PETA peoples in the house:
""""""The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants the flyswatter in chief to try taking a more humane attitude the next time he's bedeviled by a fly in the White House.
PETA is sending President Barack Obama a Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher, a device that allows users to trap a house fly and then release it outside.
"We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals," PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich said Wednesday. "We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals.""""""""
Obviously most out in Consumerland read this as another example of PETA's media politics of hysteria, but Friedrich does raise a slightly interesting point. We protest cats or monkeys used in lab experiments--rightly, in most cases. We might also object to mass-produced extermination of cattle, pork via slaughterhouse, or poultry in abattoirs, though that doesn't necessarily mean one thereby agrees to the premises of vegetarianism, or to Peter Singer-like sentimentality. The division of labor issue should be noted however. Mammals appear, prima facie, to be at least slightly sentient and not merely automatons (birds not quite as much).
Insects, however, do seem a bit less deserving of our respect than mammals. They aren't too attractive for one; instead of fur, or feathers, flies have chitin. They lack the interesting sensitive eyes that cats or cows possess. In comparison to cats or cows, they are very small. They bite, or swarm, or annoy greatly, and do not appear intelligent whatsoever but more like evolutionary mistakes. Waking up to find a massive column of fire-ants on the kitchen counters, most humans, even granola-munchers probably reach for the Raid and have no problem exterminating 10,000 or so in a few minutes. PETA reminds us that exterminating does have some spiritual consequence, however paltry it might seem. Ergo, utter a prayer, to whatever deity, or dharma may be responsible for the insect spirit world, and hopefully you don't meet some ant or fly-headed creature in the hereafter.