The inventor of a worm-driven composting toilet in New Zealand had to prove the worms were not traumatised or stressed by their task before council bureaucrats would approve the system.
Coll Bell, who invented the "wormorator" as an alternative to septic tanks, was told by an Auckland Regional Council staff member to get an expert’s report on the psychological impact on the worms after she became concerned during a site visit.
"She felt that the worms were being unfairly treated, being expected to deal with human faeces, and that it could affect them in a psychological way," says Bell. "I said, `Well, what do I do about that?’ and she said `you have to have someone with the necessary qualifications to say the worms are happy’."
The ARC was satisfied after vermiculture consultant Patricia Naidu reported the worms were in excellent health and breeding happily.