While most people can tolerate a few ants and an occasional spider sighting within their home, few people are able to brush off indoor cockroach encounters. Cockroaches are common household pests all over the world, and consumers in the United States spend around 5 billion dollars per year on cockroach control measures. Hardly anyone thinks twice about squishing cockroaches when they are found indoors, but some animal rights activists consider cockroach extermination to be inhumane. For example, the well known animal rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, urges consumers to consider non-fatal cockroach control methods, and in some circumstances, the American Humane Society will take painstaking measures to protect the wellbeing of cockroach pests.

Humans are used to killing cockroaches with impunity, but Hollywood cockroaches get special treatment. For example, during the filming of Men in Black, which features many German cockroach specimens, officials with the American Humane Society were on set every day to make sure that the cockroach “actors” were not harmed in any way during filming. The cockroaches on set were counted at the beginning and end of each day in order to make sure that all 200 specimens had been accounted for. When a cockroach was killed on screen, a real cockroach was replaced with a prop cockroach filled with mustard. Apparently, even cockroaches get stunt doubles in Hollywood.

PETA’s website states that killing cockroaches is cruel and unnecessary, as cockroach infestations can often be prevented by minimizing indoor conditions that may attract cockroaches into homes. PETA recommends that homeowners and tenants do their best to maintain sanitary indoor conditions so that an opportunity to kill a cockroach pest never presents itself. Since cockroaches thrive within moist indoor locations, PETA recommends that homeowners place a variety of natural repellents around moist indoor areas where cockroaches are likely to gravitate. These natural and non-fatal repellents include bay leaves, cucumbers, garlic, hedge apples, and catnip. Furthermore, officials with PETA claim that active cockroach infestations can be treated with the insect-growth regulator known as Gentrol, which destroys the reproductive organs of cockroaches while also not killing them.

Would you prefer to treat a cockroach infestation in your home in a manner that allows the pests to live?