do vegans kill bugs

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  1. Thank you for your article scenario six especially. I’m always being harassed by family members for being vegan and I just got harassed because it’s world animal day so I’ve sent them your link and told them to read scenario six. Once again thank you.

  2. Oh my goodness, yes. Disease-carrying and biting beings are my challenge. Especially as someone who reacts allergically. I do everything in my power to avoid killing (I have a great mosquito and no-see-um recipe on my site that truly works). And I feel horrible if I do kill something. I literally say, “oh my god, I’m a murderer” and it makes me try harder next time to find a better solution (yesterday I kept my bike bell on while riding, to warn the grasshoppers I was coming, and it truly made a difference, helping to keep them out of my bike path). As long as we care about doing better and we keep trying, that is vital.

  3. Insects killed to grow crops is a question I’ve been worrying at for a while, rarely do I find satisfactory answer. However we look at it, vegans contribute to the intentional suffering and death of vast numbers of insects because so many are killed to grow crops. The usual dodge is to say that pest deaths are an unavoidable problem that we just have to live with.

    I think this is fine up to a point but it does leave the vegan advocate open to a charge of hypocrisy. Why do vegans worry about the killing and eating of oysters, almost certainly not sentient, but wave away the deaths of pest insects to grow crops?

    I want to offer a possible counter-argument. Importantly, growing crops instead of raising animals is a first priority of veganism because it prevents the exploitation of other species. Nonetheless, veganism is also concerned with preventing unnecessary harm to other species, regardless of context. There is no doubt that it is acceptable to kill a dangerous bug in our home, but why is it acceptable to kill potentially quadrillions of animals to grow crops?

    I propose it is because insects are reproductive r-strategists. Broadly speaking, K-strategists such as cattle invest more in the individual – species success depends on individual success. R-strategists on the other hand invest less in individuals and rely on sheer numbers for species success. I suggest this means we owe less of a moral duty to r-strategists than to K-strategists. What happens to an individual cow is important because farming them is wrong but also because the individual cow is naturally important. What happens to an individual pest insect is less important because we are not exploiting them but killing them partly as a self-defence but also because an individual insect is less naturally important. Nonetheless the problem of insect suffering remains important so we should want to find pest control methods that cause less pain and suffering just because that is morally worthwhile.

    Of course this doesn’t free us from the duty to prevent extreme negative impacts on species. The wrongful use of insecticides can lead to the threat of species extinction, so our duty to prevent this means we need to take seriously ways to mitigate that impact. We just cannot go killing vast numbers of insects to protect yields.

    In the end we don’t need to apologise for killing pest insects.

  4. Like you flies have to go. If they won’t leave they house I will kill them with a fly spotter. I sweep up the millipedes and put them outside and if we have a mouse problem (country life) I will also kill them because they will not leave but invite yet more of their friends. Sad but I do not want them in the house because they also carry disease