Trillions of squished insects

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  • A long motorway drive last week got me thinking, and so I did some digging around and found this article from 2011 ...


    Quote

    All told, over the course of six weeks and 19,184 miles of travel, the smooshed bodies of no less than 17,836 insects were discovered -- on the cars' front licence plates alone. That averages to two insects killed (in that particular area of the vehicle) for every 6.2 miles traveled.


    http://www.treehugger.com/cars…very-year-says-study.html


    So, I wonder, who is truly the most ethical, a veg*n who drives regularly on a motorway, or a meateater who never drives at all, but relies solely on public transport? Of course, we'll get the veggies who also don't drive, and there are plenty of other grey areas, but even travelling as a car passenger could be considered part of the same issue.


    So, do you consider the bugs when you drive?

  • Never thought about this topic before .


    I know some people do get concerned over the loss of insects {and ritely so as they do have some purpose in the Eco Chain .


    Now im not a Veggie , and maybe there are a lot more Cattle grown for the table because of the likes of me , Chomping our ways thru anything that moves .


    Now thinking about having to rear more Meat products , some of the little critters you speak about ,do use other Animals as Hosts .


    So maybe in some way i am helping in my own little way to save and continue having more little critters to replace those that end up on Vehicle Registration Plates .

  • I rarely ever drive but when I do I don't consider insects, if one gets in the car I'll stop to allow it to leave & I have been known to swerve to avoid a bird but not an insect. You've got to draw the line somewhere. I once dated a girl that took offence at me killing mosquitoes, though I figured it was them or me, one of us wasn't going to live till morning.


    Different species have different methods of survival, smaller critters tend to have more offspring to compensate for the inevitable losses.

  • Of course, we'll get the veggies who also don't drive, and there are plenty of other grey areas?


    Like... what about a meateater who picks the flies of the front of the car to put under grill and have with his salad?


    I have sometimes felt guiltly when I see how many I have squashed. I can't say I have ever swerved to avoid one (mainly because I don't think you can really see them!?). I have been known however, to duck my head out of the way as a bumble bee flies towards the windscreen. :think:

  • I rarely ever drive but when I do I don't consider insects, if one gets in the car I'll stop to allow it to leave & I have been known to swerve to avoid a bird but not an insect. You've got to draw the line somewhere.


    I do! Bees in particular (you can see them coming), and only if it's safe to swerve. I hit a bee yesterday and felt terrible about it, as I always do :(. And I always make an effort to release trapped insects from inside the car so they don't die in the heat!


    But I agree it's impossible to live and not damage stuff. I probably kill dozens of insects every time I walk on grass or the beach, but I'm not going to stop going there.

  • Even such an innocent pursuit as organic gardening is going to destroy other forms of life, it is almost impossible not to do so, even though we may try. There are little moral decisions to be taken all the time. If a worm comes to the surface do I cover it up with a sprinkling of soil to protect it, or do I let the watching robin have a meal for her nestlings?


    I'm never bothered much about killing flies on the windscreen, but I dislike hitting bees and butterflies, and slow down for wildlife if I can safely do so.

  • Don't know much about it but Jainism a religion in India (and maybe other places.. I just met them in India) sweep the floor as the walk and wear masks so that they don't tread or swallow a insect by mistake.. They also are fruiarians I think..

  • Even such an innocent pursuit as organic gardening is going to destroy other forms of life, it is almost impossible not to do so, even though we may try.

    See this is where I notice a difference. Growing food is necessary for us to survive but we can't really say the same about motorway driving - it's deemed a necessity for the modern world, but it's not a real necessity.


    I've splatted thousands of bugs since I passed my driving test, but I haven't wilfully killed an insect for many many years, and unless it presents a health hazard I don't think I could.


    Many years ago someone told me that going veggie would help save the life of around 90 animals a year ... not sure on the accuracy of that statistic but even so it's a great thought. However, theoretically speaking, a non-driving meateater could be taking less lives than a veg*n car driver - and why is the life of an insect any less important than a mammal, bird or fish?

