Google accused of donkeycide

Google’s come in for a lot of stick over the years, over everything from privacy to monopolistic behaviour. Now, though, it stands accused of a completely new crime: running over innocent donkeys.

A Caltech physicist who styles himself the Real Sheldon Cooper was first to spot the unfortunate quadruped. “I think google street view ran over a donkey in Botswana,” he tweeted.

The evidence comes from Google’s own imagery. The beginning of the Street View picture sequence appears to show the donkey standing peacefully by the side of the road.

In the following images, though, it’s seen to be lying down in the dirt, a little puff of sand rising where it fell.

Google has staunchly denied the accusations, telling Australia’s Courier Mail that it’s got everything backwards. What actually happened, claims the company, is that the donkey was lying down to start with, and that it got to its feet and trotted off as the Street View car went past.

“Our Street View teams take the safety of people and donkeys very seriously,” claimed a spokesperson. “A review of our imagery confirms that we did not cause any harm to the donkey.”

The Courier Mail’s not convinced, saying that for this to be the case the donkey would have to be walking backwards – and obligingly getting a quote from a professor of zoology to say that was impossible.

All in all, it seems that establishing the truth must surely be a case for the Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. In the meantime, though, you can make your own mind up by checking out the images here.