The Instigator
Con (against)
5 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
10 Points

Humanity ought to allow animals access to basic rights.

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Post Voting Period
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after 4 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/28/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,601 times Debate No: 25324
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (61)
Votes (4)




Someone call the presses! Zaradi's not making an LD debate!

Zaradi: Not exactly true, since this is basically the Sept/Oct resolution from last year but it won't be done in LD format.


Humanity - Fairly obvious.
Ought - a moral obligation to do something.
Animals - Non-human creatures (excluding insects and such)
Basic rights - Right to Life, right not to be treated inhumanly, etc.

Besides what consitutes "basic rights", all the definitions are fairly obvious. Semantics will thusly be met with an instant loss.

First Round acceptance. Second round cases. Third and fourth round rebuttals. No new arguments in the fourth round.

No going over the character limit (or 'glitching') will be allowed. Anyone convicted of it will auto-lose.

I await an opponent.


I accept.

Good luck.

Debate Round No. 1


I'd like to thank Phantom for accepting this debate, and I really hope he doesn't rip me apart too badly. Since I have limited character space I'll get right to it.

The main premise of this debate will revolve around the word "ought". As ought implies a moral obligation, the debate should center around if humanity has the moral obligation to give animals basic rights. There are two basic frameworks I will detail, into which my contentions will link into to ultimately negate the resolution. Each framework operates independently of the other framework, but the contentions link into both.

Framework 1: Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism operates under the premise that every morally good action must maximize to the fullest extent possible while minimizing the pain to the fullest extent possible. So if killing one person would save the lives of five people, under a utilitarian mindset I would be morally justified in killing that single person. If I need to expand on this idea further, I can in the next round. But I feel that it's fairly basic, so I don't need to waste characters explaining it further.

Framework 2: Egoism

Egoism, specifically weak egoism as I will be specifically defending, is the moral belief that intentions, not the actions themselves, are what obligate us to do certain things. Egoism specifically speaks to the fact that we act only out of our own self-interest (even when doing works of charity or generosity) and that we are not morally obligated to do anything that is not desirable to us. For example, if it is not in my interest to give the homeless man on the side of the street the money he needs to buy a meal, egoism defends that I have no moral obligation to give him that money.
And before my opponent argues volunteerism against this, volunteerism does not disprove egoism because whatever that was desirable about volunteering (volunteer hours, networking, or simply the good feeling you get from helping others out) made it in our self-interest to volunteer. If that desirable trait was not there, then we would have no self-interest to volunteer, thus making it not morally obligatory.

My contention is that if we allow animals access to basic rights (more specifically I will be attacking the right to life wtihout slaughter), then the world will end in nuclear fall-out. Let me explain:

Contention One: Slaughter

The main argument made by most supporters of animal rights is that the pointless slaughter (for whatever purpose) is done so inhumanely and so grotesquely that it's entirely immoral and they shouldn't be killed in such a way. However, the standard practice of slaughter (which is the slitting of the juggular artery in the neck to allow the animal to bleed out), is necessary for animals that are being slaughtered for meat. Giving them the right to life and disbanding this practice means one simple, yet devastating end: we have no more meat.

Contention Two: The Meat Industry

When people think of the meat industry, we think of the old book "The Jungle" that exposed meat processing facilities as horrible, gross places to work and that are completely unsanitary and inhumane. However, the meat industry expands far further than that. Grocery stores, deli's, restraunts, venders, shipping companies, processing facilities, all of these places are a part of the meat industry. The meat industry is, arguably, the backbone of the American economy. In 2009, the meat industry employed more than 526,000 workers in packing and processing industries alone(1). The combined salaries of these workers totaled more than $19 billion(1). Every company involved in the meat industry, along with suppliers, distributers, retailers, and ancillary industries, employed a combined total of 6.2 million workers(1), who salaries combined to be more than $200 billion(1). Through production and distribution linkages, the meat industry impacts firms in all 509 sectors of the economy, in every single state and congressional district in the US(1). Without this vital industry to the US economy, we would see a collapse, if not a complete meltdown, of our economy on a scale much larger than what we see now. The economic ripple effect of this collapse would undoubtedly shut down other world-wide economies, and would lead to a global collapse of economies. So what happens then?

Contention Three: NUCLEAR WAR!

Yeah that's right. Nuclear war will be the result if we shut down the global economy. This may sound like a far-fetched idea, but it's really not. World War II, for example, was started when an economically bankrupt Germany began vying for power and control in an attempt to re-assert their dominance after a crushing defeat in World War I. With modern technologies and weapons of mass destruction, the death toll would sky-rocket well above that death-toll. Lieutenant Colonel Bearden explains(2) that "As the collapse of the Western economies nears, one may expect catastrophic stress on the 160 developing nations as the developed nations are forced to dramatically curtail orders. ... [T]he stress on nations will have increased the intensity and number of their conflicts, to the point where the arsenals of (WMDs) ... are certain to be released. ... [O]nce a few nukes are launched, adversaries and potential adversaries are then compelled to launch on perception of preparations by one's adversary. ... Without effective defense, the only chance a nation has to survive at all, is to launch immediate full-bore pre-emptive strikes. ... [R]apid escalation to full WMD exchange occurs, with a great percent of the WMD arsenals being unleashed."

