Suffering sentients

September 29, 2006

The author of "Long and tortuous goodbye to Stud Muffin No 1"

(September 22) says: "The day I see a mouse pay National Insurance contributions I might delude myself that it is a sentient creature." If the ability to contribute to NI is the criterion for moral standing then, presumably, babies can be killed as readily as the mouse in his kitchen, and Anonymous should be worried if ever he gets laid off. Or he is very confused about sentience and might consider Jeremy Bentham's view: "The question is not can they reason? nor can they talk? but can they suffer?"

Patricia Clark
Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning.

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