Recently if you were to type the Korean name for a copyu (aka “river rat” or “nutria”) into a search engine it would also likely suggest the Korean word for anus. That’s because of a controversial measure proposed to control the population of these pests which net users are calling “wacky” at best and “needlessly brutal” in the worst terms.

According to a report from South Korea’s Dong-A Ilbo, the new measure begins with sewing the anus of a copyu shut so that it can’t defecate and it really only gets worse from there.

River Rats

For those unfamiliar with the copyu, it’s like a cross between a rat and a beaver. It has a voracious appetite and often feeds on the base and roots of plants. As a result copyu feeding can have highly damaging effects on an ecosystem or agricultural land. In recent years the copyu’s habitat around the Nakdong and Namhan rivers has been expanding and ways of dealing with this are currently being sought out.

According to Dong-A Ilbo, Yong Hwan-yul, formerly of the Seoul Grand Park Animal Research Institute and currently a part of Seoul National University Medical Immunization Medical Research Institute, is the head of a research group tasked at dealing with the copyu menace.

■ Starting with the youngest?! Geeze…

In a speech Mr. Yong put forward a few possible ways of controlling the copyu population. One of which involved capturing a copyu and sewing its anus closed. It would then be released back into the wild to return to its habitat. After a short time the inability for it to defecate would cause it to go mad. From there it would begin to attack and cannibalize the rest of the copyus starting with the youngest. In the end the entire community would be eliminated.

The team felt this method had a significant advantage of not using any chemicals that might damage the ecosystem. Of course the downside was that it was really dark and twisted. South Korean animal rights groups quickly came out saying “this is obviously an act of animal cruelty.”

It didn’t go over well

This sentiment was also echoed by many online comments calling the scheme “an extremely brutal method no matter how harmful the animal was.” Even comments from those who weren’t as enthusiastic about animal rights wondered about the plan calling it one “wacky way to deal with pests.”

Mr. Yong replied to the criticisms saying that he too was a lover of animals but he was at the end of his wits trying to find an effective way to deal with these threats to the environment. However, he probably should have stopped short of mentioning that he already preformed this procedure on lab rats to ensure its effectiveness. That didn’t help the whole “lover of animals” claim.

In Mr. Yong’s defense, allowing the copyus to run rampant could very well lead to the deaths of several other species and have a catastrophic effect on the region. Still, we hope they choose a better way. The right to relieve one’s bowels is an inalienable one that should be held by all living creatures.

Source: Dong-a Ilbo (Japanese / Korean)
Top Image: Wikipedia – Silverije
Inset Image: Wikipedia – Peleg