Groups Protest the Cruel Treatment of Caterpillars

Caterpillar forced to perform tricks while living in captivity.

Caterpillar forced to perform tricks while living in captivity.

Several organizations have banded together to raise public awareness of what they claim to be a program of “systematic and widespread abuse of caterpillars.”

“We have a serious problem in this country. It begins with children in elementary schools where they are encouraged to capture caterpillars, imprison them in glass jars and then force them to perform for the entertainment of the entire class.” / Anti-Cruelty-to-Caterpillars flyer

Each Spring elementary school students across this country are engaging in the regular abuse of caterpillars and are encouraged by their teachers in the name of “science.” It begins when teachers encourage their minions to hunt down and capture defenseless caterpillars. The innocent catepillars are typically minding their own business when they are snatched away from their plant of choice and imprisoned in a glass jar with nothing but a few blades of grass for sustenance. For a creature that is accustomed to eating several times its bodyweight each day, this dietary restriction is just the first of many cruelties.

The abuse continues as the children deprive the caterpillar of any opportunity for privacy. A spokesperson for the anti-cruelty campaign explained that, “The whole point of the glass jar is to remove any remaining dignity the caterpillar may have.The unfortunate victim is just there to entertain. Furthermore, the children are never satisfied to let the caterpillar just be a caterpillar. They insist that the victim change into a butterfly for their amusement.”

Noted specialist in the Psychology of Lepidoptera, Dr. R. Langdon, has written several books on the subject. He explains, “Our studies of caterpillars in captivity has shown us that the negative effects of captivity are not caused by the physical deprivations as much as they are by the mental cruelty. Caterpillars, like most teenagers, are prone to having problems with their self-image and regard their bodies as unattractive. This is magnified when all they hear through the walls of the jar is, ‘When will it be a pretty butterfly, Miss Johnson?’ This can produce ‘butterfly envy’ that will follow them from the larval stage and through adulthood.”

Children who object to being forced to “dance for grandma” do not think anything of subjecting caterpillars into an even more degrading experience.

While the anti-cruelty groups have been pursuing possible legislation, they do not hold out much hope for passage in the current climate of political deadlock. Republican house members are concerned that any attempt to limit the annual “caterpillar hunting season” will provide a foot in the door for the anti-gun lobby. Meanwhile Democratic politicians are worried that any laws protecting the rights of larva will be used to further the agenda of the right-to-life advocates. While the debates in Washington continue, another generation of caterpillars is forced to suffer in silence.
photo by: Afroswede

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