This end-of-the-world impact links into both frameworks because:

a) This impact links into utilitarianism because by allowing animals to have rights, we risk the end of the world, which will kill the animals anyway. Slaughtering them for meat now saves the rest of humanity, which is a net-positive result, and thusly obligates us to not give them rights.

b) This impact links into egoism because it wouldn't be in our self-benefit to prevent the slaughtering of animals if it means that we all die from nuclear fallout anyway. As it wouldn't be in our self-interest, we possess no moral obligation to give animals rights.

Thusly, because the fate of the world hangs in the balance, you must negate.

(2) - (Liutenant Colonel Bearden, The Unnecessary Energy Crisis: How We Can Solve It, 2000,


I thank Zaradi for the chance to have an interesting debate and look forward to the exchange.

Groundwork of rights

I do hope con doesn't play the nihilist card on me, but if so, I am willing, and I believe able, to establish the reality of basic rights in pertaining to human beings. My next job is obviously to demonstrate that animals also have those rights.

I believe rights to be the very basis of any moral code. I also believe them to be probably the most self-evident, simple and easily substantiated moral facts there are.

What gives us rights? Why do we posses them? As there are a number of different rights, there are also a number of different answers. The most easily demonstrated I believe is the concept of self-ownership. Self-ownership is the principle that we are, well simply, in ownership of our body. I do not think there is or will be any contention on this principle. It's rather evident. I own the lap-top I'm typing with right now because I bought it, made an agreement with the seller and claimed ownership. All the criteria for ownership are met. Self-ownership is even more obvious than material ownership. There is absolutely no other person, thing or being that would undermine my ownership of the self. (Unless perhaps you want to establish a creator, but unless my opponent wants to go dreadfully off topic, I dearly hope this debate doesn't stray there.) It is implausible to say I do not have ownership of my body. It is after-all me. My consciousness inhabits it. My will guides it. My feelings are linked with it.

Self-ownership is not in itself a right, it is important to note, but a principle that I believe quite evidently entails certain rights. Some of these rights will be listed further down below.

More criteria for rights

Consciousness: None of all that would matter much I don't think if we weren't conscious in that you don't give rights to non-self aware things such as rocks and trees.

Feeling: As feeling beings, we have certain reactions to occurrences. They may be negative or positive depending. But this tells us there is an interest involved in beings. As a whole, society also has an interest and the interest of society is basically an accumulation the interest of individuals.

Intrinsic worth: We have worth because we have the power to act on choice. We are part of society and part of this world. Our actions shape the future and thus affect the overall goals of society causing us to have intrinsic worth.

The main argument

P.1 Animals possess properties which fit the same criteria of rights that pertains to the human criteria for rights.
P.2 Thus animals possess rights.
P.3 Moral truths obligate recognition.
P.4 Humans are obligated to recognize animal rights.
P.5 Humanity ought to allow animals access to basic rights.

Remember the criteria I laid out initially. It is my job to now demonstrate that animals fit the criteria.

Self-ownership: As self-evident I believe this is for humans, I believe it also self evident for animals. Animals are the possessor of their self, not anyone else.

Consciousness: Scientific evidence strongly supports the assertion that animals are conscious just like humans.

“The weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness,[........]Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”

For whatever animals it has been proved are conscious, it is more likely that all animals are conscious. And even if not all animals are conscious, we still have no way of knowing which ones aren't so we should treat them as they are all conscious which is likely any way.

Feeling: It is rather obvious that animals posses feeling like we do. They suffer and experience joy or sadness.

Intrinsic worth: Animals are part of the over-all society that inhabits the world. They are rational as seen especially in monkeys and elephants. They have interests just as we do. (Explained further below.)

The rights

Jus a few basic ones.

1. The right to live (in absence of outweighing factors)

Outweighing factors would be such as if you're about to kill ten people and someone with a gun can stop you by killing you. Your right is outweighed and the man has the right to shoot you. The animals desire to live conflicts with no other principle or factor that would cancel it out. The animal wants to live. There is no good reason to deny this right, thus it possesses the right to life unless it violates that.

2. The right to restricted freedom

All rights have restrictions it is important to note. Animals have the right of freedom to the self. As long as they are not violating anything else, they have the right to freely act. From self-ownership we know that they own their bodies. It is theirs, therefore they have rights pertaining to what they do with it. Now we obviously as a superior species, have rights over animals, so for example, we don't let our pets run away simply to give them the right to freedom. We have the right to stop them from doing that just as parents have rights over their children.

