Question of the Week #285

Does a beautiful creature merit more compassion than an ugly one? If so, why? Do you injure yourself psychologically by destroying something you find beautiful? Is there a meaningful difference between pulling the wings off an insect and stepping on it? How much would it take to induce you to rip the wings off a hummingbird or dove?

This is something of a follow up to last week’s question

No… I don’t think something beautiful should receive more compassion than something ugly. I’m not sure that killing something like a butterfly would do any kind of psychological damage. At least, not for myself. I mean… in my head, it’s just a bug. Sure, it’s a pretty bug. But a bug nonetheless. Again, no difference in my mind between pulling off the wings or stepping on an insect. Though, I suppose a quick stomp is more a more merciful death than pulling off its wings and allowing it to suffer, assuming insects experience what we consider suffering.

As for ripping the wings off a bird? Yeah, I don’t think there’s any way you could convince me to do that. I’m not sure what makes me draw that line. If I’m unwilling to kill a bird in a brutal manner like that, why would I be so quick to kill an insect? Life is life, right?

In the same way, I feel no guilt upon eating chicken wings. But I’m definitely the kind of person who likes to eat sausage, but I sure don’t want to know how the sausage is made.

What about you? As we continue the debate over the various ways to kill insects, where do you stand? What the wings belonged to birds? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments!

*The Question of the Week can be found in The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.

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