Don’t let PeTA bullies control the direction of medical research, education and training

What do you know?  PeTA is at it again.

This time their rage is directed at “RoboRoach” — a science project aimed at introducing students to sensory neurophysiology and brain-machine interfaces.

Backyard Brains is selling an experiment for educational purposes that illustrates one of the fundamental scientific tools that allow us to restore function in patients by means of electrical stimulation of sensory organs and central nervous structures.  Interfacing with neural structures has tremendous potential for therapeutic applications.

Such principles are the ones underlying deep brain stimulation used to help Parkinson’s patients:

The students that Backyard Brains will be reaching out are likely to be the next generation of neurobiologists, biomedical engineers and neurosurgeons. They will be the future scientists that will innovate and generate medical advances and devices that will offer new treatments and cures to your children and mine. The good people at Backyard Brains have already addressed in detail ethical concerns about the project in a thoughtful manner.

Nevertheless, PeTA calls it “bully starting kit.”   The organization filed a complaint with Michigan’s attorney general and state regulators charging that Backyard Brains is practicing veterinary medicine without a license.

From the patients point of view and their families, however, the true bullies are the ones who attempt to interfere with the development of new therapies.  The true ruffians are the ones trying to rob patients of their hopes of a better future.  The certified zealots are the ones who create video games designed to intimidate scientists out of their work.

PeTA’s interference with science education, research and training has just one simple goal — to prevent the use of animals in science and medicine.  That’s why they put so much effort in directing their message at K-12 children.  They are a tiny minority trying hard to dictate the direction of medical research and education using tactics that are below any deplorable threshold (see herehereherehere,  here… and here … just to mention a few.)

Others have declared the project “a serious potential upgrade for those kids that love to burn ants with a magnifying glass in summer — and an ethics-free lesson in mind control for the pursuit of entertainment.”

Flat wrong.  Science education is not “mere entertainment”.  Do you want to see an example of the use of cockroaches in entertainment?  Here is one:

Ask yourself — where was PeTA to direct their anger at the Discovery Channel for this episode of MythBusters?

Ask yourself — why are the thousands of cockroaches that will probably be used in this educational project attracting more false outrage that the much larger number of insects that are eaten around the world every single day? Tons of insects are eaten daily.  These include beetles, crickets, grasshoppers and so on.  In fact, there is growing interest from environmentalists that insects represent an very good alternative source of protein instead of meat:

recent report the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concluded that:

Recent developments in research and development show edible insects to be a promising alternative for the conventional production of meat, either for direct human consumption or for indirect use as feedstock. […] Insects can contribute to food security and be a part of the solution to protein shortages, given their high nutritional value, low emissions of GHGs, low requirements for land and the high efficiency at which they can convert feed into food.

One may think that PeTA would be pleased at the prospect of replacing meat with insects.  This is doubtful…  As turns out, animal rights is not truly compatible with environmental ethics.  A cockroach, PeTA would argue, has the same basic right to life and freedom as you and me.

Enough is enough.

It is time for scientists, professional organizations and patient groups to get their act together and prevent the bullies at PeTA from directing the future of medical research and education in the US and abroad.

53 responses to “Don’t let PeTA bullies control the direction of medical research, education and training

  1. The fact is that you cannot prove to me that the cockroach does not feel pain or distress, you can postulate that it doesn’t but you cannot prove it. My previous statement that it is irrelevant was poorly worded, what I tried to say was that the psycological affect on the children being exposed to this “kit” is the more relevant and important factor.

    I will never support animal planet, they have hunting, fishing and many other shows that I do not support, but your post is not about animal planet. You post rediculous statements stating that a kit to control a cockroach is essential for the future of science and research and then you start to try and justify it by saying, look look, animal planet is even worse!
    The fact is there are millions of better, more instructive ways to teach children that do not harm animals and can have a positive impact on the childs mental state, not pushing them in the direction of animal cruelty.
    But clearly you think that teaching children how to chop up insects is more important than teaching them not to harm other beings.
    It seems you would prefer a world where every human being can live forever, even if it means they all turn out to become serial killers.

