Are you allowed to kill flies and other pests (mice, mosquitoes, etc.) or would that go under the prohibition of Tzar Balay Chaim?


2 Answers 2


Reb Moshe in Iggras Moshe (חושן משפט חלק ב' סימן מ''ז) says if it is disgusting and or the creature ruins food,or mosquitoes who bother the person the answer is YES. Reb Moshe in an Illustration of his Tzidkus (righteousness) adds of course you should try not do it by hand instead with fly traps and the like because killing by hand desensitizes you and ruins your character. He brings the Ohr Hachaim Hakodsh (דברים י"ג י"ח) who says that even the person who kills for the Beis Din and a Shochet needs a special protection against this provided by the Torah because he is directly involved in doing a Mitzvah but here where he is just ridding himself of a bother he should try his utmost not to do it by hand.

  • 1
    As Anonymous Chasid answered below, your question was "Are you allowed..." and since ליכא איסור כלל, the answer is "YES".
    – WAF
    Jan 27, 2011 at 16:32

Tzar Balay Chaim means causing pain. Killing is explicitly excluded (as long as you do it properly) since once dead the animal no longer feels pain.

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    Can't it feel pain during its death process?
    – Double AA
    Jul 27, 2012 at 14:20
  • @DoubleAA Depends on how you do it - many deaths are instant, and they kill too fast for the animal to feel pain. In any case flies and mosquitoes do not have the ability to feel pain. Also, Tzar Balay Chaim implies unnecessary pain. If you need to kill the animal (and people have permission to kill animals) that is not included, as long as you do it as quickly as you can.
    – Ariel
    Jul 27, 2012 at 20:55
  • If I have permission to harm an animal I can do that too in a way that minimizes pain. What is unique about 'killing'?
    – Double AA
    Jul 27, 2012 at 20:56
  • @DoubleAA Since when does the torah give you permission to harm an animal? (i.e. cause it pain, but don't kill it?) Actually only in one case: where it is needed to save a human life (medical research usually). But otherwise, no you do not have permission to do that.
    – Ariel
    Jul 27, 2012 at 20:58
  • @DoubleAA Oops, looks like you edited your comment.
    – Ariel
    Jul 27, 2012 at 20:59

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