3. The right to act in accordance with ethically allowable desire

If a being has an ethical desire, the creature has the right to act in accordance with that desire. Since the desire is ethical that means there is nothing morally or logically invalid about his desire. Basically a desire that has no outweighing trade-offs. This in itself basically states we have no moral justification in keeping them from this. As Peter Singer points out, animals have an interest in not suffering. We have no valid reason not to disallow that interest. Thus we should allow it.

Obligation to recognize animal rights

It has been established that animals have rights. Now I just need to show that mankind have an obligation to recognize or allow those rights. The argument flows quite logically I believe. Moral obligations to recognize facts exist within moral facts itself. That is why it's morality. Morality is concerned with how we should act thus outweighs everything else. Animals have rights. That is a moral assertion. Would it be moral or immoral to recognize these rights? It would obviously be moral as the rights themselves are moral, thus we have an obligation to do so.

Unjust application

One of mankind's biggest faults is its bias to social category. You might argue that our moral framework is a human morality, therefore it doesn't apply to other species. Well, society used to hold that same view in pertaining to ethnicity instead of species. The blacks were thought to be inferior to the whites and so did not possess the same rights as the whites did. That assertion was used largely in support of slavery. If slavery did not have all the benefits to the landowners I would guess they would readily advocate the liberation of the slaves. It is my cogitation that if we did not all derive the benefits of our treatment to animals; if McDonald's suddenly stopped tasting so damned good, we would all be animal rights activists. Such is the nature of human selfishness. Our desire for meat in no way outweighs the animals desire to live.

Hypothetical assessment

When determining a moral assertion I think a good way to come about establishing a conclusion is to take it hypothetically. Ask yourself, do I conceive of a world in which animals posses recognized rights to be more moral or more immoral? I cannot conceive of it being less moral. I can only conceive of it as being more moral. Thus I have personally met the very strong conviction that we have a moral obligation to assist in this quest for moral furtherance. It could not possibly be conceived as immoral. It doesn't make sense that it would be amoral. It is a moral progression and as moral beings we ought to contribute to it.

Run out of space.

Debate Round No. 2


My thanks go out to phantom for a) providing me with an interesting case to read and think on, and b) not once making a point over how they are encaged (because we all know that's a -completely- sound argument).

I feel that, while in appearance it may be sound, upon closer inspection my opponent's case falls apart in a few places. Let us first begin at his first premise, where he illustrates the criterion in which animals fit the qualifications for rights.

Right off the bat we hit a snag with self-ownership. I feel that in modern society the average animal does not actually own one's self, but is rather owned much as a commodity is. In the same way I can go to a store and buy the laptop I am currently typing on, making it in all senses of the word "mine", I can go into a store and purchase a puppy. I would have paid the wage necessary to change contractual ownership of that puppy from the ownership of the store to my ownership, thus making it (for the most part) mine. So long as none of my actions violate the contract upon which the pet store agreed to sell me the puppy (or accepted social protocolls pertaining to the treatment of animals. And yes that was a Michael Vick joke), I have full control over what the puppy does and does not do. The same applies with other animals, such as cattle, pigs, roosters, and other animals that serve a practical purpose in society other than bringing joy and companionship to onesself.

Of course, this could all just devolve into a debate over contractual rights versus bodily rights, but I will go further on taht point if pro wishes to go down that path. I hesitate now since I have the feeling it will be a bit messy.

On consciousness, I do not object per se, but would rather think that it could better be described by cognitive ability, or rather more simply, sentience. While things such as animals, insects and plant-life surely are conscious enough to feel emotions such as pain and joy, we hardly give consideration to their rights in every day activity (when has the average human being paused to consider the moral rammifications of eating a hamburger, or of swatting a fly off of your table, or of mowing your lawn). However, to sentient beings (such as human beings) we are more apt to consider their feelings before making an action that may infringe upon their well-being. And since the majority of animals lack the capacity for sentience (cognition, speech, etc.) they do not deserve the same basic liberties and rights.

Feeling I do not object to animals possessing, but rather it's qualification as a standard to judge what deserves moral consideation. As I stated earlier, things such as insects and plant-life are capable of feeling things such as pain and pleasure, yet are hardly considered to be deserving of rights (have you ever felt guilty about mowing your lawn because of the thought of killing all those poor blades of grass? I thought not).

Intrinsic worth is something that I feel should be mentioned. I don't think that the mere fact that something exists gives it intrinsic worth. Saying that would mean things like feecle matter and radioactive byproduct have intrinsic worth, as they exist in society. As such, animals do not have intrinsic worth in themselves necessarily, but rather, I believe, in what they are able to produce (i.e. food products and other assortments of things that are able to be produced from animals ingredients). A cow is just a cow; a large bovine animal that sits around, eats grass, deficates manure, and eventually dies or is slaughtered. But what it can produce has intrinsic worth as it provides society with a necessary material to remain alive (food in the form of meat). But because animals themselves do not have intrinsic worth, his argument falls here as well.

Since my opponent's qualifications were refuted, premise one drops. As he was kind enough to use a syllogism, all I need to do is successfully refute one premise and the entire thing is de-railed. But let's keep going, shall we?

