The Instigator
dollydo
Pro (for)
Losing
19 Points
The Contender
Grape
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points

As Long as we Continue to Eat Meat, Beastiality should be Legalized!

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/11/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 8,906 times Debate No: 12316
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (11)

 

dollydo

Pro

Should beastiality be legalized? My first initial response to this question was NO, definitely NO!!! But as I started pondering this question, I posed a new point, "Well we eat them." If beastiality is illegal doesn't that suggest that slaughtering animals should be illegal too. Millions of animals are tortured everyday at slaughter houses. Animals are kept in poor conditions; confined to small spaces; chickens have their beaks clipped when they are chicks because they poke each other to death; calves are pulled away from their mothers at a young age; animals are pumped with numerous antibiotics, hormones ,and drugs. All so that we can have that nice piece of meat for dinner. How can society condone this type of cruelty towards animals but condemn beastiality, it doesn't make any sense. Either both should be illegal, or neither.
Grape

Con

Introduction: For the sake of this argument, I am going to assume that eating meat is indeed morally equivalent to bestiality (even though I don't believe this is necessarily true). I instead intend to argue that the eating of meat does not justify bestiality.

My opponent make the following statements:

"Millions of animals are tortured everyday at slaughter houses. Animals are kept in poor conditions; confined to small spaces; chickens have their beaks clipped when they are chicks because they poke each other to death; calves are pulled away from their mothers at a young age; animals are pumped with numerous antibiotics, hormones ,and drugs. All so that we can have that nice piece of meat for dinner."

How awful. Though I find animals quite delicious and do not value their lives at all, I don't think they should be treated in such a horrible manner. However, this has nothing to do bestiality.

"How can society condone this type of cruelty towards animals but condemn [sic] beastiality, it doesn't make any sense. Either both should be illegal, or neither."

No. Just because we eat animals does not mean we should have sex with them. Nothing about the fact that we eat animals implies that we should have sex with them except for that fact that both can be considered cruel. However, just because one thing we do is cruel does not mean we should do as many cruel things as possible.

Is it a contradiction that society condones the slaughter of animals for food but condemns bestiality? Maybe, but that does not mean that one necessarily implies the other. That will be all for now.
Debate Round No. 1
dollydo

Pro

First, one would have to prove that the act of having intercourse or other sexual activity with another specie is, in fact, cruel. For if the animal has not experienced pain and/or suffering while in a sexual act with a human, surely one would agree that beastiality is not cruel. Therefore, if animals are not subjected to inhumane treatment then there is no premise for outlawing beastiality. One can reach a conclusion that the treatment of animals at slaughterhouses is more unethically justified than beastiality.

In the natural world, sexual contact between other species is not, in many cases, a mutual act. Also, it is natural for the submissive animal to give in to the dominant animal's sexual advances. The animals show no sign of pain and/or suffering during the act of animal on animal sexual contact. The submissive animal might experience slight discomfort, but one can agree that this is not a cruel act performed by the other, more dominant animal. Also, if the submissive animal shows signs of sexual arousal and/or pleasure, this can conclude that the receiving animal is actually experiencing pleasure vs. pain. It can be argued that beastiality does not inflict pain and/or suffering on animals and also that those animals may experience pleasure. Therefore, can't one reach the conclusion that the treatment of animals at slaughterhouses is ultimately more cruel and inhumane than having sexual intercourse with another specie that may be able to experience sexual pleasure?

My opponent states, "How awful. Though I find animals quite delicious and do not value their lives at all, I don't think they should be treated in such a horrible manner. However, this has nothing to do with beastiality."

My opponent states that he does not "value their lives at all." But concludes, "they should not be treated in such a horrible manner." My opponent has obviously placed value on their lives if he is concerned with the treatment of animals at slaughterhouses. My opponent cannot argue that the treatment of animals at slaughterhouses "has nothing to do with beastiality." For the treatment of animals encompasses the question of whether or not beastiality should be legal.

My opponent poses a question, "Is it a contradiction that society condones the slaughter of animals for food but condemns beastiality?" His response, "Maybe..." The question my opponent raises, is the very question I would like the readers to examine. Human morality is obviously flawed if we can condone the slaughter of animals, because, as my opponent suggests, they taste " quite delicious." But, on the other hand, condemn beastiality. Which does not nearly inflict, to the same degree, pain and/or suffering on animals. And which can also be argued that animals may experience pleasure.

