Monday, September 25, 2006

Cruelty to roaches?

Other than being utterly revolting, will someone please explain the objection to this?

(Once again proves my thesis that in some sectors, parody must work extremely hard to stay ahead of straight-faced reality.)


Deacon Jim said...

I didn't want to gum up your comment boxes with a long reply so I posted a reply on my blog.

To be brief, I think there is no reason for this. To me it is symbolic of the breakdown we are experiencing in society - and as the Pope pointed out, a disconnect from reason.

Catholic Wife and Mother said...

Do what you want to the human unborn, the elderly and the disabled. But whatever you do, do NOT be cruel to the hissing cockroach.

Anonymous said...

The really scary issue is that people can be so desparate for attention that they allow themselves to be exploited and degraded by performing a disgusting act for the entertainment of others who are already so exploited and degraded themselves that they apparently don't know any better and find such sideshows interesting. (Jerry Springer, anyone?)
Wouldn't it be wonderful if people could get attention for doing thoughtful, intelligent, and compassionate acts instead?
Am off to see what Deacon Jim has to say.

40lovemom said...

Do you think they (PETA) has their ofices treated by an exterminator?

the buddha said...

xbtThe objection to this as to much else that is happening in the world today is:


'Sentient being' may be defined as any mind that can experience suffering.

If in doubt whether the creature you are going to do things to possesses 'a mind that can experience suffering' , then err on the side of caution.

If there's no need to inflict suffering or death then don't.

If you need to kill a creature, then do it swiftly, as painlessly as you can, and without anger on your part.

Do not get into the habit of killing anything for 'pleasure'. Litle boys who torture insects often move on to bigger things.

Jane M said...

oI think this is like confessing to stealing a cookie. It isn't a mortal sin and never will be because the matter simply isn't serious enough (I think, but obviously Father Fox has the last word on that). Similarly, eating a cockroach is just not serious. Disgusting, yes. Serious? No. On the other hand, I hate roller coasters and suchlike anyway....

trainee buddha said...

Not serious enough? But thinking can makes it so.

Stepping on an ant is not a sin.

Killing an ant that's running up your arm may not be a sin.

Torturing an ant by pulling its limbs out one by one is in Buddhism a grievous sin because no matter what the ant is or is not feeling, the pleasure of torturing by rejoicing in the ant's agony is corrupting the torturer's mind.

Father Martin Fox said...

Well, apparently everyone's gross-o-meter is still in the green zone, so here goes my analysis:

I agree one should not torment an animal, nor cause needless suffering.

But I would make a distinction between higher and lower animals, based mainly on intuition and sense -- if you ask me to draw the line, and defend it, I can't do either very easily.

As to eating cockroaches (which I find completely repulsive), I don't see "cruelty" in that, unless its merely that they die. Killing cockroaches seems a good thing to me (although i think these are "upscale" cockroaches, not those nasty things that we usually deal with), so the only issue is any torment -- and really, eating them would seem a pretty quick death.

I may misread the deacon's point, but I take him to mean its wrong not so much because of any wrong to the bugs, but to ourselves -- and that is an interesting point, but hardly what PETA objects to.

The Buddha makes a point: don't kill unless you have to. Fair enough. But, again, my gut says this doesn't apply to eating bugs; but it does to doing mean things to ants with a magnifying glass -- which I did one time, and felt awful about.

Finally, I'd agree with Jane; munching on a roach (shudder) is not grave matter.

joeh said...

Where is John McCain and his buddies when we really need them?? surely this is covered by the Geneva guys somewhere.

Another point. My uncle once told me about eating anything they could find while in a Jap POW camp and that included roaches. During the time of war, would eating roaches be viewed more favorably by Buddha?

trainee buddha said...

Though many Buddhists are vegetarian, others are not. For example, it is impossible to get an adequate diet in the high plateaux of Tibet by eating the scanty vegetation. So animals are killed and eaten. That's OK because they are killed out of necessity and not out of anger, aggression or cruelty.

However hunting animals for 'sport' rather than food, or protection of food (eg shooting wolves) would be regarded as a negative act. Intention is the key factor.

