The Instigator
kckettler
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
DeFool
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Animals are not entitled to protective rights.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/24/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,789 times Debate No: 25807
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (0)

 

kckettler

Pro

Rounds
1-Acceptance of Terms
2-Opening Statements
3-Rebuttals
4-Rebuttals/Closing Arguments

But ill clear up a couple things here first:

Animals: one of the lower animals as distinguished from human beings

Protective Rights: Rights protecting animals from physical or psychological harm, for whatever purpose.

I intend to argue that Animals are not entitled to protective rights.

I look forward to a great debate!
DeFool

Con

Thank you to my debate partner for thinking to present this challenge. I have never heard an argument in support of animal cruelty, and so I am eager to hear how it will be framed.


My task here is to establish that any law that prevents animal cruelty for any reason is a "good idea." This is a straightforward task, and so I shall not waste much time in getting straight to it.


1. Animal cruelty laws have been demanded by the public, and so these democratic demands should be respected by our government. If we allow our government to ignore the will of the American people, then we will erode our freedoms. Think of the brave men and women who died for our right to be free.


2. Many laws which prevent animal cruelty also protect human life. For example, there are good reasons that we do not allow cattle and dairy farms to permit diseased livestock from being raised, and then sold to the public. Think of the little children, dying of diseased milk in their breakfast cereals.


3. Very often the act of animal cruelty presages a propensity to cruelty in general, which animal cruelty laws can discover. For example, Jeffrey Dahmer regularly tortured animals. Had this behavior been discovered, his murderous rampages might have been prevented. Think of the lobotomized sex zombies.


4. Very often, laws that protect animals do not simply prevent their suffering, but their extinction. The American Bald Eagle, symbol of this country, would today be extinct were it not for these laws. Alas, it is too late for the poor dodo's, mammoths and other creatures whose name and importance escapes me at the moment.


5. Some animals are very profitable when they are dead, but cannot be killed if they are extinct. Animals that have marketable horns, tusks, furs and feet could have been extinct long ago due to over hunting. Laws that prevent the extinction of these animals also prevents some unemployment.


6. Animals that help Asian men achieve erections would have been extinct long ago, had it not been for anti-poaching efforts. Today, we would be without both these animals - and the Asian erections.

In short, laws that prevent animal cruelty and over hunting also help humans in important ways. They help us to identify serial killers, prevent little children from coming down with mad cow disease, and are singlehandedly responsible for millions of Asian men surfing the Internet singlehandedly.



Debate Round No. 1
kckettler

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate! Im sure it'll be a lot of fun!

The format was intended to be in this(2nd round) only to be opening arguments and the 1st round would be acceptance. I should've been more clear with that, but thats what we got. So this round I will give opening statements and no rebuttal. Every subsequent round(and my opponent's next argument) will be a rebuttal.

1.Social Contract Theory doesn"t apply to Animals.

The notion of the social contract implies that the people give up sovereignty to a government or other authority in order to receive or maintain social order through the rule of law. It can also be thought of as an agreement by the governed on a set of rules by which they are governed. [1]

Since animals do not have the ability to take part in the social contract and give up sovereignty on their own accord, they are not entitled to the benefits the social contract gives. Indeed, not all humans fit this category (as we may use the procedure of voting as an example). But convicts, infants, and the mentally retarded all have the potential to grow, understand, and comply with the social contract. With all known animals other than humans, the potential is not there. Therefore, animals are not a part of the social contract which entitles its members to mutual protection under the law.

2.Anthropocentrism is and should be the basis of all action

Humans inherently support those causes which support us. Whenever we farm, build factories, store goods, engage in commerce, conduct diplomacy, or anything else, our goal is to help humans. Environmentalism is a growing cause since the mid-20th century, a cause that many times seems to be in conflict with human activity. But the reason people are so concerned about it is they have a personal interest in it. If the Amazon rainforest is cut down, a huge natural resource will be gone and the effects on global warming could be devastating to humanity. But our interest here is not the welfare of the Amazon, but the effects of our actions on us.

