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#1 Old 04-03-2012, 05:37 PM
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Hi,
having seen the post ,"what is fish?" It occurred to me that insects are a staple diet in certain areas in the world. Obviously, it hasn't taken much root in the UK (where I am), but several tv shows have indicated and highlighted that the food of the future is more than likely to be insects of various types. They may be chocolate coated, deep fried, sugared and salted and even regarded as a tasty treat, high in protein and healthy. "The food of the future", were the words banded about in various media I have seen.

To most westerners and first world countries this is met with repugnance, although not for ethical reasons, but rather the idea of eating an insect. To be fair, for those who eat shrimp and prawns; they are already eating the insects of the sea! Be it pan fried in garlic and butter, exo skeleton removed and the juices sucked from their shells..lol.. little difference to say a deep fried, thai spiced scorpion...

I offer for discussion the ideas concerned with the idea of whether an insect feels pain, or has profound perception. Is it immoral to eat insects too? Why not? is it better that society eats insects rather than a mammal perhaps? Certainly better for the environment...

What does everyone else think?

cheers,
labratmat
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#2 Old 04-03-2012, 05:53 PM
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insects=disgusting things with legs.
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#3 Old 04-03-2012, 06:08 PM
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you have eaten a shrimp in your life, haven't you? an exo-skeleton with legs and surprisingly, sweet flesh... As I said,"an insect of the sea", and although I no longer eat them; it is not a giant leap from a scurrying bottom feeder of dead carcass at the bottom of the ocean to the equivalent on land!

Is it disgusting because it was once alive, or rather just disgusting because it is an insect? Probably both?

What about the insects harmed in harvesting the vegetables we consume, for example. whether crushed under foot or farm vehicle. Does this then become morally reprehensible too? There are sufi's in India who sweep ahead when they walk for fear of harming insects...

(Vegi)food for thought...

cheers,
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#4 Old 04-03-2012, 06:20 PM
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Well to me now if I consumed meat (insects) I would throw up immediately in disgust because 1.bugs are scary 2. it was alive 3. it looks gross and is not appealing to me.

The killing of small insects in farming as you said stepping on them or from vehicle you also have to consider all the bugs you step on each day or accidentally crush.

I personally don't have a problem killing a spider if it has crawled on my arm or desk because I don't like waking up with red raw skin bumps, beware...spiders don't have mercy..
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#5 Old 04-03-2012, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by labratmat View Post

I offer for discussion the ideas concerned with the idea of whether an insect feels pain, or has profound perception. Is it immoral to eat insects too? Why not? is it better that society eats insects rather than a mammal perhaps? Certainly better for the environment...

What does everyone else think?

cheers,
labratmat

Whether or not pain and suffering can be experienced by an organism isn't my primary concern. I am interested in avoiding the exploitation of beings who can be observed to have self interest. I don't know whether you intend to discuss insects or invertebrates in general (shrimp are not insects), but since animals such as bees can be seen to communicate and animals like octopi can rival humans in intelligence, I see no reason not to give their "cousins" the benefit of the doubt that they are sentient, and as sentient organisms should not be considered by humans as resources.

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#6 Old 04-03-2012, 06:30 PM
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Spiders are good for your house. They kill and eat insects that cause more trouble than them. Normally if you don't give it any reason to harm you, it won't.

I never purposely kill any insect or arachnid or annelid or mollusk or any creature, really. Of course it's completely impossible to avoid stepping on them occasionally by accident or hitting them with your car, so that I tend not to worry about. Unless I notice it, then I feel really bad.

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#7 Old 04-03-2012, 06:34 PM
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Spiders are good for your house. They kill and eat insects that cause more trouble than them. Normally if you don't give it any reason to harm you, it won't.

