Is Killing Fleas and Flies Animal Cruelty?Published December 18, 2009
The other day, while going through my email, I ran across an interesting and rather thought provoking piece, sent by a fellow Cat Writer's Association member.
Photo credit: www.Flowers.vy
Apparently several years ago, Steve Dale, blogger and journalist wrote a feature about feline flea control. Shortly after its release he received an angry email from a very upset PeTA supporter, who challenged the article, asking "How dare you write about killing fleas!" Trust me that woke me up immediately and got my full attention. I was astounded!
While I respect life in all of its forms, as far as I am concerned there are limits to my tolerance for some species. I guess I am not that "enlightened".
And while I have rescued spiders and lizards that make their way into our home, carefully catching them and placing them tenderly outside in the garden, it is a proven fact that fleas and other insects are carriers of a variety of nasty diseases and parasites which are highly dangerous to both pets and humans. Of course the most common parasite carried by fleas is Tapeworm which can wreak havoc with our pets and mosquitoes carry heartworm among other dangerous hitchhikers.
I got to thinking about different beliefs to which some people subscribe. Some spiritual practices forbid the killing of any living creature. There are animal welfare groups that consider owning a pet is a form of "enslavement" and that no animal "deserves" to become a family pet. And while everyone is entitled to an opinion and to engage in their spiritual practices, I just find it very difficult to decide where to draw the line. After all, using save flea control to prevent our pets from a rather torturous and dangerous exposure to these "pesky" insects seems to me to be prudent.
So I started researching the topic, and was reminded about the interaction President Obama had with a fly during a recent interview for CNBC. Obama actually spoke to the fly, saying, "Get out of here," as the fly buzzed around him. Since the cheeky insect paid no attention to instructions, even daring to land on the Presidents arm, Obama killed it with dispatch. He added, "That was pretty impressive, wasn't it? I got the sucker."
While the President received much kudos for his swift reaction to the uninvited visitor to the White House, apparently PeTA called the action an "execution" and wanted the leader of our nation to show more compassion for even this teeny life form. The group presented him with a device that traps house-flies where they can be humanely released.
A blog on PeTA's website explained, "In a nutshell, our position is this: He isn't the Buddha, he's a human being, and human beings have a long way to go before they think before they act." Bruce Friedrich, a PeTA spokesman said, "We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals". Some people even referred to President Obama's action as "fly murder."
There was such a to-do about this event, that within hours dozens of videos featuring President Obama's reaction to the fly were uploaded to YouTube and viewed over 750,000 times.
Watch the video of the President and the fly, uploaded to YouTube by TheManin444.
There are some folks who keep what we may consider to be very exotic creatures as pets, so where do we draw the line? Does anyone have the right to impose their values on anyone? What do you think? Leave a comment and share.