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

Dairy Farming is Inconsistent with Modern Western Ethical Norms

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/21/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,233 times Debate No: 17990
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (3)




Resolved: Dairy farming is a form of animal cruelty too severe to be considered consistent with modern Western ethical norms.


Pro is tasked with proving that dairy farming is inconsistent with modern ethical norms. Con must prove the two are consistent. The debate will consist of 4 rounds. My (Pro) opening remarks will span rounds 1 and 2. Round 3 will be reserved for discussing the arguments which will arise out of rounds 1 and 2. Round 4 is reserved for conclusions, summary and analysis allowing for no new arguments.


Cruelty: Mistreatment or neglect that causes pain and suffering.
Dairy farming: The use of cows to produce milk in modern, Western, industrialized milking operations.
Ethical norms: Conventionally held beliefs about what is and isn't appropriate action regarding the well-being of sentient animals (animals capable of suffering).

Note on Definitions

The definitions above will remain fixed throughout the debate. The phrase "ethical norm" is defined above and thus will remain fixed, though, what constitutes "Western ethical norms" is open to dispute. I will explicate and defend the following definition of this phrase and, if Con wishes, he or she my challenge my definition.

Western Ethical Norms

The phase "Western ethical norms" refer to the ethical norms characteristic of and subscribed to by most Westerners. This section details modern Western ethical norms in order to contrast them with industrialized milk production.

Public Sentiment in Response to Abuse

Occasionally, undercover video documenting the practices of animal farms is released by undercover investigators. Public attitudes about animal cruelty can be ascertained through observing the public's response to these videos.

In a notable example, after a 2011 ABC investigation into Indonesian slaughterhouses, which showed animal being mistreated, the Australian government suspended the exports of live cattle to Indonesia until it was satisfied that the mistreatment had ended. The government had acted in response to "public revulsion and outrage", despite the warnings from farmers that the ban would "destroy many rural livelihoods". Beef sales were down by 15 percent[1].

When video was released of egg producers routinely grinding live male chicks in order to dispose of them, the YouTube footage quickly went viral and lead many to swear off commercial egg consumption[2][3]. (Note: Male chicks from the species of chickens used for egg production are worthless to industry so hatcheries develop methods for quick disposal.)

It can be seen in both of these instances that mainstream society is clearly opposed to the mistreatment of animals on ethical grounds to the extent that dietary behaviors change and animal industries are forced to suffer financially in response to public and governmental actions.

Public Sentiment as Manifested in Law

In democratic countries, where legislators are chosen by the majority, it is possible to obtain the general sentiments of its people by examining its laws. The laws in Western countries show a clear interest in protecting the welfare of animals.

Inflicting unnecessary suffering on animals has for the most part been criminalized in the West. For example, in most Western countries, veterinarians are not permitted to declaw cats [4][5][6][7] (a cruel procedure which actually cuts off the last joint of toe bones). In many western European countries, e.g., Germany[8], Italy[9] and the UK[10], harming or killing an animal can result in imprisonment. In Switzerland, the government appoints lawyers to represent the interests of animals in cases involving animal cruelty[11]. In the US, 46 out of the 50 states have enacted felony penalties to protect animals against cruelty[12]. The provinces and territories of Canada have similar anti-cruelty laws[13].

These laws prove that Westerners are able to empathize with the suffering of their fellow animals, and are willing to work through legal and legislative avenues in order to ensure animal wellbeing and to punish offenders. Animal welfare is not simply an idle concern but, rather, a Western ideal, truly valued and supported by tax payer money.

Pre-slaughter Treatment of Dairy Cows

Before dairy cows are slaughtered for their meat they are forced to endure a life of intense emotional and physical pain. The following is an overview of farm life for dairy cows.

Confinement, Diseases and Tail Docking

Cows in Western countries spend their lives in dairy factories chained by the neck and confined to tiny stalls[14]. In overcrowded feedlots they stand in their urine and feces and eat out of conveyor belts.

In these squalid conditions, dairy cows are highly susceptible to diseases such as mastitis, endometrosis, digital dermatitis, milk fever, ketosis, and hoof and hock lesions[15]. Rather than pay the cost for acceptable living conditions, farm managers use antibiotics to treat these diseases.

