Canary-Fighting Ring Busted

19 arrested over Connecticut Canary bird fighting ring

(Via FARK.)

I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat

Canaries in Coal Mines

It is gruesome and cruel to have critters fight each other for our pleasure and profit. And yet we have decided it’s okay if two boxers duke it out in a ring, presumably because they are sentient and exercised their free will (do we still believe in free will?), and chose to do so.

I guess if you believe in determinism, you might say the boxers didn’t really choose to fight. Lots of money was dangled in front of them as an incentive, like a big carrot, and maybe machismo and testosterone was involved too. So their brains responded to the stimulus by causing their bodies to don boxing gloves, step into the ring, and proceed to engage in pugilation.

I have to mention Betta Fish (Siamese Fighting Fish). So easy to care for; just be sure to do those water changes.

Is it wrong to have bugs fight each other?

Japanese Bug Fights (here’s a wiki entry on the topic; I like how each bug has a “Special Move” )
Gladiator Bugs (Americanized version)

What about having robots fight each other? Is that wrong?

Robot Wars

Maybe it’s okay with robots, because (as far as we can tell; maybe this is the Problem of Other Minds) they do not experience pain, whereas bugs, fish, dogs, and canaries do (as far as we can tell). Is that it? Is the presence or absence of pain what decides whether it’s okay or not? But suppose we introduce anesthesia…

Here, robots may be serving a stand-in for the Philosophical Zombie. Would it be wrong to have zombies fight each other?