Similarly, people support animal rights largely because they feel empathetic towards them. We use animals for a huge number of benefits: biomedical research, cosmetic research, entertainment, and of course, food.

"Animals were essential in the discovery of antibiotics, painkillers, antidepressants, and most other drugs you use when you're sick. Animal research also enabled researchers and physicians to perfect the techniques of organ transplantation, open heart surgery, and joint replacement." - American Association for Laboratory Animal Science[2]

While we may feel empathetic towards them, these benefits hugely outweigh the cost of empathy to animals.

3.The slippery slope of animal welfare.

A.Animal protection laws, to be blunt, do not protect all animals, and certainly don't protect them all equally. Sarah McLachlan doesn"t show up on ASPCA commercials with cattle and chickens. The truth is, to most people, puppies are cuter. When we see beaten and abused dogs we empathize with them and will rush down to the shelter to save them. Other animals aren"t quite so cute. Here are the number of animals killed for food purposes in 2008, according to the USDA[3]:

Cattle: 35,507,500
Pigs: 116,558,900
Turkeys: 271,245,000
Chickens: 9,075,261,000

If I didn't make my point in the last argument, we use animals for our welfare a lot.

B.So if we are really going to protect animals, we should endeavor to protect them all. But where do we draw that line? Puppies are entitled to the protections. Then cats (I prefer dogs), cattle, pigs, turkeys, birds... But what about rats and pests that get into people's gardens and destroy material? Under this logic they must be protected as well. If you step on an ant have you committed a crime? Do Feral Hogs in Texas [4] have more of a right to crops than we do? Do Bacteria and viruses like E. Coli and HIV have a right to life?

We support animal rights when it is convenient for us, to protect the cute. Protecting animal rights is inherently hypocritical if we protect some and not others. And if it's not hypocritical, then it's suicidal.

[1] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_contract_theory
[2] http://www.whyville.net...
[3] http://www.animalliberationfront.com...
[4] http://icwdm.org...
DeFool

Con

I am impressed by the surprisingly well-presented case that my partner has made, and must admit that it has exceeded my expectations. Congratulations on this. Unfortunately, once we peel back the impressive verbiage, the arguments themselves do not do justice to his eloquence on the subject. Ultimately, all these propositions are unconvincing.

1. Social Contract Theory doesn’t apply to Animals.

The notion of the social contract implies that the people give up sovereignty to a government or other authority in order to receive or maintain social order through the rule of law. It can also be thought of as an agreement by the governed on a set of rules by which they are governed.

Since animals do not have the ability to take part in the social contract and give up sovereignty on their own accord, they are not entitled to the benefits the social contract gives.

While the social contract does not apply to animals, it does still govern human behavior. Human behavior with regards to animals remains, after all, human behavior. There is no real attempt by the United States government to write laws that must be obeyed by animals, such as mandating humane hunting of deer by cougars. At any rate, the cougars would only ignore any such laws. Therefore, this argument is irrelevant.

2. Anthropocentrism is and should be the basis of all action

Humans inherently support those causes which support us. Whenever we farm, build factories, store goods, engage in commerce, conduct diplomacy, or anything else, our goal is to help humans.

Of course I agree with this statement. As I pointed out in the opening round, there are good human-benefiting reasons for animal
protections, especially with regards to protecting the safety and abundance of our food supply, but also for economic reasons. “Helping Humans,” therefore, is the best reason to protect the viability of the ecosystem that we sit atop.

3. The slippery slope of animal welfare.

This argument is based on two main propositions:

A: Animal welfare laws are applied inconsistently, and therefore should be removed entirely out of fairness, and

B: It necessarily follows that if we begin preventing any animal abuse, then we will certainly eventually begin protecting amoebas and bacteria. And humanity will become either hypocrites or extinct.

There is also a strong polemicist strain in the argument as presented, as evidenced by the following quote:

We support animal rights when it is convenient for us, to protect the cute. Protecting animal rights is inherently hypocritical if we protect some and not others. And if it's not hypocritical, then it's suicidal.