    Why you always require the suffering of other beings for science to progress is difficult to understand, perhaps I didn’t pull the wings off enough flies when I were young.

    • I couldn’t even prove that you feel pain. The only reason I assume you could is based on your behavior and physiology. Yes, teaching children how to study biology responsibly is more important that spending my time here with you. So long…

      • Have fun teaching children how to control cockroaches with their iphones, I am sure it will be an invaluable interaction with nature.

  2. I am not surprised that you think introducing young children to the concept of torturing other creatures for fun under the guise of science is essential to their education. Wow, if you can justify this as essential for scientific progress I guess we can safely deduce that the three R’s are completely useless and that any animal research can be justified.

    Also, I would like like to state that I am not a Peta supporter as personally I don’t agree with a lot of what they do, but that does not mean everything they do is wrong. Just like I don’t agree with or support the church or any religion for that matter, it does not mean that the church has never done any good.
    Just because Peta is speaking out against this rediculous toy introducing children to animal abuse (possibly creating psycopaths in the process http://www.incasa.org/PDF/2011/animal_human_violence.pdf and http://spcala.com/humane_education/tlc/serial_killers.php).
    Whether or not the cockroach feels pain or is distressed by this procedure is irrelevant and also impossible to prove – the point is that children are taught that it is okay, even encouraged, to abuse other beings for their entertainment.

    • I am sorry you cannot tell the obvious difference between entertainment and science education. I gave specific examples of what entertainment looks like, but neither you nor PeTA seem interested in demonstrating against Animal Planet. Whether the cockroach feels pain or distress is very relevant to the question. But I guess you can’t see that either.

  3. God Bless your souls for helping the world

  4. James Burnette

    Somebody brought up the following…

    “PeTA, which has produced videos that incite to violence against scientists…”

    I find it very interesting that perpetrators of violence against animals (who have done no wrong) find it so terrifying that someone is (or merely suggests or hints at) fighting back against those who did do something wrong.

    There’s real lack or reciprocity in that thought process… spoken like a true bully. Some of you probably deserve a taste of your own medicine. In true bully fashion, the vivisection community has gone squealing to the Southern Poverty Law Center (a US – based anti hate group) about this well – deserved reciprocity. Even the Dept of Justice (I think it was — I forgot) works with the SPLC on this issue.

    Somehow, the US got it backwards. We should be tossing vivisectors in prison for animal abuse and cruelty… however, there is too much corporate ownership of our government, and biomed firms don’t want to wreck a good thing. Nothing pulls in research funding like the billboard of a little white girl with cancer. Never mind that the United States federal government subsidized the hell out of petrochemical companies and big ag which may have caused the cancer… that takes too much thinking. We want big funding NOW for pharmaceutical research to cure the dying little white girl. (Of course she’s going to die, but that’s not the point. We have to torture more animals to look like we’re working on it… and if she does survive, the Madicare Part D prescription drug doughnut hole will drain her accounts when she gets old… but I digress.)

    Of course the grunt level bully has a family to feed, so he’ll do anything to an animal. I think that’s the real issue here. There are too many of us.

    • James,

      Your adage about the “lack of reciprocity” is quite far off base.

      What if I were the super-strict variety of vegan who considered yeast usage in bread production a form of murder? If you eat yeast then would it be appropriate for me to suggest to others who thought like me that we should commit violence against you?

      A lack of reciprocity would be scientists suggesting violence against you while complaining about you suggesting violence against them.

      Furthermore, the “violence” committed by scientists against animals is generally conducted in a manner that is meant to minimize pain and distress, while the violence suggested by PETA and their ilk is quite the opposite.