I do not object to the rights my opponent wishes to bestow, as those were what I was thinking of the basic rights. It is my opponent's BOP to prove that animals possess them or ought to possess them.

From there, let's move on to where my opponent attempts to show that society has an obligation to provide animals with basic rights. I feel that while my opponent's flow of logic is sound, his conclusion is in error. My opponent has proved to you that giving animals these rights (presuming they fit the qualifications for them) would be a moral action. Bingo boingo. This only proves, however, that it would be a morally PERMISSIBLE action to take, but not a morally obligatory action to take. My opponent is missing the step between why we have an obligation to give them these rights, as he never establishes the need, but only the should. As my opponent's logic currently flows in syllogistic form:

P1 - Morality is concerned with how we should act.
P2 - Animals have/deserve rights.
P3 - It would be a morally good action to recognize those rights, as the rights themselves are moral.
P4 - Thus, because we should, we ought to.

P4 is, of course, the jump in logic my opponent makes.

My opponent may try to extend out the fact that he said "Moral obligations to recognize facts exist within moral facts themselves", but the warrant for this statement is lacking. He merely warrants it with a bland "That is why it's morality" assertion that proves little to nothing. If my opponent wishes to use this statement to prove he has achieved a moral obligation, he will need to warrant it with something more substantial.

As such, not only has he yet to prove that rights exist for animals, but also that we have an obligation to recognize these rights, should they exist.

And since I'm not arguing that our moral framework only applies to humans, the paragraph addressing that issue can be ignored.

The hypothetical assessment my opponent proposes meets the same problem as it did before: if we envision a world where it is morally better to give animals their rights than not, we know it is a morally permissible action to give them the rights. The fact that we realize they can have rights does not obligate us to give them rights, as there must be some outside force to obligate us (such as a contractual obligation or something of the like, for instance).

So in summary:

I have refuted premises one, three, and four in his syllogism (two and five are arguably just conclusions and merit the validity of the others to be valid themselves). As such, my oppoent's case is entirely de-bunked. The resolution is negated.


I thank con for his response.

Cons case

A few remarks on cons initial framework. I do agree that the lives of the few outweigh the lives of the many so one persons death to save five would be morally desirable we agree. As far as egoism goes, I am not sure if con is positing it on the individual or society. Furthermore, is he saying that is how we should act or simply how we do? Raping someone might be in my own self interest but that certainly would not be moral. Morality applies more than just to the individual. I would also contend that moral facts undoubtedly can override our own self interest. For example, if I see a girl drowning I have an obligation to do something about it even if just to alert another person. This may not always be in my self interests and if I decline to commit to the act due to my preferences, I am not being moral.

I also raised the point last round of "unjust appication" which my opponent dropped. The contention was that animals should be recognized as a part of society and the moral framework so if my opponent shows giving animals rights would be undesireable for humans, that accomplishes nothing as my extended argument refutes that.

"C.1 Slaughter"

Con extremely briefly concludes his point by stating we would have no meat if we gave animals rights. Besides his unsupported assertion that this would be devastating, con never really argues an impact. Yes we wouldn't be able to eat animals anymore. We have to sacrifice luxuries for the greater moral good. For centuries land owners found it impossible to give up the benefits of owning slaves, but eventually morality one the fight and anyone would agree that it was certainly best.

"C.2 The Meat Industry"

Con makes his mistake by assuming the process would be almost instantaneous. It might be true that an instant stopping of the meat industry may be as bad as con hints, but we have to consider, giving animals rights and finalizing the transformation to a non-meat eating society would be an incredibly long process. It would take perhaps years. It would not

Con also mentions the following organizations, "Grocery stores, deli's, restaurants, venders, shipping companies, and processing facilities". While it is true all these are essentially part of the meat industry, that is not the primary purpose for most. Grocery stores obviously sell many other things than meat. There are plenty of foods restaurants can sell and meat is only one small part of shipping companies.

We can also very importantly deduce other jobs and industries would take over the meat industries place. Nuts, vegetables, fruit and grain industries would all grow as that became the main food products being bought. It's simple logic. If we stop eating one type of food, we'll start eating more of the other. Therefore the other food industries will undoubtedly boom even if the meat drops. This creates more jobs in those industries. Furthermore, giving animals rights would quite likely entail more programs and organizations committed to animal care which would also create more jobs.

The claims that giving animals rights would result in an economic collapse are clearly far-fetched.

C.3 Nuclear war

This argument stems from the second one. If C2 is false, this is false so my rebuttal of C2 refutes this.

I fail to see how a bankrupt Germany trying to gain power and causing world war II has much relevance to this. First off, con contradicts himself. He states the world would go into global decline. Germany wanted power when they were an economic dwarf. In this case, if we put it into context, we'd all be dwarfs thus all in the same ditch. Hardly applicable to world war II. Additionally, the Treaty of Versailles played a huge part on Germany's want of power and con hasn't raised any similar factors here. Con even states himself they wished to assert their dominance after suffering defeat in world war I. There's nothing even similar to the two scenarios. By allowing animals rights, what shame would any country suffer to the extent they would cause a world war III?

