Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hens and chicks

One of the most common reasons I hear for why it's "okay" to eat factory-farmed chickens is that they're not very bright.

They may be brighter than you think. Chicks several days old can "add" and "subtract." And mothers do indeed feel empathy for their young ones.


  1. Is the correlation between intelligence and (possible) suffering obvious?

  2. It's not so clear. Both higher thinking and emotion happen in our cerebral cortex, and so one might expect a rough correlation between intelligence and capacity for suffering.

    But it's a hard question.

    (Incidentally, this is also why I don't like the argument that killing plants is just as bad. People argue that we don't know whether or not plants have emotions, but the same can be said of anything sufficiently different from humans.)