Invertebrate harmony is the view that we should try to live in harmony with all creatures no matter what their moral status and treat them with respect and compassion. So let us practice animal rights at the lowest level, that of the invertebrate: insects, spiders and other animals without a backbone. Invertebrates make up 99 percent of animal species, are vital to the well-being of the biosphere, and we can learn to appreciate them and the many wonderful things they do.
People harm lots of invertebrates for very little reason and often commit the number fallacy: because there are lots of them it does not matter if we kill them (see the entry Number Fallacy). But neither number nor body size determine the value of life. Invertebrates are tiny, but if we are aware of them and practice invertebrate harmony even on a small scale, then we will be more compassionate beings.
Harmony of Creatures. Oil painting by Margret Hofheinz-Döring (1910 - 1994).
On the economic front many invertebrate species directly or indirectly benefit the human economy; it is only a few species that harm it. Moreover, without flower pollination, the churning of the soil and other key functions carried out by our boneless friends, life as we know it would largely cease. Indeed, humanity could not have evolved without the contribution made by invertebrates regulating the biosphere.
Here are some suggestions that you can do to start practicing invertebrate harmony.
- Instead of squashing invertebrates to get rid of them, pick them up carefully and gently and release them outdoors in a place that is suitable for them.
- It is said that no one is ever more than a metre from a spider. There is at least one spider next to you now without you knowing it. However, the odd spider will not harm you and if you get rid of one, another will soon take his place (a house is like a cave, their natural habitat). So unless they are causing a real nuisance leave them where they are.
- Let ants trailing into your house have their way if they are not causing you hardship. They are not harmful, will clean your house of debris and will soon be gone when the weather cools.
If we are aware of invertebrates and we each practice invertebrate harmony, then we shall not kill so many of our small friends and be better ourselves as compassionate creatures. By standing and watching invertebrates we shall also have a better appreciation of the wonder of life.
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