Tag Archives: LIfe

An Animal That Beat Its Purpose

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I was given the freedom to look at how technology plays a role in society. I am always interested in animals so decided to look at how technology impacts the lives of animals. The more research I did the more I saw a pattern about how humans were using technology on animals. The following is an overview of my observations and critique about the ethical and unethical practices on animals.

When we use technology on animals it is to utilize the purpose of that animal to a greater extent that it was. This utilization plays a toll on the animals but it is for the benefit of humans that this happens. The dog for example is a creature designed for many things, hunting, companionship and even aides for the disabled. This ability in a lot of dogs is taught and trained in to dogs for the sake of human interaction. We teach dogs these things in order to better our lives without putting much focus on the natural behaviour of the dog. While there are restrictions on what breed of dogs do certain things, much like how smalls dogs aren’t usually out hunting other animals or Great Danes being used as seeing eye dogs; humans have picked and bred dogs in a manner to suit the needs for these dogs.

Seeing eye dog

Seeing Eye Dogs Australia Source

In a large amount of cases with dogs, when it comes to Dog Shows where trainers display their dog in a manner of a beauty pageant. There has been a lot of breeding for specific traits that people find ideal in a dog and want to keep that trait going through the generations. Over the past 100 years’ dogs have been intentionally altered to satisfy the needs of humans with little consideration for the animals. Pugs and Bulldogs for instance have been bred with a squashed face with little nasal room that causes difficulty breathing. Bulldogs have been bred to be bow legged as it was a desired trait. This breeding of dogs fulfils the purpose of the show dog lifestyle and also the demand for ideal traits in dogs that are desired by the rich and famous.

Dogs and many animals serve a purpose of companionship; to be a pet for an individual or a family. Technology has aided in this purpose by giving people the opportunity to live as long as they are capable of, despite the complications created from selective breeding. By introducing a market where people can get pet insurance on their animals for when injury strikes and they need special treatment from veterinarians. People with loving pets that have an excess amount of money want to make sure their pet gets the best treatment. When a dog gets sick and needs risky surgery there is a hefty price to pay for it. As more people, have gone through this experience there is market for veterinarians to have specialized skills and abilities with performing surgeries on animals that could at one stage could never have been performed.

Our interaction with animals is everywhere. A lot of our food comes from animals but not everyone knows how it gets to our plate from that animal; the process of how that animal gets treated on its journey to being killed. Cows provide us with an abundance of meat and milk based products. This is the cows purpose. Cows have been utilized for centuries as a technology has progressed so to the purpose of the cow. Cows have been bred for a separate purpose of either meat or milk. As each breed, has been treated in a different fashion to utilize its “natural” growth of meat or milk production. Holstein cows are raised to be milk production cows. Technology has impacted on the diet of the breed to boost milk production and consistency. Early research from Douglas and Rowlinson found that a happy and comfortable cow would produce more milk.

Herd of holstein milking cows in field. Cumbria - England

A Holstein Cow. Source

Continuing research found that by analysing each cow individually farmers can track every aspect of the cow and utilize that information to produce more milk. Afimilk tracks the behaviour of the cow to find out when it is in distress or is comfortable, tracks when the cow is in heat to allow the farmer to move the cow to the insemination field so the cow can get pregnant, tracks the weight of the cow to make sure that the cow is growing properly and can analyse the milk produced of the cow to make sure that there isn’t anything wrong with the cow and to make sure that the milk is appropriate for human consumption. With every technology that gets develop it can impact of the animals’ life. Artificial Insemination and Sexed Semen has been created to inseminate a cow with specific gendered semen without the need for a bull to get a cow pregnant.

