Monday, October 15, 2007

Bonsai Kittens

In 2000, a group of MIT undergrads perpetuated a hoax that caused animal rights groups to throw up there arms in protest. The students set up a website that was a tutorial on the creation of Bonsai Kittens. Bonsai is the Japanese art of pruning trees in a way that they remain small and visually pleasing. The website created by the students sought to apply the ancient Japanese are to kittens. Bonsai Kittens are grown in a sealed glass container, given food and water through a tube, and eventually the kittens bone structure would conform to the glass container and the kitten is removed from its glass sanctuary. The result is a house pet in the shape of your choice. "The kitten essentially grows into the shape of the vessel! Once the cat is fully developed, it is removed (or the vessel broken to remove it!), producing the lovable, furry pet you've always wanted, but it remains in the shape you've always dreamed of! There is virtually no limit to the eventual shape of your pet", the sight declares.
This site created an uproar amongst animal rights activists who lobbied to have the sight shut down. MIT shut down the site as soon as the school discovered the site was hosted by its server. The site simply began relocating to other servers until it found its home at The animal rights activists simple grew angrier to the point that the sites creators came forward under the name Dr. Michael Wong Chang, stating that the site was created to satirize "the human belief of nature as a commodity". This didn't calm the activists and soon the FBI got involved and subpoenaed the site. No evidence was ever found of animal abuse or the sale of bonsai kitten yet to this day chain letters calling for action against bonsai kittens still exist and continue to circulate. As recently as last year, I overheard people discussing this animal rights violation.


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