The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Animals have Rights

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 11/7/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 519 times Debate No: 64768
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




First, I would like to define a Right, a Liberty, and a Regulation all from Merriam-Webster for ease of access:

"Right, definition B: the interest in a claim which is recognized by and protected by sanctions of law imposed by a state, which enables one to possess property or to engage in some transaction or course of conduct or to compel some other person to so engage or to refrain from some course of conduct under certain circumstances, and for the infringement of which claim the state provides a remedy in its courts of justice."


"1. the quality or state of being free" > "freedom from arbitrary or despotic control " & ""the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges."


"2b: a rule or order issued by an executive authority or regulatory agency of a government and having the force of law."


I would like to propose that animals do not have rights in the legal sense as they lack the ability to exert liberties while also being subject to regulation for treatment instead of being considered individuals under the law:

"The Animal Welfare Act was signed into law in 1966. It is the only Federal law in the United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. Other laws, policies, and guidelines may include additional species coverage or specifications for animal care and use, but all refer to the Animal Welfare Act as the minimum acceptable standard."


As such with animals including management and treatment of animals versus granting them rights and regulations instead of exertions of will it is arguable that animals have the capacity to have rights or the capacity to even enjoy the concept of rights. To that end I do not believe that animals have de facto rights under the law nor that they ever will so long as they are not sufficiently capable of truly enjoying their fruitfulness.


My acceptance of this debate is contingent upon the opponent accepting the predefined terms:


Animal - n - any of a kingdom of living things called Animalia, including many-celled organisms and often many of the single-celled ones (as protozoans) that typically differ from plants in having cells without cellulose walls, in lacking chlorophyll and the capacity for photosynthesis, in requiring more complex food materials (as proteins), in being organized to a greater degree of complexity, and in having the capacity for spontaneous movement and rapid motor responses to stimulation.

Homo sapien - n - the species name for human beings, whose biological classification is as follows:

Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Mammalia
Order - Primates
Family - Hominidae
Genus - Homo
Species - sapiens
Debate Round No. 1


"To that end I do not believe that animals have de facto rights under the law nor that they ever will so long as they are not sufficiently capable of truly enjoying their fruitfulness.", humans have this ability therefore your managing to prove that humans are animals is nullified. Clever attempt though.


It seems the burden lies with you to explain whether a human being is an animal or not and why.

You may want to look into the type-token distinction in logic as a guide on how you might better frame the question of the debate:

Right now, you have lost, because your argument has pitted the token of "human" against the type "animal."

This like someone saying: "All chairs are good. All furniture is bad."

One way you might more clearly express your argument is by contrasting tokens, like this: "Squirrels do not enjoy the rights of humans." Or to use my last example "Chairs are better than tables."

These are examples of token v. token arguments.

As the debate stands now, by bringing up animals you have over-generalized, since human beings are animals. They are the type of animal that has developed the enjoyment of rights.

Lastly, I recommend cracking a biology text, as the state of that science is rapidly evolving and challenging previously held beliefs about the limitations of animals.

Good luck!
Debate Round No. 2


Humans are animals. However I presented more than one standard for criteria relating to rights, liberties, and regulations particularly because rights, liberties, and regulations would be functionally creations of the human mind to begin with. The entire notion that there is some resolution revolving around the displacement of humans as animals in the biological grande scheme seems more like cleverness and less like inductive reasoning.

Your declaration that I've lost seems frivolous particularly because you've decided that instead of noting the differences between humans and other animals you've gone with some form of wit relying entirely on a technicality which sadly does not express why other animals should have rights if they cannot understand or appreciate them. To that end I am afraid that without some form of backing outside of that technicality your attempt to shift the entire debate to a state of technicalities is not going to work. I'm sure I'll just have to remake this.


The argument that language is being used unfairly in the case of this debate is spurious, since both parties seek to define terms.

Con defines concepts of liberty and rights, and I accept his definitions.

However, when I define the concept of the animal, Con says "This definition is a trick."

As proof that this definition is a trick he claims that including human beings in the classification of organisms is a technicality.

However, the debate about man's relationship to nature has been going on for hundreds of years.

Biologists and naturalists and philosophers have been struggling to find a way of classifying organisms both according to their outward structures as well as their inward natures.

What they have arrived at has been controversial for those who seek to see themselves as separate or apart from animals. Those who wish to be separate from animals want a bright line about where the differences lie, and so they reduce the animal to a mere beast without ever taking the time to look.

Scientists and botanist and biologists have looked with as little bias as they can and they have made certain helpful distinctions based on all kinds of facts. The sum of this work is represented in the current system of biological classification.

I have sited this legacy of observation and rational description as sound structure on which to begin the debate.

Con has said, "This is frivolous." Con has also avoided explaining or defining the relationship of man to animals in a way that competes with the approach of scientists.

So it is Con who is jumping to conclusions, who is relying on linguistic ambiguity, whose arguments are based on assumption.

Thankfully this is not a serious problem. There is a simple fix, and that is to go back to the drawing board and rewrite the debate prompt.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by blackkid 1 year ago
I'm only upset I didn't get to enjoy an actual ethical argument relating to Animal Rights. I've no interest in technicalities and baiting tactics.
Posted by Domr 1 year ago

I would have given this debate to Pro had they actually made any arguments. Human's are indeed animals. However this debate is "Animals have Rights". Pro has Burden of Proof to prove the positive claim. Pro made Zero attempts to show Humans (animals) have rights. Here is the only quote in the debate relating to the prompt.

"They(Humans) are the type of animal that has developed the enjoyment of rights."

How have they developed this? How were these rights given? How are their rights exercised?

If Pro would have mentioned any legislature showing a right, or freedom, given to humans/citizens of any given nation, that would have been more than enough proof.

However, this debate got into an argument about definitions, and Pro failing to back up the resolution with ANY facts.
Posted by nedeo1 1 year ago
pro already one, the argument was do animals have rights, one word, humans.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Domr 1 year ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in Comments