Artificial Insemination has been a situation for both humans as it was a solution for couples or females who could not get pregnant in the natural fashion. Though considered unethical in many cases because it gives people the chance to be pregnant who naturally cannot it takes the power from natural progression to human capability. Though sexed semen is the ability to choose which gender you have your child whether you want a male or female it is still on ethical trial about being used in humans as gender preference can be considered sexual discrimination and warrant a change in natural balance of men and women over time. Luckily for cows however still considered unethical the impact it has increase the rate in which cows produce milk and utilize female calves. Hinde et al found that cows naturally produce more milk when they know they are giving birth to a female over a male. It is deemed that since cows live in a hierarchy society that if the cow cannot adequately produce enough milk to warrant the birth of a strong male then minimal milk will be produced. The best benefit for farmers was to make sure that cow would only breed female calves and so always have the best milk production rates possible.

The culmination of every technology impacted on cows brought down the natural rates in which a cow would naturally live its life. Holstein cows have a natural lifespan of around 20 years but the excessive increase of technology has brought that down to around 6 years. Technology gives people that chance to utilize the animals for as much as they are needed or as much as they are worth but gives no purpose in the animals’ welfare after the animals purpose has been done. Technology is a tool to better humans but to use on animals for the benefit of the human. To get the most out of the purpose of the animal. When we get food from an animal there is technology to grow the animal in the most effective and efficient way to produce as much meat as possible, where an animal is a companion there is technology to make sure the lifespan of that animal is as long as possible so humans can have them for as long as possible.

Technology as mentioned, is more ethically sound to be used on animals than it is on humans; with a large justification on it saying that the purpose of using animals is to benefit mankind. If humans cannot be used, though technology is being tested for humans then the next best thing are animals. While not every animal gets tested on to the same degree there is a significant way in which animals are bred for the purpose that they are needed for. Lab mice are one of the most common test subjects for scientists so they are bred with the natural intention to be used in the laboratory. While people are concerned about the treatment of animals it is the purpose of animals that drive what is being done to benefit society. Where we have organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (P.E.T.A) rallying against the treatment of animals for any scientific discovery it is the purpose of those animals to follow through with what they are meant to do. The animals are bred for a purpose if they are suddenly released they could impact natural order.

lab mice

A lab mouse. Source

Technology used on animals serves a purpose for the benefit of people. Technology used in any way succumbs to this notion that why use technology on animals if it serves no purpose to anyone else. Would it be a test of are we capable of creating something or doing something that we otherwise should not or do we just have the means to create something so we should see if we can?

We have animals that show high levels of intelligence much like the octopus that can get itself out screwed bottles; solve problems and even get out of its tank and move around to eat fish in a different tank and get back into theirs. Technology is being developed that aides in helping animals’ live their normal life – like a 3D printed foot for a duck. Thus, creating cyborg animals. It is only a matter of time before animals are having computers placed upon them, for them to be one with technology and develop the progression of how animals think and to challenge the true intellect of an animal. I wanted to follow the idea that technology used on animals goes beyond the purpose of the animal itself and so I created a Digital Artefact that sets out a future where technology has upgraded the intelligence and natural ability of an Octopus to where it has become one with technology; having the natural ability of an octopus, the upgrades of a computer and developing intelligence beyond that of a human and super computer.

Below is a written Let’s Play with a few pictures of the game I created “ATTACK OF THE CYBERPOD” as an expression of the future development of technology on animals. Here is information on the game.

ATTACK OF THE CYBERPOD

QUEEN BOARD

A better No1

Starting Positions

TURN 1

Human: Roll 7
Action Space “Upgrade at Half the Cost”
5 Mechanical Pieces = 5 upgrades
Undercut + Rocker Arm + Fit + Pinion + Planetary Gears = +5 Attack

Bottle: Roll 4
Mechanical Space “Boss”
Upgrades:
Shoulder + Broach = +1 Attack
Standoffs + knurl = +1 Attack
Flange + Boss = +1 Attack
Total upgrades = +3 Attack

Shark: Roll 6
Mechanical Space “Round”
Upgrades:
Lug + Sheave = +1 Attack
Rack + Chamfer = +1 Attack
Collet + Round = +1 Attack
Total Upgrades = +3 Attack

