The Instigator
PotBelliedGeek
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
Sara07
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Marine Mammals under human care.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
PotBelliedGeek
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/9/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,823 times Debate No: 54355
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)

 

PotBelliedGeek

Pro

In this debate, I will argue in favor of keeping marine mammals under human care. To clarify, I will support the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) in their captivity methods and purposes. This does not include SeaWorld, as they are not part of the AZA and I do not have a direct association with them, thus I cannot speak for them.

My opponent will argue against the AZA, and will argue in favor of marine mammal release. BOP is shared.
Sara07

Con

Hello, my name is Sara and I look forward to debating you.

You did not specify on what you wanted me to post for round 1, so I am simply going to post an introductory paragraph.

I believe that marine mammals should not be under human care. I noticed that you mentioned AZA - which also applies to zoos. I do not support zoos either, however, since the topic of this debate refers to marine mammals rather than land mammals I will not go further into why I do not support zoos unless you want me to.

I believe that animals have the right to be free from human entertainment. For some reason, humans believe that it is our right to take an animal out of its natural environment (in this case referring to oceans) and exploit them for our own benefit. Humans use animals for entertainment at circuses, zoos and aquariums alike.
This 'right' to animals' lives seems to stem from the fact that humans believe they are 'superior' to animals and that their wishes should take precedence over any other species. In other words, humans tend to label animals as 'insignificant,' 'disposable' and 'for entertainment.'

Did you know that dolphins in the ocean can swim up to 100 miles per day? How can they do this when they are trapped in a tiny aquarium? How can they live a normal life when they literally are not able to do the thing that comes most naturally to them - swim? Of course, you might argue that dolphins are still able to swim in aquariums. What if I took you away from all of your family and friends, placed you in a house and made it physically impossible for you to leave? Surely if I provide you with enough entertainment, enrichment and of course the space that you need to survive that you will be happy and able to live comfortably. Would you miss your family? Well, you'll get over it eventually. Would you miss being able to travel? Well, I guess you'll just have to get use to pacing back and forth.

If you take the stance that animals are ours to use for entertainment and research, then please go into further detail regarding what rights animals should have. Should we be legally allowed to torture animals?

If you believe that animals do deserve rights, then my question to you is this: how do aquariums benefit marine mammals in any way?
Debate Round No. 1
PotBelliedGeek

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate, and for posting an excellent first round. I look forward to a fun and fulfilling debate.


I will format this debate as follows. In each round, I will present rebuttals to my opponents arguments in the form of numbered clauses, first presenting a quote from my opponents argument followed by my rebuttal. Under each clause, I will establish a contention constructed on my rebuttals. These contentions will constitute my arguments. At the end of each round, I will summarize my rebuttals and contentions under counter argument and conclusion headings. I again thank my opponent, and wish her luck.


Before I begin, I will post a clarification:


"I noticed that you mentioned AZA - which also applies to zoos. I do not support zoos either, however, since the topic of this debate refers to marine mammals rather than land mammals I will not go further into why I do not support zoos unless you want me to."


Here my opponent restricts this debate to aquariums only. This excludes zoos, wildlife parks, laboratories, and any other venue or institution that houses animals under human care. I agree to this restriction. This discussion will apply only to AZA accredited aquariums.


Clause 1:


"I believe that animals have the right to be free from human entertainment. For some reason, humans believe that it is our right to take an animal out of its natural environment (in this case referring to oceans) and exploit them for our own benefit. Humans use animals for entertainment at circuses, zoos and aquariums alike."


Here my opponent argues against AZA aquariums, asserting that they are venues established for the purpose of human entertainment at the expense of the marine mammals. My opponent constructed this argument on the assertion that marine mammals have the right of freedom. I will present two separate rebuttals for each section of this argument.


1. My opponent asserted that the AZA institutions are established for the purpose of human entertainment. This assertion is highly erroneous. Please note the following.


AZA aquariums are established and accredited for four main purposes:


Animal care and welfare


Public outreach and education


Scientific research


Conservation.