They also use tail docking, i.e., they simply cut off the cow's tail[16]. The overwhelming majority of farms use no anesthetic for this procedure[17].

Dairy farms survive by extracting the maximum amount of milk from cows as possible. Cows are milked 10 months out of the year, including the seven month period during pregnancy. The stress of being overworked, in addition to the squalid living conditions, causes lameness and mastitis[18].

High-energy, low fiber diets, intended to boost milk production, contributes to disease as well. Cows must endure ketosis, acetonaemi, acidosis, lameness, laminitis and sever fatigue as a result of these unnatural diets[18].

Lameness is particularly common in dairy cows. Hoof tissue infections (foul-in-the-foot), along with standing on concrete, in diluted excrement, for long stretches of time causes hooves to soften which leads eventually to lameness. When a cow is no longer able to walk she is termed a "downer". Downers are considered worthless and tied to tractors to be drug over concrete and put into trucks before being killed[18].

I will conclude my opening remarks in round 2.

15 The Ethics of What We Eat, Peter Singer and Jim Mason (page 57)



I shall accept the debate, and do it in a slightly unorthodox method, but I hope my points are clear:

The entire argument of the opposition rests on the claim that agricultural farming of animals in unethical for the average westerner. The claim that it causes harm is correct, when we give these specific scenarios (which is misleadingly vivid), however, the fact of the matter is, in modern western ethics, the wants of many outweigh the needs of the few, or the strong's ethics takes precedence.

My argument is as follows: The strong have dominion over the weak. Humans are stronger than animals. Therefore, humans have dominion over animals.

Second frame -- Humans have dominion over animals. Stewardship(a) is optional. Therefore, humans do not require to be stewards of animals OR Some humans believe they have stewardship rather than dominion over animals. Therefore, the reverse is also true.

Third frame -- Humans have dominion over animals. Some Humans do not require to be stewards over animals. Western culture is capitalistic. Therefore, the need for cheap foodstuffs take precedence over the ethical desire for animal safety.

Fourth Frame -- Some humans believe they have stewardship over animals. These humans will prefer to eat ethically acceptable foodstuffs. We live in a Capitalistic environment. Therefore, there will be a market for ethically acceptable foodstuffs.

Fifth and Penultimate Frame -- We live in a Capitalistic moral structure. We live (loosely) to Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs. Therefore, there will be some who cannot fulfil the physiological need of food.

Sixth and Final Frame -- Some western people cannot fulfil the physiological need for food. The "some" is a large minority (e.g. more than a thousand). They believe that acceptable morals do not take precedence over survival. Therefore, people eat cheap, if inethical, food. Therefore, there is a market for inethical food. Therefore, inethical food is constistent with Western morals.

So, my argument simplified is as follows:

Westerners live in a capitalist society (P1)
Westerners live in either North American or Western European culture (just to make sure we have a geographic location down, so we're not bringing up, say, North Korea). (P2)
Westerners live (loosely) to Maslow's Heirarchy of needs (P3)
Some westerners believe we do not believe we have a stewardship of animals (P4)
It is cheaper to not have stewardship over animals (P4.1)
Those who do not believe in stewardship where they are neutral will decide on issues other than ethical acceptability of the animal treatment (P4.2)
When we live in a Capitalist society, and some people do not believe we have stewardship over animals, there is a market for those who do not believe we have a stewardship of animals (L1)
It is cheaper to be inethical, as there are less costs (L2).
Therefore, some Westerners will choose inethical behaviour in favour of cheaper product (C).
Therefore, the ethics of westerners are poor or non-existent(C2)
Therefore, the consistency of inethical behaviour means it is consistent with Western Norms.

We live in either a capitalist society, or a progressive society, where private businesses or corporations have control over their own prices to some extent, and contrast to state owned businesses. [1]. This is inarguably true.

The second premise is for clarification only. Give an alternative if you so wish.

We live, at least loosely, to Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs[2]. This means that there is a loose structure to how our motivation or choice is made. It is not strict, but loosely true. It means that in a choice between starving to death and commiting adultery, the majority of people will commit adultery. In this scenario, it means that people will choose inethical food over indomitable cost, being pushed into poverty, or just preferring the taste.

