Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Running over "The Chicken Crossing the Road"

Imagine you're driving on your normal route to work and you see a certain chicken crossing the road (why it's crossing I'll leave up to you). It's a one way street with two lanes and you happen to be in the right one, while the chicken is still in the left. It's not in your way, and there's no need to run it over, so you let it cross, letting it go unscathed.

Now again imagine you're driving to work, but this time the chicken is already in the right lane while you're driving in the right lane as well. Any cars that would be behind you are halted at a stoplight, so you are more than free to change lanes and avoid her- but you don't. You decide it would be too inconvenient for you to change lanes, even though it really wouldn't take any effort, even at the expense of the chicken. You get to work safely and don't think about the chicken ever again.

Was it necessary to kill the chicken in the second case?

This is akin to the issue of eating animals for food, because many people cite that it would be too inconvenient to stop eating meat, or simply just don't want to, even though they can meet all of their nutritional requirements with a diet that doesn't require them to kill conscious creatures. I draw the analogy because I think it really illustrates the point that in cases where it is not required to kill an animal but do anyway, it is regarded as cruel, perhaps even monstrous, but for some reason when it comes to food, there is an exemption made. We should all think about what it means to kill another being that is conscious, and whether that is the type of thing we want to continue doing, even when (at least in developed nations) there really isn't any necessity behind it. Essentially what we're doing as a society is putting animals on the road specifically to run over, even though under normal circumstances the route to work doesn't have any animals on it, and we should ask ourselves if we can live with that if we continue to do so.

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