Butterfly regs

Jane Dillonaire JDillonaire at rcn.com
Wed Jan 16 12:44:54 EST 2002

Here's what I don't understand about the whole butterfly release question:
How is the use of butterflies for human enjoyment any more objectionable
than our selective breeding of cats/dogs/rabbits/cattle/sheep/ etc. etc.
etc.?  In my humble view, butterfly breeding is less destructive and less
likely to produce they type of genetic alteration that causes animals to
require human assistance for their survival than most domestications.  In
fact, butterfly farming for release (and, dare I say, collecting) are the
only commercial human uses of animals I can think of which result in a
benefit to the animal - how many people have been inspired to appreciate the
beauty of nature through the practice of butterfly releases? How many
gardeners now include milkweed as a staple in their flower beds?  How many
children have learned about the importance of conserving the habitat of all
creatures with their Monarch ambassador leading the way?  This is a good
thing.  I should think we would encourage this type of public education - I
personally think it needs to be expanded (which is why I visit
Monarch-rearing classrooms with moths and other arthropods).
Humans have been manipulating nature to our benefit forever.  Where are the
objections to the cruelties imposed on the "poor insects" in the silk
industry?  Why is there no insistence that we reverse our domestication of
Bombyx mori to try to return it to the wild?  Ridiculous? Maybe, but that
never stopped the critics before.

Jane Dillonaire
(usually quietly opinionated student of entomology)
Nazareth, Pennsylvania


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