Ethical considerations when donating

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Ethical considerations when donating

Postby steeltarrow » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:11 pm

I have been looking at and thinking about donating to http://www.againstmalaria.com/. The problem I have is that the nets they distribute are first soaked in an insecticide so as to kill or deter mosquitos. I know this violates the first precept and am not sure how you weigh the saving (or potential saving) of human lives with killing mosquitos. Whether or not I end up donating I would like some thoughts on this. I searched through the forum and the closest thing I was able to find was about bedbugs, though that had to do with ones own family and obligation so I am not sure that since I have less of an obligation to a random family in Africa whether the same responses would be applicable.

I thank all for any consideration given to this topic.

Edit: I seem to have accidently disregarded some of the search results when I was looking through the topics. There are more about insects than I thought.
Last edited by steeltarrow on Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ethical considerations when donating

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:07 pm

I wouldn't be comfortable with that either, but I suspect that other charities donate the same kind of nets. It's probably the most effective solution, and most non-Buddhists won't be concerned about killing mosquitos.

There are, of course, many other ways to help children in Africa, like donating books or water purifiers, etc.
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Re: Ethical considerations when donating

Postby steeltarrow » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:57 am

Thanks for the reply Bhikkhu Pesala. Yes, I think I will go another route for my charity, though I do not think I can fault them for working towards stopping malaria.

I have gone through some of the other threads that I missed on my previous search, such as the one about ticks, and I think my unanswered question was probably answered.

Good wishes to all(including mosquitos(though I can say that if I lived in an area affected by malaria I would think long and hard but eventually would probably use methods that might kill them if it kept me and my family safe)).
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Re: Ethical considerations when donating

Postby greenjuice » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:21 am

The problem I have is that the nets they distribute are first soaked in an insecticide so as to kill or deter mosquitos.

If they do not soak the net in the insecticide with the intention of killing the mosquitos, but with the intention of deterring them, even if mosquitos were to die from the net, they have done nothing unwholesome, and there would be nothing wrong with you supporting them. Only intentional killing is unwholesome, unintentional one is not.
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