The Instigator
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
ThinkBig
Con (against)
Losing
5 Points

Dog Fighting Should Be Legal

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/6/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,884 times Debate No: 92421
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (41)
Votes (5)

 

Danielle

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for agreeing to debate this with me.

Dog fighting
is a type of blood sport generally defined as opposing two game dogs against one another in a ring or a pit, for the entertainment of the spectators or the gratification of the dogfighters.

Please note that just because I think dog fighting should be legal, doesn't mean I think it is good.

The first round will be for my contender's acceptance. I look forward to an interesting discussion.
ThinkBig

Con

I would like to begin by thanking Danielle for this challenge. It is a delight to be debating someone as intellegent and formidable as you. Judging by your previous debates, I will be in for a challenge.

A quick reminder to the readers that this debate is not about the morality of dog fighting, rather it is about the legality of it. I also want to note that this is an emotional topic and I ask the voters to please vote according to the arguments, not on emotion.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
Danielle

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent for his kind words. I look forward to a great debate!

Let's begin.

Animal abuse is the intentional infliction by humans of suffering or harm upon any non-human animal, for purposes other than self-defense or survival. More narrowly, it can be the causing of harm or suffering for specific gain [1]. Per the definition of animal abuse, killing animals qualifies as abuse, regardless of one's reason for killing the animal.

Humans do not need to eat animals in order to survive. You can have a healthy diet without eating meat [2]. Yet a 2014 survey by Harris Interactive and the Humane Research Council found that less than 2% of Americans identified as vegetarian [3]. That means 98% of the American population has no problem with abusing (killing) animals for their own personal satisfaction. Since eating meat is a perfectly fine option for most people, we as a society have accepted that we will tolerate animal abuse when it comes to satiating our individual preferences.

Many people enjoy dog fighting. Why is it okay to kill animals for food when we don't need to, but not okay to kill dogs for sport? Consider the fact that people go hunting for animals they do not need or intend to eat, and people often use animals for fur and other arbitrary things we like [4]. We ignore the pain and suffering of animals when it comes to legalized hunting or factory farms, yet hypocritically impose a different standard when it comes to dogs.

Despite our cultures affinity for dogs (I personally love them), not all cultures value or appreciate dogs the way we do. In some cultures, dogs are considered pests. Middle Eastern cultures don't like dogs, and in Asia they eat them [5]. Dogs are not inherently more valuable than any other animal. Animals are valued differently in each culture and by each individual. For example Hindus think cows are very sacred, while many non-Hindu Americans love to eat them.

Animals that Americans have no problem enslaving, torturing and slaughtering for our own satisfaction include pigs. Pigs are far smarter and more cognizant, sentient and self-aware than dogs and even chimpanzees [6]. Yet despite how much brain power they have, we destroy them brutally [7]. Why hold dogs to a different standard?

In this country animals are considered property. They can be bought and sold. They do not have rights. We can essentially do what we please with our animals. For example if I buy a lamb, I can kill it tonight and make lamb chops tomorrow. Thus if I buy a dog, why couldn't I kill the dog the same way?

People will always be drawn to enterprises where they can make money. If people can make money off killing dogs, I fail to see how that's different from profiting off the killing of other animals - especially animals that are more sentient. Forcing these people to the black market only makes them criminals unnecessarily, whereas other people who kill animals out in the open (like farmers and butchers) are not penalized by law. Instead they pay taxes and society benefits from their work.

Not everyone has to agree with the morality of each business endeavor. Many people are against cigarettes, prostitution, marijuana or other things that are considered taboo, however it is not the job of the government to regulate people's morality. Rather the government exists to facilitate/protect trade and protect people's rights. Again, people have legal dominion over animals [8]. Many feel that we morally have authority over animals as well; the Bible claims this is so [9].

