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I can understand why. The part about sanding down the cockroaches exoskeleton, putting it in cold water, all to attatch this device, is cruel for the cockroach. Imagine skinning a mammals head like a rat and sanding down its skull to get to a brain, that would be very cruel.

As dumb as it seems why would anyone enforce children to hurt any animal? And we wonder why schools aren't safe anymore.

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I think the issue is that it's being marketed as more of a toy rather than something being used in schools for learning. Take something like dissecting a frog - in a school setting taking a dead animal and cutting it open is considered a normal classroom lesson. Yet if a kid killed a frog (even if it was done humanely) and dissected it at home, that would alarm parents, teachers, and neighbors because it's not considered normal. The distinction is the oversight of an educator. Kits like this one make it very easy to take that oversight away and creates doubts that it could be used for fun or other disturbing reasons, rather than for education.

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I am in complete support for animal testing within ethical boundaries. It crosses a line for me because of the pointlessness, nothing can be learned here that can't be learned from reading a paragraph.

As far as school safety. Its an unfortunate reality that there has always been a percent of screwed up people. Increase the number of people and increase that percentage. Throw in modern communication and everyone knows the gorey details and trys to find reason and purpose where there is none. A crowd of children will be " bullied" and one will snap and kill there peers. Restrictions and sensitivity will not change this. If prisons have tought us anything, people will find a way to harm others no matter how restricted they are. Education like self defense is probably the best we can do. Sorry I'll get off my soap box now.

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I really don't think you can be "cruel" to a roach. That's my theory anyway. The roach doesn't even die, and we use these things as feeders. They die of being crunched or destroyed by venom and nobody minds that.

It's irritating that kids are learning that "hurting" animals is ok, but this is a cockroach not a dog. Let's be realistic; we can't let our love of these animals blind us.

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There is purpose and a need for food. Roaches are lesser beings but do have a nervous system. It is not known if they register pain as we know it, I feel safe in assuming that it is not pleasant for the roach to have its exoskeleton sanded down and and wire inserted.

Don't get me wrong.

I welcome and respect your opinion.

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Well it is an interesting learning tool if used properly. The problem is they are marketing it as a toy. Kids use toys all the time other ways than what they were intended for. How long before it was tried on other lifeforms? I do not think the company marketing it is thinking about anything other than making their money back invested in development and then a profit. Again in the right learning environment this can be a very useful tool and possibly lead to gains in neurological science. Problem is if the company marketed only to those sectors it would be a long time if ever they recouped their financial investment.

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There have been studies in the last few years that indicate an ability of lobsters and crabs to feel pain. I recall reading that they have even been known to die from trauma alone. Of course, crustaceans are only distantly related to cockroaches, but I think this is enough of a cause for reconsideration. There has also been recent studies to suggest that Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies possess the same specialized nerve receptors correlated to pain in humans. Anyway, until conclusive evidence is available, I believe it is best to treat cockroaches as humanely as is feasibly possible. In the case that these animals do have some sense of pain, this toy will put countless individuals through unnecessary torture for little purpose beyond human entertainment.

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I really don't think you can be "cruel" to a roach. That's my theory anyway. The roach doesn't even die, and we use these things as feeders. They die of being crunched or destroyed by venom and nobody minds that.

It's irritating that kids are learning that "hurting" animals is ok, but this is a cockroach not a dog. Let's be realistic; we can't let our love of these animals blind us.

A similar line of reasoning was used in defense of inhumane experiments on dogs some years back.

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Just because something doesn't feel pain doesn't mean we should encourage disfiguring a living thing.

Someone can numb your arms or legs or fingers and chop them off and you won't feel it, does that mean its ok? I don't think anyone would be ok with that.

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For me, it's not about the pain question since there hasn't been any solid research showing that they do feel pain, so it's likely that the roach is indeed fine and what is happening to it is in no way abuse.

What bothers me is that if this toy was being used on any other type of creature it would be causing pain. Younger children (heck, many teens) may not be able to make that distinction without having an adult supervisor to teach them the why behind cockroaches being alright with this kind of treatment, while other animals like fish or reptiles would not be. And there are also going to be the disturbed children who will get kicks and get ideas from doing this as well. I think of it as being a lot like a bark collar - great training tool in the hands of a mature owner who understands how and why it should be used and who won't abuse that power. But would you really hand over the controls of a bark collar to a random 13 year old boy who was then left alone with that dog that he has never met before and didn't care a bit about? With this being sold to the public with no restrictions, you can be sure that is exactly what is going to happen when kids hear about this and beg their parents for one for Christmas. Even the timing of the release is like a new gaming system! And then it's controlled via a smartphone. Nothing about this product says education to me - it all screams "hot new holiday toy".