Obviously, as I’m sure most readers will have already noted, it is not ‘hypocritical’ to “protect some animals and not others,” it is ‘inconsistent’ to do so. Hypocrisy requires first-person activity, and is irrelevant at any rate. An argument can be ‘hypocritical’ and yet still valid and true – for example a smoker can correctly say that his habit is unhealthy, and that his children ought not to do it. Inconsistently applied laws can still be a great benefit to society, as well.

But to answer the argument itself, I point out that, in the case of clause A, my partner is seeking to “make the perfect the enemy of the good,” which is a polemicist fallacy. In clause B, my partner fails to demonstrate how it follows that laws that prevent allowing E. Coli into our food supply, or causing the extinction of a species, will necessarily lead to laws preventing stepping on ants. Additionally, he asserts that the human race will be committing suicide or engaging in hypocrisy – a polemicist argument that
leaves no option for any other outcome. Would the human race not protect itself from extinction, due to animal welfare laws? The idea is laughable.

Although my partner points out that many animal welfare laws exist to “protect the cute,” he never explains why this is a concern, or why it should invalidate those laws. The bald eagle, for example, should not have been eliminated from existence simply because we think it is “cute,” or whatnot. My partner will need to explain why “being cute” should be grounds for abuse in the animal kingdom. Here is why he must: If "being cute" is NOT grounds for protection, (when such protections exists) then the opposite must also be true: being cute must be ground for removal of protection.

I note that he has conceded the need to defend human laws, and human welfare throughout his OA. As these are also my main arguments for the institution of animal welfare laws, I believe that this should count as an important concession. Humans have a need to govern human behavior - including how humans interact with the world around them.

Debate Round No. 2
kckettler

Pro

On my opponent's case

1. This is an ad populum fallacy. Because people support it does not mean it is desirable. We are debating the validity of animal rights, not democracy.

3. People who participate in animal cruelty may very well be exhibiting psychological issues. However, this is not meant to protect the animal, but to protect other people. As a matter of public health, people who participate in this may be required to submit to psychological tests, but animals' welfare is not relevant, and does not need to be protected. On another note, my opponent's pathos is delightful.

2, 4, 5, 6. I group these arguments together because they are essentially the same argument. Laws protecting animals are helpful to humanity. I dont deny there are many ways(a great deal more than 4) that hurting animals hurts us, and not protecting them hurts us. But consider the arguments my opponent is making. Their 'rights' are dependent on whether they help us or not.

It would make sense that a veterinarian may treat a cow in order to prevent it from giving diseased milk. By that same token, if the cow stops producing milk, the cow will probably be slaughtered. So, in truth, the cow has no 'right' to life, we just need it to live long enough to suit our purposes.

If a government or company realizes that a certain species is being overhunted, then they can make laws regulating how many can be killed per year. If we can use a resource, and maintain it in a profitable way, then by all means, do it! But if an animal is not particularly helpful and is going to go extinct, so be it. More than 99.9% of all animals that have ever lived are extinct, the world goes on(I can provide sources if necessary). If torturing an animal helps scientists achieve some benefit to humanity and do it effectively, then do it. In any case, no animal is entitled to these 'rights', they, as an individual or a species, only need to live long enough to suit our purposes. 'Protective Rights', like inalienable rights or natural rights, imply a moral obligation to protect them, and there is no such obligation.


Defense of my case

1. Social Contract Theory doesnt apply to animals

There is no real attempt by the United States government to write laws that must be obeyed by animals, such as mandating humane hunting of deer by cougars. At any rate, the cougars would only ignore any such laws. Therefore, this argument is irrelevant.

Ironically, this is exactly my point. Animals: Deer, Cougars, etc. can not comply nor do they have the potential to comply with the duties and obligations of participants in a social contract. If they do not meet the duties and obligations towards the group, they are not entitled to it's mutual benefits and protections.

