The Instigator
TheSkeptic
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
ViRiUnCteSiGnUmRuTiLuS46
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

Animal Welfare is Superior to Animal Rights.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,991 times Debate No: 6270
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (3)

 

TheSkeptic

Pro

[Definition - Animal Welfare]
1. The viewpoint that it is morally acceptable for humans to use nonhuman animals for food, in animal research, as clothing, and in entertainment, so long as unnecessary suffering is avoided.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

[Definition - Animal Rights]
1. The idea that the most basic interests of animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings. Animals should no longer be regarded as property, or used as food, clothing, research subjects, or entertainment, but should instead be viewed as legal persons and members of the moral community.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

====Arguments=====

Animal welfare and animal rights are on par when it comes to toning down the suffering and pain in farms, entertainment industries, etc.

There is a crucial difference though - animal rights takes it all the way. They want NO animal products, NO animal entertainment, NO pets, and NO animal testing. Animal welfare advocates support giving animals comfort and escape from unnecessary pain, but they will still be involved with animal testing, etc.

I argue that while an animal can feel pain (which is why unneccessary pain is undeserved), they are not sapient beings (rational organisms). Because they are not rational, they are not involved in the moral community, and thus should NOT be included on the same moral platform as humans.

=====Conclusion=====

Humans > Animals. This is all I will say so far, I will await my opponents response.
ViRiUnCteSiGnUmRuTiLuS46

Con

>I would firstly like to thank my opponent for starting this debate.

>I accept both definitions offered by my opponent.

>My opponent's argument is basically an evaluation of humans versus other animals. He makes the claim that "[other animals] are not sapient beings (rational organisms)." He goes on to say that not being rational, they do not deserve participation in the "moral community." My opponent has not given clarification as to what this "moral community" is, but I believe he is referring to humanity.

>My argument and my refutation of my opponent's argument are essentially the same: other animals ARE equal to humans. My opponent has made the claim that other animals are not mentally rational. I disagree. As you see the videos I have left, the animals ARE rational, thus my opponent's arguments are null. I'll leave it at that for now as I have nothing else to refute.

>I would like to observe that my opponent has a burden of proof to not only prove that animal welfare is superior to animal cruelty, but to prove it in all cases.

>I wish my opponent luck in his response.
Debate Round No. 1
TheSkeptic

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting my debate and for his interesting YouTube videos ;D.

=====Counterarguments=====

"My opponent has not given clarification as to what this "moral community" is, but I believe he is referring to humanity."
----> By moral community, I basically mean the entiriety of every entity that can engage in moral decisions, also known as a person ( a human doesn't have to be a person) See source for definition (the 4th definition, it pertains to philosophy) [1]. By defintiion, a person is a rational being. I contend that because animals are not rational, they are not persons, which means they are NOT part of the moral community.

>>>Animals are rational<<<

1. My opponent seems to misunderstand what "sapience" and "rationalty" mean. They do not mean consciousness or sentience, traits that are exhibited by both animals and humans. Sapience/rationality is the ability to make judgements. Humans are homo SAPIENS; we are the only known organism to have sapience. Sapicence can be thought of as another facutly of intelligence. While every animal has a degree of intelligence, no non-human animal has been observed to have sapience.

2. My opponent's video show no evidence for the sapience of animals. They are merely videos of unique case studies on animal relationships - in a family fun documentary style of course. Examples of cats being friends with dogs are rare and a pleasant sight, but they in no way prove that animals are sapient.

>>><<<

"I would like to observe that my opponent has a burden of proof to not only prove that animal welfare is superior to animal cruelty, but to prove it in all cases."
----> Prove it in all cases? I don't even know what this means. I will attempt to show some points of why Animal Welfare is superior to Animal Rights, but I'm not sure if I can fulfill my proposed burden until further clarifications.

>>>Arguments<<<

1. Animal testing

Animal welfare allows for animal testing; just for a limit on the amount of suffering being inflicted upon an animal. Animal testing has contributed GREATLY to medicine. In fact, it probably lead to the discovery/invention of most if not every drug since the 20th century [2]. And not just simple diseases, ones like polio have been marked off due to animal testing. So next time you see an animal right protestor, pat them on their shoulder for the wonderful indirect killing they are attempting to promote.