The statement that some westerners do not believe they have stewardship is self-proving. If I do not believe I have to look after animals, then I do not believe in stewardship.

The statement that it is cheaper(b) is also true in the following citations giving proof of:

The sources show it is cheaper to get inorganic milk. People will choose the lower cost over the more expensive milk. Inorganic milk will always also be more expensive; if you want why, petition the information, and I will explain when I have more words.

The logic in this argument is solid, from my perspective. The argument that it is inconsistent with already existing ethics implies there is a contradiction. We draw our Western ethics from Law and government on the whole. Most people act within the Law because it is the Law, not for other issues. The fact that the laws are inethical means that
"The ethics of dairy farming is consistently poor". This means that modern western ethical norms are disagreeing with your opinion. You must justify how you know perfectly what the modern western ethical norms are before saying they disagree with them. Your claim shows that it is inethical by your standard. I'm sure a starving man would disagree.

I hope to go into more depth of the psychology of the Law, and threaten the position of what moral standards are, in regards to whether they are consistent with the poor behaviour will justify my position. Thank you.

a. Stewardship, meaning we have an active moral duty to look after animals. I am not fulfilling the requirements of stewardship when I don't beat up animals whenever I see them (although I kill flies in my room for just being there... :P). Stewardship is active, and passive actions are not fulfilling stewardship. This is a shorthand, and may not be the exact definition, but it is a quick way of saying what i want to say, and I have explained the meaning employed.
b. economically cheaper. Saves money. Saves opportunity costs. etc.
Debate Round No. 1


I will finish off my opening remarks and conclude with a small rebuttal as I'm short on characters.

Lactation, Separation and Veal

Like all mammals, cows lactate after they have given birth in order to nurture their young. Dairy cows are repeatedly forced into pregnancy throughout their lives in order to keep them continually lactating. The maternal need to care for children is denied to dairy cows immediately after they give birth. The mothers milk, intended for the calves, is diverted for human consumption[10].

It is evident that this episode of separation, which is repeated over and over in a dairy cows life, is traumatic for both mother and baby. Upon separation, the mother cows become frenzied and desperately bellow; searching for their children[6]. Her sons are drug from her, forced to live in darkness for 15-16 weeks, terrified and desperate for their mothers. Within months her sons will be turned into veal steaks. Her daughters will be taken as well in order to replace her after she has been killed and her body converted into dog food and other low quality meats.

Mothers are emotionally bonded to their children for obvious, Darwinian reasons. We humans are aware of how strong this bond is in our own species. However, it must be emphasized that there is no evidence to suggest, or reason to believe, that the strength of this bond differs among mammalian species. Therefore, it is most likely that the emotional pain felt by cow mothers during separation is as acute as the pain felt by human mothers during separation.


The dairy industry and the veal industry are essentially one and the same. Since dairy cows must be repeatedly impregnated in order for them to lactate, each produces numerous calves which would otherwise be worthless were it not for the veal industry. The dairy industry subsidizes the veal industry.

Pre-slaughter treatment

The cruel treatment of calves in the veal industry is a result of its need to produce soft, pale meat. After being taken from their mothers, calves are kept in darkness and confined in wooden creates for 15-16 weeks. They are tied by their necks to prevent any movement[1].

Their diet is designed to make them iron deficient. Calves will chew on straw and lick their own urine, so great is their desire for iron. To combat this craving, no straw bedding is provided to them and their crates are designed so they are unable turn there bodies lest they access their own urine[1].

Calves are castrated and de-horned. There teats are sometimes cut off and their ears are tagged. These are all painful forms of mutilation for which anesthetics are not provided[2]. Third degree burns known as "branding" are administered - often times on their faces[3].


Cows have natural lifespans of around 20 years, though dairy cows are considered "spent" after 4 years of being milked[4]. Once spent, dairy cows are killed and turned into low quality meats[4][5].

Slaughterhouse operators are under tremendous pressure to kill cows at very high rates. This results in a number of problematic issues for the cows.

