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I have watched video on youtube where guy pours molten aluminium into fire ant colony to make casing. In the comments below there's huge discussion on is that a right thing to do. I am on the side that one should not exterminate colony of living things to get aluminium shape of questionable artistic value.

Main argument on the opposing side is that ants do not feel pain - therefore it's ok. I have done some reading around and opinions differ greatly.
Do ants feel pain?

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  • $\begingroup$ There have been no studies that I can find addressing this issue. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Nov 10 '14 at 23:13
  • $\begingroup$ I think they feel pain. Afaik. we are talking about fire ants which are invasive species, so it is better to kill them. $\endgroup$ – inf3rno Nov 10 '14 at 23:28
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    $\begingroup$ Not directly related to the question: I had seen the NatGeo episode on that guy. I don't think he does it for artistic value. He does it to study the architecture of ant nests. Ethics depend on ant species and their effect on environment. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Nov 11 '14 at 6:32
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate: biology.stackexchange.com/questions/19446/can-insects-feel-pain $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Nov 5 '15 at 9:35
  • $\begingroup$ Whether they feel pain or not the artist is still killing living organisms for art, and on purpose. This seems to be a bit of an ethical question. Is killing things for enjoyment (of art) ok? $\endgroup$ – Tyler S. Loeper Sep 10 '18 at 19:09
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I believe every living organism (even single cell ones) experience pain somehow, because it is important to stay alive. The scientific answer depends on how you define pain...

Related articles:

Evidence suggests that some, if not all, invertebrates have the potential to suffer through current practices that do not take into consideration that invertebrates may experience something like pain and stress and have the capacity for advanced and unexpected cognitive abilities.

Genetic analysis of nociceptive behaviors in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has led to the discovery of conserved sensory transduction channels and signaling molecules. These are embedded in neurons and circuits that generate responses to noxious signals. This article reviews the neurons and molecular mechanisms that underlie invertebrate nociception. We begin with the neurobiology of invertebrate nociception, and then focus on molecules with conserved functions in vertebrate nociception and sensory biology.

Just to mention fire ants you possibly meet are invasive species, so you should not protect them.

fire ants worldwide

The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, is an invasive pest that has become widespread in the southern United States and Caribbean after accidental introduction from South America in the 1930's. This species, which has diverse detrimental impacts on recipient communities, was recently discovered in Australia and New Zealand and has the potential to colonize numerous other regions.

  • Figure 1 - fire ants worldwide - source
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    $\begingroup$ Hi inferno, every species at some point was invasive... lol $\endgroup$ – Matas Vaitkevicius Jun 6 '17 at 2:16
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    $\begingroup$ @MatasVaitkevicius Interesting thoughts. :-) $\endgroup$ – inf3rno Jun 6 '17 at 3:40
  • $\begingroup$ @MatasVaitkevicius I think it is somewhat different nowadays because most of these species would be localized to a region or would spread much slower without (un)intentional help from us. $\endgroup$ – inf3rno Jun 6 '17 at 3:45

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