Insect Regulations

Kenelm Philip fnkwp at
Thu Dec 16 15:42:44 EST 1999

> But I do think its wierd that some living thin[g]s are protected and some
> aren't. Why should there be rules for warm furry animals and not slimy
> or crunchy ones?

Well, you have to draw the line somewhere, or you get to the scene
where a diner refuses hot sauce because that might annoy his intestinal
flora.  :-)

	More seriously, we protect vertebrates from cruelty because we
think they are similar enough to us to feel pain the way that we do.
As far as I know, it has never been demonstrated that insects have pain
receptors--and the concept of 'cruelty' towards organisms that do not
feel pain is a bit hard to resolve.

	On the other hand, even if insects (or bacteria) _do_ feel pain,
there are problems in treating them like vertebrates. As I mentioned
earlier, what do you do with insects that have to feed on other insects
while they are living? If you don't feed them, you're being cruel to
them--if you do, you're being cruel to their food. And if you object
to being cruel to bacteria, then stop taking hot showers and using soap!
If you worry about plants feeling pain, then how does one anesthetize
a plant so you can eat it without running afoul of PETP?

	Insects are a very different form of life from vertebrates. Perhaps
it is inappropriate to unthinkingly extend to insects the same concepts we
use for other vertebrates...

							Ken Philip
fnkwp at

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