Hey, Little Ant

We just finished a book called Hey, Little Ant, by Phillip and Hannah Hoose. It is about a boy who sees an ant on the sidewalk and is deciding if he should squish it. To his surprise, the ant talks to him and begs him to let him live. The story ends asking what you would do. Would you squish the ant or not? I would not squish the ant because the ant never did anything. The boy wants to squish him because his friends squish ants all the time.

This goes with a Jewish law: צער בעלי חיים
the ethical treatment of animals. The basic idea of this is that the benefit for humans has to outweigh the pain and suffering of animals. The benefit of the boy doesn’t outweigh the pain and suffering of the ant, so he shouldn’t step on the ant. Although some ants are pests, this ant in the story didn’t do anything. The ant should live because the boy didn’t have a reason to kill the ant.

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