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Animal Law

Is it illegal to implant a remote-control device in a cockroach? PETA asks AG to nix RoboRoach kit

Posted Nov 6, 2013 3:25 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Image courtesy of RoboRoach.

It may be legal to crush, poison or trap and release a cockroach you find in your home. But that doesn't mean you should be allowed to implant electrodes into the insect's brain so that its movements can be controlled with the help of a smartphone application, an animal rights group says.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has asked the Michigan attorney general and state regulators to take action against an Ann Arbor company that sells a RoboRoach kit for $99, contending that the so-called research kit amounts to practicing veterinary medicine without a license, Time magazine reports.

The current kit uses a remote control device to control a roach's movements, but upcoming versions will allow a roach to be controlled via a smartphone.

Co-founder Greg Gage of Backyard Brains says his company's product is legal and has no permanent adverse effect on the insect's life.

Attorney Jared Goodman says the kit encourages mistreatment of the insects. "It’s not okay to torture and mutilate cockroaches,” he says.

Hat tip: Slate.

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