The Instigator
Zak99
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Nur-Ab-Sal
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points

It is moral to use other living creatures as resources.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Nur-Ab-Sal
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/30/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 949 times Debate No: 22451
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)

 

Zak99

Con

My opponent and I will argue whether it is moral to use animals as resources- i.e. food, clothing, entertainment, etc.

First round is acceptance.

Good luck!
Nur-Ab-Sal

Pro

I accept and look forward to the debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Zak99

Con

It is immoral to use other creatures to we, humans, advantage. Using other earthlings violate the principle of equality.

Speciesism: Discrimination in favor of one species, usually the human species, over another, especially in the exploitation or mistreatment of animals by humans.

If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration.

Racists violate the principle of equality by giving greater weight to the interests of one's own race when there is a clash between their race and the interests of another race.
Sexists violate the principle of equality by favoring the interests one one's own sex.
Similarly, specieists allow the interests of one's own species to override the greater interests of another's species. In each case, the pattern is identical. In all such cases, humans with power exploit those who lack power.

Undoubtedly, there are differences between racism and sexism vs. speciesism because humans and other earthlings are not the same in many respects. But the question of sameness wears another face. Granted, other animals do not have all the same desires we humans have. Granted, they do not comprehend everything we humans comprehend. Nevertheless, we and they do have many of the same desires and do comprehend some of the same things. The desire for food and water, shelter and companionship, freedom of movement and avoidance of pain, both humans and other animals share.

As for comprehension, like humans, many non-human animals not only live on earth but understand the world in which they live, otherwise they could not survive. So beneath the many differences there is sameness. Like us, these animals embody the mystery and wonder of consciousness. Like us, they are not only in the world but are also aware of it. Like us, they are psychological centers of life that is uniquely their own. In these fundamental respects, humans stand on all fours so-to-speak.

"As often as Herman witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought: In their behavior toward creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplify the most extreme racist theories. The principle that might is right." - Isaac Bashevis Singer

In his book- "The Outermost House"- author Harry Beston wrote, " We need another and wiser, and perhaps more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature...man in civilization serve as the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified, and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness. For their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err and greatly err. For the animal shall not me measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete. Gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained. Living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren. They are not underlings. They are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time. Fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."

Humans do not have the moral right to use animals as food, clothing, entertainment, or testing because that would violate the principle of equality. If humans can survive without the suffering of other beings, than it is unjustified to use animals to our advantage.
Nur-Ab-Sal

Pro

I thank my opponent for his opening argument.

Introduction

My opponent has obviously spent a great deal of time on an essay about “speciesism,” inequality, or rather discrimination, of other animals by humans. He then ties this into the topic of the debate in his final paragraph: “Humans do not have the moral right to use animals as food, clothing, entertainment, or testing because that would violate the principle of equality.” To facilitate my rebuttal, I will restructure his argument in the form of a syllogism:

  1. 1. Using animals as resources violates equality
  2. 2. Violating equality is an immoral act
  3. 3. Therefore, using animals as resources is an immoral act

In my first argument, I will negate premise 1 by showing how using animals as resources does not necessarily violate “equality,” if it existed, and could even better the relationship between the two species involved, and in my second argument, I will negate premise 2, by show how equality simply does not exist in the animal kingdom.

Animal resources

My opponent’s entire argument revolves around the assumption that using animals as resources for our own benefit violates some “equality” among the animals. For this argument, I will operate under this idea of “equality,” but I will show how using animals as resources does not require a violation of this principle and in some cases strengthens the relationship between species.

Mutualism is “a positive reciprocal relationship between two species.”1 Each organism uses the other as a resource for its own benefit, creating a relationship between the two that can either be inherent in their genetics, required for survival, or can be unnecessary for survival but still extremely valuable. For example, some Central American ants use the acacia tree for nutrition, while the tree “uses” the ants as a means of protection against predators.2 Because it provides benefit to both species, mutualism is “one of the most important ecological interactions, with strong influences on almost all levels of biological systems.”3

Humans also engage in mutualism, though unknowingly. In our intestines, millions of “gut microbiota” thrive, assisting us in many metabolic processes; we, in return, provide these tiny organisms with nutrition and shelter. Indeed, “new studies are revealing how the gut microbiota has coevolved with us and how it manipulates and complements our biology in ways that are mutually beneficial.”4 We are quite literally using this population of gut bacteria as a resource for our benefit, simultaneously returning the favor by feeding these small organisms.

