July 3, 2011

Indoor "Pests"

One day in my office a coworker was chatting with my officemate and me through the doorway, and he spotted a centipede fluttering swiftly across the floor. We all looked at each other in fear, and my coworker asked what he should do and whether we wanted the bug to be killed or not. It really struck me that he asked, that he considered that my officemate or I might want the centipede to be left alone.

I have to admit that when I see bugs indoors (especially fast-moving ones like centipedes or cockroaches) I am still in the habit of immediately moving to kill them. My automatic thought is, "I don't want that tickly/itchy feeling from knowing that there is something running loose in here. This thing needs to go, STAT." Every time I see an insect it's an opportunity to change my behavior. My goal is to use catch-and-release more frequently, and without discrimination of bug size or speed. I will reach for a piece of paper, not to kill, but to ferry the bug over to a door or window so it can go outside.

One day my sister called me, freaking out because a mousetrap at her boyfriend's house had caught something. The mouse was crying out and writhing around on the glue, and my sister was scared to deal with it. Like her, I don't think I could bear to throw a live rodent out like garbage or kill it myself. The mouse was just trying to survive and live its life, and I don't think I'm entitled to to disrupt that. A life is a life is a life, right?

But why don't I instinctively treat insects with the same respect? Is it because insects don't physically resemble the furry animals I love? Is it because I think of insects as being less "like me" because they are not warm-blooded and I can't look them in the eye? What do you think?

How do you relate to indoor "pests"? How do you treat them?

Vegan on a Shoestring

1 comment:

  1. Wow, reading this post is very timely for me! I accidentally squashed a bug the other day, and my vegetarian boyfriend and I had a little debate over it (I was trying to put it outside, but accidentally squished it with the tissue). I'm vegetarian, too, and try to adhere to "ahimsa" whenever possible, but I must admit that my mercy does not extend to mosquitoes. Those little bloodsuckers are asking for it! I do try to avoid them rather than seeking to kill them on purpose, but if they land on my flesh and take a bite... smack! Come on, that's just self-defense! But I have saved many a spider, beetle, and creepy-crawly bug before, and will continue to do so. My cat kills most of the pests that get in my house, anyway; she's a natural-born huntress, and there's no veganizing her! But thank you for your thoughtful post... It's nice to know someone else ponders these things. :)