  5. one needs to know how far up/down the animal sentience hierarchy cockroaches and other invertebrates are. For example one hand Peter Singer himself considers that it is OK to eat oysters http://www.slate.com/articles/life/food/2010/04/consider_the_oyster.html whilst on the other we have the intelligence of cephalopods and how they are classed as vertebrates under certain laws for example in the UK it is against the law to feed live cephalopods to other animals in captivity http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/c/cephalopod_intelligence.htm Once the hierarchy of cockroaches is known one will consider how ethical roboroach is.

    • The problem with all of this is that human beings are trying to classify the sentience of other animals that they really don’t know much about. Human scientists are arrogant enough to think they know what other beings feel and how they interact socially etc. but in reality we cannot know what a cockroach or mouse or intestinal worm is experiencing.
      Why encourage children to harm insects for entertainment if we could just NOT do it?

      • A lot is known about the neurobiology and cognition of animals that allow us to make certain inferences. And you can postulate mental state models to explain their behavior.

        While you may be right that we will never know how it feels to be a cockroach, we would never know how it would feels to be you either.

        And if you want children to learn about nature then yes… you need children interact with nature. The notion that humans should be mere spectators of the world is idiotic.

      • So you see this as a good way for children to interacting with and learn from nature? I interact with nature every day without resorting to inflicting senseless harm. We already inflict enough harm just by our day to day activities, why do we have to go and look for innovative new ways of doing so?
        This is really NOT interacting with nature but very clearly attempting to control nature. The more I think of this the worse I realise it is. This really is a statement about how some humans need a sense of superiority and control over nature. The funniest thing is that there exists fungi that has been mind controlling ants for a very long time, possible for more than 40million years.
        You claim to know so much about animals, but can you even explain how a fungus can control the mind of an Ant and influence its behaviour?
        There are so many things in nature that we have not even begun to understand, but you claim to know what affect your actions have on animals. The fact is, you don’t really care what animals feel or experience.
        And what is so wrong in being a spectator to nature? In general more harm is done when humans interfere with nature than when nature is just left alone.

      • As I said, we already harm nature enough by our day to day activities, why go searching for new ways to do so?
        I have no problem trying to cure disease, as long as we try and do so in a way that has the least negative impact on nature and we don’t exploit animals in the process.
        As for curing disease in the wild, it is a difficult decision whether or not to medicate wild animals and I would rather not go there now.

  6. Well, I’m all for science, but do the people here think it would be appropriate if this were a rat or a primate?

    I don’t find the purpose disturbing at all, but I’m not quite comfortable with letting people toy around like this with living things outside of supervised educational or research settings. It just kind of sends the wrong message about what is considered appropriate in animal research (namely, it makes it seem like you can do whatever you want whenever you want without any oversight, training, or consequence whatsoever).

    • “…do the people here think it would be appropriate if this were a rat or a primate?”

      No, nobody would think it is appropriate to ship a rat or a primate.

      I understand your concern about supervision. Would you approve if this were to be sold to schools where students do the research under a teacher’s supervision?

      And do you have similar concerns about children that interact with bugs in their back yards?

      • Provided that the project were conducted in an environment under the guidance of a knowledgeable individual who could make sure the procedure was carried out properly, that it were accompanied by an informative and relevant lecture, that the students were advanced enough to understand the relationship between the experiment and the material being taught, and that they engaged in some form of thoughtful discussion on the appropriate use of living animals in research I would not have a problem with it at all.

        It might seem completely unnecessary to those of us who are already familiar with the AWA and IACUC since insects aren’t really afforded any protections, but for those who are completely clueless about such things I think it’s a good idea to set some ground rules about what is and what is not acceptable. And that’s not just for the sake of stopping inspired kids from going out and independently doing something inappropriate, it’s also to instill a realistic understanding of what we consider appropriate use of animals in people who are not interested so that they are less susceptible to being misled by groups like PeTA due to the simple fact that they don’t know better.

        As for the bugs in the backyard question, I’m guessing you’re trying to drag me into an ethical quagmire that I doubt I wish to wade into.

        • Fair points.

