Saturday, June 15, 2013

Autism Diaries XLIX: Animal ethics

"Take a look at this message I just got from your teacher: 'J was seen by other students today hitting a pigeon with his umbrella. He thinks this is a game. He calls it the pigeon hitting game. Is this new?'"
"I was bored. There was no ball or anything else to play with. So I played the pigeon hitting game."
"It's not a game. Pigeons feel pain. It's not OK to cause pain."
"But pigeons aren't people."
"That doesn't matter. They still feel pain, and it's not OK to cause pain."
"What about killing mosquitos?"
"Well, they bother us."
 "Birds bother us by pooping on us."
"Only rarely. And mosquitos die instantly when we kill them."
"Remember earlier when I killed a mouse by throwing the mat on it and stomping on it?"
"Yes. You did that twice."
No, J's no Temple Grandin. But, bugs and mice aside, he almost always avoids animals rather than bothering them. He's never so much as touched our cat.

On the other hand, he knows that he and the cat have one thing in common. And when it's the cat who kills the mouse, J's the one I ask to pick up the corpse and flush it down the toilet.

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