Beastiality is condemned in our society, not necessarily because we care about the treatment of animals, but because of the stigmatized view of beastiality. In his essay, "Animal Lovers: Zoophiles Make Scientist Rethink Human Sexuality." Research Psychologist, Jesse Bering writes, "Words like "pervert" and "unnatural" have all the theoretical depth of a thimble. Rationally, Singer is right to question our visceral aversion to interspecies sex. And having had an orangutan rudely thrust his penis into my ear, a chimpanzee in estrus forcibly back her swollen anogenital region into my midsection ("Darling," I said, "not only are you the wrong species, but the wrong sex"), and more dogs than I care to mention mount my leg, I know that it's not only humans who are at risk of misreading sexual interest in other species. The Arabian stallion that impaled a Seattle man with its erect penis in 2005, fatally perforating the man's colon, makes one wonder who the victim really was."

Jesse Bering goes on to write, "As you can probably imagine, though, the subject of zoophilia is a highly charged one, attracting the ire of animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and causing a knee-jerk moralistic response in the rest of us platonic animal lovers. Ironically, it landed one prominent animal rights defender, Princeton philosopher Peter Singer, who authored the classic book Animal Liberation in 1975, in some hot water. Ten years ago, in an essay for Nerve magazine called "Heavy Petting," Singer was asked to review the book Dearest Pet (Verso, 2000) by Dutch biologist Midas Dekkers. But he did more than just review the book. As a professor of bioethics, Singer also asked readers to reconsider whether humans' having mutually pleasurable, nonabusive sex with other animals is as inherently wrong as we've been lead to believe by our traditional Judeo-Christian mores (go on, quote Leviticus)."

"The vehemence with which this prohibition [against sex with other species] continues to be held, its persistence while other non-reproductive sexual acts have become acceptable, suggests that there is [a] powerful force at work: our desire to differentiate ourselves, erotically and in every other way, from animals."

Jesse Bering concludes that we are, in fact, part of the animal kingdom. He states, "Singer told me recently that he wasn't advocating sex with animals in "Heavy Petting," but rather just raising the question of why we find it so objectionable. Ever since, however, the piece has been used unfairly against Singer by his opponents, most of whom are trying to discredit his controversial views on human euthanasia and abortion: "Look," argue many of Singer's critics, "how can we take anything this guy says seriously when he wants us to have sex with animals!" But most zoophiles, of course, tend to agree with Singer's general assessment of human "speciesism" being cloaked under the tenuous justification of animal protection. After all, we are animals."

This can lead one to question society's prevailing view of beastiality and whether we are justified in continuing its condemnation and/or legalization? If an animal shows no signs of pain and/or suffering and there is a genuine mutual love between animal and human, can one agree that (while this may be abnormal human behavior) it is not as unethical as the treatment of animals confined to slaughterhouses.
Grape

Con

I am pleased to see that this debate has actually gone somewhere because I have not had great experiences on this site lately. Now, my opponent's argument is more of an essay than a list of specific, related arguments so I will diverge from my typical style of debating and respond in turn.

I have not studied the sexual behavior of animals and I do not have any intent to. However, my opponents entire second paragraph seems rather theoretical and quite notably lacks any citations. I would expect some sort of scientific documentation to affirm any alleged animal behavior since I doubt many of us have observed it directly. In any case, the topic of intercourse between non-sentient animals is not relevant to this debate. We are discussing sentient humans have sex with non-sentient animals, which is a different matter entirely.

I will affirm that I am quite certain I do not value the lives of animals at all. Though I do not like to see them suffering and subjected to terrible conditions, I have no objection to humanely killing them. Hence, though I disapprove of slaughterhouses, I do not find it wrong to eat animals.

I hope my stance on slaughterhouses and the eating of animals has been properly explained. I fully approve of the eating of animals but not the inhumane treatment of animals. Slaughterhouses are related to the inhumane treatment and are not a mutually nonexclusive with eating animals. As the title of the debate clearly states, I am to defend the eating of animals, not the killing of animals in slaughterhouses. It is not necessary to kill animals in a slaughterhouse in order to eat them.

However, none of this really matters. Why we eat animals but condemn bestiality does not matter. We need only look to the resolution to see what I am arguing. "As long as we continue to eat meat, bestiality should be legalized."

So, given that we eat meat, we can conclude that bestiality should be legalized? I see no logical connection that leads from one to the other, and as Con I expect my opponent to show this connection.

The fact that eating meat MAY be wrong (and I don't believe it is) has no effect on the morality of bestiality. The resolution suggests that if we continue eat meat bestiality should be legal, which subsequently implies that if we don't eat meat, bestiality should not be legal. However, I fail to see how whether or not we presently eat meat had such a strong effect on whether or not bestiality should be legal.

This becomes clearer when explained from the other direction. Suppose bestiality is ethical (as I will elaborate on later, I believe this is certainly not the case). Thus, if we stopped eating meat would it no longer be ethical for some unexplained reason? Suppose bestiality IS unethical, but none of us eat meat. If we started eating meat, would it become ethical? There is no necessary connection anywhere in this line of reasoning.