This is established by the AZA itself. Note the following quote:


"AZA Accreditation provides assurances to the public that the facility they are visiting meets the highest standards for animal care and welfare; visitor amenities and safety; science education; and wildlife conservation and science." - AZA Aquariums standards and goals.[1]


Not only is this the established goal of AZA and all accredited institutions, but it is also their largest legacy. I will use the Georgia Aquarium to illustrate this point. As the worlds largest aquarium, we* receive an average of 10-12000 guests per day. Because of this massive source of revenue, the GAQ is the world leader in marine conservation. Examples of GAQ's work are numerous, and I will list a few here.


1. The GAQ runs the worlds largest dolphin research and conservation program, including oceanic field stations, numerous rescue-rehab-release centers around the world, and a number of education venues. The only dolphins held in GAQ are those deemed unfit for release into the wild.


2. The GAQ, along with the IUCN, also runs the worlds most expansive research and conservation program for Beluga whales. From their field station in the sea of Ohkutsk, the GAQ churns out the highest quality data on beluga conservation of all scientific and conservation organizations.


3. The GAQ partnered with two other AZA accredited, non-profit aquariums, the Shedd and Montery Bay aquariums, to run the worlds only Pacific Sea Otter research and conservation program, and have been responsible for bringing the species back from the brink of extinction.


I could go on to discuss their efforts regarding Kelp, Coral, Right Whales, Asian Small-Clawed Otters, Whale sharks, Manta Rays, and countless others, but this debate round does not allow the space for them.


In light of the previous statements, I will establish contention one.


Contention 1:



AZA accredited aquariums are the single most crucial element in modern research and conservation efforts. The funding generated by such institutions is vital to the survival marine mammals in the wild.



Clause 2:

"Did you know that dolphins in the ocean can swim up to 100 miles per day? How can they do this when they are trapped in a tiny aquarium? How can they live a normal life when they literally are not able to do the thing that comes most naturally to them - swim?"

Here my opponent makes two separate errors in her argument. I will tackle them each individually.

1. My opponent makes an argument based solely and entirely on Pathos. In order for any argument to be accepted as legitimate and given any weight, it must be supported by at least three of the four principles of rhetoric, being Pathos, Logos, Ethos, and evidence[2].

2. My opponent equates the act swimming to happiness of the dolphin. Her argument consists of "This is what dolphins do in the wild, therefore it must make them happy". My opponent gives no thought in the slightest to the reason dolphins swim such long distances.

According to experts, dolphins travel for two reasons only. They are following their food, and fleeing from predators. Meaning that the only reason dolphins swim so far is to prevent themselves from starving and being eaten. In the event that the dolphin is safe from all predators, and prey is stationary and plentiful, the dolphin will not stray far from that location at all[3]. This is highlighted by the numerous occasions of rehabbed and released dolphins trying to return to human care[4].

In light of this, I will establish contention two:

Contention 2:

Individuals under human care in the AZA system are better off then their wild counterparts.


Clause 3:

"What if I took you away from all of your family and friends, placed you in a house and made it physically impossible for you to leave? Surely if I provide you with enough entertainment, enrichment and of course the space that you need to survive that you will be happy and able to live comfortably. Would you miss your family? Well, you'll get over it eventually. Would you miss being able to travel? Well, I guess you'll just have to get use to pacing back and forth."

Aside from the previously addressed issue with Pathos, my opponent again makes two separate errors in her argument. I will tackle each one individually.

1. My opponent falls into a very widespread fallacy in this issue. My opponent is actively anthropomorphizing marine mammals. This is something that should be avoided in these matters, because it is based on a fallacious anecdotal comparison of two very different psychologies. This can lead to a number of negative results, for both the person performing the anthropomorphizing and the animal that might interact with said person[5].

