An animal rights activist has urged people not to kill mosquitoes, but instead let them bite them and drink their blood.
Aymeric Caron, a French TV presenter, said the insects suck human blood to obtain protein for their eggs and so should not be swatted and killed in the process of doing so.
The 47-year-old, who describes himself as an anti-specist – someone who argues all species should be treated equally – said people should allow themselves to be bitten by mosquitoes unless they’re in Africa, where they would risk catching malaria.
As reported by the Independent, Caron said that other people killing mosquitoes is ’embarrassing for anti-specists who realise they are being attacked by a mother trying to nourish her children’.
Caron said letting mosquitoes bite should be considered a ‘blood donation’, and that although the ideal scenario would be to avoid killing the insects, they could be killed where necessary.
He explained how a female mosquito has no choice but to risk her life for her babies, before saying:
One can consider that a blood donation from time to time to an insect who is only trying to nourish her children is not a drama.
The presenter went on to say the best way to avoid being bitten would be to use natural mosquito repellents such as citronella, lavender oil or garlic. He also advised washing regularly and avoiding using perfumes.
Failing that, Caron urged people to follow the example of philosopher and animal protection pioneer Albert Schweitzer, who allowed himself to kill mosquitoes only in Africa, where there is a risk associated with being bitten.
The presenter explained:
In Africa, where there is malaria, he allowed himself to kill mosquitoes. In France, where they are inoffensive, he allowed himself to be bitten.
However, British animal-protection workers said the presenter’s comments were ‘a step too far’ and were ‘an unhelpful distraction’.
Toni Vernelli, the UK head of animal-welfare group Animal Equality, said she would draw the line at ‘parasites that carry malaria and kill millions of people a year’.
According to the World Health Organization, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria in 87 countries in 2017 alone, with people in South-East Asia, Eastern Mediterranean, Western Pacific, and America being at risk as well as those in Africa.
If not treated within 24 hours, a certain kind of malaria, P. falciparum malaria, can progress to severe illness – often leading to death.
Vernelli said, as per the Independent:
For most people, this is a step too far and a distraction. It’s unhelpful in trying to educate people about the suffering of animals in factory farms, and is unrelated to animal welfare campaigns.
We’re much better off focusing on the tangible things people can do to reduce suffering, such as not eating meat, using animal products and wearing fur.
I don’t know about you lot but it’s a hard no from me. Those mozzies aren’t getting anywhere near me ta very much.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).