Though I believe this is enough to conclude with certainly that bestiality should not be legal as long as we continue to eat meat, I think it will also be helpful to explain exactly why I believe eating meat is ethical and bestiality is not.

In Defense of Eating Animals:

Mary Anne Warren defines a person as a conscious, self-motivated, rational, self aware being with the ability to communicate. This definition is not anthropocentric, or even biocentric, and is used primarily in defense of abortion However, it works very well for these purposes as well. It also shows the most essential characteristics which differentiate sentient and non-sentient beings. Base on this definition, we can plainly see that animals are not people and therefore do not possess the right to life. Hence, as long as they are killed humanely, I see no problem with killing animals. Once they are killed, there is certainly no problem with killing them.

Objections Against Bestiality:

Now, I have already state that an animal is a non-rational creature. Hence, by definition, it lacks to ability to give its consent. Similarly, it is illegal to have sex with human children because they are not mentally advanced enough to give their consent. I find it rather unlikely that animals enjoy bestiality and not evidence has been provided to suggest that they do. However, regardless of any such evidence, it is still impossible to determine on an individual basis whether an animal consents to sexual intercourse. Given there is no way to determine of an animal consents to sex, any sex with an animal can be considered rape and therefore a form of violence. Though I do not object to quickly and painlessly killing animals for food, attacking and torturing them in this way is in no way acceptable. It is also probably not psychological healthy for humans to cultivate relationships with non-sentient creatures or objects and this behavior should not be encouraged.

Conclusion:

Even if eating animals is morally equivalent to bestiality, there is no necessary connect between the two. However, it is quite obvious that they are not morally equivalent. Eating animals is ethical provided that they are treated properly but bestiality is clearly not ethical.
Debate Round No. 2
dollydo

Pro

I am also pleased that my opponent would like to continue debating this topic. The style of my argument is irrelevant, whether in an essay format or listed out, as long as I provide a claim and sufficient evidence to support it.

My opponent states:

"As the title of the debate clearly states, I am to defend the eating of animals, not the killing of animals in slaughterhouses. It is not necessary to kill animals in a slaughterhouse in order to eat them."

The claim I have presented is not found solely in the title itself, but encompasses the body of the opening argument. My claim: Slaughtering animals for food is more unethical than the practice of beastiality. Supporting evidence: Animals confined to slaughterhouses undergo pain and/or suffering which outweighs the pain and/or suffering animals may experience while in a sexual act, whether between human or non-human.

My opponent states:

"I have not studied the sexual behavior of animals and do not have any intent to."

By not studying the sexual behavior of animals leaves one unable to form an educated opinion on the topic of beastiality. Therefore, if my opponent has no "intent" to examine animal sexual behavior, he merely forms his argument based on his own personal opinion in regards to the topic. I felt I did not have to provide a citation in regards to animal behavior, since we can "observe directly" animal sexual behavior in the natural world. In the example of a "dog mounting a human's leg," given by Research Psychologist, Jesse Bering. One can "observe directly" that dogs can also be sexually aroused and/or find stimulation in inter-species sex. It is quite obvious that a "dog mounting a human's leg" will not likely result in sexual intercourse, but the underlying premise still exists. I will ask the readers how many have experienced a dog mounting their leg or a friend's leg; or how many have experienced a dog mounting an inanimate object? It is also true that many animals practice masturbation, oral sex, and homosexuality. Which can lead one to conclude that animals don't necessarily commit sexual acts solely to reproduce, but also to some extent, to experience pleasure.

In the article, "Do Animals Enjoy Sex?," by Robin Nixon. She provides a statement from Mark Bekoff, a University of Colorado biologist and author of "The Emotional Lives of Animals" (New World Library). "Not only do animals enjoy the deed, they also likely have orgasms, he said. They are difficult to measure directly but by watching facial expressions, body movements and muscle relaxation, many scientists have concluded that animals reach a pleasurable climax, he said."

In "The Politics of Rape: Debunking the Feminist Myth." By Trayce Hansen, Ph.D. She explains how animal on animal sexual contact is not in all instances mutual, and also that rape is found in many non-human species. She states, "First, rape is universal; it's universal across time, across cultures and societies, and even across many species." And goes on to support this claim by providing statements from further reputable authors. She states, "This fact is clearly validated by data in biologist Randy Thornhill and anthropologist Craig T. Palmer's book A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion. Specifically, Thornhill and Palmer's documentation supports the contention that no rape-free human society has ever existed and that many non-human animal species do engage in raping behaviors."

