The Instigator
cmmj1004
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
DucoNihilum
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

Do non-human animals have rights?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/9/2008 Category: Health
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,240 times Debate No: 2463
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (5)

 

cmmj1004

Pro

Human beings are complex evolved creatures who are accorded rights on the basis that they are able to think and to feel pain. Many other animals are also able to think (to some extent) and are certainly able to feel pain. Therefore non-human animals should also be accorded rights, e.g. to a free and healthy life.

And also, ever since the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859 we have known that human beings are related by common descent to all other animals. We owe a duty of care to our animal cousins.
DucoNihilum

Con

You started off your debate with a false assumption, that humans accorded rights on the "basis that they are able to think and to feel pain." As far as I am concerned, this is not at all the reasons why we have rights. We have rights because we desire freedom above all else, and believe in right / wrong, etc. To even believe this, we need high cognitive powers. No other animals have created rules of law as complex as ours, and they do not deserve to be part of our same rule of law. Practically everything living responds to pain in one way or another, including plants and bugs. To what extent to animals deserve the same rights as humans? Should they receive welfare benefits? Should humans be arrested if they were to harm a Animal, plant, or insect? Should the human species go extinct?

Animals themselves hold by no rules of law, proving that they do not have the cognition to handle or even understand complex rules of law. While humans who do not understand law might have special privileges for being in the same species, animals as a species can never, and will never be able to understand.

We will not throw a tiger in jail for eating his prey, he will not understand that he did anything wrong- he is simply eating his food, something he needs to survive.
Debate Round No. 1
cmmj1004

Pro

We should err on the side of caution in ascribing rights to human or non-human creatures. If we place high standards (such as the ability to think, speak, or even to enter into a social contract) on the ascription of rights there is a danger than not only animals, but also human infants and mentally handicapped adults will be excluded from basic rights.
DucoNihilum

Con

I'd argue that humans in general have the capability of complex cognition. While some humans do not have those capabilities, the entire species should be afforded the same rights for simply being in the same species. No other species comes anywhere close to humans. With rights come responsibilities, the mentally handicapped and children have fewer rights as they have caretakers- but with those fewer rights some less responsibility.

Animals, however, can have absolutely no responsibility under the law- and should thusly have no rights. They fight among themselves, we are the only animals to have the cognition to come up with laws, so the laws should only apply to us- as a species.
Debate Round No. 2
cmmj1004

Pro

cmmj1004 forfeited this round.
DucoNihilum

Con

DucoNihilum forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
cmmj1004

Pro

Cruelty to animals (e.g. bull fighting, fox hunting, battery hen farming) is the sign of an uncivilised society – it encourages violence and barbarism in society more generally. A society that respects animals and restrains base and violent instincts is a more civilised one.

The basic cause of preventing exploitation of animals is not undermined by the fact that a small number of extremists and criminals attach themselves to it. And it is not reasonable to expect AR campaigners not to take medicine – they must look after their own health whatever way they can until a more humane sort of medicine is developed.
DucoNihilum

Con

Many things people do might not be civilized. Drinking can be considered uncivilized by many, yet still many do it. Promiscuity as well, perhaps cheating. All of these are legal. I believe somebody should have the right to do anything they please, however uncivil, so long as they do not harm another person.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Animals do already have rights. Look at what happened to Michael Vick. Those dogs didn't hire lawyers. Maybe you mean that animals should have more rights, or the same rights as humans.
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Vote Placed by danny445 8 years ago
danny445
cmmj1004DucoNihilumTied
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Vote Placed by iluvdebates 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Aewl1963 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by GaryBacon 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by DucoNihilum 8 years ago
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