Must a kitchen have a back splash?

I recently posted an opportunity for a Q&A on my Facebook page, and apparently, only one of my 194 Facebook fans has any questions about design! Ha ha, well she had some great ones, and I'm going to start with the first one- Must a kitchen always have a back splash?

I'm a big rule-breaker. Why would we create rules for our home- our personal expression of who we are in our built environment? Oh, wait- health, safety, practicality, function. Right... those. And, these are the areas I am a firm believer of rules. 

The kitchen back splash is there for sanitation reasons. It exists to catch crumbs, greases, and other splashes. The convenience of easily wiping of grease spots is just one perk. Imagine all the nasty crumbs that would fall into the cracks, inviting ants and who knows what other bugs (shudder). It also protects the walls from those grease spots that you may not see right away... you know, that stuff that builds up over time? Ewwww.... 

So, if you've ever wondered whether you need a back splash or not, the answer is yes- absolutely. For hygienic reasons- you absolutely need a back splash in your kitchen.