Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Cruelty to animals?

On Friday, I read an article in one of the newspapers about some scientific experiment that had proven how ants find their way around. Apparently, they orient themselves by counting the number of steps they take between A & B. So, they don't think "it's 2 meters to that nice piece of bread in the backyard"; Instead, they think "it's 4000 steps to that nice piece of bread" (or whatever the right number of steps is - I don't know how many ant-steps to the meter!)

How did the so-called scientific experiment prove this?

By changing the length of a step and showing that the ants took the same number of steps, thereby missing their target.

"How do you change the length of an ant's step?", you might ask...

By glueing a pig's bristles to the ant's legs to make the leg longer, and by cutting their leg at the knee, to make the leg shorter...

I could not believe what I was reading. This may be a very important scientific discovery (though, I have to wonder how that will change the world's destiny), but the cruelty of it is what amazed me? I don't hesitate to kill ants if I find them in my kitchen, but I try to do it swiftly. What kind of strange mind thinks of cutting an ant's legs? or glueing a pig's bristles to them?

If you think I'm pulling your leg (bad pun, if you were an ant), have a look at this link. The article I read was in the Irish Independent, but it tells basically the same story. Except that the Irish Independent didn't have a picture!

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