It’s not fear of karma that motivates me to trap spiders under a glass and throw them out the back door, it’s utility.
An action is right if it produces as much or more of an increase in happiness of all affected by it than any alternative action, and wrong if it does not.
I try to take account of the “happiness” of all participants in any action, and not just the human ones.
Cats are full of energy
Now suppose you just killed one. In her life she’d eaten 10 rats. You’re now responsible for transferring not only the energy of the cat up the food chain, but the energy of the 10 rats, the 100 crickets the rats ate and the 1000 plants the crickets ate.
You’ve got quite a genocide on your hands. And what about her unborn kittens?
Better eat the cat.
The food pyramid is a pile of corpses
As any vegetarian will tell you, the food pyramid is a pretty inefficient form of energy transfer, just 10% of energy manages to make its way up each level, the rest is dispelled as heat.
Mosquitoes deserve it
Sure, there’s no danger of them passing on malaria in America, but those little itchy mounds they leave after drinking your juice are annoying.
So I kill them.
I leave poison out for ants now that I own cupboards with food in them.
I kill spiders now that I live in Oklahoma with its poisonous Black Widow and Brown Recluse.
You have to protect yourself and your family.
But I feel guilty every time I kill
As a species we have a peculiarly narrow definition of what counts as a valuable life.
I think it should all count.
Killing without consumption is wasteful.
And that’s why in my house the rule is, “If you killed it, you eat it”.
It takes a little bit of getting used to, but it works to remind us all of how precious life is, and of how disgusting insects taste.