Boy's Own Paper,  1 (1879), 431–32.

On Killing, Setting, and Preserving Insects. I—Killing  [1/7]

Rev. J G Wood, ma, fls / [George A Hutchinson]


Essay, Instructions, Serial / Editorial Reply, Poetry


Entomology, Natural History, Anatomy, Cruelty, Death, Hunting, Morality, Natural Theology, Animal Behaviour

    Begins by noting two objections to killing insects: that 'we have no right to destroy needlessly' and that 'to kill an insect involves cruelty'. Attempts to deflect these criticisms by arguing that entomologists are 'never cruel' and that since we 'cannot employ our minds on a higher subject than that which is afforded by the works of our Creator', it is 'impossible to do so thoroughly without destroying life'. Furthermore, stresses that insects 'cannot feel pain as we do' and draws similar distinctions between insect and human life as bearing on cruelty and pain. (431) Proceeds to describe some of the best ways of killing insects.

    The editorial argues that although some of Wood's statements 'may be new to some readers [...] such facts do not diminish the guilt of wanton cruelty or the needless destruction of life'.

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <> [accessed ]