Ethics of Keeping Live Arthropods

Lemontoothpaste

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Do you think the keeping of insects and spiders, even if done responsibly, is ethically correct? Do you feel like they posses the intelligence to feel distressed while kept in a limited environment? Or perhaps they are happy as long as their basic needs are met? :bored: Do you feel like keeping feeders is fair? why or why not?
 

RTTB

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Ethical? Yes. Clean spacious enclosures free from predators and a constant food source sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
 

Rick McJimsey

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I have a very strong feeling you're anthropomorphizing arthropods in general. They don't have emotions, they don't feel "happy".
 

user 666

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Do you think the keeping of insects and spiders, even if done responsibly, is ethically correct? Do you feel like they posses the intelligence to feel distressed while kept in a limited environment? Or perhaps they are happy as long as their basic needs are met? :bored: Do you feel like keeping feeders is fair? why or why not?
I eat mammals. In comparison to that, keeping arthropods as pets doesn't strike me as a serious ethical issue.
 

Lemontoothpaste

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I have a very strong feeling you're anthropomorphizing arthropods in general. They don't have emotions, they don't feel "happy".
(Please bear with me I have little knowledge on this subject :embarrassed:) Would that being implying that they are not capable of feeling distressed either and their reactions to stimuli are nearly robotic? I suppose I have seen half eaten critters still carry on as if nothing has happened :p
 

houston

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Like user 666 said, most of us eat mammals. While industrial meat is a problem for another thread, 9 times out of 10 they're not treated well and are definitely more able to feel distress, pain, fear, ect than your average T.

I guess the argument could be made that insects in the wild tend to have a larger habitat, but I don't think confinement is cruel. Captive bred specimens (as most are these days) don't know any other life, and so long as wild caught are given sufficient habitat they don't seem to mind.
 

Biollantefan54

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They don't care either way, they don't have the capacity to even know they are captive. As long as they are taken care of well, they are ok.
 

Jesse James

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I don't think confinement is cruel
Confinement is cruel to most other things, not to bugs though, to bugs it's paradise. (Excluding flying varieties and assuming there takin good care of)
 
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WeightedAbyss75

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My B. emelia only uses about 1/4 of the enclosure I give her, and she is happy as a clam ;) Most insects IME don't need much space. Like others have said, they get garunteed food, hide, and humidity all uear long. So long as they are taken care of correctly, captive insect lives are a lot better than wild insect lives in terms of resources. T egg sacs usually have a handful of aduls reach maturity, where in captivity 900/1000 slings can survive and live to be adults. As for feeders, it's just the natural way of things. Animals need to eat, and many insects don't eat dead. The feeders also get a good life, and their numbers are kept up and healthy most of the time.
 

schmiggle

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I think there is a minimum amount of intelligence an animal needs to have in order to feel like it doesn't have enough space, as long as it does have enough space to move around properly. Additionally, I think there are many animals (puffer fish come to mind) that are sufficiently intelligent to need a relatively large, complex enclosure, but not so intelligent that they need a range size equivalent to what they would have in the wild. So I think that it's perfectly ethically responsible in that regard.
 

Ungoliant

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Do you feel like they posses the intelligence to feel distressed while kept in a limited environment? Or perhaps they are happy as long as their basic needs are met? :bored: Do you feel like keeping feeders is fair? why or why not?
We have an ethical responsibility to properly care for any animal we bring into our homes (including feeder insects) but that responsibility is easy to meet with most arthropods.

Keeping higher animals healthy in captivity requires adequate enrichment. Spiders and insects, on the other hand, don't have the neurological hardware to suffer "psychologically" from being in captivity so long as they have adequate space, and all of their basic needs are met.

Keep in mind that even in the wild, many spiders don't move a whole lot, spending most of their time in a burrow or web.
 

GingerC

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Arthropods aren't robots; a few species are scientifically proven to be capable of learning. Cockroaches and moths are capable of basic associative cognition, and a recent study at Queen Mary University (literally last February) had bees pushing a miniature ball into a hole to obtain a food reward. Other experiments had them pulling strings to get food and other tasks, but this particular "trick" is the first time honey bees have been trained to perform a task that doesn't remotely resemble natural foraging behaviors.

