Nizhny Novgorod, 5/20/38 C.E. – A Russian company called Mirpsov has developed a neural implant for dogs that provides them with a “homing” instinct, causing outrage among animal rights activists and bioethicists worldwide. Activists are demanding information on animal experimentation during the device’s development.
Future News has received documents purportedly from a whistleblower within Mirpsov, which appear to show a complete lack of regard for animal welfare and safety on the part of the development team. The transmission included graphic and disturbing photos of dogs in poor health, some with surgical dressings, and some showing signs of skin problems and malnutrition. An editorial decision has been made not to reprint the images.
The device, called a “Homing Bond,” uses preset GPS coordinates to communicate a subtle sense of motion in the direction of home, to which the dog naturally responds by moving that way.
The developers argue that the device has undergone rigorous testing and is harmless to animals, intended to help pet owners find their lost pets by linking the “home” setting to the owner’s cellphone location. Critics, however, are concerned about the ethical implications and potential harm to the animals during the implantation process and while using the device.
“The implantation of this device requires an invasive procedure, and it tampers with the natural instincts of the dogs,” says PETA animal rights activist Marina Ivanova, who has been leading protests against the company. “What if the GPS signal malfunctions or the device malfunctions, potentially leading the dogs into danger? Across a crowded highway? This device is an abomination and a direct threat to the animals’ well-being.”
Ygor Ivanoff, the CEO of Mirpsov, defends the technology, claiming that it offers a valuable service to pet owners. “Our device is meant to prevent dogs from being lost, and it has been thoroughly tested for safety and efficacy. The implantation process is simple and performed by licensed veterinarians. We understand the concerns, but these accusations are massively overblown. We are committed to the welfare of the animals using our technology.”
Some pet owners have reported positive experiences with the Homing Bond, while others remain skeptical. Ella Sorokina, a dog owner from Kazan, said, “My dog has a tendency to wander off, and with the Homing Bond, I was able to guide him back home safely. I was so worried!”
On the other hand, Dr. Oleg Sidorov, a veterinarian from Novosibirsk, has concerns about the long-term effects of the neural implant on the animals. “While the short-term impact may appear harmless, we don’t yet know how this device could affect the dog’s brain over time. Also, it’s crucial that pet owners use this device ethically and not as a general means of control. Using a button to electrically compel a dog to come when you could simply call their name is… I don’t know where to start with how horrible that is.”
While opponents of the technology are calling for a ban on the manufacturing, distribution, and use of the Home Bond, the Russian government has shown no interest in intervening. One official who was reached for comment on condition of anonymity was dismissive, saying simply, “Of course people want their dogs to obey. It’s what dogs are for.”
For now, the controversy surrounding this new device for dogs remains a heated topic among pet owners and animal rights activists, and is causing no small amount of controversy for a Russian Federation already in poor international esteem following the disastrous invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
Reporting for Future News, this is Svetlana Orsilova in Nizhny Novgorod.