Cow: Roll 10
Attack the QUEEN (64)
0 Attack = 0 damage
QUEEN HP (64)
Upgrades:
Pillow Block + Retaining Ring = +1 Attack
Core + Coupling = +1 Attack
Total upgrades = +2 Attack

TURN 2

Human: Roll 7
Action Space “Draw 1 QUEEN Card”
Queen card “-1 Attack”
6 – 1 = 5 Attack

Bottle: Roll 3
Action Space “Upgrade at half the cost”
Nothing for upgrades 😦

Shark: Roll 7
QUEEN Space “Move back to Start”

Cow: Roll 8
Attack the QUEEN
2 Damage
64 – 2 = (62) HP
+1 Mechanical Piece “Die”
Upgrade:
Die + Yoke = +1 Attack

TURN 3

Human: Roll 6
Action Space “Deal 1 Damage to the Queen”
1 + 5 = 6 Damage
62 – 5 = (56) HP
+3 Mechanical Pieces “Fixture” “Counterbore” “Spotface”
Upgrades:
Fixture + Counterbore = +1 Attack

Bottle: Roll 3
Attack the QUEEN
56 – 3 = (53) HP
+1 Mechanical Piece “Pawl”

Shark: Roll 7
Action Space “Deal 2 Damage to the QUEEN”
2 + 4 = 6 Damage
53 – 6 = (47) HP
+3 Mechanical Pieces “Gage Blocks” “Burnish” “Relief”
Upgrade:
Burnish + Relief = +1 Attack

Cow: Roll 7
Mechanical Piece “Gear Hobbing”

TURN 4

Human: Roll 9
Mechanical Piece “Keyway”
Upgrades:
Spotface + Keyway = +1 Attack

Bottle: Roll 5
Mechanical Pieces “Face”
Upgrades:
Face + Pawl = +1 Attack

Shark: Roll 11
Attack the Queen
47 – 3 = (44) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+1 Mechanical Piece “Fillet”
Upgrades:
Fillet + Gage Block = +1 Attack

Cow: Roll 6
Mechanical Piece “Gusset”
Upgrades:
Gear Hobbing + Gusset = +1 Attack

TURN 5

Human: Roll 3
QUEEN Space “Choose 1 damaged tentacle and place 1 piece back”
44 + 1 = (45) HP

Bottle: Roll 3
Attack the QUEEN
45 – 3 = (42) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+1 Mechanical Piece “Bearings”

Shark: Roll 2 (Double 1’s)
Action Space “Move ahead 1 Space”
Action Space “Draw 2 Action Cards; Do Both”
Action Card “If the player that drew this card is playing as the Shark have another turn after this one”
Action Card “Upgrade at Half the Cost”
Roll 11
QUEEN Space “Lose all Mechanical Pieces”
Roll 12 (Double 6’s)
Passed START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Bell Crank”
Attack the QUEEN
42 – 6 = (36) HP
+3 Mechanical Pieces “Pad” “Hasp” “Kerf”
Roll 4
Action Space “Gain +1 Defence”
Upgrade:
Pad + Hop = +1 Attack
Kerf + Bell Crank = +1 Attack
Total Upgrades = +2 Attack

Cow: Roll 5
Landed on START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Gage”
Attack the QUEEN
36 – 4 = (32) Hp
+2 Mechanical Pieces “Ratchet” “Idler”
Upgrades:
Ratchet + Idler = +1 Attack

TURN 6

Human: Roll 3
QUEEN Space “Add 1 Piece back on to every damaged tentacle”
32 + 3 = (33) HP

Bottle: Roll 3
Action Space “Deal 1 Damage to the QUEEN”
33 – 5 = (30) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+2 Mechanical Pieces “Collar” “Clevis”
Upgrades:
Collar + Clevis = +1 Attack

Shark: Roll 4
Action Space “Deal 1 damage to the QUEEN”
30 – 8 = (22) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+4 Mechanical Pieces “Key” “Journal” Keyseat” “Bushing”
Upgrades:
Key + Journal = +1 Attack
Keyseat + Bushing = + 1 Def

Cow: Roll 7
Action Space “Go back to START”

