Among the 80 Navy SEALs who raided Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad was a member of another species—a dog. The New York Times reports that a dog who was likely trained to detect explosives was strapped to a SEAL's chest and lowered from a helicopter into the walled compound.
Like the identities of the SEALs involved in the mission, details about the dog are being kept under wraps, but we can only hope that, since he or she is being described in the present tense as a "hero," the dog survived and was evacuated safely with the rest of the team.
An estimated 600 dogs are being used by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and General David Petraeus has called for the use of even more dogs, claiming that their abilities "cannot be replicated by man or machine."
In the year 2011, we would argue that technology can—and should—be used in place of animals in dangerous missions. We are not against working dogs per se (it depends on the conditions, training, and retirement plans), but we are against sending dogs into what will probably be a gun battle.
Written by Alisa Mullins