Condemn Use of Remote Control Animals


Target: Backyard Brains

Goal: Condemn the use of cruel ‘electronic backpacks’ that torture live cockroaches.

A U.S. company, Backyard Brains, recently launched what it touts as the world’s first commercially available cyborg. The Roboroach ‘backpack’ is a 4.4-gram battery pack that you attach by inserting electrodes into a cockroach. The cockroach is then controlled by the user’s mobile device. Please voice your condemnation of this heinous product.

Backyard Brain claims the Roboroach ‘backpack’ will teach kids about neuroscience; however, they fail to mention that you can also teach kids neuroscience without torturing animals. The Roboroach seems more like a disingenuous ploy to profit off of an abominable novelty.

To attach the Roboroach, the cockroach is first placed in ice water to limit movement during the remainder of the procedure. Sandpaper is then used to remove the protective coating from the cockroach’s head so that the device can be glued to the animal. A wire is inserted into the body of the cockroach and the antennae are cut and electrodes inserted. Now the user can control the cockroach with a mobile device, but, according to the Backyard Brain website, the electric stimulation stops working after 2-7 days.  Additionally, despite the fact the Roboroach is now on the market, the Backyard Brains website states that they are still working on revisions, including ‘power management’.

Scientists, professors, and animal-rights groups have spoken out against Backyard Brains, arguing that the Roboroach does cause harm to the cockroach and encourages psychopathic behavior. Despite this criticism, Backyard Brains remains undeterred.

By signing the petition below you are voicing your opposition to the use of electronic backpacks on cockroaches and remote control animals in general.


Dear Backyard Brains,

I condemn the use of remote control animals and urge you to reconsider your launch of the Roboroach product. As you are well aware, the Roboroach has generated severe criticism. Even your own website details many of these criticisms. Notwithstanding your responses to these criticisms, the benefits of your product do not outweigh the negatives.

A written description with illustrations or a video of the procedure can just as effectively teach and inspire children about neuroscience. Torturing animals is superfluous to your stated benefits. Additionally, doing ‘graduate level research’ of this type requires a certain level of maturity that your targeted audience is largely lacking.

While I don’t discount your creativity, sophistry, and entrepreneurship, I believe you could put these traits to better use by working to teach kids neuroscience without promoting animal cruelty.

Please take decisive action to remove this insidious product from the market.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: via YouTube video

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One Comment

  1. This is a terrible cruelty absolutely terrible.

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