In fact, even living as a vegetarian causes suffering to many animals resulting from plowing and harvesting. Bugs, young birds, moles and fieldmice etc are squashed and cut, though this is not the intention of the harvester.

Anonymous said...

Intention is indeed all. Six Flags intends to get free publicity, the roach eaters intend to get attention, so the bugs are going to suffer. It's not the handful of bugs that matter so much as the disregard for live creatures in order to satisfy desires for profit and egotism.
The principle here is, either you do or you don't respect life besides your own. Catholic Wife and Mother rightly comments about the human unborn, the elderly, and the disabled - but I think it's probable that the same folks who torture or mindlessly kill the least creatures are the same ones who are indifferent to human suffering. Does anyone imagine people like this would differentiate much between a roach and an embryo?
Buddhists, I think you have the right idea about this. It's okay to kill bugs & animals, but only humanely and only for a valid reason.

John L. Wright said...

Hi, Father!
I think commanding this much attention was, in fact, the end goal of the contest. We've all been duped when debate is sparked over what used to be common knowledge - you know - "Johnny, we don't eat bugs"
This was a value instilled in me when I was four years old and apparently curious or hungry...

shana sfo said...

Besides the whole 'cockroach eating thing' being just plain stupid, I see this as something peculiar to those who are in PETA and the like. Most in the PETA/vegan mentality (but not all) will tell you that people aren't special in any way - just animals like every other animal. Our human-ness doesn't elevate us in any way above animals, nor make us superior to them because we are just animals too .

THEN they want us to behave differently than animals. Animals don't painlessly kill their prey. African wild dogs work as a pack and eat their prey alive. Big cats strangle their prey. Squid eat lobsters alive. Birds just swallow worms and other insects. At least, nearly all humans bother to kill that which we plan to eat (although I guess the cockroaches won't be saute'd first?)

They also want us to deny our nature 'as animals' to eat what our bodies are made to digest. We make enzymes in our bodies for the digestion of animal protien and our bodies use it to our benefit. We have the 'canine' teeth that will help take meat from a bone. Most human beings will eat animal flesh unless condition by culture not to do it. Bones in the caves that our ancient ancestors lived in show that it goes back a long, long way.

Quite a number of them are also rather encouraging about the 'animal' insticts for sexual activity, but do feel it important that no one who engages in said activity actually multiplies. Population fears and all to be considered. (There is even a "Voluntary Human Extinction" movement among the most radical types in this group)

Its a rather schizophrenic existance.

Rich Leonardi said...

Cockroaches are not sentient beings. They lack the capacity for basic consciousness, a prerequisite.

Orange_Cross said...

You are trivial and contemptuous for life.

Anonymous said...

To Rich Leonardi:
FYI, sentient denotes the ability to perceive via the senses. Sapient describes the ability to think rationally. The two are frequently confused. Roaches are indeed sentient, whereas only humans may be sapient (we are sentient as well). That's how come we can have this conversation about roaches but they cannot have a similar one about us. Praise God!

Mike the Geek said...

I eat live oysters. I don't HAVE to eat live oysters; I could eat something else. I eat lobsters and crabs that go live into boiling water. I don't HAVE to eat them; I could eat something else. However, I find them tasty.

Buddha is all well and good, I suppose - nice guy and all - but what about Jesus? In John 29, when the disciples get out of the boat, Jesus is preparing a fish for breakfast. I sincerely doubt that the risen Christ actually needs to eat, yet, unlike the disciples, the fish had to kick the bucket to be part of this meal - no doubt slowly suffocating to death in the hot hold of someone's boat. It doesn't specifically say he ate the fish, but he certainly did in Luke 24. Fish aren't very sapient, but I'll put them up against a roach any day. If God Incarnate can eat them, then certainly his adopted brothers and sisters can as well.

As for the capability of a cockroach to "suffer" in any meaningful sense, I'll believe it when it's unambiguously proven in a laboratory. Insects are biological automatons. And anyone sympathetic to the feelings of cockroaches obviously isn't from Texas. In addition, death by insecticide, twitching your way into the hereafter through organophosphate nerve poisoning, is probably a lot harder on the nervous system than being consumed.

Personally, however, I think I'll stick to oysters.