The Boran people of Kenya have developed a mutualistic relationship with a bird called the “Greater Honeyguide.” The Kenyans whistle for the bird, which guides the humans to a beehive for honey, even flying back and checking on the humans at times. When the beehive is found by the bird, the Honeyguide will fly in circles around it to clarify its exact location. After the Borans have taken their honey, they leave behind bits for the Honeyguide, forever strengthening the bond between bird and man.5

As I have stated before, some species actually depend on this biological interaction for their very own survival. For example, orchids “depend on fungi called mycorrhizae at some point during their life cycle. The fungi grow partly on the root and aid the plant in the uptake of nutrients. The fungi benefit as they ingest some of the food from plant photosynthesis.”6 I have shown in this section, using animals as resources does not violate equality, because some species depend on being used and using other species as a means for survival. Furthermore, I have shown how an African tribe engages in mutualism with a bird, a peaceful and beneficial coexistence that cannot be regarded as immoral.

Animal equality

In a nutshell, equality does not exist in the animal kingdom. My opponent compares this phenomenon of “speciesism” with racism and sexism, declaring that there is no moral difference in equality among humans as equality among animals. He states: “The desire for food and water, shelter and companionship, freedom of movement and avoidance of pain, both humans and other animals share.” Certainly, he is correct in that all animals long for survival. But it is this very urge to exist that drives the inequality not only present, but inherent, in the animal kingdom.

A food web is “the binary predator-prey links among the species (or other elements) in a biological community.7 Nature’s food web represents the dominion of certain animals over others. Predators eat prey. Through evolution, the prey adapts to lengthen its existence; the predator adapts to lessen it again. Humans are, of course, at the top of the food chain, the apex predator, and have a natural power over all other animals through our adaptation of intelligence.

Claims of inequality are justified in racism and sexism because of the equivalence among all humans, regardless of race or sex. However, nature has created through evolution a complex organization of which animals shall eat which – nature has created inequality, an inequality which supports any biome. I want to reiterate, the food web “maintains the stability of the ecosystem.”8

If “speciesism” is “discrimination in favor of one species […] over another,” I must point out that all animals engage in speciesism, from herbivores to carnivores.

Conclusion

In “Animal resources,” I showed how my opponent’s claim that the use of animals as a resource embodies inequality. Mutualism, the joint benefit of two species through a reciprocal assistance in survival, is not only advantageous to both species but also reinforces their natural bond. In “Animal equality,” I showed how there is no equality in the animal kingdom because evolution has created a natural chain of predation that forces animals to die in favor of another. I have now negated both premise 1 and 2 of his argument, rendering the claim that “humans do not have the moral right to use animals […] because that would violate the principle of equality” false.

References
1. http://goo.gl...
2. http://goo.gl...
3. http://goo.gl...
4. http://goo.gl...
5. http://www.maverickscience.com... p. 1 – 2
6. http://goo.gl...
7. http://goo.gl... p. 69
8. http://goo.gl... p. 289

Debate Round No. 2
Zak99

Con

Zak99 forfeited this round.
Nur-Ab-Sal

Pro

Arguments extended...
Debate Round No. 3
Zak99

Con

I apologize for not posting previously. I accidentally missed the deadline :/

I will now continue my debate:

Mutualism, in your definition, is a positive reciprocal relationship between two species. You only wrote the following statement-
"Each organism uses the other as a resource for its own benefit, creating a relationship between the two that can either be inherent in their genetics, required for survival, or can be unnecessary for survival but still extremely valuable. For example, some Central American ants use the acacia tree for nutrition, while the tree "uses" the ants as a means of protection against predators. Because it provides benefit to both species, mutualism is "one of the most important ecological interactions, with strong influences on almost all levels of biological systems."

Through this argument, I assume you are saying that human beings using other animals as a means of resources benefits both parties and creates a relationship between both parties.

This is incorrect. Other creatures do not benefit (if so, very minimal) from humans using them as resources. Most are tortured, hurt, wounded, etc. in the process of gaining something from them. Also, no relationship is created between the both parties accept for the fact that we greatly rely on these animals now.

I agree that equality does not commonly exist in the animal kingdom. But, since humans have taken a superior form above other creatures, then we should strive to change this. Since humans do not necessarily need other creatures to survive (i.e. meat is not necessary to sustain life, furs are simply for fashion, circuses are unnecessary, etc.), then we do not need to use them.