Typically in slaughterhouses a "knocker" shoots a steal bolt between the eyes of the cow. This should renders the animal unconscious or dead, however, there are a variety of reasons this device may fail to function properly. For example, the equipment itself can become week and ineffective. Notably, some plant operators don't want the animals to become "too dead" because it slows the exsanguination process. If the animal bleeds slowly, plant efficiency is diminished and the quality of the meat is reduced[6].

Because of these issues, cows are often bled, skinned and dismembered while conscious. Cows will sometimes remain conscious even by the time they reach the "skinner", a line operator tasked with peeling the skin off the cows head. If the cow is discovered to be conscious when she reaches the skinner, he will shove a knife in the back of the cows head in order to paralyze her. However, this leaves her fully conscious to experience having her skin removed from her head[6].

Once the skin has been peeled off the conscious cows head it is sent to the "legger". The legger clips of the lower parts of the cow's legs which causes her to flail wildly[6][7].

The reader may think that mishaps as gruesome as this could only occur in the most poorly managed slaughterhouses under the most psychopathic of managers. However, plants that have been cited for this have defended themselves on the grounds that this is common industry practice[6].

In a 1996 audit performed by Temple Grandin, it was found that the vast majority of slaughterhouses were unable to regularly render cows unconscious. A 1999 audit found improvements but still indicated that 1 in 4 cows aren't rendered unconscious by the first blow[8].

The government takes no action when plants dismember cows alive and wistleblowers are fired.[6].

The slaughter of veal calves is no different than the slaughter dairy cows[9].


I think Con has strayed a bit from the resolution and I want to take this time to get the debate back on track.

Firstly, this debate concerns itself with the resolution which was written to connote no more than its literal meaning. Con wrote: "The entire argument of the opposition rests on the claim that agricultural farming of animals in unethical for the average westerner." My arguments strickly concern themselves with the dairy industry in accordance with the resolution. Con's arguments should do the same.

Con's first contention is that "the wants of many outweigh the needs of the few" and "The strong have dominion over the weak". He does not say this is what Westerners believe and therefore it is irrelevant to the resolution. If he did mean to imply that Westerners believe this then it would be absurd. Were it the case, we would have no laws against rape, assault or theft, slavery would still be legal and women would still be the property of man.

In Con's second contention he writes: "Therefore, humans do not require to be stewards of animals OR Some humans believe they have stewardship rather than dominion over animals. Therefore, the reverse is also true." As the reader is aware by now, Con's prose can be difficult to decipher. I ask Con to reread his R1 to identify where he has been unclear, incoherent and/or illogical and re-present his case, in accordance with the resolution, so I can be clear on what I'm arguing against. There are 72 hours for Con to respond so there is no need to rush things. I'd like to make R3 a robust exchange of ideas. Thanks.

1 The Ethics of What We Eat, Peter Singer and Jim Mason (page 57)
3 Improving Animal Welfare: a practical approach By Temple Grandin (page 26) (
6 Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer (pages 228-233; search for "skinner"



Maybe I should've made this clearer: I am not arguing whether it is ethical or not to treat animals with the misleadingly vivd description you've stated: I am saying that Western ethical norms are not ethical in the first place: there are blatant double standards with western ethical norms and the modern structure of ethical norms promotes the fact that Western ethical norms are inconsistent in nature, and the ethics are consistently coming money first. The metaethics is money-driven. I'll try and rephrase my framework:

Our ethical structure is driven by the society we live in (P1)
We live in a Capitalistic society (P1.1)
We abide loosely to Maslow's heirarchy of needs (P1.2)
We do not live in an objective stewardship society (P1.3)
Cheaper meat, milk, and other goods that come from animals are non-ethical (by your definition of ethical) (P2)
Added value is put on to ethical produce (P2.1)
If the added value is removed, the cost is lowered (P2.2)
Some western modern people eat nonethical, but cheaper, alternatives to the ethical produce (P3)

If some people eat non-ethically, some people do not (L1)
If we live in a Capitalist society, and both markets are large enough, then both products will be provided for (L2)

