Why does society condemn stepping on bugs but embrace sport fishing?

Jun 28, 2021
Firstly, I'm the kind of guy who steps on bugs, not around them. If there's a bug in my house; I don't "rescue it." I squash it, then flush it. So, that's my very non-objective starting off point on the subject, and I just want to be upfront about that.

With that said, on to the meat and potatoes:

Over the course of time I have noticed a small number of people who immediately dislike it when I step on bugs, with varying degrees of distaste. Some examples: I'm at a restaurant and a creepy looking spider is crawling on the floor near my seat, so I quietly slide my foot over and crunch it. Then someone at the table goes: "that was mean" Or, a bee lands on my glass so I sneak my hand up from the side to give it a flick (which I'm pretty good at btw) and then hear "it was just hungry" right after I've stomped it. Or if I'm playing tennis with a buddy and I stop to bulldoze an ant mound with the toe of my sneaker, he'll half-jokingly go "Come on... what did they do to you?" missing the obvious point that I'm purposely doing it for no reason.

This sort of reaction is more the exception than the rule. Most girls love when I step on a spider for them. Even when I go to step on ants, the most common reaction is indifference.

Meanwhile: catching fish and releasing them is arguably more brutal but rarely condemned.

Fish which are caught then released die all the time, bleeding to death, intended or not. Releasing doesn't mean "not lethal." And everyone who does catch and release fishing is aware of that outcome. That means its done for entertainment, doesn't it? Even worse that it is ritualized. And these are vertebrate organisms with a significantly more developed central nervous system which experiences pain. But people do this to "pass the time." To them this activity is a "hobby."

When I go to stamp my feet on a line of ants during an outdoor lunch, there's a chance I'll get a look from someone... but probably not if I were fishing. However, Attack of the Sharp Flesh-Tearing Hook seems more unpleasant than the Attack of the Giant Sneaker. Obviously I'm not a bug or a fish but given the choice, getting one's face punctured by a hook and dragged 20 yards until its torn out and you can't breathe seems way crueler than being crushed instantly under a gargantuan white rubber thing. The smell of my feet would be more traumatic, honestly.

So why is one tolerated but not the other? :unsure:
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