You’ve just sat down with your plate of sizzling tofu cutlets,
hoisting your canvas tennies on the lawn lounger, and then it
happens. Bzzzzz. Bzzzzz. It’s life. . .or it’s death. Lay waste to
the mosquito — as well as your entire ethical code against ani mal
killing — or spare the insect, and be true to your spiel.

While this dilemma may leave slap-happy carnivores hooting, it’s
a concern troubling many, not just this summer, but for centuries.
Ancient spiritual texts from the Qur’an to the Dead Sea Scrolls to
the Bhagavad Gita address the finer points of animal eth ics, notes
author and animal activist John Hoyt. Some teachings are hard core:
The Jainist monks in India sweep paths before them and wear masks
to prevent inadvertent insect fatalities. But in case this is
starting to sound too over-the-top, some spirit ual injunctions do
contain a sanity clause — Islamic ethics allow killing of
dangerous bugs like scorpions.

Is there a middle ground? In Yoga Journal
(May/June 1995), Lonny J. Brown outlines tactics for tackling the
mosquitos, wasps, mice, spider, and fly problems in his woodsy
cabin. First ask them to leave. (He swears it works.) Next, try ‘s
piritual immunity.’ (They bite, but — mind over matter, now — it
doesn’t hurt.) Finally, there’s killing with kindness. Short form,
do what Isabel Hickey, the grandmother of esoteric astrology does:
shout ‘Go to God!’ before smushing the little bugger s.

Finally, you can choose to stay a purist. Michael Mountain,
editor of Best Friends (May 1995), prescribes
relocating spiders outdoors, and gently blowing mosquitos from
their bloody perch. In her overview of People for the Ethical
Treatme nt of Animals in The Washington Post (May
27, 1995) Lorraine Adams describes the more radical animal rights’
stance. No Roach Motels, they tear off roach legs. No flea killer
for ailing companion animals. Eat brewer’s yeast summerlong to make
blood taste blecky to mosquitos.

In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.