          I have reasonable confidence that those parents who are willing to pay $100 for a roach and some electronics that will work only for a few days are likely to do so because they have legitimate interest in learning about life science and biomedical engineering. I found the instructions, videos and materials offered to be at the same level or better than you find in a university course, emphasizing the need for anesthesia and demonstrating each step carefully.

          As for the backyard question, I think it is legitimate… Namely, what is that parents should and should not let their children do when interacting with nature in their own back yards?

          I also think it is legitimate to ask why PeTA is objecting to this project rather than objecting to the eating of tons of insects and/or their use in Discovery Channel for entertainment purposed. The only possible reason I see is that they feel the project will influence the character of the students negatively (“the bully starter kit” comment).

          But, coming from PeTA, which has produced videos that incite to violence against scientists and “comics” targeting children (http://www.targetofopportunity.com/mommykills.pdf), I doubt this is what they are truly concerned about.

          What they are really concerned about is that these students will go on to have successful careers in biomedical science.

          And they should not be allowed to do so.

      • I’m sure that many parents would be as you mention, but it requires more than genuine interest to make this into a valuable and properly-conducted learning experience. It also does not guarantee that others won’t purchase it for less-than-noble purposes.

        I’m wondering if perhaps you’re seeing different documentation than I am. The protocol and video are definitely fine from a procedural point of view, but the depth of information provided to explain the engineering or neuroscience concepts required for the project to work is definitely not college level. The closest thing to an in-depth discussion of the mechanism I came across was on the Kickstarter page, and that seems more towards a middle school level. Many of the stimulation parameters that can be varied are left completely unexplained, which could be of issue considering it’s not very hard to go through college without ever taking basic physics if you aren’t in a scientific discipline (meaning many parents would be ill-equipped to explain these concepts)..

        I wouldn’t even bother attempting to figure out the logic underlying the actions or beliefs of PeTA or their followers. It’s difficult enough to carry on a discussion that concerns only verifiable factual information with the majority of them–much less discuss something as abstract as ethics or campaign strategy. But all things considered, I’m not all that surprised that they’d pick this as a good target as it’s a much sexier issue if you consider the potential amount of people it could elicit a nice visceral response from. Use of animals for food is a pretty mundane topic at this point, and they probably don’t see much point in campaigning to stop a 5 year old show’s usage of cockroaches when they already campaign against the use of animals in entertainment.

        One particularly notable thing is that this is making unregulated “vivisection” accessible to the general public, which is definitely more unique than the other issues. Also there are lots of easily misconstrued elements:”Mind control”, amputation, thoracic puncture, no post-op analgesia, and sanding an animal (with lots of pictures that would agitate people as well)

        I have zero love for PeTA, but this project definitely makes a nice target when it comes to grabbing attention.

        • Again, I think you make legitimate points that can help this project be better… but not ones that raise my concern to the point where I would be against it.

          Suppose you see a child in the park that places a stick or a rock over an ant trail to observe how the ants go about solving the problem. What do you see? What I see is a child that may be destined to be the next Ed Wilson. In contrast, PeTa is telling the public we will get the next Jeffrey Dahmer. I cannot disagree more.

          Thus my question about what you would allow your child to do in the backyard. Needless to say (and to pre-empt questions that are likely to come from others) if I saw children catching a mouse and deciding to do some “surgery” I would stop them on the spot. And if a saw children using a magnifying glass to kill insects, I would stop them to ask what are they really intending to do.

          In contrast, when I see parents that react in these scenarios by telling children that “we should let nature alone,” all I can do is scratch my head and roll my eyes. These will be children that, in my view, will likely “learn” about nature from animated movies, and they may easily come to the conclusion that ants have societies that are morally superior than those of humans (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0429589/). And I am sure someone at PeTA believes this to be the case.

      • Yes, PETA presents the majority of forms of animal research as triggers for the development of bullies or serial killers–and I wholeheartedly agree with you that this is not the case. It could be true that such people may seek out justifiable opportunities to harm animals, but that says nothing about the quality of the activities themselves.