TURN 7

Human: Roll 10
Passed START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Scotch Yoke”
Attack the QUEEN
22 – 3 = (19) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+1 Mechanical Piece “Cam”
Action Space “Draw 2  Action Cards; Choose 1”
Action Cards: “Move ahead 3 space” or “Deal 1 Damage to the QUEEN”
19 – 8 = (11) HP
+4 Mechanical Pieces “Shim” “Ball and Detent” “Spline” “Tap”
Upgrades:
Cam + Scotch Yoke + Spline + Ball and Detent + Shim + Tap = Double the Stat of your choice
7 x 2 = 14 Attack

Bottle: Roll 9
Action Space “Lose Half of your Mechanical Pieces”
– Discard Bearings

Shark: Roll 9
Mechanical Piece “Geneva Cam”

Cow: Roll 6 (Double 3’s)
Mechanical Piece “Jig”
Roll 5
Mechanical Piece “Casting”
Upgrade:
Jig + Casting = +1 Attack

TURN 8

Human: Roll 8
QUEEN Space “Add 1 tentacle back on to every damaged tentacle”
11 + 1 = (12) HP

Bottle: Roll 5
QUEEN Space “-1 Attack Stat”
4 – 1 = 3 Attack

Shark: Roll 8
Action Space “+1 Defence”
2 + 1 = 3 Defence

Cow: Roll 11
Mechanical Piece “Countersink”
Upgrades:
Countersink + Gage = +1 Attack

TURN 9

Human: Roll 6
Mechanical Piece “Neck”
*Reshuffle used Mechanical Pieces Deck*

Bottle: Roll 9
Passed START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Bell Crank”
Attack the QUEEN
12 – 3 = (9) HP
+1 Mechanical Piece “Boss”
QUEEN Space “Lose 1 Mechanical Piece”
– discard Bell Crank

Shark: Roll 6
Passed START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Scotch Yoke”
Attack the QUEEN
9 – 8 = (1) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+4 Mechanical Pieces “Spline” “Shim” “Tap” “Ball and Detent”
Action Space ” Destroy 1 of the QUEENS tentacles”
1 – 1 = (0) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
Upgrades:
Spline + Shim + Tap + Ball and Detent + Scotch Yoke + Geneva Cam = Double Attack
8 x 2 = 16 Attack
QUEEN DESTROYED

Number 2 the death

The QUEEN has seen the door of DEATH!

The stats into the revenge round 3

The Stats going into the second phase

                                                                                   REVENGE BOARD

The Battle Board start No.4

Players are going to face their greatest threat in order to reach salvation!

TURN 10
Character turn

Cow: Roll 7
-1 Attack
7 – 1 = 6 Attack

Human: Roll 10
+2 Attack
14 + 2 = 16 Attack

Bottle: Roll 7
+1 Attack
3 + 1 = 4 Attack

Shark: Roll 9
-1 Attack
16 – 1 = 15 Attack

Octopus Turn

Cow Octopus: Roll 7
[+1 Attack]

Human Octopus: Roll 9
[-1 Attack]

Bottle Octopus: Roll 5
FIGHT vs Shark
Shark has higher Move; gets a chance to escape {4} {1} No escape
4 Att – 3 def = 1 Damage
Shark loses 1 Move Stat

Shark Octopus: Roll 10

Turn 11
Character Turn

Cow: Roll 3
+2 Attack
6 + 2 = 8 Attack

Human: Rolled 6
START Space

Bottle: Roll 3

Shark: Roll 8

Octopus Turn

Cow Octopus: Roll 4
[+1 Attack]

Human Octopus: Roll 11
[Lose half your Defence]

Bottle Octopus: Roll 5
[-1 Move]

Shark Octopus: Roll 10
[Lose half your Defence]

TURN 12
Character Turn

Cow: Roll 2 (Double 1’s)
FIGHT vs Shark Octopus
16 Att – 0 def = 16 Damage
Cow loses 8 Attack
Cow has lost all stats
DEAD
Cow Octopus is now  BOMB
Second fight not fought
Doubles not rolled because of death