My opponent states:

"In any case, the topic of intercourse between non-sentient animals is not relevant to this debate. We are discussing sentient humans have sex with non-sentient animals, which is a different matter entirely."

I have not discussed "non-sentient" animals. We are only referring to sentient beings, which includes all species capable of "response to or conscious of sense." www.merriam-webster.com. Which includes any animal, whether human or non-human, capable of experiencing pain and/or suffering. If my opponent is suggesting my reference to animal on animal sexual contact, in that it has no relevance, I will beg to differ. What is acceptable in the natural world of animals can't be overridden. Therefore, because in the natural world of animals sexual contact is not always a mutual affair, one can conclude that animals don't have the right to determine where, when, and with whom they have sexual intercourse with. It can also conclude that animals may experience pleasure and that a "dog mounting a human's leg" might actually enjoy it.

My opponent states:

"I will affirm that I am quite certain I do not value the lives of animals at all. Though I do not like to see them suffering and subjected to terrible conditions, I have no objection to humanely killing them. Hence, though I disapprove of slaughterhouses, I do not find it wrong to eat animals."

This statement is contrary in itself. One must place, to some degree, value on the lives of animals, if one can care about the suffering and/or pain experienced by animals at slaughterhouses. If one did not value animals lives one would not care about the degree in which they were to suffer.

It is true that the human specie is different from all other species. But your "Defense of Eating Animals" does not justify the killing and eating of animals. Yes, we are different from animals. We have the ability to reason, make logical decisions, etc. But this is insufficient evidence to prove that animals shouldn't have rights to live and be happy. My opponent claims: Because we are different from other species we deserve the right to life but other species don't deserve the right to life. The claim you support is flawed in many ways. And as Peter Singer suggests is Speciesism, which is the discrimination or prejudice based on species. It is for the simple fact that ALL ANIMALS have the drive to survive; and avoid pain and/or suffering at all costs, that their lives should be taken into consideration. The fact that we are all different does not justify the taking of life.

My opponent states:

"Though I do not object to quickly and painlessly killing animals for food, attacking and torturing them in this way [beastiality] is in no way acceptable."

My opponent has not proven that slaughtering animals is "quick" or "painless." Nor has my opponent addressed the pain and/or suffering animals are inflicted with during the duration of their confinement. Also he has not proven that beastiality is "attacking" or "torturing" the animals. Both these statements are baseless assertions.

Humans obviously can give their consent. Therefore, it is illegal to make sexual advances on any person that does not consent to the action. While it is true that a young child does not have the rational ability to consent to sex, it is also true that the same set of rules humans live by is not the same set of rules animals are necessarily bound to.

In regards to animal consent, animals in the natural world do not have to give consent to sex. I don't know the last time I asked my dog how his date went. We can't assume that animals have the ability to pick and choose their partners, let alone decide what specie they prefer. One would have to prove that animals undergo pain and/or suffering which is significantly higher than any pain and/or suffering experienced by animals in the natural world in order for beastiality to be considered inhumane.

As I stated previously, beastiality is an abnormal human behavior. But does abnormal human behavior justify beastiality as unethical in nature. Homosexuality was once considered a "perversion" by many, but has become increasingly accepted in society as an "abnormal" genetic trait. Homosexuals, today, do not face punishment for their sexual preferences. Can one consider that this analogy be extended to other sexual preferences, like beastiality.
Grape

Con

At no point in the opening round was it ever stated that the resolution of the debate was: Slaughtering animals for food is more unethical than bestiality. I had only the title to go by in figuring out what the resolution was. I was also under the impression that we were arguing about eating animals, not slaughtering them. The resolution of this debates seems to be changing based on what is most convenient for my opponent. I am going to cut my opponent some slack by ignoring the fact that the title (which I took to be the resolution) is a logically incoherent statement. However, I will not allow such gymnastics as changing in the third round whether we are debating the eating or animals or the killing of animals in slaughterhouse conditions as these are very different things. My stance remains that I do not approve of the means by which animals are often slaughtered but I do not disprove of the killing and eating of animals in and of itself.

Now, moving on. Thanks to my opponent for providing this information about the behavior of animals in the wild. I do not consider it relevant to this debate. If it is okay to rape animals because they rape each other in the wild, would it not be okay to kill and eat animals because they do this in the wild as well? Certain the way animals behave toward one another cannot be considered a logical basis to determine who humans should behave towards animals. The behavior of non-sentient animals should have no effect on the way humans treat them any more than the behavior of non-sentient rocks should have an effect on how humans treat rocks. Humans, by virtue of the fact that they are sentient, can be expected to uphold a different moral standard than non-sentient beings or objects.