We allow animal cruelty for sport with other animals like horses [10]. We also use horses to pull us in carriages, and we keep circus animals and zoo animals, some of which are subject to worse conditions than others. In short, we impose arbitrary value on dogs that is subjective among the individual. It is nonsensical and unjust to punish people who fight dogs, but not those who abuse other animals unnecessarily for frivolous enjoyment. It is a contradictory double standard. Dog fighting should be legalized. It will likely not be any more popular than it already is on the underground, since most Americans love dogs [11]. Thus this would have legal and moral benefits, but little to no downside.

I look forward to my opponent's contentions.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.mayoclinic.org...
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://adventure.howstuffworks.com...
[5] http://www.spockthedog.com...
[6] http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
[7] http://www.citypages.com...
[8] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[9] http://biblehub.com...
[10] http://www.peta.org...
[11] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
ThinkBig

Con

I would once again like to thank Danielle for her challenge and for her opening arguments. I will begin by presenting my opening statements.

---My case---

Contention 1: The moral status of animals

Although this debate is not on the morality of dog fighting, ethics and law are absolutely connected. I will argue in this contention that animals are sentimental beings with rights that the government ought to protect, and because dog fighting inherently violates such a right, then it ought to be illegal.

According to utilitarian philosophy, any being that has an interest in not suffering deserves to have that taken into an account.[1]

“When you pity a suffering animal, it is because you are perceiving a reason, a reason to change its conditions. And you can no more hear the cries of an animal as a mere noise that you can the words of a person. Another animal can obligate you in exactly the same way another person can…So of course we have obligations to animals.”[2]

So to put everything together in syllogism form, we get this (from Scott D. Wilson):

(1) If a being is sentient, then it has a direct moral status.

(2) (Most) animals are sentiment.

(3) Therefore, (most) animals have direct moral status.[3]

“"Sentience" refers to the capacity to experience episodes of positively or negatively valenced awareness. Examples of positively valenced episodes of awareness are pleasure, joy, elation, and contentment. Examples of negatively valenced episodes of awareness are pain, suffering, depression, and anxiety.” [Ibid]

Because animals have a direct moral status, they therefore have certain rights and can be wronged. Since dog fighting is a violation of an animal’s right and wellbeing, the government has a duty to protect the animal.

I will elaborate more on this contention in the next round.

Contention 2: Dog fighting harms the community

A) Psychology

In Lectures in Ethics, Immanuel Kant famously stated:

“If a man shoots his dog because the animal is no longer capable of service, he does not fail in his duty to the dog, for the dog cannot judge, but his act is inhuman and damages in himself that humanity which it is his duty to show towards mankind. If he is not to stifle his human feelings, he must practice kindness towards animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men.”[4]

Indeed, psychologists and researchers have confirmed Kant’s statement. Researchers have found that children who are exposed to animal cruelty and dog fighting are far more likely to commit crimes and domestic abuse later in life.[5]

B) Other crimes

Law enforcement officers and researchers have noted that dog fighting is often associated with many other crimes as well including illegal drugs, illegal guns, and homicide. Indeed, as one Ohio state detective notes:

"We've busted rings run by black, Latino, Aryan, Asian and Russian gangs. The common thread is they're always - always - gang-related. A lot of times you can get more drugs and guns off the street by breaking up dog rings than you would breaking up drug rings.

"It's a community menace in so many ways. If dogs don't show 'gameness,' they're either killed outright or let loose on the streets where they become a menace to everybody. They're trained to survive by doing whatever it takes."[6]

---Danielle’s Case---

I am surprised and a bit disappointed in Danielle’s arguments. Danielle’s arguments are nothing more than non sequiturs and red herrings that have nothing to do with the debate topic.

Since I am out of time, I will rebut her opening statements in depth in the next round. For now, I believe I have made a very solid case.

Conclusion

I have shown that Danielle’s arguments are largely irrelevant to the debate topic. I have shown that animals do have rights that the government ought to protect and that dog fighting is harmful to the community.

Although Danielle has the burden of proof, I have given several good reasons as to why the government ought to keep dog fighting illegal.

For these reasons, the resolution is soundly rejected.



[1] Gruen, Lori, "The Moral Status of Animals", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.) http://plato.stanford.edu...