2. Anthropocentrism is and should be the basis of all action.
Cross-apply arguments on 2,4,5, and 6 of my opponent's case.


3. The slippery slope of animal welfare

The propositions my opponent states aren't quite in keeping with what I'm saying, so I'll just state propositions in a similar manner.

A. Animal Welfare laws are applied on a moral basis and applied inconsistently

B. If protections are based on a moral basis, then, in order to be moral, they should be applied consistently
Which presents us with two options.
1. Apply laws to all animals
2. Apply laws to no animals.

C. Applying protective rights to all animals is destructive and harmful to humans.

Conclusion: Therefore, we should not give protective rights to animals.

My opponent here intends to show benefit in inconsistently applied law. I agree that inconsistent laws can be helpful, but only so when they are applied(when the kids don't smoke). So only when the laws are consistent do we see a consistent benefit(nobody smokes). If animal rights are sufficiently warranted, we should apply them, and apply them consistently.

For example, if we say people should get a fair trial, great! But what if we said only white people get a fair trial? What if only people with high annual income get a fair trial? Or men?

It may seem like I am being unfair with the analogy, but at least it is a consistent analogy. We protect animals we have a closer emotional connection to. To clarify with my opponent, this is what I mean by 'cute'. But if puppies are protected and cows aren't, then morally, we commit the same error we just made with humans. If we dont protect all animals, then we have committed a very real case of speciesism on a genocidal scale-
over 9 billion animals killed in '08.

But what is 'all animals'? Even if we are just talking about the Kingdom Animalia, the cost is very great. Source 4 in my case shows that there are about 2 million Feral Hogs in Texas alone. They are responsible for agricultural damage all across Texas, compounding the issues faced by a statewide drought, and their population is increasing exponentially.

This was one relatively minor example, but the cost is very real. If we are going to commit to animal protective rights then we must be prepared to give up all meat and only use humanitarian(animalitarian?) means to deal with over 2 million wild Feral Hogs, not to mention billions of rats in the world. Many of these populations, even now, can overrun us without proper application of force. This is not, as my opponent suggsts, laughable. This is reality.
DeFool

Con

1. This is an ad populum fallacy. Because people support it does not mean it is desirable. We are debating the validity of animal rights, not democracy.


I do not believe that ad populum can be relevant to democratic demands – which must be popular by definition. At times when popularity itself is to decide an issue, such as the public right to demand restrictions on persons’ ability to needlessly harm animals, then measurements of relative popularity do not represent logical fallacies.


As to his proposition that “we are not discussing democracy,” I believe that we are. After all, we are discussing whether or not humans should set up societal rules. In this case rules regarding the treatment of animals.


3. People who participate in animal cruelty may very well be exhibiting psychological issues. However, this is not meant to protect the animal, but to protect other people. As a matter of public health, people who participate in this may be required to submit to psychological tests, but animals' welfare is not relevant, and does not need to be protected. On another note, my opponent's pathos is delightful.


We agree, and I note that we are both presenting the same propositions, but with different conclusions.


2, 4, 5, 6. I group these arguments together because they are essentially the same argument. Laws protecting animals are helpful to humanity. I dont deny there are many ways(a great deal more than 4) that hurting animals hurts us, and not protecting them hurts us. But consider the arguments my opponent is making. Their 'rights' are dependent on whether they help us or not.


Again, we are using the same propositions to reach different conclusions. I also agree that “animals do not have rights as we apply them to humans.” Which is how I restate my partner’s final statement here. I am arguing that human behavior can, and should be regulated – even as pertains to animals.



It would make sense that a veterinarian may treat a cow in order to prevent it from giving diseased milk. By that same token, if the cow stops producing milk, the cow will probably be slaughtered. So, in truth, the cow has no 'right' to life, we just need it to live long enough to suit our purposes.


I will post this as a final example of how we are agreeing on most of the propositions, yet concluding very different arguments from these propositions. Again, we agree here: the cow does not enjoy the same right to its life as a human would, nor should it. But we must regulate the behavior of people – including the people who handle this cow.


