People For The Ethical Treatment Of Insects?

A tip of the Consumer Freedom hat goes to the editors of Salvo, a Chicago-based cultural journal with a wry sense of humor. The magazine’s inaugural issue was sprinkled liberally with advertising parodies, including one aimed squarely at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) :

STOP THE INSECTICIDE! One million ants are slaughtered every month by careless missteps, cruel young children with magnifying glasses, and newspapers wielded in ignorance and fear. Feeling bugged? To learn what you can do to help stop the insecticide, or to sponsor an orphaned pupae, call 1-800-555-PETI. People for the Ethical Treatment of Insects.

The ad hints at a fair question. Why doesn’t PETA invest considerable time and money fighting the senseless slaughter of bugs? There are 900,000 known insect species (three times more than the rest of the animal kingdom combined). That’s 80 percent of the world’s species, and surely some of them are capable of feeling pain as they rocket into our windshields. We think we know the answer: PETA doesn’t regularly crusade for cicadas, strip for scarabs, or counsel kindness to crickets because it would instantly be ridiculed as silly. (Of course, this has never stopped the group before.) But if PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, and other like-minded groups get their way, and global “rights” are established for animals, will there really be a legal difference between cows and cockroaches? Fish and fruit flies? Turkeys and termites? In a world where some insects are already nutritional staples, these questions may already be buzzing around PETA’s headquarters.

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