Human: Roll 9

Bottle: Roll 11
-1 Movement
0 – 0 = 0 Movement

Shark: Roll 5

Octopus Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 4
[-1 Att]

Human Octopus: Roll 9

Bottle Octopus: Roll 7
FIGHT vs Human
4 Att – 0 Def = 4 Damage
Human loses 4 Attack
16 – 4 = 12 Attack

Shark Octopus: Roll 7
[+1 Attack]

TURN 13
Character Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll ??
FIGHT Bottle
10 Att – 1 Def = 9 Damage
Bottle loses 4 Attack
Bottle loses 1 Def
Bottle is DEAD
Bottle is now a BOMB

Human: Roll 5

Bottle BOMB: Roll 10 (Double 5’s)
Roll 9
[Lose half your Defence]

Shark: Roll 7

Octopus Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 7

Human Octopus: Roll 4 (Double 2’s)
Roll 6
[+1 Attack]

Bottle BOMB: Roll 8 (Double 4’s)
[+1 Attack]
Roll 6
FIGHT vs Shark
10 Att – 3 Def = 7 Damage
Shark loses 3 Def = 0
Shark loses 1 Move = 0
Shark loses 3 Att = 12

Shark Octopus: Roll 7
[+2 Attack]

TURN 14
Character Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 10

Human: Roll 8

Bottle BOMB: Roll 9

Shark: Roll 7
START Space

Octopus Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 8
[+1 Attack]

Human Octopus: Roll 7
[+1 Attack]

Bottle BOMB: Roll 5
[+1 Attack]

Shark Octopus: Roll 4

TURN 15
Character Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 11

Human: Roll 10 (Double 5’s)
START Space
Roll 3
+1 Attack

Bottle BOMB: Roll 8
[+1 Attack]

Shark: Roll 12 (Double 6’s)
START Space
Roll 9

Octopus Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 11
FIGHT vs Shark
10 Att – 0 Def = 10 Damage
Shark loses 10 Attack = 2 Attack

Human Octopus: Roll 6
[Double Attack for Next Fight Only)

Bottle BOMB: Roll 9
OCTOPUS START Space
JUMP to nearest Character and FIGHT
FIGHT vs Shark
10 Att – 0 Def = 10 Damage
Shark loses 2 Attack = 0
Shark is DEAD

                                                                                       HUMAN WINS!!!

The final battle No.5

The Final Battle!

Notes:
Human was represented by Mine-cart Steve; Octopus by Mine-cart Pig
Bottle was represented by Leather Steve; Octopus by Skeleton
Shark was represented by Diamond Steve; Octopus by Sheep
Cow was represented by Ginger Steve; Octopus by Zombie
Words presented in [square brackets] imply that the space has no affect on the Octopus

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The Purpose of a Dairy Cow is a Life to be Used

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Cows-in-field

A group of Dairy Cows. Source

Wherever we have technology there are humans who created it and change it, and wherever we have humans we have animals that are having technology used upon them for better and for worse. With an ongoing relationship between humans and animals, technology provides itself as a catalyst to further aide in the development of that relationship. Looking at the humble dairy cow and the technology that has changed the way we engage with them we can see both the positive and negative aspects that technology has created. The ethics involved around using technology throughout a cows’ life for its purpose in life.

Starting with the birth of baby cows; calves. We are greeted with the way in which the mother is kept and looked after. As the need to create more and more food to look after more and more people research has found that utilizing the proper housing space for your animals is beneficial to the longevity of your animals and for producing more milk. From the time of just having an open field with cows roaming, barns have been built to house cows with soft mattresses, sand beds or water beds for them to sleep on. This change of behaviour from people towards their cows is a simple matter of thinking about the care of the cow. This answered the question about what would make a cow comfortable to produce more milk with barns and mattresses among other things were the solution. This aided in the cows producing more milk but is a small scale of growth in getting results as more has been done.

