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?