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At what point do animal rights begin or cease to exist?
So I just saw this talk by Bart Knols about how he has invented ways to stop malaria, a horrible infectious disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people in the third world every year. After going through the stage of complete agreement with his idea, I started wondering: Is killing mosquitos to stop malaria unethical or a necessary evil means to an end?
In my opinion, killing animals to save people is justifiable, but I do not want to kill animals just because they might carry a disease. E.g. in some parts of the world, dogs are killed in the streets for fear of rabies which I understand on a logical basis but I would still on an ethical basis prefer to vaccinate out of the problem instead. Given the chance, would you wipe out all of the malaria carrying mosquitos or would you rather wait for a proper vaccine (risking millions of lives)? If you chose the former: how about african sleeping sickness which is transferred by the tse-tse fly - kill that fly too? Rats with plague? When would you draw a line and say "I can't kill this particular animal"?
If I may start by throwing out my bluntly phrased opinion: Carriers of life threatening disease should be killed and kept under strict control until a good vaccine has been developed for that disease because I see human life as having greater value than animal life.