People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is calling a Michigan company "cruel" for developing a kit to implant electrodes into cockroaches and control their movements via a smartphone app.
The kits instruct children to "anesthetize" live cockroaches and superglue the electrodes to control their movement, according to a news release from PETA.
Backyard Brains, based in Ann Arbor, has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for continued development of the project, which is called the RoboRoach, according to the site.
The goal was to raise $10,000, but more than 80 people had donated more than $12,000, The Virginian-Pilot reports.
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Backyard Brains founder, Greg Gage, says his product allows students to make scientific discoveries by advancing the study of neural circuits.
“Twenty percent of the world will have a neurological disorder with no known cure and so what we are trying to do is get kids interested in neuro-science at an early age and and we can actually capture those kids and turn them into neuro-scientists and actually help us cure these diseases,” Gage told CBS Detroit.
The animal rights group believes the kit violates the state's health code and a law regarding plants and insects.
“This cruel and inhumane product instructs children to, without anesthesia, send down various parts of a living cockroach’s body,” PETA counsel Jerrod Goodman said in a statement Tuesday. “They stab a syringe through the animal, force electrodes into the animal, and superglue apparatuses to the inside and the outside of the cockroach’s body.”
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Writing in a release to the Michigan attorney general, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, PETA is asking that they take "appropriate enforcement action for any violations that they may find" in the matter.
The insects, the group says, have the ability to feel pain.
Vice reports the product will be commercially available to order on the company’s website for $99.99.