And for curiosity's sake - does anyone know why the company switched from using hissing roaches? I remember seeing this a few years back in the news, and they started off with ye ole basic hissers that can be found as pets at many shops. Found it interesting that they're now using a much harder to find species (it really is in most areas of the country) that they're selling for $12 per adult on their site...

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That is just plain silly. I guess next all the pest control operators will be put on trial for war crimes.

I wish they would have to answer to someone. Particularly one ruthless exterminator I dealt with over 20 years ago. I had 3 tanks of Germans that I protected from him during a fumigation 12 days earlier. He sprayed them first and threw them in a snowy dumpster like they were trash. I know it's a common belief that insects don't feel pain. However, noone can tell me that after seeing them on their backs all wiggling after fumigation. On another note, I've read yours and Ricky Willis' book and i really like it. The species color plates are beautiful. Have you heard how Ricky's health is?
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I can understand why. The part about sanding down the cockroaches exoskeleton, putting it in cold water, all to attatch this device, is cruel for the cockroach. Imagine skinning a mammals head like a rat and sanding down its skull to get to a brain, that would be very cruel.

As dumb as it seems why would anyone enforce children to hurt any animal? And we wonder why schools aren't safe anymore.

I agree completely Keith. The story I gave Orin above is another good example of insect cruelty. Not to mention when their stuck in traps trying in vain to pull themselves out starving to death slowly. By the way, good to be back on the site with yall. It's been a couple months.
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Just because something doesn't feel pain doesn't mean we should encourage disfiguring a living thing.

Someone can numb your arms or legs or fingers and chop them off and you won't feel it, does that mean its ok? I don't think anyone would be ok with that.

Anthropomorphizing insects is not only pointless, but inaccurate. Sure you wouldn't be ok with it, but you're a primate specialized to feel emotions and pain. These things, as far as we know, do not "suffer" and are more than likely not "conscious" in the way that we are. Why would they be? They've been around for millions of years and one of the most successful groups of animals in the history of life on earth; feelings and thoughts would hinder them in fulfilling their niche in our biome.

A similar line of reasoning was used in defense of inhumane experiments on dogs some years back.

Just because it was used does not mean it is as relevant. Dogs pretty obviously feel pain and are similar to us in many ways due to the fact that they are mammals who have basically evolved alongside us for the past, what, 10,000 years or something.

We slaughter and eat ENORMOUS amounts of cattle and unless you're completely vegetarian/vegan, this is a bit hypocritical (this is not meant to be a personal jab at anyone, but a general statement.)

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I really don't think you can be "cruel" to a roach. That's my theory anyway. The roach doesn't even die, and we use these things as feeders. They die of being crunched or destroyed by venom and nobody minds that.

It's irritating that kids are learning that "hurting" animals is ok, but this is a cockroach not a dog. Let's be realistic; we can't let our love of these animals blind us.

I DO mind them being crunched or destroyed by venom. I realize the reptile, arachnid has to eat, but... For instance, a friend who gave me some discoid uses them to feed his tarantula. It creeps me out exceedingly thinking those pretty, gentle roaches end up food, for a hideous tarantula. Even though I realize it's the coarse of life....
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If you've ever seen a cockroach die from residual pesticide it would be hard to argue this experment not intended to harm the animal is more cruel. Still, pest control is important and vital for human health. There's always the argument about the thousands of small creatures you heartlessly murder every time you swallow. The problem comes when one can't recognize the difference between a bacterium, a roach, and another human or even a video game, fantasy, or reality.

On another note, I've read yours and Ricky Willis' book and i really like it. The species color plates are beautiful. Have you heard how Ricky's health is?

Thanks, it would be nice to do a full size book one day. Richie was fine last I checked but it has been a few years.
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Difference being...