I never purposely kill any insect or arachnid or annelid or mollusk or any creature, really. Of course it's completely impossible to avoid stepping on them occasionally by accident or hitting them with your car, so that I tend not to worry about. Unless I notice it, then I feel really bad.


you can't convince me those things with eight legs have a soul :P watch out for moths though...one broke my thumb
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#8 Old 04-03-2012, 07:44 PM
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I actually had the same thought about insects. One one hand i wouldnt want everyone to give up eating mammals and sea creatures to go to insects but then insects have a very high reproduction rate. As mammals can have few young every year or every few years and insects can reproduce at a much higher rate of hundreds if not thousands. From a ecological stand point they are a better choice than meat but then you have the moral points. from what i can remember from my entomology class insects have a small brain or something close to a brain. They run on basic instincts and its a whole eat reproduce and stay alive. So it comes down to culture morals and person preference. Personally i wouldnt eat them they creep me out.

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#9 Old 04-03-2012, 08:08 PM
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Insects have a nervous system that transmits and detects pain, but I doubt they are conciously aware of the pain laid upon them unlike mammals (I could be wrong). It would be pretty revolutionary if all humans switched to eating insects - I personally would projectile vomit if one came into contact with my mouth. Rather an interesting thread though..
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#10 Old 04-04-2012, 03:27 AM
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Insects are invertebrates from the kingdom Animalia.

That means they're animals.

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#11 Old 04-04-2012, 08:52 AM
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hi again,
my vegetarianism is loosely based from a Buddhist perspective. Personally, I can't eat anything which has sentience. From the perspective of certain Buddhist/Hindu off-shoots, Vegetarianism reaches far extremes. Check out Jain's who practice the diet that not only excludes meat, fish and eggs, but also does not include potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots and other roots and tubers. see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jain_vegetarianism
Coming from a religious vegetarianism perspective, this can add to the weight of compassion and the concept of not causing harm to living creatures, which may even out weigh a vegan's perspective. (maybe?). Thai theravada buddhists are thought to permit the eating of mussels as acceptable, however, if one can't insects then surely a mussel can't be permissable? For me, it is unacceptable anyway...


But where do we stop? at the point of being a vegan? a jain? Like it or not the creatures that live on the plants we consume are annihilated; and if we take it to further extremes at a microbe and bacterial level, one cannot deny the harming of life. It is unavoidable...

Unfortunately, the majority of the human population care little for our empathy towards the animal kingdom. I would rather humans ate insects than mammals and fish; as the latter is closer to our human perception of life as we know it. We relate more and the more we distance ourselves from the understanding of how other creatures perceive; then the more acceptable it is to eat.

To me, it is absurd that a spider should be left out of the mix of not harming creatures..lol Should we leave out sharks as they eat the little fishes? What is the difference between crushing an insect because you dont like them and eating an insect for a purpose of nourishment? They both extinguish life.

It is all interesting stuff though....

cheers,
labratmat
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#12 Old 04-04-2012, 12:21 PM
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I wouldn't eat insects as I'm vegan, but they don't gross me out when they are just walking around. I don't like to kill anything, including insects, so I just try to deter them from getting in. I do put fire ant granules in the yard though , since my daughter and husband are both highly allergic to them (carry epipens even).
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#13 Old 04-04-2012, 01:06 PM
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Unfortunately, the majority of the human population care little for our empathy towards the animal kingdom. I would rather humans ate insects than mammals and fish; as the latter is closer to our human perception of life as we know it. We relate more and the more we distance ourselves from the understanding of how other creatures perceive; then the more acceptable it is to eat.

But the same amount of nourishment would require more insects as they are smaller, therefore extinguishing more lives.

Can't we just not eat dead animals?

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#14 Old 04-04-2012, 03:26 PM
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But the same amount of nourishment would require more insects as they are smaller, therefore extinguishing more lives.

Can't we just not eat dead animals?

No. We'll die.

*returns to coffin*

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#15 Old 04-04-2012, 03:46 PM
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No. We'll die.

*returns to coffin*

SomebodyElse is a vampire? Huh. I guess you learn something new every day.

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#16 Old 04-04-2012, 03:50 PM
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The average person manages to consume about 430 insects every year of their lives, whether they intended to or not! And no, not all “average” people ride motorcycles.

http://www.sciencenewsreview.com/50-...ly-didnt-know/

Gross to think about.

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#17 Old 04-04-2012, 04:33 PM
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Whatever.
We are all animals. We need to eat and drink to live. If everyone would just live by the principles of ahimsa-do the least harm-we won't need all this rhetoric.
Yes, if I had no other choice than to eat another animal to live (human or other) I would. If I found my house infested with termites, yes, I'd call the exterminator.
What's important is living life the best way possible to prevent those kinds of situations.