Sorry again for missing the last round and I hope to continue this debate! :)
Nur-Ab-Sal

Pro

I thank my opponent for his argument. I also am very glad he decided to stick with the debate.

Animal resources

To counter my mutualism argument, my opponent states the following: “Other creatures do not benefit (if so, very minimal) from humans using them as resources. Most are tortured, hurt, wounded, etc. in the process of gaining something from them. Also, no relationship is created between the both parties accept for the fact that we greatly rely on these animals now.” I am not sure if my opponent read my entire argument, as I listed several examples of other organisms depending on humans in the same way we depend on them.

As I stated before, the gut bacteria found in the intestines of humans aid in many of our metabolic processes as we assist them in survival. In the case of the gut flora, the “gut bacteria benefit from having a protected, nutrient-rich habitat in which to multiply.”1 My opponent’s claim that “other creatures do not benefit (if so, very minimal) from humans using them as resources” is thus negated.

To reiterate my point about the mutualistic relationship between the Boran people and the Honeyguide, the Honeyguide bird leads the Boran hunters to a beehive, and, in return, “the bird’s reward for leading humans to honey would be a feast of beeswax and bee larvae.”2 This again negates my opponent’s argument that other creatures do not benefit from our use of them as resources. I feel as if I am repeating myself, but these examples really do refute your point.

Moreover, my opponent declares: “most are tortured, hurt, wounded, etc. in the process of gaining something from them.” Not only did my opponent fail to provide a source showing that “most” are tortured, but I feel the need to contest this statement. Animal control actually creates a better environment for animals and humans. Walter E. Howard of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries writes: “animal control activities reduce conflicts and create a more harmonious relationship between people and animals.3 He argues that when people are present, we alter the environment, but this is not necessarily a negative occurrence because new balances can be made that are tolerable for both man and animal. He agrees that “the infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering should never be tolerated,” but also that “a zealous ‘animal protectionist’ ethic is, under most instances, unsound biologically.”3

Morality, again, is at the center of this debate. I do not see how any of the instances I have mentioned are immoral. The first two examples – the intestinal bacteria and the Greater Honeyguide – are mutualistic relationships that benefit both parties and strengthen their bond. The last example was to refute the point that “most” are tortured, hurt, or wounded. Thus, it is moral to use other living creatures as resources.

Animal equality

My opponent at least partially concedes there is no equality in the animal kingdom: “I agree that equality does not commonly exist in the animal kingdom.” However, he subsequently states: “since humans do not necessarily need other creatures to survive (i.e. meat is not necessary to sustain life, furs are simply for fashion, circuses are unnecessary, etc.), then we do not need to use them.” Perhaps meat is not absolutely necessary to sustain life. The fact that we have features built into our body that are utilized in the consumption of meat proves my point – maybe we don’t need it for survival, but nature has given us a dominance over animals; even if we are omnivores, I still freaking love steak.

Apparently, we “should strive to change” the inequality in the animal kingdom. This is completely untrue – lions do not strive to make themselves equal to gazelles. Through evolution we have developed an advanced brain and a greater capacity for intelligence, and through this we have become the apex predator of the food web. Unless you have a plan for how to completely restructure the transferal of energy throughout a biome, the natural food web stays. Inequality is absolutely necessary for the animal kingdom in its current form to exist.

Circuses and fashion are irrelevant; my case was built around the food web and its inherent inequality.

References
1. http://goo.gl... p. 250
2. http://goo.gl...
3. http://goo.gl... p. 31


Debate Round No. 4
Zak99

Con

Zak99 forfeited this round.
Nur-Ab-Sal

Pro

It seems my opponent has closed his account.

At the very least give me Conduct points.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 5 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
Thanks for the vote Multi_Pyrocytophage.
Posted by Multi_Pyrocytophage 5 years ago
Multi_Pyrocytophage
Lol: Obvious win is obvious.
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 5 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
I know I just would rather have an actual debate...
Posted by Multi_Pyrocytophage 5 years ago
Multi_Pyrocytophage
hehe. Although, usually, that guarantees a free win on DDO
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 5 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
Of course, he closes his account...
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by PeacefulChaos 5 years ago
PeacefulChaos
Zak99Nur-Ab-SalTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Obvious win is obvious
Vote Placed by Multi_Pyrocytophage 5 years ago
Multi_Pyrocytophage
Zak99Nur-Ab-SalTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: It seems like Con closed his account.