If people do not find ethical irresponsibility from eating what you call ethically irresponsible meat, either:
a) The morality behind "Modern Western Ethical Norms" is relative and so widespread, that it cannot be used as an umbrella term (C1)
b) The moral indignation lies with the consumer, not the practice. If consumers stopped purchasing what you call "inethical" produce, then the market would disappear, and the milking practice would be to your standard. Therefore, the practice, or the mechanics of a Capitalist society's moral problems lie with the consumer, and how the system works is not the process' fault. (C2)

Therefore, my first contention isn't with the lack of morals of the practice, it is whether it is consistent. This is a definition you did not state, therefore I shall define it now:

"The same throughout in structure or composition[a]". synonymous with exculsively. You may say that you find moral fault with the companies, but that is neither here nor there. What the question does not address is with Modern Western Ethical Norms.

(I assume we are using common usage of modern, rather than the zeitgeist of modern time period)

There are few strong connections between all western countries. I shall take the definition of westernised to mean culturally, rather than geographically; as the countries following[1].

The first is, of course, that there are humans in charge. This creates an automatic human dominionism over the area. Dominionism is not contradictary to stewardship, however the dominionism means that humans simply own the land, rather than own and look after it. This creates a specific psychology. The psychology I am proposing to create the metaethics is

The second is Capitalist society. Corporations decide the majority of the prices. Everything is driven by money. Low costs, high revenue, high profits, luxury goods, etc. are all integral to capitalism. So, my point is not that the process of Dairy Farming is inconsistent with current moral standards, it's that it falls under the realm of a necessity in Capitalism.

"Capitalism is based on the principle of voluntary association - individuals deal with one another by persuasion and trade rather than physical force. It means that no matter how noble someone thinks his goals are--whether it’s building wind farms or sending other people’s children to college or erecting a bridge to nowhere--he has no right to force them on you. And it means that no matter how misguided someone thinks your goals are, so long as you are peaceful he has no power to stop you from living the kind of life you want to live. "[2]

My point is that our morals are based on Capitalism; the fact that no matter how noble your goal is, you cannot force it on someone else. No-one has the right to force their opinion and stop you from living how you want to live. The modern ethical western norm is, essentially, based on freedom. Liberty. Choice.

The modern western ethics are based on the fundamentals of Capitalism and freedom. The freedom to, as you've stated, of "egg producers routinely grinding live male chicks in order to dispose of them". Just as the public have the freedom to boycott them. This is the essential point. We can do a practical observation of whether people find this ethical or not; we see what they buy[3]. Co-operative supermarket's figures show us that people still buy inethical prdoucts a lot more than ethical products. This means people will choose the product for reasons other that ethical branding. However, people may still be choosing in regards to ethical products, as people seem to use inethical products if they are not being watched[4] and use ethical products when under scrutiny[4].

The fact that products can be boycotted promotes the fact that people are not ethically minded over money minded. In American history, there was the grape boycott for equal wages[5]; we know they work when a majority believe it should change[6].

Therefore, it stands to reason that the majority of people are not offended by this behaviour. The majority of those who carry modern western ethics, making it the norm, do not have a grudge due to this behaviour.

All of the points lead to the same question. Why is it that these are acceptable? When you say "these are inethical", I'd like to know why. the meta-ethics of the situation is blatant and required. Where do we get what is ethical or not? The farmers would suffer from larger costs, less reinvestment, and lower profits. Farmers in Bhaktivedanta Manor in Hertfordshire charge supermarkets £3 per litre. This would be around $5 in America at current exchange rates. This is being sold to the supermarkets, remember, additional costs such as packaging and travel. Then another 110p (worked from current price of milk) or so would be added for profit.. By comparison, farmers are selling for 29p per litre. This cost would hit the farmers horribly, as well as cause massive short term costs to create "ethical" businesses. The retailers, especially smaller ones, would have much much larger costs, which could easily cause many to stop selling milk altogether. Finally, the extreme cost on the consumer would mean that the average income of ten pounds an hour would be hit by another 3 pound additional cost per week (if the average person requires 2 pints of milk a week)[9]. Why is it that it is not OK to treat animals like this, even when the repurcussions are so negative?

In conclusion, it is inconsistent to remove the liberty of choice in the current Western Modern society, meaning the consistency of ethics, based on the fundamentals of choice, stands.