What is the big deal here isn't whether insects are small, and seemingly insignificant, but that they have lives and things to do without our constant interference.
Just watch those nasty ants go about their business and marvel at the abilities they have. We'd be superhero if we had their strength, and other senses.
Just leave things alone. Eat what you need.
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#18 Old 04-04-2012, 11:20 PM
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Well to me now if I consumed meat (insects) I would throw up immediately in disgust because 1.bugs are scary 2. it was alive 3. it looks gross and is not appealing to me.

The killing of small insects in farming as you said stepping on them or from vehicle you also have to consider all the bugs you step on each day or accidentally crush.

I personally don't have a problem killing a spider if it has crawled on my arm or desk because I don't like waking up with red raw skin bumps, beware...spiders don't have mercy..

"it was alive" is a pretty weird concern. What do you live on, salt?

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#19 Old 04-05-2012, 12:49 PM
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"it was alive" is a pretty weird concern. What do you live on, salt?

Duhh all i eat...I meant it was a living animal :P , fruits are alive but that's different
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#20 Old 04-06-2012, 12:24 PM
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they're animals technically.

I'm a little freaked out by spiders, so when I see them in the house I usually just leave them alone and hope it finds it's way out. Occasionally I muster up the courage to herd it into a cup with some newspaper and dump it outside. As far as insects usually swat mosquitos and pantry moths(the ones that get into your cereals, we have a huge problem with them) and feed them to my bettas. And slugs to my baby water turtles. I'm evil, lol.

As for humans eating insects...eww
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#21 Old 04-06-2012, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by labratmat View Post

hi again,
my vegetarianism is loosely based from a Buddhist perspective. Personally, I can't eat anything which has sentience. From the perspective of certain Buddhist/Hindu off-shoots, Vegetarianism reaches far extremes. Check out Jain's who practice the diet that not only excludes meat, fish and eggs, but also does not include potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots and other roots and tubers. see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jain_vegetarianism
Coming from a religious vegetarianism perspective, this can add to the weight of compassion and the concept of not causing harm to living creatures, which may even out weigh a vegan's perspective. (maybe?). Thai theravada buddhists are thought to permit the eating of mussels as acceptable, however, if one can't insects then surely a mussel can't be permissable? For me, it is unacceptable anyway...


But where do we stop? at the point of being a vegan? a jain? Like it or not the creatures that live on the plants we consume are annihilated; and if we take it to further extremes at a microbe and bacterial level, one cannot deny the harming of life. It is unavoidable...

(bold emphasis mine) As you mentioned above, you refuse to eat sentient beings. Therefore, you basically answered your own question: there is no reason to think that plants or microbes are sentient, so there's no reason to think it is inconsistent for a vegetarian or vegan to eat them.

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Unfortunately, the majority of the human population care little for our empathy towards the animal kingdom. I would rather humans ate insects than mammals and fish; as the latter is closer to our human perception of life as we know it. We relate more and the more we distance ourselves from the understanding of how other creatures perceive; then the more acceptable it is to eat.

To me, it is absurd that a spider should be left out of the mix of not harming creatures..lol Should we leave out sharks as they eat the little fishes? What is the difference between crushing an insect because you dont like them and eating an insect for a purpose of nourishment? They both extinguish life.

It is all interesting stuff though....

cheers,
labratmat

Insects do have much simpler nervous systems than mammals or birds do. However, as SomebodyElse described in her post above, invertebrates show some surprising behavioral abilities. At this point, I cannot rule out insects having some level of sentience and awareness.

(But I do generally care more for herbivores than predators- no apologies.)

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you can't convince me those things with eight legs have a soul :P watch out for moths though...one broke my thumb

A moth broke your thumb? NOW you've got me scratching my head...

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#22 Old 04-06-2012, 01:25 PM
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OH- to the original poster: remember that advocating for eating meat (or insects) is against the rules for posting here. There are plenty of mixed vegetarian/meateater forums out there where folks on both sides can debate that sort of thing. VB isn't one of those places.

