The Instigator
ravenwaen
Con (against)
Winning
30 Points
The Contender
gizmo1650
Pro (for)
Losing
9 Points

Bestiality ought to be illegal

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
ravenwaen
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/15/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,357 times Debate No: 12353
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (6)

 

ravenwaen

Con

In this debate I will argue against the popular notion that we should legislate against bestiality in the US.

Arguments may begin in Round 2. In this round my opponent will agree to the following conditions:

For clarity's sake, I would like to mark the difference between "bestiality" and "zoophilia."
Bestiality: acts of sex between humans and non-human animals
Zoophilia: sexual or romantic desire for non-human animals
Although zoophilia is relevant to the debate, Pro will only have to argue in favor of making general acts of sex with animals illegal, not the sexual or romantic desire.

Also, for simplicity's sake, we can assume that any reference to "animals" implies non-human animals, unless otherwise stated.

I sincerely thank my opponent. Hopefully we can get into a productive, substantive discussion on the topic and not get stuck in semantic ditches.
gizmo1650

Pro

At con's request i will wait for round two to post my argument
Debate Round No. 1
ravenwaen

Con

I thank my opponent for taking on this debate.

To make a reasonable argument that bestiality ought to be illegal, my opponent will at least need to demonstrate that bestiality is A) a significant threat to the human who commits the act; B) a significant threat to the animal that receives the act; or C) a significant threat to society. Failing these, he will need to demonstrate the value of making a harmless act illegal.

Argument B, that bestiality is a significant threat to the animal that receives the sex act, is the most common justification for making such acts illegal. Thus, this is what I will address as my primary counter-argument.

Claim: Bestiality is physically abusive.
Response:
Bestiality is not necessarily committed with physical abuse. If the sex act does result in physical injury, existing laws against animal cruelty would account for that.
For example, in the state of Oregon, there are three offenses for which a person could potentially be prosecuted[1]:
-> Animal abuse in the second degree: "...Causes physical injury to an animal."
-> Animal abuse in the first degree: "...Causes serious physical injury to an animal; or ... Cruelly causes the death of an animal."
-> Aggravated animal abuse in the first degree: "...Maliciously kills an animal; or ... Intentionally or knowingly tortures an animal."
Considering this, legislating against bestiality would be a frivolous gesture.

Claim: Bestiality is rape.
Response:
While this sentiment may have compassionate intent, it not only mischaracterizes many acts of zoophilia, it also sets a misleading presumption for the nature of sex in animals.
Consent is a normal part of human sexual relations, but not necessarily for that of animals. Sexual coercion has been observed, sometimes as a social strategy, in many mammal species, such as dolphins and other primates.[2][3] This does not justify a forceful sexual assault of an animal, but it shows that we should not expect to establish consent in the same way that we do for other humans.
This said, animals can, in fact, show consent. A healthy, mobile animal is capable of resisting unwanted touch and encouraging pleasurable petting. Animals even initiate sex acts with humans, often in the form of a male animal advancing on a person to thrust his pelvis against the person.[4]

Neither of these claims justify making bestiality illegal. Any additional concerns that my opponent may bring up will be addressed in the next round.

I eagerly await my opponent's argument.

Sources:
1. http://asci.uvm.edu...
2. http://www.nytimes.com...
3. http://www.sciencedirect.com...
4. http://www.utilitarian.net...
gizmo1650

Pro

I intend to argue that bestiality is similar to rape, so con's argument for physical abuse is irrelevant. Con says that because animals do not consent to sex with animals of there own species, we do not need there consent. There are a number of problems with this argument.
1) Animal DNA is hard coded to accept un consented sex within their species. even if they resist, that would only be applicable to that one species and it is still better than with another specie (human).
2) saying that animals can show some level of consent does not mean anything. Unwanted action could still happen, and the human could say the animal consented, whose going to argue.

pro agrees that "This does not justify a forceful sexual assault of an animal"
Forceful assault does not necessarily leave obvious marks, and when it does there is no guarantee it can be traced, beyond a reasonable doubt, to the rape.

I challenge con to think of away we can limit abuse to the point we can justify legalizing bestiality.
I would also ask that con wait to post his argument as i will be out of town for the weekend.
Debate Round No. 2
ravenwaen

Con

As requested, I've waited to post my argument.

My opponent states his argument as "bestiality is similar to rape," but he has not demonstrated that this is true. But before I address my opponent's claims, I will note that he speaks with the assumption that many or most acts of bestiality are abusive or non-consensual. This ignorantly disregards healthy, mutually beneficial zoophilic relationships.

"Animal DNA is hard coded to accept un consented sex within their species. even if they resist, that would only be applicable to that one species and it is still better than with another specie (human)."
This is simply false. Scientists have widely observed sexual harassment and coercion in cross-species partnerships.[1] Animals even sexually harass humans -- a dog who humps someone's leg does not ask their consent beforehand.

"Forceful assault does not necessarily leave obvious marks, and when it does there is no guarantee it can be traced, beyond a reasonable doubt, to the rape."
This could be easily applied to sexual coercion between humans, yet we do not make all acts of sex illegal. My opponent is attempting to apply a human standard to animal affairs, but even the human standard does not make the case.