2. My opponent asserts that the AZA "takes" animals "away from their families and friends". This is highly erroneous, as the AZA acquires its marine mammals from a number of sources, the wild not being one. The AZA takes marine mammals from rehab centers if they are deemed unfit for survival in the wild. The AZA takes marine mammals research facilities and entertainment venues that are not affiliated with the AZA, especially if it is discovered that said venue is less than ethical. The AZA does not acquire marine mammals from the wild.

Conclusion:

In this round, I have clarified that my opponents arguments are based entirely of Pathos and anthropomorphization, as well as misinformation regarding the methods and ethics of the AZA. I have asserted that AZA institutions are crucial for the long term well-being of these marine mammalian species as a whole, and are better for the individual animals kept in these facilities.

I thank my opponent for presenting an excellent argument, and I look forward to her reply.

Sources:

1. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums
https://www.aza.org...

2. Durham Tech University
http://courses.durhamtech.edu...


3. Schiavini, Adrian. "Food Habits of Lagenorhynchus Australis; Review and New Information." International Whale Journal 47 (1997): 827-33. Print.

4. MBAQ SOCAR
http://www.montereybayaquarium.org...

5. Duke University, Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science
https://faculty.fuqua.duke.edu...


*Pro is directly related to the GAQ. However, no profit is made from the work I do at the aquarium (97% of AZA work is done by volunteers). My statements are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the GAQ.
Sara07

Con

Sara07 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
PotBelliedGeek

Pro

It is unfortunate that my opponent forfeited this round. I extend all arguments.
Sara07

Con

Note: I'm deeply sorry, I've been very busy lately and I completely forgot about posting something for round 2.
Due to the lack of time I have to enrich this argument (unfortunately I'll be gone until Monday) I will take this round to focus on dolphins in captivity.

"Here my opponent restricts this debate to aquariums only. This excludes zoos, wildlife parks, laboratories, and any other venue or institution that houses animals under human care. I agree to this restriction. This discussion will apply only to AZA accredited aquariums."

Noted. This argument will solely be about AZA aquariums.

"AZA aquariums are established and accredited for four main purposes:
Animal care and welfare
Public outreach and education
Scientific research
Conservation."


Here, my opponent assumes 2 things about human involvement with marine mammals.

Assumption #1
Scientific research is a good thing.

Assumption #2
By breeding animals in captivity, aquariums are helping to conserve them.

Assumption 1 -
The reality of this particular assumption is that scientific research is incredibly ambiguous, and there have been many people who have questioned the methods of scientists in regards to mammal research.
Scientific research based on animals in captivity isn't really scientific at all - scientists cannot assume that their observations of animals in captivity will be of any use to being able to figure out the behaviors of animals in the wild.

Assumption 2-
If "conservation" to you simply means to keep a species alive, then yes, AZA aquariums are helping to conserve marine mammals. However, I think conservation has a much bigger meaning than that. Instead of just keeping species alive in captivity, I believe that humans who really want to help conserve species need to help conserve them in the wild. After all, it isn't really "conservation" if a species is only being kept alive through the care of humans.

"My opponent equates the act swimming to happiness of the dolphin. Her argument consists of "This is what dolphins do in the wild, therefore it must make them happy". My opponent gives no thought in the slightest to the reason dolphins swim such long distances.

Dolphins are intelligent and social creatures that, in the wild, interact with hundreds of pod-mates, hunt communally, and have entire coastlines as their playground. In captivity, all of this is lost. Social partners are restricted to a handful of tank-mates. Captive dolphins are fed dead fish (wild dolphins only catch and eat live fish) and they face a profound reduction in space and stimulation.
Dolphins in the wild may swim up to 40 or 50 miles in a day and can dive to depths of hundreds of feet. Even in the largest captive facilities, dolphins have access to less than 1/10,000 of 1% (0.000001%) of the space available to them in their natural environment.
Because of this, dolphins in captivity are often restricted to swimming in circles. In many dolphins, this behavior is a sign that the dolphin is suffering psychologically; it is engaging in what is known as a stereotypical behavior. For an inquisitive, intelligent creature like the dolphin, a barren tank offers no exploratory stimuli compared to the vast, complex ocean.
Source: http://www.wspa-usa.org...

