Yes, Donkey-Powered Internet is a Real Thing (And Why I Wish it Weren’t)

Yes, Donkey-Powered Internet is a Real Thing (And Why I Wish it Weren’t)

A donkey carries solar powerJust when I thought humans had exhausted every possible form of animal exploitation, along comes something too bizarre to dream up. In Turkey, one company is turning donkeys into roaming power stations for rural herdsmen to juice up their laptops and go online.

In this video, you’ll see a weary-looking donkey lugging around a power pack topped with a solar panel, then tied up to serve as a stationary electricity source. After long stretches of travel, a human even gets to use the donkey for shade. (Too bad nobody’s thinking about how the animal may feel after schlepping this rig around in the blazing sun.)

BBC didn’t once mention the donkey’s welfare. In fact, every news site I’ve seen cover this story has only marveled at the ingenuity and eco-friendliness, without questioning the treatment of the animal doing all the work.

I’m all for bringing information technology to rural areas, but must it be provided on the backs of animals?

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  10. Green Eagle

    In my time in the Middle East, I saw many feral donkeys foraging on their own because they have little use any more to the inhabitants. These are often very sorry looking creatures; I expect that this one may be leading a far better life than it would on its own, a farm animal trying to survive in a wild world.

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  11. Richard Gardner

    On still another hand, if everybody in Turkey has access to the internet, it will become a more educated, progressive place where domesticated animals will likely be treated better.

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  12. Richard Gardner

    On the other hand… Having spent some of my youth growing up on a farm in northwest Wyoming, working animals are healthier and live longer than their feral cousins. Domesticated animals are, in general, fed regularly and in some cases get healthcare. They live longer healthier lives. Here at Fresh Pond Reservation, two-thirds of Red-tailed Hawks are dead in their first year. They starve because they can’t hunt well enough to feed themselves. They injure themselves trying to hunt. They die flying low and streets and crash into cars. But mostly they starve. Here’s the story of Buzz and Ruby:

    There’s a similar story for other species. That donkey, for example, looking reasonably healthy, is likely safe from local predators.

    Its a jungle out there. Everything gets eaten by something.

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    • Lady Freethinker

      Hi Richard, thanks for your comment!

      I understand what you’re saying — some animals are definitely healthier in human care than in the wild (although exactly which animals this applies to is debatable). Donkeys are domesticated animals though, and I’m guessing this one came from a farm where he was bred specifically to sell and/or put to work. I wish that people didn’t use animals as commodities — and Turkey doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to treating animals well.

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