  • I agree with you here, driving for the most part is unnecessary, and by driving people are causing unnecessary death to insects....The best thing would obviously be to stop driving altogether.I think people generally feel less bothered about individual insects (by individual I mean not vast populations), but this is an area that rarely gets any interest from anyone without a love for insects.....because insects appear so small and insignificant people assume them small and insignificant...


    And regarding the meat eater/vegetarian thing....I believe it's to do with perception of suffering....and I think that any argument defending the killing of insects is just an excuse really....but it's all an excuse until people change their perceptions....food for thought here Paul, and hopefully you will get people thinking about this issue....people can reduce this problem by changing a few aspects of driving, ie the type of car/vehicle bought, and the way they drive ie..reducing speed, avoiding fast roads etc....or just smaller vehicles.....


    Saying all this though, I feel little guilt about the killing of insects because I find it hard to make an emotional connection with a fly( but I don't willfully swat flies or anything).....I do get pangs of guilt, but it's often just an idle thought....I know nothing of insects structure...so don't know how they operate.....

  • I`ve been starting to think more like this recently and trying to weigh things up a bit more. Like during the badger cull we were driving round in the middle of the night a lot and on wet nights the roads were covered with frogs and other slimy critters. We moved loads and tried not to kill any but i ended up wondering what the point was of trying to save one animal, while killing another just by being there.


    We`ve all been brought up in a society where certain species of animals are held in higher regard than others and unfortunately for insects it seems they`re right at the bottom of the heap. I`m guilty of it too cause i know i`d feel more guilty if i ran over a fox than if i ran over a slug. What WR2 said about the emotional connection makes sense...maybe if insects cried out when they were frightened or in pain we might have more respect for them?

  • I think you are right about perception of suffering. I couldn't drive through a road full of rabbits; even a road full of mice or voles. Then we get down to slugs and snails, still feel yucky about that unless there were only a few, in which case I probably wouldn't notice them. So because we are so far differentiated from insects, we don't feel about them in the same way.


    Cars themselves might be unnecessary in many situations, but some people, especially in rural areas, need them to get to work or shop, because there are only two buses a day if you're lucky, or two a week if you're not. It's not always possible to find work within walking distance, although we should try.

  • Yeah the jokes on us really isn`t it cause long commutes and spending hours a day on a motorway can`t do much for a persons happiness..


    I agree ,used to think about people doing long commutes to work myself .
    My driving to work started between 1am to 4am depending ,but a 20 minute drive to the depot


    The rest of the week i was in a truck getting paid for every hour i worked even if stuck amongst Commuters in a jam for 3 hrs or whatever . Total mayhem for them even before they step into a work situation that they probably hate doing in the first place .

  • The spiders were panicking for sure on Thursday when I was bored at Book Cycle and decided to sort out all the books on the floor beneath the shelves............had to gently move them to one side as I was brushing up.........and then let them go back yo their home again..............

  • However, theoretically speaking, a non-driving meateater could be taking less lives than a veg*n car driver - and why is the life of an insect any less important than a mammal, bird or fish?


    Why is the life of a plant less important than an insect, mammal, bird or fish? - if you want to look at it that way. I believe there is a difference between the vertebrates and the invertebrates. I would never intentionally kill an insect (or a plant, mammal, bird, or fish) for the fun of it because I respect life, whether that life is considered to be sentient, or not. Life is beautiful.


    A friend of mine wonders why we don't eat more invertebrates (in place of vertebrates) and take advantage of that protein source. I can see where he's coming from. There is a plentiful supply and I think the capacity for suffering is less.


    To be honest, I think the original question was a bit silly. I'm more concerned about the environment when it comes to driving (greenhouse gases and loss of habitat due to road construction).

  • Despite a fair amount of study it has yet to be proven that plants are able to feel pain due to the lack of a central nervous system or brain. However they do grow towards light and are able to respond to other stimuli.


