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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An Ethical Question: A Bug on its Back




I encountered a plump, and likely juicy, beetle outside a building at the Santa Rosa Lake State Park. It was on its back, possibly helpless.

I wondered what was the ethical thing to do in this situation.

  1. To intervene: Flip it over so it could go about its business? 
  2. To not intervene: Leave it as it was?

Of course, a third option would be to squash it, but I discarded that option.   
Full disclosure: When such an insect enters my castle, then I kill it as swiftly as I can, both in execution and method. Moths and butterflies, different story. I will do what I can to get them safely out of the house. Yes, it is insect bias. 

More disclosure: I have a bird feeder. I don't feed the feral cats in my neighborhood. Except possibly indirectly, as an unintended consequence of hosting a bird feeder. 
While I considered the choices, I took its photo.

What would you have done about the bug? What would The Ethicist say? The Prime Directive?




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