If a government or company realizes that a certain species is being overhunted, then they can make laws regulating how many can be killed per year.


My partner makes several other points in presenting this argument, but I want to isolate this statement in particular. This statement essentially lines up our conclusion to our premises, and should count as more or less a full concession to my case, that in at least some cases, animals should be spared mistreatment. My partner makes the case that we should spare them mistreatment if it serves our interests, I agree, and the debate is settled.


Animals are to be afforded some protections in some cases. That there are those instances where animal rights also benefit human welfare is simply not relevant to my case: it was my task to demonstrate that there exist certain circumstances where animals should be spared some mistreatment, I have done so, and my partner has agreed that what I say is so. The only substantive variance is in the stances of the competing arguments: my partner feels that because the animals themselves have o lawmaking ability, there should be no laws for humans pertaining to their welfare and proper handling. I feel certain that I have demonstrated that this is beside the point: the laws pertain only to humans, these laws are properly implemented, and there are good reasons for the public to demand such laws.

Debate Round No. 3
kckettler

Pro

On my opponent's case

1. I fully respect the majority rule in a democratic society. The issue here is if we were going to allow majority rule(of the population, not voters here) to be the deciding factor in a debate, then a person would only need a public poll from Gallup to win absolutely anything. Debates on the merit of any specific policy would be irrelevant. Ultimately, it would mean every other argument stated here, for and against, is irrelevant, and I do not believe that to be true. Neither, I think, does my opponent.

2,3,4,5,6. I add in 3 here because my opponent is making the same rebuttal as in the others.

My partner makes the case that we should spare them mistreatment if it serves our interests, I agree, and the debate is settled.

The statement here encapsulates my opponent's arguments fairly well for the rest of his rebuttal, so I'll get straight to it.

The argument my opponent intends to make is that Animals are to be afforded some protections in some cases. That is a very different statement from Animals are entitled to protective rights. As I stated in my rebuttal, Protective Rights for Animals can be likened to Inalienable rights or Natural rights. Human rights or God-Given Rights or Universal Rights could work just as well.

Of course we agree that some laws protecting animals can help us, but my argument is that we only give them protection when it suits our purposes. The Right to something is more fundamental and absolute than "we will protect them in some select few cases where it is convenient for us." Then immediately after we go and kill millions for food.

My opponent and I agree that some animals should sometimes be given certain protections. But my opponent fails to make the case that they are entitled to protective rights, which is the namesake and ultimately, the point of this debate.


Defense of my case

1. Social Contract Theory doesnt apply to animals

My opponent doesnt directly attack this, but I believe this statement was meant to attack it.

my partner feels that because the animals themselves have o lawmaking ability, there should be no laws for humans pertaining to their welfare and proper handling. I feel certain that I have demonstrated that this is beside the point: the laws pertain only to humans, these laws are properly implemented, and there are good reasons for the public to demand such laws.

My point is that laws pertaining to animals should only exist when they are done for a benefit to us. My opponent's argument is entirely dependent on points made in his rebuttals 2,3,4,5,6. Apart from that, my opponent does not actually attack the merits of the Social Contract Theory as it applies here; That is, "If they do not meet the duties and obligations towards the group, they are not entitled to it's mutual benefits and protections."

2. Athropocentrism is and should be the basis of all action.

All of the arguments here can and are essentially the same arguments as in 2,3,4,5,6. Benefits to humans are a huge part of(if not the entirety of) the arguments made in this debate. The point is that animals having protective rights is not valuable in and of itself. More to the point, the well-being of animals is not important in and of itself. Protecting select animals in certain condidtions is good if and only if it helps humans.

3. The slippery slope of animal welfare

This was and is the heart of my case. Nearly half of my last rebuttal was devoted to this single point as it deals with the issue of animal rights in all of its aspects. This makes it all-the-more disturbing that the issue was not even mentioned anywhere in my opponent's last rebuttal. The issue of rights is a fairly absolute one, and we cannot enter on the moral high ground of animal rights while simultaneously killing billions of animals for food and billions more claiming they are pests.