This doesn't necessarily mean they have emotions or feel pain, but I do think the fact that carpet beetles run away from me when I uncover their hiding spots is indicative of fear. It's surely not a conclusive sign, but if a dog were to show the same behavior, we'd call it fear, so why not an insect? Because no one gives a damn about insects, that's why. :p On a more serious note, it would be impossible to prove whether or not they're emotional, so it's a useless argument to have.

It's important to see things the way they are- you shouldn't anthropomorphize, but you also shouldn't make assumptions based on the preconceived notion that arthropods are purely instinctive creatures. It's a popular assumption, but the thing is, it simply doesn't have a basis in any evidence, and it turns out that it's wrong in at least three species that we've found out.

Some species simply don't have the sensory abilities to realize they're captive; scorpions and tarantulas can scarcely tell light from dark, let alone recognize the hand that feeds them, so it would be extremely unlikely if not impossible for someone to tame them or for them to figure out you put them in a box. My scorpion has enough memory of her surroundings to reach her hide without ambling around to find a dark spot- no matter where she is, she just darts for the hide immediately. I'm pretty sure she knows she's in a box. But whether she cares she's in a box- or even whether she's even capable of that level of understanding- is entirely beyond me. But she's healthy and enriched, so I'd say she has a pretty good life.

I think all responsible, sustainable animal ownership is morally acceptable, whether it's a tarantula or a tiger we're talking about. The concept of being "wild" and "free" is constructed by humans and there is no evidence that animals inherently desire to be free. Generally, animals are happy as long as they can carry out natural instincts, avoid distress, and are provided with appropriate enrichment. As long as they are granted the Five Freedoms of animal captivity, it's all right with me, and there have been instances of "higher" animals choosing captivity when given the choice... Dolphin Reef in Israel being an example of such.
 

Chris LXXIX

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This is a perfect example of a Goddess abused with a wooden spoon like if She's a soup: not ethic :punch:

 

basin79

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I know they're not capable of understanding and my next few words are also somewhat nonsensical but it feels I was a wild invert I'd love to be well looked after in captivity. No predators. No harsh weather. Fresh water. Regular feeding.

The only time it becomes somewhat of a problem (and I do buy WC sometimes) is how they're collected and how they're transported. I'm sure many will die during this process sadly.
 

RTTB

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I've seen the videos of the guy "taming" his giant centipedes. Not sure if that's intelligence on the centipedes part or what the deal is. Do they recognize what is safe or what is a threat? He hasn't posted any videos of being bitten that I know of.
 

GingerC

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I've seen the videos of the guy "taming" his giant centipedes. Not sure if that's intelligence on the centipedes part or what the deal is. Do they recognize what is safe or what is a threat? He hasn't posted any videos of being bitten that I know of.
Could you tell us the channel name? I'd be really interested in seeing something like that.

In all fairness, an animal doesn't always need to be particularly smart in order to be trained; in the case of arthropods, it takes a clever trainer to work around a bug's sensory limits, but conditioning an invertebrate not to fear a human hand is as simple as consistently exposing it to one. My mantis used to flinch and jump when touched, but after handling many times it got to the point where he tolerates being petted on the thorax and abdomen without reacting.
 

schmiggle

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RTTB

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The centipede videos were on YouTube. The guy was massaging the centipedes in their enclosures. Not sure if it was bravado but they didn't seem to mind. Interesting to watch.
 

schmiggle

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I've read in a lot of places that centipedes in particular are very smart, and there's always the oft-cited example of centipedes in a cave hanging down and catching bats, though I find it overblown. I would love to see an actual experiment about it, though.
 

GingerC

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I've read in a lot of places that centipedes in particular are very smart, and there's always the oft-cited example of centipedes in a cave hanging down and catching bats, though I find it overblown. I would love to see an actual experiment about it, though.
Centipedes do show a number of traits that are common to other animals we know to be pretty smart; they're extreme opportunists when it comes to obtaining food, a few species show some sort of social behavior, and they have a body shape that allows them to interact with their environment to a fairly impressive degree for an arthropod. I'd be really interested in some centipede experiments, too.
 
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