        I also agree that interaction with and observation of nature is extremely valuable, and it seems that you too seem to think that determination of what actions are appropriate should take at least the intent of the actor into account. But in your example, you stop any harmful action carried out upon the mouse (and regardless of the moral issues, that’s probably a good idea given the wonderful things you can find contaminating wild mouse urine) without questions, while you mention that you would question the intent if a child were roasting ants (I assume, possibly incorrectly, that you would permit them to continue provided they returned an acceptable answer).

        So, if I were to take into account that society generally accepts that both mice and ants are expendable pests that can be dealt with using less-than-humane means, then why is only the mouse worth protecting unconditionally from a potentially brutal death at the hands of a child?

        If your response would cite reasons related to the subjective experience of the mouse, then see my response to David below.

        • I contrast the interests of an insect can have in life, with the interests of our community to educate children about nature and how such education can lead to the amelioration of future suffering by producing a new generation of scientists interested in life sciences, the environment and veterinary/human medicine. To me the outcome of the comparison is straightforward.

          A child is not properly trained to do surgery on a mouse. I would not object to a properly trained teacher from fully anesthetizing a mouse and teaching high-school students about basic biology. Yes, there are many computer models that students can use as a complement to such work. But, contrary to PeTA claims, life and nature cannot be simulated.

      • James Burnette

        Good grief, you guys don’t give it a rest, do you. Animal experimentation doesn’t trigger bullying in kids. Animal experimentation IS bullying. Furthermore, your kids are most likely going to be stupid, so it’s just fine to give them good textbooks, good anatomy drawing practice, good plastic models, good computer models, and a good instructor. Old samples of dead animals last forever in specimen jars. The point I’d like all kids to learn is to STOP MESSING WITH CRITTERS, when they don’t want to be messed with. It’s a simple lesson in decency and compassion. That’s part of their education.

        As the better students advance through the system, they can start dissecting dead animals in advanced high school or college courses… only the best students (not your kids — stupid parents, stupid kids, got it?). Furthermore, I would never buy from some schlocky company like Carolina Biological supplies. Those guys have absolute contempt toward the animals they kill for specimens. They collect perfectly healthy animals and brutalize them to death. I wouldn’t want to support them. If a local municipality has a feral cat problem, and they have to euthanize them, then by all means, use them for college dissection classes… again, the best students who show promise.

        Finally, in medical school, they have all kinds of good simulators these days. You don’t need to stab pigs or burn them with torches to learn how to treat them.

        My main objection is to the capture and torture of animals against their will. If an animal is to be treated in an experimental procedure, be sure that the animal could benefit from it. Don’t damage a live animal just to see if you can put it back together.

        There’s way too much junk science that uses animals in the most horrific (and useless) torture. We need to put an end to that.

      • Why does it matter that the child is not properly trained to perform a surgery ONLY in the case of the mouse and not the roach?

        • Starting to split hairs here…

          The answer is that I do not think there is scientific evidence to suggest the cockroach experiences the same suffering as a mouse.

          Besides, do you know any ant surgeon that could provide the training?

    • The question is here is what kind of influences one can have without producing pain or (more importantly) distress. Will picking up a roach and placing it into a large box by itself with food and water readily available cause pain or distress? Probably not. But the social separation and distress will cause some distress to a monkey. The question can be extended. Do the procedures done in this demonstration cause pain or distress to a roach? Well, they might if the roach wasn’t anesthetized with cold water. And what is the evidence that any of this would cause distress? Roaches clearly lack the ability to cogitate and ruminate, two potentially important aspects of distress. For these reasons, and others (like the need for sterile preparations in surgery in higher vertebrates), no, we wouldn’t do these things in rodents and primates. But roaches are not rodents or primates.

      • So your opinion basically boils down to this:

        1. Roaches “probably” do not experience stress while primates do.
        2. Roaches do not cogitate, which is a “potentially” important aspect of distress.
        3. The implantation does not cause pain due to the usage of anesthesia.