Cons arguments rely on wild speculations that never really meet sufficient warrant.

My case

Let's highlight the points con disagrees with.


We are a superior species to animals and have a certain degree of authority over them, thus do indeed act as if we own them. However, this simply falls either into abusive or authoritative ownership which both fail to refute the point. By authoritative ownership I mean such as that of a parent over a child. The parent has a certain degree of control over his children because they are the authority. In the same, humans have an authority over their pets to an extent. Funnily, con sources his rebuttal from the societal structure we have in regards to animals, but we can also see this structure gives self-ownership to animals itself. It may be fully legal to buy animals at a pet store but it is completely illegal to beat and abuse that dog. In this way we see self-ownership at play. Humans have authority over their pets, like parents to children, but only to a certain degree. Humans don't have the ownership over the pets to do whatever they want with them. Like I stated in the last round, the consciousness of the animal inhabits the body, it feels and has a will. There is no reason to say it does not have self-ownership.


I disagree with my opponent that plants possess consciousness. I don't see anything contributing to that statement but he does raise a good point about insects. However I think the point can be refuting from my argument from intrinsic worth. As far as that points sways, I never stated things have intrinsic worth as con seems to imply. Animals have intrinsic worthy because of their power to act and contribute to society. It is important to note though, the worth of the animal to itself. Animals are more significant than insects because they have more meaningful lives and much more advanced in rational capabilities.


Con does raise a good point that makes me wish I had argued more thoroughly last round. However I think it is very easy to make the step from morally permissible to morally obligated. Let's consider this for a moment. Can we within any realm of plausibility say an animal can have the right to life but not the right to have that right recognized? That makes absolutely no sense! If I have the right to life, then that right necessarily entails that right is recognized. It would be self refuting otherwise. If my right to life is not recognized then I don't really have that right at all. All I have to do is prove animals have rights and then the step to proving humans should recognize them is easy.

Sorry that was rushed.

Debate Round No. 3


Sparing the formalities and going line by line.

" I do agree that the lives ..."

This means that at the very least, you evaluate the round under a util framework.

" Furthermore, is he saying ..."

Here my opponent is essentially strawmanning egoism. The function of egoism is not to determine what is morally good or bad, but rather to determine a difference between moral permissability and moral obligation and to refute that things can ever be morally obligatory. As the example he used doesn't fit in with this, then it doesn't actually refute egoism.

" For example, if I see a girl drowning ..."

Here my opponent makes the same jump in logic for going from moral permissibility to moral obligation that he's been making all debate long. In this situation, under an egoistic framework, saving the girl drowning would be a morally permissible action. However, my opponent's jump here to morally obligatory is a) unwarranted, and b) wrong to begin with.

I suppose a lot of these errors come from me not clearly explaining egoism. Allow me to remedy the error (this is just a further clarification upon egoism. Thus it doesn't count as a new argument). Egoism essentially denies that things can ever be morally obligatory due to the fact that individuals act based on self-interest. I.e. If I wanted better grades in school, I would go for tutoring before and/or after school to receive help. There is no moral obligation upon me to go for tutoring, but rather it's my own self-interest that's driving me to do these things. Take away the self-interest in my grades, and there isn't any reason for me to go for tutoring. This implies that whenever there's no self-interest in doing an action, there isn't a reason to do such action. If moral obligations existed, then my actions wouldn't depend on whether I held interest in the action or not - I would just do it anyway regardless of whether I liked it or not. This means two things for terms of the resolution:

1. If giving animals rights is not within our self-interest, then we have no obligation to give them these rights. Resolution negated.

2. You a priori negate because if the morally obligatory nature of an action depends upon our self-interest in the action, then it's logical to say that the action isn't obligatory in the first place, as if it were morally obligatory, it wouldn't be dependent upon some outside factor. This means that even if my opponent is winning 100% of their case, and showing how giving animals rights is an amazing thing to do, it can still never be morally obligatory, and thus he would fail to uphold his BOP. Resolution negated.

"I also raised the point last round ..."

I never dropped this. I explicitly pointed out that, as per the wording of your paragraph, it didn't actually apply to what I was talking about. The moral framework I establish in my case doesn't apply to only humans, ergo the argument following your statement has no applicability. Judges, don't let him extend this out as a dropped argument, as it has no link into my case and thus no impact on how the round goes down.

"Con extremely briefly concludes his point ..."

I mean, the logic is pretty straight-forward (not only that but I stated the logic in my case, my opponent just never refutes it). If we give animals basic rights, we give them the right to life. If we give them the right to life, we give them the right not to be killed. Hence, we cannot kill them, and hence no more meat. My opponent also argues that this contention doesn't have an impact, but the impact for this contention is explained further down syllogistically (do not mistake this for me saying my contentions form a syllogism, but rather the impacts flow from one contention to the next. The impact of Contention 1 is nuclear war, as is contention two and contention 3).