Also, as a note: Source 2 contradicts what you wrote (read recc.) you have also not referred to what Westerners believe, nor the motivations. The motivations of ethics is the single most important issue here. Also, for clarity, explain why we ought to look after these animals.
Thank you.

10.;- for tailcutting info
Debate Round No. 2


Closing Argument

Con wrote: "I am saying that Western ethical norms are not ethical in the first place: there are blatant double standards with western ethical norms and the modern structure of ethical norms promotes the fact that Western ethical norms are inconsistent in nature, and the ethics are consistently coming money first. The metaethics is money-driven."

Con and I seem to be in agreement that the cruelty in the dairy industry represents a double standard in Western ethical norms as these norms are internally "inconsistent". Con points out that money is given priority to concerns about cruelty.

In round 1, as I was setting up the debate I said "Con must prove [the practices of the dairy industry and Western ethical norms] are consistent." Con has emphasized that Western ethics are internally inconsistent. If a thing is internally inconsistent then it could only be consistent with something else by accident. Since, as Con says, Western ethical norms are inconsistent, the practices of the dairy industry and Western ethical norms can't be consistent. Thus, Con has failed to fulfill his task of negating the resolution. Rather, he has affirmed the inconsistency and thus the resolution.

That will be my closing argument. I will use the rest of this round to show why the majority of Con's arguments in round 2 were irrelevant. I will also point out where Con misrepresented my views. But first I will address the point Con made about one of my citations.

Castration revisited

Con wrote that citation r2.2 contradicted what I wrote. I intended the source to provide proof that various forms of mutilation were used in the veal industry. However, I put it in a place which made it appear as if it was intended to support a claim about the use of anesthetics which, in a way, did contradict what I said.

So lets clarify the facts about castration and anesthetics. "In several European countries, regulations require that castration be accompanied by anesthetics and longer-term analgesics, while other countries require the use of anesthetics when castrating animals over a certain age (e.g., 2 months in the UK)."[1] So, at least there is some welfare regulation regarding some forms of castration in calves at certain ages in several Western countries. However, as no one should be surprised to learn: "Pain is inherently a part of castration and cannot be avoided. The pain of castration occurs first as acute, short-term pain associated with the actual castration procedure. Chronic pain is the longer-lasting pain that occurs in the days following castration until the injury is healed."[1]

I Didn't Say That

Throughout rounds 1 and 2, Con has tried to change the nature of the debate, going so far as to put words in my mouth, often in quotation marks to make it appear as if I had said these things verbatim. The following is a list of these offenses:

  • Con said: "Cheaper meat, milk, and other goods that come from animals are non-ethical (by your definition of ethical)"
  • I never define the word or concept "ethical". I defined the phrase "ethical norms".

  • Con said: "If people do not find ethical irresponsibility from eating what you call ethically irresponsible meat, either"
  • I never characterized anything as "ethically irresponsible".

  • Con said: "If consumers stopped purchasing what you call 'inethical' produce"
  • I never called anything "inethical" or "unethical".

  • Con said: "and the milking practice would be to your standard."
  • I never expressed a preference for a "standard".

  • Con said: "When you say 'these are inethical', I'd like to know why."
  • I never said "these are inethical" (nor "these are unethical").

Con brought up a number of subjects that were irrelevant to the resolution. Below, I address why they are irrelevant.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a psychological theory that makes banal claims about human valuation like: If someone is starving to death, they will not have a strong desire for self-esteem, love or morality. Even if the theory were a perfect description of human psychology, it wouldn't negate the claim that dairy farming is inconsistent with Western ethical norms since "norms" were not defined as psychological drives.


Con said: "the meta-ethics of the situation is blatant and required. Where do we get what is ethical or not?" The resolution concerns itself with what Westerner believe to be ethical behavior. A philosophical discussion of the true nature of ethics sheds no light on validity of the resolution.

Organic Milk

Con believes that the high price of organic milk negates the resolution. It doesn't. Despite the high price of organic milk, obscene practices of animal cruelty are still inconsistent with Western ethical norms (to the extent that they are internally consistent).


The remarks on capitalism were interesting but only serve to illustrate that, as explained above, Western ethical norms are internally inconsistent.