        My thoughts:

        1. If one cannot guarantee that an organism is incapable of experiencing stress then one should probably not wantonly expose such an organism to a potential stressor as they could be unwittingly causing stress.

        2. If cogitation is only a “potentially important aspect” this implies we don’t actually know that it is important. It also means that we don’t know everything that is important. Thus, it doesn’t make much sense to gauge a roach’s subjective experience based upon something we don’t even understand completely. The people behind RoboRoach also seem to recognize that this is the case as their official stance on the existence of insect pain is that it is “debatable”.

        3. I have never liked the, “we anesthetize it and/or provide analgesia” mantra that frequently comes up when defending a practice that does or “might” cause distress. Despite human-grade pain management isn’t the extraction of impacted wisdom teeth something that often ends up being both painful and uncomfortable despite the anesthesia provided during the procedure and the analgesia provided afterwards? Pain management should not be represented as complete prevention of pain which is what is going on when someone says “We don’t think the animal experiences pain, but even if it does we used anesthesia.”

  7. So what would legitimate arguments be, other than attempts at intimidating people? Such as was done to Cheryl Abbate.

  8. Yes, why dine to reply we mere mortals. We don’t get $5 million in grants

  9. Notice that is sentence that gets a reply. Nothing in your first paragraph.

  10. James Burnette

    Aww, geez. Never mind PETA. Can’t you guys just leave critters alone ? They’re low hanging fruit, and I’m starting to suspect that most of you simply enjoy messing with animals — because you can, and something went horribly wrong with your upbringing. That’s the justification that any conquering army uses against unwitting civilians.

    Start using humans, man, or at least in-vitro experiments.

    • “Start using humans, man, or at least in-vitro experiments.”

      We already do.

    • Actually it is because we do not want to harm humans, nor test on them that animal research exists prior to human clinical trials.

      • James Burnette

        I wish you would extend that simple courtesy to animals. There’s a bit of arrogance in sacrificing them for our benefit; something that makes me bristle as both sides of my family come from aggressor nations that tested on lesser beings who had no say in the matter.

        The bottleneck in helping those in need is actually at the opposite end of research. The problem lies in the unwillingness of governments to extend low cost medical treatment to the masses.

        Deep down, you know that universities and pharmaceutical companies are hording know-how, equipment, monies, and products, because there’s no financial gain in distributing extant medical technology to the unwashed masses. The gain lies in research, the 17 year patent, and the rules of the game allow you to do so at a terrible price… your dignity, and the suffering of animals.

        You can do it “clean”. It may cost more, it make take longer, but it takes a consorted effort by the medical research community to break the current system and replace it with one that doesn’t require re-programming young researchers by erasing their compassion. I hope you take the high road.

  11. How can someone read what is being done to those cockroaches without getting terribly upset? It is barbaric and certainly inhumane to most normal people. But I see the two vivisectionists above are just head over heals for it (surprise surprise)! I mean it sounds terrible. Of course people, normal people, are going to emotional at the idea of torturing another creature. I realize the two above don’t understand why regular folks don’t get excited at the prospect.

    • No barbaric would be to leave those that suffer or are waiting for cures or treatments behind. You may not like the tools but medical progress, understanding diseases , medical devices or procedures, drugs or vaccines hinge on discoveries made via animal research. A sacrifice I am willing to make

      • James Burnette

        Your statement troubles me because the only thing that matters to you is “A sacrifice I am willing to make”. The victims are NOT willing to make such sacrifices. A little bit of reciprocity would be appreciated in your calculus, especially in view of the fact that human medical care could be greatly improved — not by expanded research, but — by opening the spigots on corporate gain.

        There’s something horribly wrong with our philosophy… and human value, or human intelligence, isn’t just a matter of technical know-how. It must be tempered with an ethical societal structure that takes into consideration the suffering of others, human and non-human.