Now, it appears my use of the word sentience has been called in question. Because Marriam-Webster seems to have offered a general definition that is not functionally useful for this debate, so I will elucidate as follows:

By a sentience creature, I mean: a conscious, self-aware, autonomously acting individual with the capacity for moral judgment, abstract reasoning, and the ability to communicate these concepts through a syntactical language. That is what I mean by sentient for the purpose of this debate and until a word is created with that exact definition, I will continue to use the word "sentient" to express that meaning. I apologize for not defining the term better earlier. In this case, it is extremely clear that my definition would refer only to humans and not to other animals.

Now, I will move on the clear up the apparent confusion about the distinction between valuing life and valuing suffering. When a person dies, it results in the termination of a sentience consciousness, and by virtue of the fact that I am a sentient consciousness I deem to existence of sentience consciousnesses to be favorable. I believe that in general bu supporting conditions that are favorable to my own existence, I support my own existence (barring an exception in which the costs outweigh the benefits). By this form of moral reasoning I believe that it is generally wrong to kill a person. By the same reasoning I believe it is wrong to cause pain to an entity capable of experiencing pain.

An animal is an entity capable of experiencing pain but not a sentient consciousness. Therefore, I believe it i unfavorable to cause animals pain but not unfavorable to kill them. I also believe that a sentient consciousness has an innate value in that it can produce knowledge and new ideas and should therefore be preserved, whereas animals lack this ability. It is perfectly logical and consistent to support the killing of animals but not the torture of animals with supporting neither the killing or torture of people. There are traits that animals and people have which differ between them that support this conclusion.

Now, I will remind everyone that I am under no obligation to prove that the present conditions under which animals are slaughtered are ethical. I believe they are not. I will repeat again that I am arguing for the EATING of animals and I have defend the killing of animals by some means. It is certainly possible to kill animals painlessly by lethal injection and since this is an ethical debate, the pragmatics of doing this on a large scale does not matter. The topics in this debate are ethical and therefore matters of principle. What is right and wrong does not conform to practicality.

In order to make the distinction between human children and animals, by opponent appeals to that fact that animals live by different standards than humans. I agree. And I believe that humans should behavior according to human standards, standards which suggest having sex with a non-consenting individual is immoral. The fact that animals may engage in bestiality in the wild on has bearing on how humans should act toward animals because humans live according to different standards than animals. And I will repeat for evidence: even if this analogy were true it would justify the killing and eating of animals since animals do this to each other all the time.

How is having sex with a non-consenting individual immoral? Well, I never thought I would have to explain the ethics of why rape is wrong up here goes anyway. Having sex with a non-consenting individual involves preforming a physical act on that individual against that individuals will. A physical act preformed on an individual against that individual's will is considered an act of violence. This violates the nonaggression principle, which states that one does not initiate an act of violence except in response to an act of violence or an anticipated act of violence, and the violence used must be to prevent further violence from being carried out. The nonaggression principle is typically held as an axiom of libertarian political philosophies, and though rejection of this axiom is possible it usually conflicts with too many other logic-based ethical theories (including the ones I have outlined above which oppose the killing and torturing of human beings).

Killing of animals by seem to violate the non-aggression principle, but this is hardly so. I content that the nonaggression principle applies differently to animals than it does to humans. Simply, animals are protected from acts which cause pain unto them but not acts which kill them but virtue of the fact that their rights differ in this regard. As the nonaggression principle was meant to be applied only to humans, this exception sees correct.

My opponent's last paragraph is not related to any of my arguments. I never said bestiality was unethical because it is abnormal. This is not at all analogous to homosexuality, of course. Homosexuals have sex with consenting individuals, not with non-sentient beings incapable of even understanding the concept of consent.

My opponent's argument tends to appeal to connotations and our assumptions about what is correct based on our interpretations of reality. I prefer to start from ethical abstractions and move toward more concrete possibilities. There direction of reasoning which I have preferred to espouse allows us to weigh objective values and assess their relationships more clearly before moving on to interpret the concrete based on the ramifications of our conclusions. I use ethics as my lens through which to view reality and therefore must build my ethical position from the ground up. My definitions and conclusions are logically consistent by themselves and when applied to reality suggest the conclusion that I have proposed, which is that:

1. The killing of humans is unethical.
2. The torture of humans is unethical.
3. The killing of animals is ethical.
4. The torture of animals is unethical.
5. The rape of humans is unethical.
6. The rape of animals is unethical.

And with that I am all out of characters.
Debate Round No. 3
dollydo

Pro

My opponent suggests:

"At no point in the opening round was it ever stated that the resolution of the debate was: Slaughtering animals for food is more unethical than bestiality. I had only the title to go by in figuring out what the resolution was. I was also under the impression that we were arguing about eating animals, not slaughtering them."