"Unwanted action could still happen, and the human could say the animal consented, whose going to argue."
Once again, my opponent tries to apply a strictly human standard to animal affairs when I have already shown that this is a faulty framework. We do not require consent for slaughtering, enslaving, or breeding animals, thus the human standard does not and cannot always legally apply.

"I challenge con to think of away we can limit abuse to the point we can justify legalizing bestiality."
Here my opponent makes two grand implications: 1) that sexual abuse to animals is an active problem, and 2) that making bestiality illegal will deter offenders. My opponent provides evidence for neither of these claims. Also, I would like to remind my opponent that, although there are currently laws against bestiality, the default state is that it is not prohibited by law. To claim that it ought to be gives you the burden of proof.

My responses show the weighty flaws in the original claim, that "bestiality is similar to rape," and my opponent does not show why any remaining connections between those two acts justify legislating against bestiality.

Sources:
1. http://news.bbc.co.uk...
gizmo1650

Pro

Bestiality can be similar to rape because we do not have consent.

<< I will note that he speaks with the assumption that many or most acts of bestiality are abusive or non-consensual.>>
I am speaking under the assumption that enough are abusive not to justify legalizing it.

<>
according to your source it is incredibly rare, and has only been observed in non-closely related species once.

<>
The difference is when it is done to a human, the human can say something and the rapist would go to jail for rape.
and once humans get involved it is no longer an 'animal' affair.

<>
This could possibly be the most dangerous argument in history. "We are not perfect so lets do whatever we want."

Con has refused my challenge, instead of answering he shifted the burden back to me. This implies he does not have an answer and without limiting abuse to the point legalization is justified how can we justify legalization. To address cons concerns:
1."that sexual abuse to animals is an active problem" my challenge was for you to provide ways in which we can assure it is not an active problem, but with bestiality legal, well intentioned people might mis-understand animal gestures as consent, when the animal is actually opposed, as well as people not caring about the animals wishes (much like rapists don't care about the victims)
2." that making bestiality illegal will deter offenders." as i understand it you are saying in this argument that because making it illegal will not deter offenders it should remain legal.

<< Also, I would like to remind my opponent that, although there are currently laws against bestiality, the default state is that it is not prohibited by law.>>
I don't understand what you are saying.

Once again, i challenge con to come up with a way to limit abusive actions in bestiality to the point we can justify legalizing it.
Debate Round No. 3
ravenwaen

Con

I thank my opponent for his prompt reply.
On a quick note of conduct, my opponent has now incorrectly referred to me as a man multiple times. This is despite my portrait, my profile, and having been corrected in the comments section.

BURDEN OF PROOF
"Con has refused my challenge, instead of answering he shifted the burden back to me. This implies he does not have an answer"
Simply, no. I, in fact, did respond to my opponent's "challenge" by showing that it was a flawed argument. I will do so again but with greater clarity.

First, my opponent does not recognize that he has the burden of proof. I maintain that he DOES, and it it not difficult to understand why. Our legal system does not hold that everything is illegal unless made legal -- rather, the opposite. So by default, bestiality is legal unless specifically prohibited, the action which my opponent argues in favor of. By making this positive claim, he has the burden of proof. Thus, it is not up to me to "justify legalizing bestiality."

And second, I will address my opponent's defense of his challenge. He has, indeed, shown the POSSIBILITY that a person could sexually abuse an animal, either knowingly or unknowingly. It remains that he needs to demonstrate that making bestiality illegal would be an effective deterrent for this offense, what he implies to be true.

CONSENT
My opponent's argument is largely based on the notion that an act of bestiality could be non-consensual, which he implies is bad enough on its own to justify legislating against the entirety of bestiality. Clearly he regards "consent" with great importance, but I will continue to show that this perspective is flawed.

--> Non-consensual sex does not necessarily harm an animal.
Our society regards non-consensual sex as inherently harmful and deviant. But it is important to ask, does an animal suffer when they experience non-consensual sex? I reason that we should not assume they suffer in the same way that humans do, primarily because sexual coercion is, to some extent, a normal part of animal behavior.

My opponent on cross-species sexual coercion: "according to your source it is incredibly rare, and has only been observed in non-closely related species once."
This is a heavy misrepresentation of my source. Allow me to quote it directly: "Harassment is common among pinnipeds ... and occasionally it happens between related species. Male grey seals have been known to harass and mate with female harbour seals, for example." It is, of course, more common in closer-related species, but the only "incredibly rare" part is when it occurs between different classes of vertebrates (bird, fish, reptile, etc.).

--> The consent principle conflicts with existing condoned practices.
As I noted in my previous post, consent is not required to slaughter, enslave, or breed animals, all acts sometimes committed for no benefit to society other than our own enjoyment. It would be difficult to argue that sex causes more harm to an animal than being killed, enslaved, or forcibly impregnated, yet that is the act for which my opponent believes deserves a high standard of consent. The hypocrisy needs no further explanation.