        The reductio ad absurdum of this sort of “research at all cost” is the dehumanizing tests we conducted with the Japanese 731 medical unit in East Asia, the Nazi medical tests on Jews, the US Tuskegee project syphilis tests on blacks, and even the 2nd US nuclear bomb (notably a plutonium bomb, unlike the uranium bomb used 3 days earlier).

        Human intelligence and progress must include a code of decency, especially toward those less capable of legal defense.

      • James burnette, animals don’t have a will.
        they are used in experiments because they effectively simulate parts of the body that require further research, but in humans are hard to reach.

        Do you honestly believe roaches feel pain?
        Their brains are so small, they can’t bee seen without a microscope, and the entire thing is needed to perform nirmal functions.
        Had roaches felt pqin, they wouodn’t resume normal activity when you tore off a leg.

      • The brqinwashed drones of PERA are merely anti humanist anarchists, and shouod be ignored like the squealing babies they are.

      • James Burnette

        Well, Max, of course insects don’t have the same sort of developed nervous system that we do, but by rule of thumb, I tend not to capture, prod, and hack up anything that makes an attempt to escape.

        Medicine has progressed way past the “need to experiment on animals” stage — actually, we probably could have done it “clean” from the beginning, making us a bit more worthy as a species.

        Example: The National Football League, after hiding years of concussion data, has recently started traumatic head injury tests on small animals. There’s plenty of data out there from people who voluntarily play football, and even more data from people who voluntarily go overseas to oppress lesser humans in our economic wars (then end up becoming casualties). The United States has a disgusting record of underfunding the Dept of Veterans Affairs, which could and should be treating severely injured veterans. Instead, we overfund war profiteers and contractors, such as Halliburton.

        The NFL drafts, for the most part, low IQ brutes who skidded through college on booze and football scholarships. These guys go to the pros, and hit harder. There’s no mystery… just a need for the NFL to set up a well stocked retirement trust fund for these guys after they reach the age of drooling and soiling their pants (instead of front-loading their contracts so they can squander it on mansions, strippers, fancy cars and drugs).

        The issue is one of poor human planning, coupled with an attempt to “look like we’re doing something for the people” — always at the expense of animals. This is not acceptable by any reasonable, civilized standard.

        If you had a well developed nervous system, you’d have some compassion for lesser critters, and might find it worth the effort to come up with better test methods that don’t involve them (for our benefit). After all, we are a pest species.

  12. “The company’s RoboRoach kits instruct kids to “anesthetize” a live cockroach by dousing him or her with ice water; sand the animal’s thorax (yes, you read that right), use a needle to puncture it, and superglue an electrode connector to it; cut off most of the roach’s antennae and superglue electrodes to the stubs; and use a hot glue gun to attach a battery pack to the roach’s back, all so that kids can control the animal’s movements via a smartphone app. The product works only for a few days, but the electrodes are permanently attached.” Is that something you would want done to yourself? That sounds like sadistic torture and now you are getting kids in the act! Another generation of brutal killers who now have license to kill and tear insects apart. Just the kind of world I want to live in.

  13. You consider this science in any sense of the word? Any ordinary person can see this A: a toy and B: it involves sadism. How can you possibly claim this has anything to do with research? It’s teaching children to torture. And its sick, very sick.

  14. It just shows the limits of animal rights. These groups are plain wrong and know it. They can not say so publicly nor 2 followers. No leg to stand on N bad 4 donations. Animal use is legit Whether they like it or not. My support goes to patients, medical progress via animalresearch and the precautionary principle.

  15. The search for internal consistency and reason will always lead away from PeTA. Our local animal rights group (Progress for Science – a ironically named group, if ever there was one) repeatedly (and honestly) refers to their own activities as “stunts”. PeTA should step up as well and admit that their entire goal is to stumble from one donation-eliciting stunt to another. If they were really interested in helping animals, they’d stop killing shelter animals, stop harassing projects like this that aid in STEM education and stop their ridiculous lies that only detract from actual progress towards alternatives development and progress on animal welfare.