Eating meat in the developed world is morally wrong.
Hi Tom, thanks for setting up the debate; looking forward to your arguments.
I think the argument is quite simple on my behalf. To say 'eating meat is morally wrong' means that, compared to not eating meat, it is immoral. Non-human mammals are conscious, fellow creatures. They feel pain and suffer no different from us, and we put them through hell. All this in the name of pleasure, for it is not needed: science has demonstrated that meat is not necessary in the optimum human diet. And so, causing suffering for pleasure is wrong in anyone's eyes is it not? That is my stance.
People like to argue that it is natural. I have two contentions with this: Firstly that hunting animals is natural, not farming them. Secondly, that morality has no place in nature. It is a creation of man. We have been blessed with the ability to contemplate our 'nature'. We have come up with the idea of morality, which means to attempt to lessen the suffering of others to the greatest extent,whilst maintaining ones own life. Making others suffer, when it is not longer needed, is morally wrong.
What I need is someone to explain how causing a fellow creature to suffer/die is acceptable in the name of pleasure. Most meat-eaters I talk too admit its wrong and accept that they don't care enough for the animals, and care more for there own pleasure (I can be an annoying friend). But you are arguing that its actually morally acceptable, not just that you don't care. I really want to understand this view, that's why I made this debate.
This Debate is About Eating Meat not About Animal Suffering
It is not necessary to cause any pain or suffering to animals to eat them. Voters can wholly agree that animals should not be treated poorly or put through unnecessary pain. This has nothing to do with the resolution and pain and suffering is a separate issue all together.
From a more utilitarian perspective eating meat contributes to the benefit of highly conscious humans and no pain or suffering is necessary for the animals . With a large benefit on one hand, and no need for a loss of the benefit to animals, eating meat is most definitely moral.
“We have been designed by evolution to eat meat and other animal foods.” It contains a high amount of protein, essential vitamins and minerals and is essential to a low carb diet. It’s natural to enjoy eating meat since we have evolved to eat it and it contributes to a high level of enjoyment to virtually every culture on the planet.
Eating Meat is Natural
As Pro has conceded. The assertion that farming animals is not natural does nothing to prove that pain and suffering is necessary to eat meat. He has basically stated that farming animals is wrong but this is an objection to farming and not eating meat. He has all but suggested that hunting animals would be okay which would make various forms of hunting (and eating the meat) that limit suffering morally acceptable.
Pro did not Define Morality or Offer a Context
Pro did not establish a moral context to discuss this or point to a specific moral code making the resolution very difficult to support. Many descriptive moral relativist positions would accept that eating meat is moral since it widely accepted in our culture . It may be moral under certain cultures but not in others.
My argument stated "this is not about eating meat in general", and yet your title read: "this debate is about eating meat..." It is not about eating meat. For I am obviously not arguing that its morally wrong to grow a chicken breast, or even to be 100% sure of the animal not suffering whatsoever. Or indeed, to be wrong for tribal societies or even animals to partake in. I am arguing that "right now", as I have said, it's wrong. Meaning that the methods used to feed the population meat, and those of us who support it, are wrong.
So this next argument is irrelevant:
You say: "It is not necessary to cause any pain or suffering to animals to eat them. Voters can wholly agree that animals should not be treated poorly or put through unnecessary pain. This has nothing to do with the resolution and pain and suffering is a separate issue all together."
Killing animals, and pain and suffering, aren't altogether seperate issues though. Theoretically, it might be possible to cause an animal no suffering by killing it. How this could be done on the scale needed to feed a modern society, I don't know. But this is irrelevant, as the argument states: "talking about right now, in developed countries".
You say: "From a more utilitarian perspective eating meat contributes to the benefit of highly conscious humans and no pain or suffering is necessary for the animals . With a large benefit on one hand, and no need for a loss of the benefit to animals, eating meat is most definitely moral."
I agree, but again, it's irrelevant. For no such system exists or ever has.
You say: ""We have been designed by evolution to eat meat and other animal foods." It contains a high amount of protein, essential vitamins and minerals and is essential to a low carb diet. It"s natural to enjoy eating meat since we have evolved to eat it and it contributes to a high level of enjoyment to virtually every culture on the planet."
Now this is a legitimate argument.
Meat is not our natural food source. That's why we actually carnt eat meat. Have you ever tryed to eat raw roadkill? a meat-eater would, he would be attracted to it. Our, brains have evolved to feel disgusted at a corpse, and this is another way that we know we are not naturally meant to eat meat. Meat must be heated at a high temperature and carefully cooked through, to avoid sickness. Even when cooked however, it is detrimental to our health in many ways. Vegetarians live 6 to 10 years longer than meat eaters, and chicken increases the risk of cancer by 52%. So my point is, eating meat is not a necessity.
You say: "As Pro has conceded. The assertion that farming animals is not natural does nothing to prove that pain and suffering is necessary to eat meat"
I know. I don't think that it would be impossible to eat meat without suffering. I just think that it probably would be impossible to achieve on a scale big enough to feed the whole society. I am not trying to prove that it is impossible to eat meat without suffering anyway, I don't know why you keep saying it. It's about "now" like I said.
I don't disagree with the concept of farming, there is such a thing as reciprocal altruism. However 99% of farms don't know the meaning of the word. Killing an animal is also not part of a reciprocally altruistic relationship.
You say: "Pro did not establish a moral context to discuss this or point to a specific moral code making the resolution very difficult to support. Many descriptive moral relativist positions would accept that eating meat is moral since it widely accepted in our culture . It may be moral under certain cultures but not in others."