Im not going to take up voters time(mainly because I dont have the character space), so I will simply refer them to my previous rebuttal, after the bolded Conclusion.

People are empathetic to animals. It is only natural to most of us that we do not want to see them in pain. When we see a beaten and abused puppy on television to the sound of a Sara McLauchan's In the Arms of an Angel, it makes us want to do something about it, and to prevent it. But consider animals that don't get on television.

How much does a cow suffer in a feedlot for years before it's slaughter? And the majority of people still eat meat.

How much does a rat suffer, barely getting by on scraps before its death? The majority of people would still call an exterminator.

If we are not ready to make the leap, then do not pretend to take the moral high ground. Rats, Feral Hogs, and a thousand over invasive species are ready to take our place if we don't maintain our place at the top. And if you take the leap for animal rights, know that while humans are very high on the evolutionary chain...

We just have that much more to fall.


I would like to thank my opponent for a great debate! I look forward to your final rebuttal/conclusion. And I look forward to voters opinions on this topic.
DeFool

Con

Many thanks to my partner, whose dark worldview has pleased me immensely. I have greatly enjoyed this contest, and hope to find more such duels in the near future. Adversaries such this are the reason that I have grown fond of this forum.


I also want to extend gratitude to all the voters who have followed our arguments to this point. I shall not delay their judgment much longer; I just want to make a few swift points in closing.


My argument has, from the start, been light hearted. I have intentionally sought unique perspectives to present to the readers, and unconventional arguments that might (I hope) surprise those who have considered this topic before. In doing so, I have of course, neglected the obvious. I hope that I am not judged too harshly for this - the conventional, well-trod talking points are most likely not what the persons who are attracted to this forum are searching for. However, perhaps I should at least mention one of them in passing: animals are alive, and life is important to all living creatures. We mortal human animals are necessarily terrified at the thought of the inescapable suffering of other creatures - it horrifies us. This phenomenon is entirely instinctive, and can be found mirrored in our childlike fear of slashers in cinema - we cringe as the damsel in distress flees the chainsawing redneck. And we cannot long tolerate similar (also non-human) suffering inflicted upon those lovable little furry things. In short: life loves life.


All my other arguments stand as originally stated, with little need to be repeated here. Thanks again to all the voters, whom I hope will be kind as they evaluate my work here, and to my erstwhile debate partner, for having presented this challenge in the first place.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by kckettler 4 years ago
kckettler
Voters? :(
Posted by kckettler 4 years ago
kckettler
lol, no kidding. I am so tired of how many times I see an Atheism vs. Theism debate on here.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
As am I. I only really enjoy strange things. Normalcy is so tedious... I get more than enough as it is.
Posted by kckettler 4 years ago
kckettler
Don't worry about it. I know I didn't give acknowledgments in the beginning either. I usually just give my regards at the beginning and end of a debate. Honestly, Im just glad to debate an admittedly... atypical point of view.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
In my haste (I am to complete four seperate arguments today), I inadvertently failed to include the customary acknowlegements to my debate partner in my last round. I want to make clear that no slight was intended by this - it was entirely an oversight on my part.

I shall here thank my partner for the recent submission, and apologize for having failed to do so earlier.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
I apologize for my laxity; I am getting around to it. I was actually in the process of defending democracy and fighting evil. With mixed results.

Once I finish posting an argument in the Citizen's United debate, I will post one here. I have, just this morning, also argued against the death penalty. So, I am being productive. Additionally, I am at work, and as far as anyone is aware, I am working very hard on a very important task.

Give me a few hours, and I will give your challenge the attention that it deserves.
Posted by kckettler 4 years ago
kckettler
Its just a formality, but you need to post acceptance before I can post my arguement, lol.
Posted by kckettler 4 years ago
kckettler
My argument is affirming the resolution-I intend to argue that animals are not entitled to protective rights.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Is it your position that animals should, or should not, have any legal protections?
No votes have been placed for this debate.