Let's reexamine my opening argument:

"Should beastiality be legalized? My first initial response to this question was NO, definitely NO!!! But as I started pondering this question, I posed a new point, "Well we eat them." IF BEASTIALITY IS ILLEGAL DOESN'T THAT SUGGEST THAT SLAUGHTERING ANIMALS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL TOO? Millions of animals are tortured everyday at slaughter houses. Animals are kept in poor conditions; confined to small spaces; chickens have their beaks clipped when they are chicks because they poke each other to death; calves are pulled away from their mothers at a young age; animals are pumped with numerous antibiotics, hormones ,and drugs. All so that we can have that nice piece of meat for dinner. HOW CAN SOCIETY CONDONE THIS TYPE OF CRUELTY TOWARDS ANIMALS BUT CONDEMN BEASTIALITY, it doesn't make any sense. Either both should be illegal, or neither."

My opponent chooses not to acknowledge the underlying moral premise in regards to the statement, "As Long as We Continue to Eat Meat, Beastiality should be Legalized."

My opponent states:

"The resolution of this debates seems to be changing based on what is most convenient for my opponent."

As one can see, my arguments have stayed consistent throughout the entire debate. It seems that my opponent has taken my claim and is "conveniently" twisting it to best suit his approach. Again, he chooses not to acknowledge the underlying moral premise for the argument.

My opponent states:

"Thanks to my opponent for providing this information about the behavior of animals in the wild. I do not consider it relevant to this debate."

I have examined the SEXUAL behavior of animals, not as my opponent vaguely put it. While my opponent does not consider the sexual behavior of animals relevant to beastiality, I, on the other hand, find it imperative to examine this behavior because it provides us with information of how animals interact sexually with one another. As I previously stated, animals can enjoy sexual experiences. It is this very notion that an animal may experience enjoyment that one begins to ponder the question of whether an animal may experience this enjoyment within an inter-species sexual relationship i.e.., "dog mounting a human's leg."

I challenged my opponent's application of the word "sentient," by providing the definition of "sentient" found in the Merriam Webster Dictionary.

Sentient:
1: responsive to or conscious of sense impressions
2: aware
3: finely sensitive in perception or feeling
www.merriam-webster.com

Most animals are aware, conscious, responsive to sense, and also have the ability to perceive and feel. Therefore, the application of the word "sentient" applies not solely to the human species, but, in fact, encompasses the majority of mammal species.

In response, my opponent states:

"By a sentience creature, I mean: a conscious, self-aware, autonomously acting individual with the capacity for moral judgment, abstract reasoning, and the ability to communicate these concepts through a syntactical language. That is what I mean by sentient for the purpose of this debate and until a word is created with that exact definition, I will continue to use the word "sentient" to express that meaning. I apologize for not defining the term better earlier. In this case, it is extremely clear that my definition would refer only to humans and not to other animals."

I would like to enquire as to where my opponent retrieved this definition? He has not provided a citation for this statement. Nor has he provided citations for the majority of his claims throughout this entire debate. I believe his definition of "sentient" to be concocted based on his own personal opinion. Therefore, without supplying a citation for this definition it must be dismissed.

My opponent states:

"Humans, by virtue of the fact that they are sentient, can be expected to uphold a different moral standard than non-sentient beings or objects."

To set it straight, all life that is "aware and capable of conscious thought" is considered a sentient being (this includes most animals.) An infant is not capable of moral reasoning, but one would still classify an infant as a "sentient being." Again, my opponent's statement is a contradiction.

Yes, it is true, that humans are held to a "different moral standard" than all other species. It is also true that, overall, beastiality could be considered unethical. But, don't forget, we are evaluating the pain and/or suffering experienced by animals. If animals can be coerced into sexual encounters in the natural world, they are not experiencing any more pain and/or suffering brought on by a human. One would have to prove that beastiality creates more harm than an animal would normally experience in order to conclude that beastiality is inhumane. While it is unethical for humans to "coerce" other humans into sexual acts, these are moral standards that we set for humans, not animals. If humans set moral standards for all species, don't you think we would be preventing the sexual coercion of all animals?

Another example is the fact that humans take part in the breeding of animals for profit, certain physical attributes, success, and several other purposes. In many instances animals are forced into copulation with one another to produce offspring. There are certain seasons when some animals prefer to mate. Forcing animals into an artificial environment where they are coerced into a sexual encounter with another animal is no crueler than beastiality. This example also supports the fact that society can condone one form of cruelty but condemn another without sufficient justification.

My opponent states:

"How is having sex with a non-consenting individual immoral? Well, I never thought I would have to explain the ethics of why rape is wrong up here goes anyway."

No one ever argued that "having sex with a non-consenting individual" is moral. Therefore, what my opponent is implying is irrelevant.