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#23 Old 04-07-2012, 11:01 AM
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but several tv shows have indicated and highlighted that the food of the future is more than likely to be insects of various types.

Yeah it's going to really take off like LaserDisc.

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#24 Old 04-07-2012, 08:03 PM
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You could make the argument from a utilitarian point of view that eating some invertebrates is on a lower level of cruelty than eating most vertebrates. Singer makes a similar ethical case about mollusks and things. I'm not saying I 100% agree or that I'd eat insects or mollusks or that morality should always be about levels of sentience. It's a fair point though.

My biggest issue with eating insects, even aside from the moral issue..is that it's gross and it seems like it would be severely inefficient as a protein source. We're talking about feeding ten billion human beings. Plant foods are always going to be more efficient than raising animals, even very small ones.

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#25 Old 04-07-2012, 08:08 PM
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Insects are animals.
The chances that they feel pain are greater than if insects were plants or fungi.
I have no need nor any desire to dine on insects.
Insects that do not pose any threat to me or my family are escorted outdoors via a bug catcher. Black widows, on the other hand, are killed as quickly and painlessly as possible.
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#26 Old 04-07-2012, 10:09 PM
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Insects are animals.
The chances that they feel pain are greater than if insects were plants or fungi.
I have no need nor any desire to dine on insects.
Insects that do not pose any threat to me or my family are escorted outdoors via a bug catcher. Black widows, on the other hand, are killed as quickly and painlessly as possible.

I feel the same way. When I was cleaning my backyard today with my mom we kept expunged so many spiders . I was just thinking what if someone did to my house...
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#27 Old 04-10-2012, 07:51 PM
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The real question in my opinion is whether or not bugs are sentient, if they are not sentient I see no reason not to do whatever you wish to them, but if they are they deserve moral consideration. I do not know whether or not bugs are sentient or not so I avoid taking a risk of causing suffering by avoiding consuming them and harming them. Mammals and fish defiantly go higher on my list for moral consideration just because there existence is more relate able, making empathy easier.

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#28 Old 04-10-2012, 08:10 PM
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What criterion do you use to determine whether someone deserves moral consideration, if it isn't sentience? Your ability to empathize with them?

I don't think ability to empathize is very good grounds for giving someone moral consideration or not, because it is too random and subjective. I can't say my ability to empathize with bugs is any less than my ability to empathize with anyone else. Except murderers and rapists. I still have a moral duty to refrain from violating the rights of murderers and rapists though, regardless of how little I empathize with them.

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#29 Old 04-10-2012, 10:34 PM
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What criterion do you use to determine whether someone deserves moral consideration, if it isn't sentience? Your ability to empathize with them?

I don't think ability to empathize is very good grounds for giving someone moral consideration or not, because it is too random and subjective. I can't say my ability to empathize with bugs is any less than my ability to empathize with anyone else. Except murderers and rapists. I still have a moral duty to refrain from violating the rights of murderers and rapists though, regardless of how little I empathize with them.

"Mammals and fish defiantly go higher on my list for moral consideration just because there existence is more relate able, making empathy easier."

I expressed that idea wrong, what I should of said is.

"Mammals and fish are morally considered more, by me, because I am more certain of what their sentience and cognitive capacity is." In other words I am more certain that animals feel then insects.

This isn't to say i'm going to go around smashing bugs and drowning ants, I just might consider a cow or dog more then a house fly or beetle.(Help the cow/dog first).

If anyone has any research on insects mental capacity then link ma.

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#30 Old 04-11-2012, 08:00 AM
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"Mammals and fish defiantly go higher on my list for moral consideration just because there existence is more relate able, making empathy easier."

I expressed that idea wrong, what I should of said is.

"Mammals and fish are morally considered more, by me, because I am more certain of what their sentience and cognitive capacity is." In other words I am more certain that animals feel then insects.

This isn't to say i'm going to go around smashing bugs and drowning ants, I just might consider a cow or dog more then a house fly or beetle.(Help the cow/dog first).

If anyone has any research on insects mental capacity then link ma.

You have a legitimate argument there, but I must point out that insects are indeed animals.

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