ANN ARBOR, Mich. -

PETA has filed formal complaints calling on Michigan authorities to investigate whether Ann Arbor–based Backyard Brains—which sells the "RoboRoach" kits that instruct children on how to cut up live cockroaches, implant electrodes in them, and control their movements with a smartphone application—is in violation of the state's Public Health Code and the Insect, Pest, and Plant Disease Act. The group is asking authorities, including the state attorney general, to take appropriate enforcement action for any violations that they may find.

PETA believes cutting body parts off live, unanesthetized animals and super-gluing and surgically implanting electrodes in them—and providing online written instructions and a video demonstration on how to do so—may constitute illegally practicing veterinary medicine without a license, which is a felony. In addition, Backyard Brains offers cockroaches for shipment into the state, apparently without a required permit - according to PETA.

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"Cockroaches are living beings with the ability to feel pain—not inanimate objects for kids or anyone else to stab and cut apart for 'fun,'" says general counsel to PETA Jeffrey Kerr. "The RoboRoach kit teaches kids the dangerous lesson that it's OK to hurt and torment animals—something that PETA believes is not only never OK but also clearly illegal in this case."

For more information, please visit PETA.org.