[2]Korsgaard, C., 1996, The Sources of Normativity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://tannerlectures.utah.edu...

[3] Wilson, Scott D. "Animals and Ethics." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Wright State University, n.d. Web. 07 June 2016. http://www.iep.utm.edu...

[4]Kant, I. Lectures on Ethics, translated and edited by P. Heath and J.B. Schneewind, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. http://ebooks.cambridge.org...

Debate Round No. 2
Danielle

Pro

Danielle forfeited this round.
ThinkBig

Con

Sad to see a forfeit. Hope all is well. Extend arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
Danielle

Pro

Many apologies to ThinkBig for the forfeit; weekends are too busy for me to get on DDO.

Re: The Moral Status of Animals

1. The government does not recognize animal rights.

My opponent completely dropped my contentions on this point.

A) The vast majority of humans are not vegetarian. That means we slaughter and brutally kill animals for food when we don't have to. If we were to accept the concept of animal rights, Con would have to argue that the 98% of humans who keep meat in their diet must stop eating meat in order to be morally consistent with his proposition. This would have devastating effects on both the economy and people's health; many people rely on eating meat for convenience or due to lack of available resources.

It's easy to recycle a syllogism from a textbook, but it's harder to actually argue a case that considers real world implications. Con is responsible for the latter. Con must explain how 98% of the population ought to supplement their diet effectively and in a way that counts for the economic repercussions and devastating global effects that avoiding eating meat would have. Also consider - if animal rights were upheld, we would not be able to eliminate animals in cases where they threatened our crops, homes or resources.

Moreover, if animals have rights, then does a lion have the right to hunt and kill a zebra?

Con would have to explain how animal rights/consent work regarding each other.

B) We do animal testing that completely ignores the concept of animal rights. This has led to scientific and medicinal breakthroughs that have helped humanity significantly. If animals have rights, we have no right to use them for research. Animal testing has saved countless human and animal lives through the development of treatment and cures.

Animals are appropriate research subjects because there is no adequate alternative to testing on a living, whole-body system [1]. The alternative is using human subjects which is obviously problematic, or disregarding the concept of research and developing cures all-together. That would have devastating effects and is not remotely pragmatic or arguably moral. If we accept Con's position, then it would be ethically impermissible to do research on animals for testing which is preposterous.

C) Con dropped that our preferences for animals are largely dictated by culture, and that this culture gives us property rights (legal and moral dominion) over animals. We are allowed to OWN animals; they can be enslaved on our property as pets and bought and sold like commodities, thus proving our legal system does not grant animals the right to life or much else.

2. Scott Wilson's argument on the alleged moral status of animals loses ground to other arguments against animal rights.

P1. A right is a claim that one party may exercise against another.
P2. Rights only exist among beings who can make moral claims against one another.
P3. The attributes of human beings that give rise to their ability to make moral claims against others are lacking in animals. These attributes are intellectual, and include the ability to understand ethical principles and guide one’s actions accordingly.
P4. Therefore, animals cannot make moral claims against others.

.: Therefore, animals do not have rights.

“[Nonhuman animals] are not beings of a kind capable of exercising or responding to moral claims. Animals therefore have no rights, and they can have none… The holders of rights must have the capacity to comprehend rules of duty, governing all including themselves. In applying such rules, the holders of rights must recognize possible conflicts between what is in their own interest and what is just...

Humans have such moral capabilities. They are in this sense self-legislative, are members of communities governed by moral rules, and do possess rights. Animals do not have such moral capacities. They are not morally self-legislative, cannot possibly be members of a truly moral community, and therefore cannot possess rights.” -- Carl Cohen

Ergo, animals do not have moral status and thus no rights.

While Con quotes Immanuel Kant in the last round, Kant did not necessarily advocate animal rights. Kant believed we should "respect people because they are autonomous. Autonomy is the freedom that human beings have to pursue their own ends (goals). Kant believed that autonomy was extremely valuable, but in order to have it one must have free will, which requires having self-consciousness and the capacity to be guided by reason. But animals, according to Kant, are not autonomous. Therefore... we have no direct duties to animals. That is, we have no duty to respect or foster the ends of animals" [2].