C1 stands. Extend.

"Con makes his mistake by assuming the process ..."

Here my opponent makes the mistake of assuming it would take a long time to actually come about. But this isn't true. Stores and shops nationwide would run out of meat supplies within a matter of months, if not WEEKS, due to consumer demand for these products that are now being taken out of production. Let's face it: if you heard that people weren't selling steak at the grocery store or at your favorite restaurant, wouldn't you go stock up to make sure it wouldn't affect you for a while? The increased number of meat purchases would mean that it would crash nearly instantaneously.

""Grocery stores, deli's, restaurants, venders, ..."

While my opponent has a point, the removal of meat alone would cripple, if not completely collapse most stores and restaurants. Would you go to McDonalds or Subway if all they had was salads and veggie meals? Unless you're a vegetarian/vegan, I think not. This would still cause these places to go out of business, and thus lead to economic collapse.

" Nuts, vegetables, fruit and grain industries would all grow ..."

Fair, but I would think not quickly enough to avoid the impact of contention three. The collapse would be almost instantaneous, but a transfer between the two would take much longer.

"giving animals rights would quite likely entail more programs ..."

Loss of jobs would outweigh as the programs created wouldn't be nearly enough to replace all the fast food restaurants, sit-down restaurants, ranches, processing plants, etc.

C2 stands. Extend.

"This argument stems from the second one."

C2 stands. This can be dropped.

"I fail to see how a bankrupt Germany"

Just an example of how the idea of massive war from economic collapse isn't that far-fetched of an idea. The only application to the debate is just showing it's a feasable impact. It's not in any way essential to my argument.

Aside from that my opponent doesn't refute any of C3, so it stands. Extend.


On conditions for rights:

I'll concede self-ownership and consciousness due to lack of characters, but even if I conceded my opponent's two refutations, animals must meet all the conditions in order to be applicable. My opponent dropped the 2 other arguments I raised with feelings and intrinsic worth, only addressing self-ownership and consciousness. Extend both and his first premise is still refuted. This right here means resolution negated.

On Moral permiss. to moral obligation:

"Can we within any realm of plausibility ..."

Yes, very easily actually. If I commit a crime that merits the death penalty, do I get executed? Your position would say no, but this isn't true. Since my actions deemed that I die for the bettering of society or for the maintenence of social laws or codes, my right to life is stripped from me, making it permissible for me to be killed. This jump your making isn't as easy as you're claiming it to be. Without an actual warrant as for why if they have rights then it's morally obligatory to recognize them, then this point falls.

Ladies and gentlemen, this debate breaks down very simply. You can negate on a multitude of places:

1. Since my opponent's arguments are syllogistic, each premise refuted merits a con vote, as the entire syllogism falls if one premise falls. Thus,
a) you negate since animals don't meet all the conditions for rights, which refutes premise 1. And,
b) you negate since my opponent never proves a moral obligation, which refutes premise 2 .
2. Both frameworks of my case still stand. This means that,
a) you negate off of the util impact of nuclear war being the worse impact, and that not giving animals rights prevents this.
b) you negate off of the egoism impact of nuclear war as extinction is not in our self-interest
c) you negate off of the a priori argument from egoism which implies no moral obligations exist as our actions are dependent upon self-interest.

That's 5 different places to negate. And with no place to affirm, the vote is a clear con vote. Thank you to phantom for the fun debate and the readers for staying with us through these rounds.


Thanks for the great debate Zaradi!


I do not see how I strawmanned con on egoism. Actually, con is being inconsistent. This round he states egoism is not to determine what is good or bad and that it "refute that things can ever be morally obligatory". But when he first introduced it in his initial case he said egoism is the, "moral belief that intentions, not the actions themselves, are what obligate us to do certain things." Therefore egoism does very much state that moral obligations exist contrary to what con is now saying. This is the last round so he can't change his case and it's poor conduct to act like that's how he first set it up. It is not just a further clarification of the definition as con states. It's an outright new round argument to support his framework.

Since con initially stated moral obligations exist and can't change his stance in the last round, we have to assume obligations do exist.

The problem with cons point is he's arguing from the interest of the individual when really morality is collective. So the collective interest for society perhaps. (I would add animals in there.) Otherwise if egoism were true, we would have no right to conflict with another's self interest leading to a barbaric society where rule and law were discarded. The moral framework envelopes more than just the individual causing moral obligations to indeed exist. This may sound like a last round argument but that's only because con only started arguing moral obligations don't exist this round forcing me to make new ground.

To reiterate more on why it is morally obligatory to recognize animals rights, rights entail obligations. It is inevitable. Suppose you say you have the right to life. Well do I say I am allowed to kill you since moral obligations don't exist? That makes no sense. Rights cannot exist while moral obligations do not. If I have the right to live in absence of outweighing factors, humans are obligated to not kill me. That's a basic constitution of what rights are.

