Debate Rounds (3)
Animal rights is hereby defined as: the idea that all non-human sentient animals are entitled to the possession of their own lives, and deserve proper welfare. In this debate's definitions (though the definition might be slightly inaccurate), animal rights is inclusive of animal welfare, and therefore animal rights vs animal welfare arguments are invalid.
Round 1 is for acceptance only, and no arguments.
Round 2 is the presentation of arguments.
Round 3 is the rebuttal and conclusion arguments.
1. Animals can feel emotions and physical impulses. They feel pain, et cetera.
2. By the basic human concept of ethics, they do not deserve any direct infliction of pain by humans, bound to follow these ethics by society.
3. Humans have caused great harm and destruction to the Earth, while animals have merely helped the ecosystem balance.
4. Animals cannot commit "crimes". What an animal does is morally justifiable as animals have a varied notion of "ethics", and do not have the psychological complexity to understand these ethical propositions. Therefore, animals have not committed crimes, and do not deserve infliction of pain.
Research on dogs and arthropods at the University of Lincoln showed that these animals react to stimuli by a nervous charge pattern similar to that of humans while experiencing emotions, proving that animals are capable of emotions. Thus, I conclude with the fact that animals deserve equal respect, welfare and rights, and do not deserve to be treated in cruel conditions of factory farming, slaughterhouses and laboratories that practice animal testing.
Sources - en.wikipedia.org, peta.org, en.wikispecies.org, www.thetimes.co.uk, www.nytimes.org
Since my opponent has not specified a certain category of animals, i.e. dogs, I will assume he is talking about all sentient animals. I will begin by providing some definitions.
Animal: A living organism which feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli
Sentient: Able to feel, see, smell, hear or taste
The key point to this debate is that my opponent is not merely championing the rights of all animals to be treated humanely, but he is in fact saying that these animals should have the same rights as those of humans. This will be the premise I will be basing my argument on.
I think that from a simple understanding of the premise my opponent is trying to defend, and an understanding of the definitions associated, it is quite clear his position is impossible to be defended. All I have to do is pull up a list of rights that all humans should be entitled to and then show that all animals cannot or should not possibly have the same rights.
To cut a long debate short, I think these three rights are more than enough to deal with. They were all taken from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which I think we can all agree is a good measure on what we all consider to be rights humans have. Now let's consider why these rights should not or cannot extend to all animals.
Right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law
This right would cause severe limitations on animals of all kinds all around the world. If we are going to treat animals as we do human beings, then we should naturally hold them accountable according to our laws. This includes trespassing and theft. What do you hear when you wake up in the morning? When I wake up, I hear the chirping of birds in my backyard. I have not granted them permission to be there and have in fact yelled at them to go away. Unfortunately, they would not leave, and I could not call the police to arrest them for trespassing on my property. This is just one of a million examples of why animals cannot be considered a person before the law.
Everyone has the right to own property
If every single sentient animal on this planet had the right to own their own little plot of land, even if it was one centimetre squared, there would not be enough earth for everyone. (I have not researched the exact numbers on this, feel free to prove me wrong). The earth simply cannot fit so many property owners, and even the very idea of owning 'property' arises from a human need. It would be therefore unrealistic to assume all animals should have this same right as humans.
Everyone has the right to education
It would be kind of interesting to see what would happen if all animals have the same brains and learning capacities as humans do. Unfortunately, this was not how the world was made, and only humans are capable of learning (or to a smaller extent, some animals such as apes and dogs). But clearly the earth worm that gets eaten by the early bird in the morning cannot be capable of learning anything we try to teach it in the short course of its life.
I think it is clear by now that Pro's contention is impossible to support. Animals are simply different from humans in too many ways. Does this mean we should go and abuse animals? Does this mean they are nothing to us, and we can torture them and do whatever we like to them? No. Animals too should be treated fairly. However, it is clear that they should not have the same rights as humans because they are biologically different from us in too many ways.
"Thus, I conclude with the fact that animals deserve equal respect, welfare and rights ..."
I said equal rights, not same rights. By animal rights, I mean the fact that animals should not be treated as property. The clear definition for animal rights has been given in the same debate. And animals deserve equal respect to humans.
By animal, I mean sentient species in the kingdom Animalia: "multicellar, eukaryotic organisms that ingest other organisms for sustenance, of the kingdom Animalia" are animals, and any sentient species that follow this description, I consider animals. Generally, these organisms respond rapidly to stimuli, and that sentience is what I refer to. I said "same respect", and "equal rights".
