I am a mammal with high cognitive functions and empathy, and it bothers me that Japanese people hunt dolphins for the fun of it. The thing here is that empathy works cross species, and in particular I feel the suffering of any mammals with high cognitive functions. Examples are higher primates, dolphins, elephants, wales, dogs, cats, and all their non domesticated variants, eg, any members of the Felidae family (I am also found of the Teuthida order --google is your friend here--, but for reasons I will explain another time).
This said, I am not a Buddhist, and in particular I do not mind the idea that (some) animals are killed by humans. For instance I like eating meat and I don't think twice about the fact that chickens are bred and killed to feed me.
The flat sees the regular coming of flies. In the summer they just pass by and carry on their journey, but in this moment, probably due to the strange UK weather (and the presence of a bin area not very far away from one of the windows), they enter and decide that the weather inside is definitively nicer than outside and that maybe they should stay. And this is where the problem starts: Aubrey wants to kill them. At the beginning she was doing it herself, but as I have spent some day time here last few days, I took over the killing of the flies. Despite the fact that I have no empathy towards flies (and in general I do not think that individual insects are worthy of my empathy -- even though collectively some of them do impressive thing), I still do not enjoy killing them, as in 'ending a life'. To me killing an insect is like killing a random computer process of your operating system just for the fun of it (you just don't do that unless you have a good reason to). Actually, it's really the fact of having to do it myself, as in 'actively' (eg: physically) taking part of a murder. If I could build a (flying) robot to kill them, then there would not be any problem. OH MY GOD ! I have just understood the US military drone program !
( Thinking about it, it is actually easier for me to kill a chicken than a fly. A chicken is just food. Whereas insects, and in particular the flying ones, are to me engineering marvels. I am very impressed by the fact that an entire flight control system can evolve to fit in so few neurons. On the other hand, when was the last time chickens contributed in any meaningful way to the ecosystem ? At least bees are crucial elements in the survival of important sub-ecosystems; incidentally the ones that really important to mankind's own survival. )
As the thought of randomly going after and killing flies was conflicting with my non enjoyment of the fact of killing them, I had to make some adjustments inside me. I slowly convinced myself that it's actually fun to kill them. This wasn't difficult to do because actually killing a fly requires some skills, you need to be faster than them and have very good motor functions. I associate the fact of killing them with the fact that I am becoming a better hunter, and by continuity a better human. In the end I became a fly serial killer who now really enjoys destroying them; and I probably won't stop until I can do it closed eyes, with both hands tied behind me, at which point it might become a bit boring and I will start killing something else...
I will never watch serial killers dramas on TV the same way ever again :-)