Capitalism, in it's normally admirable quest to make people happy, does not neglect our need to believe that we are good people. The plain truth is that most people don't know how milk is made. It's depressing to know, contradicts preexisting beliefs and casts judgment on people's habits. Therefore, the media rarely discusses dairy production and it's well known that investigative journalist are denied access to slaughterhouses[2]. This is why footage of slaughterhouses is always made surreptitiously.


2 Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer (pages 228-229)



Stephen_Hawkins forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Spelling and Grammar

The quality of my opponent's prose made this debate difficult to read and understand. In addition to 31 spelling errors (according to Aspell), there were randomly capitalized words, incorrect use of quotation marks, incorrect formulation of words, misused commas, run-on sentences, uncapitalized words which should have been capitalized, and incorrect word choices. The prose was often incomprehensible and incoherent even when there were no grammar errors. I will stop here only because there is no need to exhaust the subject.


I used 30 high quality citations from mainstream newspapers, books from respected authors, and papers from research institutions. Con included 15 citations in his 2 rounds but didn't even use several of these in his arguments such as: r2.7, r2.8 and r2.10. He simply pasted the links in for no reason.


Though Con was polite throughout the debate, he put a lot of words in my mouth, sometimes in quotation marks to make it appear as if I had said these things verbatim. Though I don't think Con was acting in bad faith, this conduct is tantamount to lying and shouldn't be tolerated at


Dairy cows live lives of severe confinement, are exposed to a battery of crippling diseases and have their tails and limbs chopped of while they are conscious and under no anesthetic. They are overworked to such an extent that they are considered spent before they have reached a quarter of their natural lifespans. When they collapse under this mistreatment they are drug away and killed. Their children are separated from them before they have even had a chance to nurse. Their sons are confined in darkness and are forced to endure painfully deficient diets and various forms of mutilations such as castration, usually without anesthetic. Both mother and son end their terrible lives in slaughterhouses where conditions are too hellish to be conveyed by language.

Is this abuse consistent with the values of the modern, enlightened West? This is the question you are being asked to vote on.



Stephen_Hawkins forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by nonentity 4 years ago
I don't know how to add this to my favourites so I'm posting a comment.
Posted by vbaculum 5 years ago
Thanks to everyone who voted.
Posted by seraine 5 years ago

I did not expect him to argue that modern western ethical norms were fine with dairy farming- I expected him to argue that dairy farming was ethical.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
Link -- Logical movement

I use a link when I am making a premise which does not require proof, as long as the premises behind it are true. E.g.
All greeks are human
All humans are not omnipotent (P1)
Some greeks are worshipping God. (P2)
All greeks who worship God are human and not omnipotent (L1)
Therefore, worshipping God does not grant omnipotence to greeks (C1)

Also, replace ethical with ethical norms; I was running out of characters.
Posted by vbaculum 5 years ago
seraine, could you tell me which of Con's arguments were interesting and what you found interesting about them.
Posted by vbaculum 5 years ago
Hey Stephen,
What do you mean by "L1", "L2", etc... I know P is for premiss and C is for conclusion but I've never seen L before.
Posted by seraine 5 years ago
Interesting argument from Con. I largely agree with pro (though I may have to replace "modern ethical norms" with "my ethical norms".
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
I also hope to go into the metaethical standards that are accustomed to a Capitalist structure.
Posted by vbaculum 5 years ago
No ReptiDeath, the topic isn't pointless. Industry practices (as well as the practices of other institutions such as the government, the arts, etc...) can become inconsistent with the ethical norms of the greater society.
Posted by ReptiDeath 5 years ago
isnt milk and eggs part of the western "Norm" this topic is completely pointless
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's argument was actually stronger negating everything Pro said in the first round and half of what he said in the second round. However, Con was unable to respond to Pro's assertion that western ethical norms were inconsistent to begin with, so which one is dairy farming consistent with?
Vote Placed by seraine 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Ultimately, I think that Con failed to show that capitalism=morals. Though we live in a capitalist society, capitalism does not dictate our moral choices. Living in a capitalist society does not mean our ethics immediately become cheaper is better.
Vote Placed by kohai 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited 2 rounds