In response to the "unjust application" point the previous round, con stated, "I'm not arguing that our moral framework only applies to humans". The point of the contention was to show that the moral framework is not only applicable to humans so I think it was completely fair for me to say con dropped it. Not that I believe it proves my case. It was actually done much for the purpose of framework.


I feel this was much more a premise than a contention. I see no reason to refute it since I agree we would not have meat if we gave animals rights. That's a sacrifice for the greater good. I was also correct in saying con didn't argue an impact. The only impact was stated in other contentions so this contention itself did not have an argued impact. Like I said, it was merely a premise.

So yes, viewers may extend cons point that giving animals rights entails loss of meat. I have no problem with that. It's kind of obvious anyway.


Con states that consumer demand would cause meat industries to run out of supply within months or weeks. I have three things to say. First off, a large increase in trade would cause a positive burst of economic activity. So even if the latter affects were negative, there would be an initial positive affect. Secondly, con mentions it taking months. Well how many months? Months could not be very quick at all. Remember, con is arguing it would cause a global economic collapse. The failure of the meat department, especially considering the other industries that would boom because of it, would have to be extremely quick in order to cause a global fall out. And even then, it's not wholly plausible. Thirdly, society has been conditioned to the acceptability of eating meat for their entire existence. Giving animals rights would be one of the most massive social changes undergone in human history. The change would be extremely gradual. I can not imagine such a huge action to be instantaneous. It's simply inconceivable.

This is a simple concept of competition. Companies not only have to compete with each other but with environmental and social changes. Yes companies would fail but others would profit because of it. If people had nowhere to buy meat, they'd buy something else. Companies who best provided non-meat foods would prosper. You couldn't visit Burger King for lunch so you'd go to a different restaurant. The economic activity would still very much exist. It would just be different. It's also funny how con asks us if we would really go to Subway if they only sold salad and vegie meals and states, "Unless you're a vegetarian/vegan, I think not.". Well that's the thing. Giving animals rights would mean we would become vegetarian.

Con does not contend that grain, nuts, fruit and vegetable industries would take the meat industries place, only says "a transfer between the two would take much longer". I do not see it that way. People need to eat. It's a first requirement of survival. However quick the meat industry fell, other industries would boom just as quickly. Grocery shopping probably takes place multiple times every week for households. With none of those people buying meat, there would be a massive increase in other products being bought. Just as much food would be bought. Everyone would just be buying fruit, vegetables, grains and nuts instead of meat.

The many programs that would inevitably rise from giving animals rights would not in itself outweigh the jobs lost I agree. But that coupled with the booming of other industries would.


As C.2 is refuted, this bares no weight.

I still fail to see how cons example lends much credibility to his case. Saying it proves it's not a far-fetched idea falls completely short in saying it's probable. There are countless differences to the two scenarios, which con doesn't really try to refute, that all it does is really show it's possible. It does not show it's likely. Nor does it show it plausible.

The jumps from no meat, to global economic collapse, to nuclear world war III are all largely unsubstantiated rendering cons case largely refuted.

My case

Con drops consciousness and self-ownership.

It is unfortunate that con claims I dropped two of his points when that is an utterly false assertion. I addressed intrinsic worth and feelings right with consciousness. Viewers may see for your self. The mere fact that I did not address them in three separate points does not constitute a drop. I addressed them all together due to similarity but I clearly mentioned them all. "Animals have intrinsic worth because of their power to act and contribute to society." <- Just one quote I said...

Con is also making a mistake in saying animals must meet all the conditions in order to have rights. That is not the case. In fact, I strongly contend consciousness and self-ownership together undoubtedly form rights. Self-ownership is the principle that you are in ownership of your body. What does ownership entail? It entails certain rights. What else would it. If ownership entails rights and con concedes animals have self-ownership, then animals have rights.

Con strawmans me. I never held the position that the right to life cannot be lost as he seems to imply. If a crime truly did warrant the death penalty, then the man would have lost his right to live. I also honestly don't see how it addresses my point. I still find it a very easy thing to establish. Let me reiterate what I said earlier. Rights and obligations are necessarily inclusive. Suppose we establish I have the right to live. Now suppose Zaradi says we have no moral obligations so he can just kill me. But wait a minute. Is there not a conflict? If I have the right to live, Zaradi has the moral obligation to recognize that right. Otherwise he's infringing upon morallity. My rights entail recognition. If I have the right to live, Zaradi has the moral obligation to not kill me. If he did not have the moral restraint, then I wouldn't really have the right at all.