    It's a cultural thing; other countries do eat insects. A few years back there was an effort to grow a kind of locust in Holland maybe, to sell to Kenya I think where they are considered a delicacy, yet when introduced to the market people were disgusted as they were the wrong type. (Sorry for the vagueness)

  • To be honest, I think the original question was a bit silly. I'm more concerned about the environment when it comes to driving (greenhouse gases and loss of habitat due to road construction).

    Yeah maybe you are more concerned with that, and it's certainly an issue ... but that doesn't negate this question.


    Most veggies will avoid shellac and cochineal ... so considering how we're far removed from the process, how is doing that any worse than spattering a myriad of bugs on our windscreens every time we go for a drive?


    Despite a fair amount of study it has yet to be proven that plants are able to feel pain due to the lack of a central nervous system or brain. However they do grow towards light and are able to respond to other stimuli.

    Exactly this.

  • Most veggies will avoid shellac and cochineal ... so considering how we're far removed from the process, how is doing that any worse than spattering a myriad of bugs on our windscreens every time we go for a drive?


    It's not a deliberate act though. We don't go for a drive with the intention of killing insects. Just like we don't go for a walk or dust our homes with that intention.


    Most veggies eat eggs and dairy, even though those industries result in the slaughter (and horrendous treatment) of those animals. How fucked up is that?!

  • Despite a fair amount of study it has yet to be proven that plants are able to feel pain due to the lack of a central nervous system or brain. However they do grow towards light and are able to respond to other stimuli.


    It's a cultural thing; other countries do eat insects. A few years back there was an effort to grow a kind of locust in Holland maybe, to sell to Kenya I think where they are considered a delicacy, yet when introduced to the market people were disgusted as they were the wrong type. (Sorry for the vagueness)


    Several research institutes are working on the "farm insects for food" idea.


    http://www.wageningenur.nl/en/…mology/Edible-insects.htm


    Whilst the question - if/if not insects feel pain is relevant - the fact remains that many thousands of life forms are killed to meet the end purposes of mankind. Many of these deaths could be avoided.

  • It's not a deliberate act though. We don't go for a drive with the intention of killing insects. Just like we don't go for a walk or dust our homes with that intention.

    I do get your point, but we do a lot of unintentional harmful things without thinking, and this is something we actually see very clearly in front of our eyes - which for the large part it isn't even considered worthy of debate. It's not quite the same as disregarding a food or garment label, or even squashing bugs whilst walking around.


    Most veggies eat eggs and dairy, even though those industries result in the slaughter (and horrendous treatment) of those animals. How fucked up is that?!

    I agree, and many wear leather too. In the months since transitioning to vegan I've been constantly weighing up my values, and in all honesty I think I've started to care too much. Other related issues would be the intense use of pesticides in the cotton industry and the damage caused by petro-chemical clothing manufacture. Or how about the fact that the BUAV are quite happy to turn a blind eye to the use of daphnia (water fleas) in detergent development (Ecover).


    It was much easier when I didn't give a shit. :S

  • It's a slippery road Paul. The only really safe way is to make everything you intend to use, but realistically I think people find a level they're happy with, they feel they're doing their bit or as much as they can, that's how they justify eating eggs or drinking milk. That and crap like "happy farms".

  • What about parasites? They are classed as insects too? Most animals live off of another, so are you concerned with micro-organisms too?


    I do honestly think you have to draw the line somewhere.

  • Well there's a difference between survival and choice. If I had an infestation that presented a health hazard I'd deal with as lethally as necessary.


    Totally. That's what I meant about drawing the line. I was just taking the word 'insect' as literally as possible ;)

  • You do have to draw a line somewhere otherwise i think you`d go nuts at which point you`re no help to anyone. Being 100% vegan just isn`t possible but i do think it`s important to challenge what we`re brought up believing and especially the prejudices we have towards certain species. Unfortunately i think it`ll be a long time before insects get any real respect though considering how appallingly we treat other animals...and our own species too :S

  • what about nits/head lice ?i got very poorly with them-last thing on my mind was their survival...


    I kill fleas on dogs and cats and have killed lots of maggots before from infected dog wounds....i do feel guilty doing it mind. Have had many sleepless nights from mosquito`s though as i can`t bring myself to squash em..