My opponent makes claim to the "non-aggression principle":

"Simply, animals are protected from acts which cause pain unto them but not acts which kill them…"

Again, my opponent did not supply a citation for this claim. Which could be possibly concocted from thin air. Regardless, one can argue that slaughtering animals is an "aggressive" act. Since the slaughtering of animals is the unnecessary use of force, which inflicts, to some extent, pain and/or suffering on the animal involved. "Bleeding an animal out," is not my idea of "non-aggressive" behavior.

There are many flaws in my opponent's proposal, from beginning to end. For example: 1. The killing of humans during war can be justified. Therefore, the killing of humans is not always unethical. I will refrain from listing all the flaws that are present. But one can see that my opponent's proposal crumbles under critical examination.

To conclude, I will propose that human morality needs to run in conjunction with our practices. If humans are concerned about the inhumane treatment of animals, we should really stop and ask ourselves is the slaughter of animals humane. And if our moral standards accept this form of cruelty towards animals why are other subjects, like beastiality condemned? One does not have to necessarily agree with the ethics of beastiality to see that slaughtering animals is crueler than having sex with them.
Grape

Con

Now I'm getting really confused? Was about supposed to be arguing about society's perspective, the eating of animals, the killing of animals in general, or the killing of animals under specific conditions? The way I see it, I already chose to ignore the fact that my opponent had no explicit resolution and I agreed to overlook the fact that the title (which I took to be the resolution in the absence of one) was a logical disaster.

In any case, none of this gets in the way of my position, which I have clearly outlined and argued, and is clearly in disagreement with my opponents. Seeing as this debate did not have a clear resolution, I think that the conflict between my position and my opponent's is adequate. I have not ignored the underlying moral principles of the debate, in fact I have focused on them and covered them extensively.

I maintain my position that the way animals interact with each other in the wild is not the basis on which humans should treat animals. The facts about animal sexual behavior provided by my opponent are not adequate to prove it is necessarily ethical to have sex with animals, they are just descriptive statements about how animals behavior. Humans, as I have said, can be expected to conform to a higher standard that is not based on animal behavior at all.

Now, to address the concerns over my definition of sentient. It is quite true that I "concocted" that definition. I "concocted" it because it seems that the English languages lacks a word that means, " a conscious, self-aware, autonomously acting individual with the capacity for moral judgment, abstract reasoning, and the ability to communicate these concepts through a syntactical language." How inconvenient for me. So, I commandeered an already existing word that I deemed a similar enough approximation and explained what I meant by it's usage. Again, I apologize for doing so a round late. The exact definition of words as provided by dictionaries is no restraint on our use of language if we are clear on what we mean, which I took care to be certain of. There was a very clear distinction I was trying to make by that definition that my opponent is trying to gloss over with a needless semantical argument.

I have not said that humans set the moral standards for all species. Non-human animals lack the capacity for moral judgement and therefore are not held to any more standards. Humans, on the other hand, have certain moral standards they can be expected to conform to. I have provided several moral standards I expect humans should conform to and my reasons as to why. These clearly suggest that humans could painlessly kill animals for food but should not kill each other, and should rape neither animals nor each other.

As far as animal breeding is concerned, I do not approve of it in higher animals if it is involuntary. I suspect for the most part animals are fairly complacent when it comes to mating with one another, but I am not expert. I would expect this practice should be carefully monitored. However, I am not an apologist for the meatpacking industry, animal breeders, or society in general. My platform in this debate is to defend my position that the eating of animals is ethical with bestiality is not. If others hold logically inconsistent views than that does not mar by platform. Forgive me if I took my opponent's question of "How can society condone this type of cruelty towards animals but condemn bestiality?" to be rhetorical rather than the topic of the debate. I am arguing for the ethics of the two specific practices and I have no interest in defending the moral views of others.

Now that I am finished clearing the charges against the validity of my position, let me move on to defend the position itself. My opponent says:

"No one ever argued that "having sex with a non-consenting individual" is moral. Therefore, what my opponent is implying is irrelevant."

However, I quite clearly explained that an animal is a non-consenting individual. If my opponent argues that having sex with an animal is moral and an animal is a non-consenting individual, than my opponent has argued that having sex with a non-consenting individual is moral. She never contested the argument animals are not able to give consent.

My opponent says,

"Again, my opponent did not supply a citation for this claim. Which could be possibly concocted from thin air. Regardless, one can argue that slaughtering animals is an "aggressive" act. Since the slaughtering of animals is the unnecessary use of force, which inflicts, to some extent, pain and/or suffering on the animal involved. "Bleeding an animal out," is not my idea of "non-aggressive" behavior."