My opponent on other practices that abuse animals: "This could possibly be the most dangerous argument in history. 'We are not perfect so lets do whatever we want.'"
By making the straw man fallacy, he has failed to refute the hypocrisy I have identified.

I have clearly shown what my opponent needs, and what he has neglected, to demonstrate. His argument in regards to consent simply falls through.

This has been an engaging debate and I thank my opponent for his participation.
gizmo1650

Pro

Con once again argues against the value of my challenge without answering it, so we can only assume she cannot create a way of minimizing the risk to the point we can justify legalization.
I have fulfilled my burden of proof by showing the damage done by raping animals, which i view as unavoidable with bestiality legal, con has avoided offering a way to prevent damage.
Also, con must show why bestiality should be legal (in the US's legal system). This is because of precedent. The precedent is that bestiality is illegal, therefore con has the burden of showing that precedent should be overturned.

<>
possibility X 1,000,000 citizens = inevitable.
Therfore con has agreed that abuses will happen

<>
even if it were not effective who would it hurt? the only people whom stand to lose anything are the people commiting bestiality. Therefore con has agreed that keeping it illegal is at worse neutral. Also, if we admit that it is a problem than the first step in solving it is making it illegal.

Con's response to my consent argument uses the fact that animals do not require consent among themselves.
The most obvious problem with this is that animals also attack other animals in what, if it were a human, we would call animal abuse.
<>
so does already illegal animal abuse, with your logic there are two states, 1)do no harm to animals or 2) do what ever we want. The problem is if we except this mindset and go with two, how will we ever reach one? Of course if you think two is the right option then i can't argue against such a fundamental philosophy, but otherwise we must reject this philosophy or else society would dissolve into anarchy (when this philosophy is applied to other areas), that is why i feel that your arguement is the single most dangerous one.

I would like to remind the gallery that con has agreed that sexual abuse would occur, and offered no reason to that it should be legal other than the fact that keeping it illegal would do nothing.
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ravenwaen 6 years ago
ravenwaen
This isn't MY explanation. I was paraphrasing info from that website to try to answer whatledge's question. He asked if HIV came to humans through sexual contact, and I showed him that wasn't part of scientists' theories on the matter.

Yes, that text explains how SIV became HIV, not how the virus got to a human in the first place.
Posted by Clockwork 6 years ago
Clockwork
You still fail to explain how any amount of needle-sharing (between humans) could lead to the cross-species mutation of a simian virus. You listed needle-sharing as a specific possible cause for the mutation itself, when it is obviously unrelated to the initial transfer.

"there are multiple explanations for how it could have crossed species... 3. Widespread sharing needles in Africa allowed the SIV to mutate and become HIV."
Posted by ravenwaen 6 years ago
ravenwaen
Is that a serious question? Read the article, ffs.

"It is therefore likely that one single syringe would have been used to inject multiple patients without any sterilisation in between. This would rapidly have transferred any viral particles (within a hunter's blood for example) from one person to another, creating huge potential for the virus to mutate and replicate in each new individual it entered, even if the SIV within the original person infected had not yet converted to HIV."
Posted by Clockwork 6 years ago
Clockwork
"3. Widespread sharing needles in Africa allowed the SIV to mutate and become HIV."

Are you implying that Africans are apes? This point doesn't come close to explaining a cross-species transmission.

This case could be negated through an evolutionary positivism critique.
Posted by ravenwaen 6 years ago
ravenwaen
I've heard that before, but just from doing a small bit of research it doesn't seem like that's an accepted theory.

http://www.avert.org...
There is reason to believe that HIV came from SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus), but there are multiple explanations for how it could have crossed species:
1. People hunted and ate chimpanzees who were infected.
2. A polio vaccine was made from cells of infected chimps.
3. Widespread sharing needles in Africa allowed the SIV to mutate and become HIV.
4. "Man-made" conspiracy theory.
Posted by whatledge 6 years ago
whatledge
Correct me, if I'm wrong, but some guy having sex with a monkey... isn't that how AIDS started?
Posted by Yvette 6 years ago
Yvette
I would like to point out the people who DID votebomb, for example, voting that Con didn't use the most reliable sources? Wut? Pro didn't use any!
Posted by Yvette 6 years ago
Yvette
Don't mean to votebomb, but:

Pro clearly had worse conduct
Pro clearly had worse spelling
Pro's arguments were weak and he didn't seem to understand Con's well-made arguments.
Con used sources, Pro did not
Posted by ANoobOwner 6 years ago
ANoobOwner
I liked this one--it was well argued on both sides...my confusion is more in identifying the pro speakers as being 'pro-animal rights with lines like "This could possibly be the most dangerous argument in history. "We are not perfect so lets do whatever we want.", but not recognizing that there is a major void between how we feel about treating animals in terms of slaughter and rape?

Or maybe I am just confused by the expressionless text, to which is my own error, and i take the quote as the rhetorical equivalent of a malapropism =P
Posted by Yvette 6 years ago
Yvette
-1 conduct point!
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