So you feel a roach and a human are equal and deserve equal representation under the law? I understand you feel your personal views are more important than anyone who disagrees with you (since they are wrong and you are right). That's fair. How do you apologize to the countless animals that starve to death because you eat their food and your feeding habits provide for the continued desolation of their habitat through agricultural monoculture? It is important you let us know if you're overweight to prove your gluttony does not also provide for the death of animals beyond what you truly need to survive.
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Just because it was used does not mean it is as relevant. Dogs pretty obviously feel pain and are similar to us in many ways due to the fact that they are mammals who have basically evolved alongside us for the past, what, 10,000 years or something.

We slaughter and eat ENORMOUS amounts of cattle and unless you're completely vegetarian/vegan, this is a bit hypocritical (this is not meant to be a personal jab at anyone, but a general statement.)

As I mentioned above, certain crustaceans have been shown conclusively to have pain (as well as the capability to learn from it) and they're about as distantly related from us as cockroaches are.

As for the slaughter of cattle, just because it happens on a large scale does not mean it justifies other cruelties. I'm not a vegan/vegetarian, but I prefer to use meat that has been more humanely raised, when possible.

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Anthropomorphizing insects is not only pointless, but inaccurate. Sure you wouldn't be ok with it, but you're a primate specialized to feel emotions and pain. These things, as far as we know, do not "suffer" and are more than likely not "conscious" in the way that we are. Why would they be? They've been around for millions of years and one of the most successful groups of animals in the history of life on earth; feelings and thoughts would hinder them in fulfilling their niche in our biome.

Specialized to feel emotions and pain? By your own logic here, wouldn't these things hinder our own survival?

Pain and emotion are actually very practical tools in an organism's success. With the presence of pain, an animal is able to better escape from danger, as well as learn from past unpleasant experiences. For example, in one study, honeybees were presented with two odors, one of which was associated with an electric shock. After some time, the bees learned to discriminate between the two and preemptively retracted their proboscis when encountering the one tied with electric shock. In the wild, animals that are capable of learning from pain have an advantage over those that make the same mistakes many times. Other "emotions" have similarly useful functions that I could go over if I had the time. A mere reflex does not allow for adaptability. A cockroach would be greatly benefited if it had these capacities.

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Specialized to feel emotions and pain? By your own logic here, wouldn't these things hinder our own survival?

No. That is the opposite of what I said. By my logic, these things are "special" adaptations which humans have undergone to allow for a more complex and adaptable way of communal living. We are creatures of organization and structure in the sense that we live in complex societies which have leaders, laws, and boundaries. This is where morality and emotion play a part, allowing us to work together within the culture we ourselves have created without being carbon copies of one another. Those who cannot obey and live under the moral and social code are exiled or persecuted, and so goes human community.

Roaches, on the other hand, have communities which are based around reproducing as quickly and efficiently as possible while fending for yourself and, in most species, only yourself and perhaps your young. By doing this, they preserve the colony without directly aiding each other. They act on instinct and instinct alone because they do not NEED anything greater than their astoundingly quick reflexes. What good would it do a roach to feel pity for another, or to have morality which would keep it from, say, eating another who is dying or incapacitated. Maybe I'm reaching too far with this, but they are much different creatures from us, and in our comfortable modern society, it may seem ideal to us animal lovers to reduce or eradicate all "cruelties" to our fellow living creatures, but that is simply not how the world works.

Pain and emotion are actually very practical tools in an organism's success. With the presence of pain, an animal is able to better escape from danger, as well as learn from past unpleasant experiences. For example, in one study, honeybees were presented with two odors, one of which was associated with an electric shock. After some time, the bees learned to discriminate between the two and preemptively retracted their proboscis when encountering the one tied with electric shock. In the wild, animals that are capable of learning from pain have an advantage over those that make the same mistakes many times. Other "emotions" have similarly useful functions that I could go over if I had the time. A mere reflex does not allow for adaptability. A cockroach would be greatly benefited if it had these capacities.

Reacting and adapting to negative stimuli is much different from suffering. Also, how does a reflex not allow for adaptability? Maybe it isn't adaptable for the individual, but natural selection will allow the better reflexes and organisms to thrive and reproduce.

How would a roach be benefited if it had these capacities? It would completely change their entire way of life; they would be a completely different creature who would need to find a new niche in the ecosystem. And at what cost would these adaptations come about? They would likely need more time to gestate to form young with a more complex nervous system. Look at us; we have one child at one time on average and are often put in life-threatening danger during birth because of the size of our young's heads. Even so, it doesn't matter if they would be benefited by these capacities, as it is our current understanding that they do not have or need them.

Sorry for ranting so long. I really enjoy this topic

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