Some would argue that plants are sentient; research shows they react to stimuli and behave intentionally [3]. While the status of plant sentience is certainly questionable, I disagree with sentience alone at establishing rights which is the point. The status of personhood qualifies one for rights, which requires both sentience and other attributes.

One of the clearest and most forceful denials of animal consciousness is developed by Rene Descartes, who believed that only human beings have rational minds and souls. Better yet, John Rawls' infamous standard of justice, a.k.a. The Veil of Ignorance, suggests that a just society is one in which the rules governing society would be preferable/chosen by individuals if they did not know much about themselves (age, race, sex, etc.). However these individuals would know they were not animals, so would not give special permission to animals [4].

"Animals fight for territory or partners. They hunt, kill and eat each other. They rape, pillage and plunder at will. Humans have established official codes of conduct that prohibit such activities impinging on the 'rights' of others. While the very nature of 'humane' treatment prohibits any human-caused torture of animals, there is no such natural prohibition against torture in the animal world" [5].

“A right is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context,” wrote Ayn Rand in her essay Man's Rights. People do not 'have' rights in the sense of having a body part. Rather, rights are principles that apply to people, and that people should apply to others in society... 'The right to life is exclusively human, because rights principles only apply to and can only be applied by humans, of all the species we know of. If some other being (a space alien, perhaps, or a genetically modified earth-animal) developed sufficient rationality to grasp and apply principles, and to live by production and trade, then rights would apply to it as well'" [6]. But until then... only humans have legal rights; at least the highest regarded rights.

Re: Dog Fighting Harms the Community

1. Con argues that children who are exposed to animal cruelty have a tendency to exhibit violence later in life. You can have legal dog fighting while posing age limitations and restricting children from attendance, the same way children are prohibited from seeing violent movies. The American Psychological Association has demonstrated a link between playing violent video games and aggression [7] yet we do not ban violent games on that possibility - we simply trust children will not be exposed to those things.

2. Con claims that dog fighting is accompanied by other illegal activity. This point is moot as dog fighting is currently illegal, thus illegal activity will accompany it considering the fights are not subject to government regulation. We have legalized horse racing which involves the whipping of horses, yet we do not see illegal activity at these events because they are open to the public and monitored.

On the contrary, dog fighting rings are kept secret and hidden. They are specifically run by criminals because the entire enterprise is criminal. Therefore, Con would have to prove that other crime would surround dog fighting if it were legal which he won't be able to do. That's like saying other crimes surround drug dealing. Drug dealing is an illegal enterprise! But similar crime doesn't surround liquor stores where they deal drugs (alcohol) legally.

3. Dog fighting could benefit the community if A) we stopped sending people involved in this endeavor to jail, and B) the government taxed this business an collected revenue. The same way the government collects revenue from other businesses.


Conclusion

Rights are civil and political concepts. They require laws, an established system of government and a justice system. Animals don't have laws. The concept of justice does not exist for them. They don't live by a moral code. They have no rights because they have no (moral) responsibilities.

We can own animals like pets and pass along animals as property according to law [8]. Can dogs legally own another pet? No. Dog owner's rights trump dog's rights. We can legally "put down" dogs and choose to end their life on dog owner command [9]. We euthanize dogs all the time. Sometimes government agencies do it.

Animals don’t reason, don’t understand rights, and don’t acknowledge or respect our rights. Further, animals are not capable of communicating consent. No aspect of rights as it pertains to government effectively apply to animals. "Moral" status does not apply to animals, because they cannot make moral claims against others or reason through moral claims themselves. Their behavior is dictated by natural instinct.

My opponent has failed to demonstrate why dogs should morally or legally have rights. More importantly, he completely ignores all of the repercussions of acknowledging animal rights, which has negative effects pragmatically on food resources, safety, and animal testing. I have proven human rights > dog rights and that it makes no sense to criminalize dog fighting if we are perfectly okay with factory farms and other things that harm animals.