Debate Round No. 4
61 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
@ Blackvoid:

The reason why I used te DP as an example was to prove that giving rights are something we can or cannot do, but it's never morally obligatory since its all based on what is in our self interest. While we all "inherently" possess the right to life, the DP allows us to strip that person of their rights, making that "inherent" right based on our self interest. This responds as far as negating the possibility of obligation because if it's based on our self interest, it cannot be obligatory since our self interests have a tendency to change. So if morality is based on self-interest, there can never be something that is morally obligatory, since an obligation would have to exist independent of our self-interest, yet it isn't the case.
Posted by BlackVoid 5 years ago
Page 2

Self-ownership - Conceded by Con in R4
Consciousness - Conceded by Con in R4


Actually Pro didn't drop this, he just grouped it in with Consciousness rather than giving it its own title. I don't know why he did so, but yeah. He argued that there was no warrant given that plants are conscious, and that animals are more valuble than insects because they have greater cognitive capacity and provide more societal benefits. He also used the same argument to support intrinsic worth.

"However I think the point can be refuting from my argument from intrinsic worth. As far as that points sways, I never stated things have intrinsic worth as con seems to imply. Animals have intrinsic worthy because of their power to act and contribute to society."

So since no rebuttal was given to the last 2 criteria, the impact is that all 4 are dropped and phantom only needs to prove permissibility demands obligation to win. On this point, Zaradi's refutaiton in R4 about the death penalty isn't really responsive. The implicaiton of the DP being used is that you are able to forfeit your right to life, but it doesn't prove why we shouldn't recognize the right in the first place. You can only forfeit a right if you had it. So I kind of agree with Phantom that having rights basically dictates that we recognize them, by definition. That said, if Zaradi wants to explain what he really was trying to say in his R4 then I'll listen and evaluate it.

tl;dr, Zaradi does a great job making Phantom have to win a whole crapton of arguments to win, to the point where if he loses even one of several points, he would forfeit the debate, But Phantom makes the correct arguments across the board and does win everything necessary to affirm.
Posted by BlackVoid 5 years ago
Page 1

C1: Slaughter - conceded by Pro in R4.

C2: Meat industry

Pro has 3 rebuttals, I'll focus on the third one since its most important. Zaradi says that the transfer from meat to fruits/veggies would take a lot of time, during which the economy would collapse. But what Phantom says makes sense - with no meat we would *have* to convert to fruits and nuts immediately, or we would die of starvation. I don't like voting on rebuttals made in the last round, but in this case the argument is pretty sensible and a strong enough refutation to warrant it. The impact is that the economy wouldn't collapse since other industries would grow (immediately) after the meat industry was shut down. For the record, I also buy Phantom's turn that if everyone went to buy and stockpile meat, that would be a boom in economic activity.

Nuke War

Lol, I would really love to vote on a Nuke War impact, but its just really hard to do here. The issue Zaradi doesn't refute any of what Phantom said in his R4, namely that most of the factors leading to Germany starting WW2 don't exist in the status quo. That alone is reason to kick the contention since Germany is the only real example given. Also, Con doesn't establish probability. You basically argue that if we affirm, nuke war "can" happen. But thats not enough because Nuke War "can" happen in the status quo as well. To win it you'd have to prove that its probable, or heck, even that there's a "significant chance" would work. But that doesn't happen, so I can't really vote on the neg case.
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
Yeah I'm always skeptical of my own work and ability so I need others opinions but glad to have helped. :D
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
True, and I have lost quite a few (a few more than I would like to have lost, might I add).

And actually, you kinda have. I just realized that by basing my ability as a debater upon a silly thing like a win-record, I'm hinging my opinion on how well I'm doing upon how others view my skill rather than on how I view my skill. xD
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
(Not that the voting is over I would add)
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
I feel you. I also admit I hate losing debates (votingwise) if I think I won. But still, you're always going to lose a few and at least you know you did well and think you won. I try to focus more on my opinion of how well I did and the opinion of the members that I respect, but I won't pretend I've alleviated the problem.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
At least attempted to read, yes I'd agree. Thank god for no vote bombs (knocking on wood as we speak).

And it, frankly, comes down to a competitiveness problem I have: I hate losing xD and if I disagree with a vote someone has on a debate of mine, either on here or in real life, I tend to object to it. I'm working on keeping myself in check (because if you do it in real life, you run the risk of being permanently disfavored by that judge for all of your debating days, which is NOT a good thing), but I, again, hate losing, especially to votes I disagree with.
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
Yeah, and I thanked him for it because I know he read the debate and probably didn't vote on bias (everyone's who's voted has had an initial bias in your favor btw).

Anyways, I think we've been quite fortunate in the votes on this debate. No one vote bombed and I think it's clear everyone read it. Point is, I honestly don't know how you can still debate if you have such issue with these votes.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Vague but correct on the permissibility v. obligation debate (at least in my opinion). Could've been explained a lot clearer. And, now that I think of it, I don't recall having made the argument he gives me credit for.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Commentz
Vote Placed by THEBOMB 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: comments.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: An overly technical debate, in which I give the edge to Con based upon Morally permissible v, morally obligatory argument. If animals have a right to life, must we keep tigers from eating lambs? The debate ignored the relation of morality to nature law, which made the debate tedious.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.