Here we seem to be missing the point of an ethical debate. Of course I have "concocted" this argument. I am creating an ethical argument based on rational principles which I believe we can all reach through logical thinking. I clearly outlined my definition of aggression and explained what acts animals should be protected from, what ones they should not, and why.

To recap: an animals mental state implies (for reasons I elaborated on that I am not going to restate) that we should not cause it suffering but that killing it is acceptable. It is wrong to cause suffering to something because of the nonaggression principle. It is also wrong to kill humans under the nonaggression principle (and to destroy human property, and so on) but I also explained that these stipulations would not logically be extended to animals. There are sound logical and ethical principles which lead to my position that the eating of animals is moral and bestiality is not.

Forgive me for not establishing my entire ethical framework in 8000 characters. I could go in to why it is ethical to kill humans during war, in fact I could write about every imaginable issue that could come up. I'm not going to because that's not what the debate is about. I'm extending the ethical position only to include the distinction between humans and animals, the distinction between killing and causing pain/suffering, and why rape, torture, and the murder of humans (but not animals) are wrong.

Again, I am not a social apologist and it was in no way clearly indicated that I am expected to be. For the sake of argument, I could be suggesting that we slaughter all animals by lethal injection. I am not concerned with the exact details because the details of the practice can be studied extensively once the ethics are established. The actual practices of slaughterhouses, which I have repeated expressed my disapproval of, are not concerned with the moral argument that I am trying to make.

Final Considerations: Remember that in the second round, I changed my position from the first round because I was originally assuming that the title was the resolution and was arguing based on the massive logical hole in the title. In order to improve the debate I decided to accept (what I thought was) the implied resolution "the eating of animals is more unethical than bestiality"

Also, my opponent has repeatedly attacked my lack of sources. My argument, however, was meant to draw solely from rational considerations that do not require an expertise in the topic of animal sexuality. I still maintain that animal behavior is irrelevant to this debate; this debate concerns human behavior. Though my opponent has twice ignored this analogy, I will mention it again: animals brutally kill and eat each other in the wild. If my opponent's rationale is correct than surely we are right to do the same.

I believe, as does (first source?) my Professor Peter Brown that a basic ethical argument requires sources only so there can be an agreement of facts, but not to back the argument itself. I have no factual disagreements with my opponent, my argument is purely an ethical one.

And now I am all out of room.
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dollydo 6 years ago
dollydo
Humans have an "option" of what they choose to eat. Whether that choice be the consumption of meat and the slaughter of animals. Or whether that choice involves a vegetarian diet, which does not involve the destruction of animals. Preference for certain foods can fit the category as "pleasing our palates." A person who consumes a nice piece of steak is doing so, not because they have to,...but because it tastes so good.
Posted by mcala7 6 years ago
mcala7
no just because some people have the option to not eat meat and still have a healthy life doesnt mean everyone does
and i dont see how killing a animal for food is cruel
although i do think that changes need to be made to how they live
Posted by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
"Just because we eat animals does not mean we should have sex with them."

LMMAAOO

Best debate quote ever.
Posted by dollydo 6 years ago
dollydo
Vegetarians "eat and live." All it takes is one vegetarian to prove that humans don't need to consume meat in order to survive. If humans don't need to consume meat for survival then that can only lead one to assume that eating meat is simply to please our palates.
Posted by mcala7 6 years ago
mcala7
yeah but we dont slaughter animals for simple pleasure
it is for food so people can eat and live
Posted by ANoobOwner 6 years ago
ANoobOwner
mcala7--The hypocrisy lies in that we treat other living things so poorly, in insurmountable levels of murder and genocide--yet don't allow bestiality because it is unkind to animals.

Its like racism, but against other life forms.
Posted by mcala7 6 years ago
mcala7
i being a person who does enjoy eating a nice steak or hamburger
dont understand the argument of hypocrisy when it comes to cattle and other farm animals
this actually ties into a debate i did at school
Posted by dollydo 6 years ago
dollydo
To ravenwaen,

You are welcome. I read your debate as well and thought it was very interesting. I have been contemplating this topic for a long time and finally got up the nerve to post it. The topic is controversial, but I hope I was able to address the topic clearly.
Posted by ravenwaen 6 years ago
ravenwaen
I forgot to credit and thank you in the debate itself, but this debate was the inspiration for the one I did recently "Bestiality ought to be illegal."
Thanks for a good topic and a good read!
Posted by dollydo 6 years ago
dollydo
To ANoobOwner,

Thanks for your comment, I couldn't agree more. I also believe that this topic will raise "thought provoking" questions, in regards to human moral standards and practices. I am not necessarily condoning all aspects of beastiality. But like I stated, through the evaluation of inhumane treatment, on can see that killing them is far crueler!
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