SOURCES: http://www.debate.org...
ThinkBig

Con

I do apologize that this is not my best response. I have been moving into a new house and physically and mentally exhausted. I do hope that Danielle and I can debate again sometime.


Burden of Proof
Remember that because Danielle is arguing against the status quo, the burden of proof falls on her to affirm that dog fighting should be legal.

-- Danielle's Case--

As I have pointed out, Danielle's case is based on non sequitur and issues that are irrelevant to the debate. She has failed to defend my rebuttals; thus, Danielle has failed to affirm her side of the resolution.

Eating Meat
Pro's first contention is that eating meat is not necessary for our health and thus eating meat is therefore animal abuse.

1. So what? If it was animal abuse, then I would agree that we should ban meat.

2. Evolutionary history shows that eating meat made us human [1].

3. Furthermore, studies have shown that meat is necessary in our diet, especially in children. As Michael Hopkin writes in Nature [2]:

Meat is a vital part of a child's diet, according to a two-year study of Kenyan school kids. Without it, children grow up smaller, less strong and less intelligent, the results suggest.

So clear are the benefits, in fact, that denying children meat or dairy products in the first few years of life is unethical, argues Lindsay Allen of the University of California, Davis, who carried out the research.



Double Standards
Pro writes:

"We allow animal cruelty for sport with other animals like horses. We also use horses to pull us in carriages, and we keep circus animals and zoo animals, some of which are subject to worse conditions than others. In short, we impose arbitrary value on dogs that is subjective among the individual. It is nonsensical and unjust to punish people who fight dogs, but not those who abuse other animals unnecessarily for frivolous enjoyment. It is a contradictory double standard. Dog fighting should be legalized. It will likely not be any more popular than it already is on the underground, since most Americans love dogs. Thus this would have legal and moral benefits, but little to no downside."

This is probably the most relevant contention to the issues at hand. Danielle defined animal abuse as "intentional infliction by humans of suffering or harm upon any non-human animal, for purposes other than self-defense or survival. More narrowly, it can be the causing of harm or suffering for specific gain [1].

Per the definition of animal abuse, I fail to see how using animals for work is in any way abuse.

Furthermore, I would argue that hunting purely for sports entertainment is morally wrong and should be banned. Are there double standards? Sure. But that is irrelevant to the debate.

-- My Case --

C1) Moral status of animals

I will drop this contention as I am too exhausted to give a proper response to.

C2) How dog fighting harms the community

1. Danielle argues that we can establish a minimum wage to view dog fighting. She also talks compares it to playing violent video games. This is in no way comparable as violent video games are fantasy whereas dog fighting is real life. Moreover, the jury is still out in regards to violent video games and their long term effects [3].

2. Danielle writes that dog fighting is accompanied by illegal activities because it is illegal. To prove her point, she uses horse racing as an example because they are open to the public and monitored. She writes that dog fighting is kept secret and hidden

3. Baseless assertion without proof.

--Conclusion--

Danielle has failed to demonstrate why dogs fighting should be legal. Her arguments are rather irrelevant to the debate. Vote con!


Sources
1. http://tinyurl.com...
2. http://www.nature.com...
3. https://www.psychologytoday.com...

Debate Round No. 4
41 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by David_Debates 1 year ago
David_Debates
Whoa, did everyone change their minds on their votes? Last time I checked this debate, Con had way more points.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
Well, it's not my RFD, but that's the result of the copy-pasting I did. Doesn't always bring over the full link. In any case, the vote is still up and contains the RFD if you wish to read it.
Posted by RoyLatham 1 year ago
RoyLatham
whiteflame, the link to googledocs doesn't go to your RFD
Posted by RoyLatham 1 year ago
RoyLatham
RFD 2. ...Con could then have argued that since Pro seems to say that the legality is a mistake, the same mistake should not be repeated with animal blood sports.

