PETA Says Cyber-Cockroaches Are “Veterinary Medicine Without a License”


Remember the robo-roach kit, that can turn a bug into a momentarily programmable toy?

I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise to you that PETA objects to it. But their objections are interestingly composed.

…cutting body parts off live, unanesthetized animals and super-gluing and surgically implanting electrodes in them–and providing online written instructions and a video demonstration on how to do so–may constitute illegally practicing veterinary medicine without a license, which is a felony.

I don’t think concern for veterinary competition is their main issue, though.

Researchers have found strong indications that cockroaches are able to experience pain as well as evidence suggesting that they have complex memories, complex forms of learning, and spatial awareness and possess a level of consciousness paralleling that of vertebrates.

“Cockroaches are living beings with the ability to feel pain–not inanimate objects for kids or anyone else to stab and cut apart for ‘fun,'” says general counsel to PETA Jeffrey Kerr. “The RoboRoach kit teaches kids the dangerous lesson that it’s OK to hurt and torment animals–something that PETA believes is not only never OK but also clearly illegal in this case.”

I wrote back to PETA to ask them if they felt the trapping or poisoning of roaches in the home was okay, and if not, what would be appropriate? This was their answer:

Thanks so much for your questions.

It’s never okay to torture and mutilate cockroaches. Even if you hate or fear someone, that doesn’t make torturing them right, just as it’s not right to pull the wings off flies.

Homeowners in the U.S. spend nearly $5 billion a year on toxic pesticides in a vain attempt to create “pest-free” homes. The best way to remove roaches from your home is simply to keep a clean house. Eliminating sources of food, water, and shelter is a far more effective–and certainly more humane–way to resolve conflicts with these critters.

I offer all of this without comment, as I don’t think it needs any. I wish you all good conflict resolution.