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Traps for harmful insects - Printable Version

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Traps for harmful insects - John - 08-09-2018


Dear AskNoah rabbis,

Since being good to animals is important in Judaism and Noahidism, I have a question for you about yellow jackets. Hornets were described in the Jewish Bible as driving out nations from before the children of Israel. In this part of Oregon right now, I've heard rumors there has been, so far, a very strong run of yellow jackets in the area this season (thought I haven't confirmed that rumor). Those traps that have a chemical attractant are very effective, but I can't see how they are humane. It seems to me that the yellow jackets would die of dehydration and heat, since they would have no access to water and the see-through plastic traps would act like a greenhouse.

What is the best course of action, and how might this be different for Noahides vs. Jews? Should catch-and-release be used? If so, how (hopefully without getting stung)? And what about possible strife if a neighbor somehow found out you were releasing yellow jackets – how would that be prioritized? What if a Noahide college student had roommates that were using the chemical attractant traps described above – should he find a way of releasing the yellow jackets from that trap at a different location so they would not die such a bad death? If there were many yellow jackets or hornets in some area, would it be better for a Noahide to accept that G-d allowed them to multiply, and only to go about one's business while trying to ignore them, even if they were present in large numbers? Or, if a Noahide is aware that a certain popular high-frequency radio technology has been the primary reason for colony collapse disorder in honeybees and has increased tick populations (the yellow jackets feed on ticks) leading to various environmental imbalances, should he focus his yellow jacket-related efforts more on educating mankind about the problems with that technology?


RE: Traps for harmful insects - Director Michael - 08-18-2018

Several precepts related to this issue are included in "The Divine Code," 3rd Edition, by Rabbi Moshe Weiner:

They are included in Part IV, Chapter 7, "Restrictions on Causing Suffering to a Living Creature." I've listed them here, with the topic numbers:

1. [...] Mankind was not, however, granted permission to kill or wound any animals purposelessly, or to cause them unnecessary pain. This is not permitted with regard to any animal, even fish, sheretz creatures, reptiles, or other small crawling creatures.

2. If animals are causing pain or discomfort to humans, it is permitted to harm or even kill them. For when there is an advantage to a person, it permits one to overlook the pain caused to an animal, as we see from the permission G-d granted to mankind to slaughter animals for food...

7. [...] one may kill any beast or vermin that causes one aggravation.* Needless to say, it is permitted to banish pests from one's property.

*This includes, for example, the use of insecticides, insect traps, lethal or non-lethal rodent traps, and rodent poisons. However, methods that cause prolonged painful suffering to the trapped creature (such as glue traps for mice) should be avoided if there are other effective alternatives.

8. Similarly, it is permitted to kill any animal that causes hardship to people at large...