I think Con could have won, but made a fatal mistake in not arguing when Pro forfeited, and ended up dropping the moral arguments. He conceded way too much to Pro in the definition and in later uncontested assertions about animals having no rights in law. Arguments to Pro, conduct to Con for Pro's forfeit. There were S&G errors, but not bad enough to detract from the debate flow. Con might have won references, but didn't argue them, so it was tied.
Posted by RoyLatham 1 year ago
RoyLatham
RFD part 1. This is a messed up debate. When Pro forfeited, Con should have nonetheless made his rebuttal argument. By Con giving the round a pass, he had to introduce new arguments in the last round when Pro could not argue back. Also Con was short of time and had to post a lame final round. Thus Con forfeited one round for no reason, and then couldn't make it up in the final round when he needed time.

Con should have contested the Wikipedia definition, which seems to me unconventional.

Con started out well, taking the utilitarian track. The full utilitarian argument was outlined in the Wikipedia article on animal abuse from which Pro took the definition. The argument is that animal abuse is a failure to properly balance the harm done to animals against the benefit gained by humans. Thus animal testing is morally justified if there is no practical alternative for the testing that produces the benefits, but once alternatives are developed then the balance is shifted. But Con failed to go the whole route, and he instead only argued the animal rights aspect of the utilitarian position. Ultimately he dropped the moral argument, conceding most of what he had said in the debate. (The reason animal abuse is immoral is not that animals have rights, but rather that it is offensive to humans. No matter, an argument not made.)

Pro was wrong that no consideration is given to animal harm in law. There are laws against animal abuse nearly universally, and laws related to humane slaughter and hunting. But Con let the assertions slide by.

Con's best arguments where that eating meat is part of human nature, something that Pro had effectively conceded in observing that there were very few vegetarians, and that animal blood sport was damaging to society. But Con only argued that it was damaging to children, not to society as a whole. Pro's rebuttal was that violent video games are legal despite being harmful.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
My apologies, that last comment was supposed to be a non-removal. The vote wasn't removed, but I posted the incorrect outcome in the comment.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
I didn't report any of the other votes, though.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
I accidentally reported Udel's vote because he hadn't posted his RFD in the comments yet - sorry about that.
Posted by ThinkBig 1 year ago
ThinkBig
Wow who reported all of"those votes? That is literally every single vote that was reported...
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: David_Debates// Mod action: Removed<

4 points to Con (Conduct, Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: RFD in Google Docs: https://docs.google.com......

[*Reason for removal*] The voter more than sufficiently analyzes the debate to explain their decision.
************************************************************************
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by fire_wings 1 year ago
fire_wings
DanielleThinkBigTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD here: http://www.debate.org/forums/society/topic/88765/ From the Voter's Team Even if I do count the defense, anyway, Pro won, I actually counted a bit of the defense, just to be nice.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 1 year ago
RoyLatham
DanielleThinkBigTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Udel 1 year ago
Udel
DanielleThinkBigTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments section
Vote Placed by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
DanielleThinkBigTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's strongest point was the moral status of animals, which Con concedes, leaving only the point on community harms. Con has two compelling points, namely (a) children who are exposed to dog-fighting face psychological harms, and (b) dog-fighting accompanies other illegal activity. Pro refutes the point on children by offering a counterplan to prevent children seeing dogfighting (Con merely strikes the irrelevant point on violent video games without actually refuting the counterplan). Pro refutes the point on illegal activity by showing that when dog-fighting is legalized, illegal activity automatically stops since it can't accompany legal and *regulated* activity. Con merely restates Pro's point, without actually rebutting it. I'm left with Pro's offense on liberty, pleasure gained from dog-fighting, and her turn on illegal activity. Pro wins (Con asks not to count the forfeit, which makes this effectively a two-round debate, and I can count new arguments in the final round).
Vote Placed by David_Debates 1 year ago
David_Debates
DanielleThinkBigTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in Google Docs: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1c5FkPr4wqeS02xJX9F7QRO3L7gQ6wYM69Z2OG53xB2I/edit