I think the reason your having difficulty grasping any moral certainty is because of your terminology. You keep saying "eatingmeat" rather than "killing others for pleasure". For "eating meat" is not necessarily wrong. Killing animals for pleasure, when you know better, is wrong. Simple. Maybe if you started saying "cruelty to others" rather than "eating meat", reality might hit home quicker. Read through your augment now dong that, and just see what perspective it gives.
You say: "The arguments presented rest on a false assumption. Animal suffering is required to eat meat. This is simply not true. I would like to see farm animals treated a lot better but this is a separate issue all together. Animals could be raised under good conditions avoiding pain and suffering leading to a painless death. Pro"s arguments just do not address the resolution."
Whether you could see it or not, it was intended to. This argument is about killing animals. If you think we should not aim to cut meat out of our diet then please argue that because everything else we probably agree on. I think causing suffering is wrong, not that it's impossible to not cause suffering. Where did you get that impression? Never mind, if you dissagree then please continue, but please don't waste our time talking about a separation between pain and killing, as it is not relevant in a debate about today's society.
Negative responsibility puts people in a situation where they are responsible for the far reaching consequences of there actions and not their immediate actions. For instance Pro would like to hold those that eat meat responsible for the assumed poor treatment of animals since the practice of eating meat encourages the domestication of animals to produce meat. This view makes everyone responsible for virtually all immoral actions.
Is it immoral to attend and support the Catholic Church because priests have abused children in the past? Is it immoral to live in the United States because we have a high murder rate and supply guns to corrupt organizations and governments around the world? There is no reason why we should be held responsible for animal abuse when we have not committed these acts ourselves and public outcry over animal cruelty has greatly improved the way animals are treated.
The bottom line is that those who eat meat have not treated animals poorly but Pro would like to hold them responsible for this anyways. In other words, the majority of the Industrialized world should be held responsible for the actions of others. In addition, we are immoral for actions that we have not taken i.e. moving toward the unnatural practice of not eating meat because others have abused farm animals in the past.
If Pro would like this debate to be about some kind of negative responsibility for animal suffering that should have been made that clear in the resolution. There is no mention of animal suffering in the resolution or opening round so this debate is about eating meat as stated.
“Theoretically, it might be possible to cause an animal no suffering by killing it. How this could be done on the scale needed to feed a modern society, I don't know.”
Dr Grandin is a high functioning autistic that has done a lot of work to understand and prevent the suffering of cattle and other farm animals . She worked to alleviate even the low level suffering of cows at ranches such as the anxiety the may feel when passing through handling facilities and being spooked by fast movements. Around half of the cattle in the United States and in Canada are now handled using her equipment. Many large beef handlers such as Wendy’s, McDonalds and Burger king routinely use her audit, designed to prevent animal cruelty, with their suppliers who pass or are forced to reform.
The requirements enforced by the audits include training employees in preventing cruelty, removing distractions that may spook or scare animals and solid panels so that animals do not see people as they approach stunners . A company like McDonalds has a lot of purchasing power and they buy meat from 90% of the large and medium U.S. and Canadian plants. If you are removed from their buy list that can mean millions of dollars in lost revenue so their audit program has had a large impact on the treatment of animals. They also have an active audit program in South America, Australia, Europe and Asia.
She has been the poster child for the effort to prevent animal cruelty on farms. At this point she was quoted as saying that inhumane, “handling’s no longer my biggest concern .” “The current state of humane slaughter affairs is so good that when Grandin spoke to the gathering of Midwestern farmers, her talk was not about handling, but about messaging—‘How Farmers Can Connect With Their Consumers.’”
Bruising of Cattle was reduced from 20% to 1% when producers were forced to pay for the loss and the practice of fining transporters for sending pigs to weak to walk greatly improved the treatment of pigs . Safety has been a successful motivator to eliminate the shackling and hoisting of live animals. Non-slip flooring in vehicle transport, unloading areas and stun boxes have been successful in greatly reducing the number of serious animal injuries. There is a large list of practical improvements in farms over the last couple decades that has greatly improved the way animals are treated.
There are many organizations today that monitor the treatment of animals at farms including the Animal Welfare Institute, Humane Farm Animal Care, American Humane Certified and Global Animal Partnership. The USDA Organic label carries with it requirements about handling animals, how they are stunned and transported for slaughter. Humane slaughter has been a legal requirement since the 1958 Humane Slaughter act.
“and this is another way that we know we are not naturally meant to eat meat…Vegetarians live 6 to 10 years longer than meat eaters, and chicken increases the risk of cancer by 52%.”
Pro’s comments that indicate that eating meat is not natural to humans and those vegetarians are healthier are unfounded speculation. It is simply not true and these are claims that he would need sourcing to prove. We are most definitely omnivores  meaning both meat and vegetables are part of a healthy diet. Again, lean meat is an important source of protein and other vital nutrients .
The Arguments Presented are Based on Assumptions not Evidence
Pro has not made any attempt to establish what morality is and confirm that a specific moral code applies to everyone from every culture. Even still, he has applied a nonstandard view of morality without explanation. Why should we be held responsible for the actions of others? He simply assumes that we have a moral responsibility toward animals but has done nothing to establish this. He has not presented any evidence to support that animal cruelty is normal or even common in farms and, in fact, the situation has been improving.
Pro has presented no evidence that the meat eaters should be held morally responsible for the assumed poor treatment of animals from some meat producers. He has done nothing to establish what morality is or to establish that the non standard idea of negative responsibility applies in this case. He has simply assumed that poor treatment of animals is common practice but has provided no evidence to prove that this is true.
Tommy.leadbetter forfeited this round.
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||0||6|