2. Entertainment

Animal rights means the abolishment of pets. Heck, we can't even have Seaworld! Obviously, until my point about sapience is refuted, then we should fully be able to have them as pets in a responsible way.

I have nothing much to say, because my proposed "burden" is quite vague. I have explained that animal welfare allows for animal testing, which in turn saves many human lives. How many of us are willing to let a child be attacked by a dog if the action of removing the dog is more painful? Of course we would rip that dog off to save the child's life.

=====Conclusion=====

My opponent's main and only argument is at best a misunderstanding of what rationality and sapience means. It doesn't mean the ability to think, or even to act contrary to normal behavior. It means the ability to make judgements and to reason. This has only been found in HUMANS, not non-human animals. Until then, I have nothing to respond to.

---References---
1. http://dictionary.reference.com...
2. http://royalsociety.org...
ViRiUnCteSiGnUmRuTiLuS46

Con

ViRiUnCteSiGnUmRuTiLuS46 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
TheSkeptic

Pro

My opponent has forfeited his round, the obvious win is PRO!
ViRiUnCteSiGnUmRuTiLuS46

Con

ViRiUnCteSiGnUmRuTiLuS46 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
"I think you mean self-awareness, right?"
Ah yes, haha my bad.

And yes, the mirror test does give some evidence for self-awareness (though the accuracy of the test is debatable). Of course, the very issue of the test is contentous. The same professor I had for psychology professes his opinion that NO non-human animal is self-aware (he's a radical behaviorist, what can I say?).

But anyway, I'm sure we are both on the same page of the difference between human intelligence and animal intelligence. Indeed we can be abstract, something children gain when they around 8 years old if I remember correctly (ideas like death, justice). And to think with reason, you probably NEED to have some degree of abstract thinking.
Posted by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
my psychology professor believes that self-consciousness can be defined by the growth of language -

I think you mean self-awareness, right?
I believe that is really not a sign of self-awareness as much as ability to reason and think abstractly. Elephants, apes and dolphins pass the mirror test of self-awareness. And all can be said to utilize language to a degree.
But you make a good point about difference between language and communication. The one hallmark of human language is we can communicate about ideas, concepts, and things that are not in the immediate vicinity either spatially or temporally. We can be abstract.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
Well it depends; different psychologists say sapience can be classified in different ways.

For example, my psychology professor believes that self-consciousness can be defined by the growth of language (if i remember correctly). Contrary to popular belief, only humans have "language". Animals, like Koko, only have communication.
Posted by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
My opponent's main and only argument is at best a misunderstanding of what rationality and sapience means. It doesn't mean the ability to think, or even to act contrary to normal behavior. It means the ability to make judgements and to reason. This has only been found in HUMANS, not non-human animals. Until then, I have nothing to respond to.

Is there even a way for us to know which animals are sapient and which are not?

Some animals can as much as tell us. For example, Koko the gorilla, who can speak using sign language.
I volunteered at a zoo for a year (until I found out that zoos are just glorified farms) and the chimp keepers told me that they had decided to start being careful what they said around the chimps because they seemed to be understanding some of it.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
I use to have pets - I love 'em! If my parents are convinced, hopefully I will get a small dog soon. A dachshund mixed bred with a collie to be exact :)
Posted by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
Skeptic - do you have any pets? Just curious.
Posted by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
ViRiUnCteSiGnUmRuTiLuS46 - HUH? It must be a real biatch to sign up for websites with a name like that! ;-) I wonder what your password looks like. I have a forum topic for you to post to -
http://www.debate.org...
Posted by Bricheze 8 years ago
Bricheze
And that is WAY cool, I want to visit Japan!
Posted by Bricheze 8 years ago
Bricheze
TheSkeptic,

It was directed at you.
Posted by ViRiUnCteSiGnUmRuTiLuS46 8 years ago
ViRiUnCteSiGnUmRuTiLuS46
Yes, of course. It didn't work for me at first, and now it works on the comments and in the debate text, so I don't know, could be a debate.org technical thing...
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by DictatorIsaac 7 years ago
DictatorIsaac
TheSkepticViRiUnCteSiGnUmRuTiLuS46Tied
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Vote Placed by philosphical 7 years ago
philosphical
TheSkepticViRiUnCteSiGnUmRuTiLuS46Tied
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Vote Placed by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
TheSkepticViRiUnCteSiGnUmRuTiLuS46Tied
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Total points awarded:50