Therefore, this argument is not valid.
I will first address my opponent's initial argument, then my opponent's rebuttal to my argument.
My opponent's argument
My opponent has listed a bunch of websites at the bottom of their argument in 'Sources', but no direct link to these sources have been made. I therefore ask you to disregard any of these sources as my opponent has not showed any correlation between the links he has provided and the claims he is presenting.
Pro has explicitly stated that 'murder and torture' are crimes that animals should not be subjected to. As we are talking about all sentient animals, this means we can no longer kill flies, mosquitoes, spiders, cockcroaches, and every other animal that may not only be a pest, but may be life threatening. The world has evolved in such a way that killing is a necessary and - often - a daily process we go through. If tomorrow everyone stopped killing every sentient animal in the world, the whole world would surely collapse over the next few years.
"Animals can feel emotions and physical impulses. They feel pain, etcetera."
Pro has failed to support this claim whatsoever and I have no reason to regard it as true. Certain animals may not have nervous systems which are capable of feeling pain, while other animals such as the earthworm to not have the psychological complexity to contain emotions, yet they are still considered sentient.
"By the basic human concept of ethics, they do not deserve any direct infliction of pain by humans, bound to follow these ethics by society."
These ethics were only created with humans in mind, they obviously cannot encompass all animals. We are not ethically nor morally oblidged to help a mosquito by offering it our blood. Furthermore, we cannot assume all animals operate under the same ethics as us. It would be stupid to think that just because we think murder is bad, tigers and lions will stop eating meat and killing animals and turn into carnivores. These are ethics that solely apply to humans and should therefore be limited to human interactions.
"Humans have caused great harm and destruction to the Earth, while animals have merely helped the ecosystem balance."
There is no way to seperate humans from the 'ecoystem'. We as humans are products of evolution and are therefore an integral part of the ecosystem itself. All our actions and decisions arise as a result of evolution and biological processes; we are not some sentient beings that have descended from another planet to wreck the ecosystem on earth. There is no such thing as a good or bad impact on the ecosystem, we simply function in the way that has resulted due to evolution.
"Animals cannot commit "crimes". What an animal does is morally justifiable as animals have a varied notion of "ethics", and do not have the psychological complexity to understand these ethical propositions."
Pro just shot himself in the foot. This point clearly supports my argument that humans are inherently different to humans and should be treated as so. A spider has no notion of good or bad, it simply feels the urge to bite us, and nothing we do can change that primal instinct. It would therefore be reckless to assume they are operating under the same code of conduct or ethics as we are.
"Research on dogs and arthropods at the University of Lincoln showed that these animals react to stimuli by a nervous charge pattern similar to that of humans while experiencing emotions, proving that animals are capable of emotions. Thus, I conclude with the fact that animals deserve equal respect, welfare and rights, and do not deserve to be treated in cruel conditions of factory farming, slaughterhouses and laboratories that practice animal testing."
This research was not sourced to anywhere that we can check at all and thus should be regarded as unreliable. Furthermore, through the application of Occam's Razor, which states that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected, and Morgan's Canon, which states that "In no case is an animal activity to be interpreted in terms of higher psychological processes, if it can be fairly interpreted in terms of processes which stand lower in the scale of psychological evolution and development", it is clear that the nervous change patterns shown in these dogs may be a simple biological reaction rather than any heightened form of emotion.
It is now clear that even without addressing Pro's final round, I have already won the debate as I have refuted all of Pro's points numerous times and in all areas. For the sake of clarity however, I will address his rebuttal in the third round as well.
My opponent's rebuttal
The main (and only) point made by my opponent in this round is that he said 'equal rights' rather than 'same rights'. However, I believe it would be hard to find 'equal rights' for being equal in the eyes of the law and owning property. This naturally stems from the fact that at our core, humans and other sentimental animals are innately unequal, and therefore any attempt to instill the idea of equal rights in animals would never work out.
Furthermore, you would not give the 'same respect' to a baby mosquito as you would do to a baby human. You would caress a baby human, or at least try not to wake it up (or suffer the consequences), but I assume most sane and rational people would kill a baby mosquito, or a mosquito of any age for that matter.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by PointlessQuestions 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I Felt Con Had More Convincing Arguments And Pro Used Wikipedia And PETA As Sources, Wikipedia Being Non-Reliable And PETA Being Biased.
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