The building of the barn also benefited in the birthing of calves. As with any creature that gives birth there can be complications – cows are no exception. Technology has aided in finding out signs in knowing how far along a cow is along it its production cycle and being able to identify signs that show birth is close. Those signs being change in body temperature, respiration and heart rates, enlargement of the vulva and udder changes among other things. These signs provide a guideline for when the birth may occur but the time can still change so much and the handlers would not be ready. Research conducted by R. G. Mortimer proves that the difficulty a cow faces when birthing can be detrimental to the purpose of the cow in the long run. A milking cow that faces trauma from giving birth can subsequently end up producing less milk and have difficulties getting pregnant again. Cameras and sensors have been used as a simple solution to dealing with surprise time-of-day births. As human involvement as well as technology is the solution for this crisis.

For cows that live the life of being on a dairy farm they are only useful if they produce large quantities of milk as over the years a greater demand for milk has occurred. Dairy Australia has found that over the past 30 years milk production has nearly doubled – 5,432 million litres in the 1979/80 to 9,539 million litres in 2015/16. Further research showed they produce larger quantities of milk when that have gone through the pregnancy cycle. It is now in the farmer’s best interest to get their cows pregnant as quickly as possible, having one calf after another. Technology plays a part in finding the right times of a cows’ life that “forced” pregnancy would be ideal to occur and to close the window from subsequent births. Software called AfiFarm is the most comprehensive management software that can be tailored to the farmers needs that creates an efficient way to get the most out of dairy cows. Being able to analyse weight, milk conductivity, pedometers, and the milk the cow is producing for fat:protein ratio. Problems such as illnesses and natural defects can be found and solved before they get serious and affect the milk yield from the cow. As the purpose of these dairy cows is to produce milk, if they lose their purpose then they are killed. The average life span of a dairy cow is seen to be around 20 years, however with the forced involvement of humans and technology a lot of dairy cows barely make it past 7 years old.


Looking at how often dairy cows need to be pregnant and how many calves need to be born not for the purpose of being a part of the herd but for the purpose of having the mother gestate for milk. Technology has been used in a darker, less compassionate way. These little calves that are born with no purpose and in a majority of cases are killed, or sold overseas then killed. The main purpose if not killed as soon as being born is to be crated in a small 22 inch by 54 inch for 5 to 14 weeks then killed for veal. Male dairy calves serve no purpose for producing milk or being a beef cow as the breed of cows are different, so every male calf is sent away and killed. Not every female calf escapes this fate either as the only need for a female calf is to replace a member of the herd. The Department of Dairy Science at the University of Wisconsin reports that the gender ratio of dairy cow’s calves is Male 53.3% to Female 46.7%. Taken from their mothers within 12 – 24 hours (sometimes immediately), the mothers will never see their calf again. In Australia, it has been estimated that 400,000 calves each year serve no purpose – not wanted for replacement of the herd or wanted for veal. These calves are considered as “waste products” and are destroyed within 5 – 6 days of being born.

In cases where the farmer sees the benefit in getting a pregnant cow that is close to giving birth back into the milking herd. They will call a veterinarian to induce the cow into giving birth sooner than expected, seen to be at least 3 weeks premature. In most cases the premature calf is too weak and killed instantly on the farm by the farmer. While the mother is sent back through the milking station as that is the purpose of her. The purpose that dairy cows have is straight forward, but the technology used on them as people change with technology continues to affect the animals that humans use. When there are animals that no longer serve a purpose then what happens to them is simply death. When animals serve a purpose then they are cared for and looked after as much as possible to maintain that purpose.

Solutions have been talked about in providing a more stable environment for dairy cows and their calves. Looking at having cows that are useful for both milk and beef production like the Holstein breed of cow in the pictures above is useful for multiple purposes. Farmers have also initiated an understanding of limiting the amount of milk a cow will give each day so there is always enough to raise a healthy calf. The dairy cow is quintessential to the cow milk industry so being looked after and cared for is a priority, though as technology develops and demand has been increased then there is the difficult solution of putting which priority over another.