Women Convicted for Stopping to Help Ducks

by 263mason on February 4, 2015 - 3:43pm


On June 27, 2010 a father and daughter lost their lives in a motorcycle accident when they ran into the back of a stopped car in the left lane of the provincial highway in Candiac, just south of Montreal.  The staff of the Global News reports that Emma Czornobaj, driver of the car, had stopped to help ducklings cross the road so that they would not be run over.  The driver of the motorcycle was said to have been speeding to the damage of the vehicle and severity of the crash.  The driver of the car has been convicted and will be returning to court for a pre sentence hearing on August 8.  (Jury Convicts Quebec Woman Who Stopped for Ducks. Canadian Press.)

As human beings we can easily say that the ducklings lives are less valuable than our own.  The moral issue at hand is that Czornobaj was simply trying to do the right thing by helping these innocent creatures, but is now responsible for the death of two individuals. A consequentialist sees the end result as being more important than the action. If you have to kill one person to save 5 then the end result is justified (G.E.M Anscombe. Richter, Duncan).  To a consequentialist Czornobaj’s action led to a terrible consequence and is therefore immoral.  If she had left the ducklings alone she would have probably felt bad but the father and daughter may still be alive.

Letting something or someone die in order to save the lives of something or someone is a moral dilemma that no one should ever have to encounter.  Ones actions will always have a consequence, but making the right decision to have to best outcome is always the hard part.




“G.E.M Anscombe.” Richter, Duncan. "Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Virginia Military Institute. Web. 3 Feb. 2015. <http://www.iep.utm.edu/anscombe/>.

"Jury Convicts Quebec Woman Who Stopped for Ducks." Global News. Canadian Press, 20 June 2014. Web. 3 Feb. 2015. <http://globalnews.ca/news/1406647/jury-convicts-quebec-woman-who-stopped....


Your topic is really interesting and I really enjoyed reading about the article you chose and how a utilitarian would judge this situation. Looking at this case from a virtue ethicist, we can say that Emma Czornobaj is a “good” person, as she shows signs of positive traits, which Aristotle calls “virtues”, such as compassion and friendliness. However, one could also argue that compassion and friendliness towards animals such as these ducks she stopped for are different than the compassion and friendliness towards humans, causing a problem as to whether or not Emma Czornobaj is really a “good” person or not from a virtue ethicist's point of view. Hence, a major flaw in virtue ethics is it’s incompleteness as it may need to rely on another theory to help answer certain questions like the one mentioned above about whether or not Emma is a “good” person.

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