Allotment gardeners, quite normal private gardeners and
professional gardeners(i. e. farmers), all of them must
kill on a regular basis - in order to defend their products again uninvited
co-eaters. And it is perfectly clear that we might risk starvation
in case they would behave differently - just think about those cat-sized
rats in some tropical countries feeding on stored harvest.
Agricultural practitioners will not think twice about all this. From the point of
view of a farmer some kind of killing will simply be necessary from time to time.
There can be no doubt that in professional farming scenarios the "less useful"
organisms will have to be killed from time to time, no matter whether this is
done by natural or synthetic poisons or some other means. Even the hobby gardener
will cut unwanted snails into halves or dip them in alkaline chemistry in order to kill them.
And of course many house owners will have thought intensively about the most efficient methods
to kill unwanted ants penetrating their homes - they might have considered and actually used
baking powder, gas flames and boiling water.
Most of our readers will have a basic understanding of microscopic life and as a consequence
might feel some sympathy with those small organisms which have to fight so hard for their modest living.
At those moments some bizarre thoughts about micro morals will possibly come up.
Let's provide an example: when screening the micro aquaria from the Krapanj island
we first found some marine tardigrades of the genus Halechiniscus (the image above
is depicting an individual of this kind). But a few weeks later the micro aquaria
were taken over by Florarctus tardigrades (see image below).
So one question might be whether we - as eye-witnesses - of this little war should have taken
sides and possibly have given some help to the weaker Halechiniscus individuals.
Or should we possibly have had them transferred to a different, less risky micro aquarium?
Slightly ridiculous? Well, yes, slightly. But it goes without saying that we couldn't
be held responsible if we had not been watching the process. The philosophical
problem did arise from microscopy itself, didn't it?