I am not sure whether philosophy stack exchange is the right place to ask the following questions, if not please suggest the right website.

  1. How can people so easily kill a mosquito but not a dog or a cat (even if it had bitten)?

  2. Why do people believe that they love their pet bird but at the same time eat chicken and not feel bad about it (killing and eating a chicken)?

  • Good question (and I've no answers to suggest). The suggestion I'd make is to change the tag from philosophy of mind to ethics. To wit : What is the basis for valuating some species higher than others. – Rusi-packing-up Jun 12 '19 at 8:02
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    Psychology SE might be a better place to ask, but there is no big mystery here. Emotional responses are conditioned by culture according to crude categorizations, and pets fall under a different category (closer to family) than pests or food. – Conifold Jun 12 '19 at 18:38
  • @conifold the chicken Vs pet bird was, I believe, an example. You could find many other illustrations eg the vastly different valuations that different cultures put to the same animal – Rusi-packing-up Jun 13 '19 at 3:52
  • @Rusi Thanks for the 'ethics' tag suggestion. – Mohan Jun 13 '19 at 4:32

Individuals have no strong reason to have consistent moral values. It does not help the individual much to ponder the question of whether their values are consistent, it is much more valuable for the morals of individuals to be useful than consistent.

And it is more useful to eat chicken and love a pet than to ponder about the local consistency of it.

Having consistent individual values in itself, even philosophically speaking, has little value. A society needs some consistency in it's common values, but even there inconsistencies can be more useful than consistency for the stability of the society.

In philosophy on the other hand, consistency of morals is important, but there is no philosophical view specific to the treatment of animals, because morality is a system for regulating behavior of members of a society to each other, and the animals on Earth are not part of society (and even for humans it's not clear who is part of it, such as embryos or dead bodies).

  • Would you have given this "consistency doesn't matter individually" argument if the ethical dilemma involved humans alone? Hint: Your "tasty" edited out is suggestive😆 – Rusi-packing-up Jun 13 '19 at 3:47
  • Yes, consistency in itself does not matter, and there are many practical examples where humans are outraged by a small tragedy happening to a few people, while generally be bored by news of the deaths of thousands. It is a matter of moral practicality. We strive for consistency only where it seems useful. But basically life and ethics are too complex anyway to be consistent, so we cherry pick areas were we try a bit harder. – tkruse Jun 13 '19 at 4:20
  • But inconsistency can make things complicated. For example, one might have friends,relatives,people to whom one owe's a favour,people one helps without expecting anything in return...one behaves differently to different people and to different animals. But if you look deeply, its always for some incentive or personal gain(may not be obvious).It would be simple if we accept it i.e. I am not a pet lover, having a pet is just for company(there is a personal gain in it for me).Why don't people do that?Why do they believe they love their pet? – Mohan Jun 13 '19 at 4:26
  • @tkruse What you call moral practicality I call universal innumeracy. Experiment : Count 1...2...3... Stopping at each number for 1 second. Answer without working out when you will reach thousand million billion... – Rusi-packing-up Jun 13 '19 at 4:32
  • @Mohan: "Why do people do that" is a question for psychology, not philosophy. – tkruse Jun 13 '19 at 4:41

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