World? 

No I've just seen it a number of times before. It's a good story so been about. 

12 minutes ago, jm51 said:

The story I read had the rats playing with cats. The cats had mittens on and once the rat lost its fear of predators it could go detect mines without running away.

Do a quick Google image search of mine detecting rats. The only picture of one without a leash on is the one with the medal. 

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52 minutes ago, MrPin said:

I thought rats cost £2. They make quite good pets. Some are very fluffy. I'm not responsible enough to keep animals.

Indeed. Having seen the price of the big rats I'd have to stick with the small ones. Or just gauze in awe at the dead ones on the allotment.

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Had a friend who worked with the NPA explosive detection dogs in Siem Reap.  They mentioned the rats.  Apparently much quicker to train than the dogs and much cheaper/more disposable.

Dogs were good for fundraising from tourists though, nobody would pay money to see a show of performing rats, however functional they may be.

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