Horror Story: Scientists demonstrate that drivers aim to kill innocent creatures trying to cross the road! (Tortoise-o-cide)

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STOP PRESS!! Have you tried the YouTube Playlist featuring all of my compositions for the TRANSFORMATES? Here it is:

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Regular visitors to this site will probably recall my many heart wrenching stories of animal dramas. For more information about these please use the links at the bottom of this page.

Well I have to admit that even if you have survived the psychological trauma of reading those earlier revelations it is highly unlikely that you will be able to get through the following story without some form of counselling. However, as journalists say, the news is the news and it is our job to reveal the facts to you, however unpleasant they may be.

Today I came across an article in the German press which quite simply filled me with revulsion.

Bettina Dobe wrote in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung about research which had been carried out by Environmental Science student Nathan Weaver in the US State of South Carolina. He wanted to determine how it might be possible to increase the safety of tortoises when crossing the road. The reason for his research was the sinking population numbers of these animals who were often the victims of tragic traffic accidents.

He wanted to better understand the behaviour of drivers to determine how the chances for the tortoises could be improved. He placed a realistic looking plastic tortoise to the side of the road (not actually on it) and observed the actions of the passing drivers.

Much to his dismay he identified that many drivers actually deliberately aimed to hit these poor defenseless creatures! They did change the direction of their driving but not to avoid the animal: they changed with a clear intent to hit it. Within the first hour seven car drivers had deliberately tried to run over the (fortunately plastic) tortoise.

Frau Dobe went on to quote from the American Psychology Professor Hal Herzog. People who run over small animals do not pay much attention to their action. Weaver had noticed that younger drivers were more likely to flatten a tortoise than their older compatriots. Herzog confirmed that generally younger people tend to be more impulsive: males were ten times more likely to run over a tortoise than women.

In a lecture he had asked 100 students whether they had driven a car and deliberately run over a small animal. A third of the students raised their hand, mainly male students. Such evilness towards animals is more common than we had appreciated. Another Canadian study quoted by the professor produced even worse results. Herzog thinks it may have something to do with the desire to feel ‘in power’ but he was not aware of research to substantiate this.

There was a strand of hope for humanity: it would appear that exactly the same number of people tried to save the animals as tried to run them over. These good Samaritans stopped and carried the animals over the busy road to safety.

In the last year another US scientist, Mark Rober performed a similar experiment to Weaver. Rober’s day job was with NASA but he undertook this important research in his own time. He took the trouble to film his research. WARNING this film is not suitable for people with a nervous or highly emotional disposition. Do not click on the video link below if you are receiving therapy for small distressed animal related disorders. If you are likely to require medication please have it to hand before watching the video:

Please note I have been very careful not to let RISKKO see this article – I am not sure what the trauma would do to our relationship. I for one fall clearly into the camp of stopping and helping the tortoise to cross the road – gosh I even rescue flies.

Next time you see a poor defenseless animal by the side of the road – you know what you should do.

Here are some of my earlier animal drama and horror articles refered to above:

14th July 2012: Animal Emergencies and Horror Stories: Buzzards Attack Joggers, Horse Nearly Drowns in Poo, Ducklings Down the Drain

4th August 2012: Should Horses be Forced to Wear Diapers to Keep Berlin Visitors’ Shoes free of Poo? (Pferdeäpfel Verursachen viel Dampf um Brandenburger Tor)

4th August 2012: Alpine Cows are Fined 100 Euros by Judge for Ringing their Cow-bells too Loud (Steiermark Kuhglockenstraffe: die Kirchenglocken zunächst?)

11th August 2012: Do you have killer rats/mice in your cellar? Over 2000 people attacked in Germany so far this year (Hantavirus Infections at record levels) 

18th August 2012: Polar Bear dies of Encephalitis after catching Herpes from a Zebra in Wuppertal Zoo near Düsseldorf 

25th August 2012: Augsburg court appearance for obesity postponed – Dicke Daisy (Fat Daisy) is now 3 times normal weight – perpetrator is ‘poorly’ 

6th October 2012: Blue, green or chocolate brown honey: Bee Obesity (“Obeesity”), M&Ms and a potential marketing challenge to Nutella in our children’s lunchboxes

Chris Duggleby.

I have also written a number of articles on interesting subjects from the alpine press which have not featured in the English language media or which I consider will be of interest to international readers. Sometimes they are simply entertaining! These can be found under the Alpine News link.

For German readers the original article from which this information was taken can be found using the Sueddeutsche Zeitung link here.

Please share your comments on the site with me (or use this box to simply contact me). Add 'confidential' at the top if you do not want your comments to be published. Thanks - Chris

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