You said that "according to experts" dolphins only swim in order to avoid predators or hunt their prey. However, I noticed that the source you referenced is from nearly 20 years ago.
Note that I have found information from a much more recent source that seems to say otherwise:
Many animals, including dogs, lions, primates and insects, display social behavior. Typically, such social behavior occurs because it is beneficial for the species on the whole, whether for hunting, protection or resource consolidation. However, dolphins love to socialize for the sheer fun of it. Dolphin socialization is centered around swimming. The fascinating element of this habit is that dolphins can survive quite happily on their own, but choose to socialize.
Source: http://animals.pawnation.com...

Again, I'm deeply sorry, I don't have time to address the rest of your arguments. If you could wait at least 24 hours before posting your reply on the next round, that would be appreciated as I cannot post another argument until Monday.
Debate Round No. 3
PotBelliedGeek

Pro

As requested by my opponent, I have waited as long as possible before posting this debate round.


Clause 1:

"Assumption #1
Scientific research is a good thing."

My opponent states that I assume that scientific research is a good thing. My opponent is correct. I do assume that scientific research is a good thing. I will go into this in detail shortly.

"The reality of this particular assumption is that scientific research is incredibly ambiguous,"

I am slightly confused by my opponents assertion here. Scientific research is the most unambiguous, systematic, and reliable method of obtaining knowledge known to mankind. I hardly need to back up this claim, as my opponent herself is relying on scientific research done by AZA accreddited institutions for her own arguments. Everything we know about marine mammals today comes from AZA funded research.

"and there have been many people who have questioned the methods of scientists in regards to mammal research."


Here my opponent appeals to the masses to support her argument. This is arroneous in two seperate ways.

1. This is a textbook example of Argumentum Ad Populum, a well known logical fallacy. This point cannot stand.

2. Following my opponents logic, many people have questioned the fact that man walked on the moon, many people have questioned that Obama is American, Many people have questioned that airplanes ever hit the twin towers. I do not need to explain this point any further.

"Scientific research based on animals in captivity isn't really scientific at all"

In order to support this argument, my opponent must provide well respected sources and cite her own background in science in order to demonstrate that she has some sort of basis for this apparently baseless assertion. As it stands, her support and logic is "Because I said so" and there is no way for me to argue this except to say "I say otherwise".

"scientists cannot assume that their observations of animals in captivity will be of any use to being able to figure out the behaviors of animals in the wild."

I will tackle this argument from two different angles.

1. My opponent again must provide something to support her claim. Does she assert that the DNA of captive animals is somehow different from that of wild animals of the same species? Does she assert that the anatomy, blood chemistry or brain function of animals under human care does not reflect that of their wild counterparts? There is no evidence to support this claim, rather there are mountains of evidence, coupled with common sence, that indicate otherwise. My opponent has failed to support this assert even with Pathos, much less Logos,Ethos, or evidence. This argument is baseless and cannot stand.

2. My opponent assumes that the AZA funded research occurs in the AZA institutions themselves. This is highly erraneous, and I assert that the research in question does indeed occur in the wild, funded by the AZA. I have personally participated in this research. Since the end of the World Marine Census in 2010, the AZA institutions have been the worlds largest fleet of in-the-feild researchers. My opponents point is then rendered utterly baseless.



Clause 2:

"Assumption 2-
If "conservation" to you simply means to keep a species alive, then yes, AZA aquariums are helping to conserve marine mammals. However, I think conservation has a much bigger meaning than that. Instead of just keeping species alive in captivity, I believe that humans who really want to help conserve species need to help conserve them in the wild. After all, it isn't really "conservation" if a species is only being kept alive through the care of humans."

My opponent again makes an assumption about an assumption. My opponent erraneously equates "Conservation" with "Breeding Program", and then proceeds to make another assumption about said "Breeding Program". I will explain.

1. Conservation in the AZA is defined as "Directly contributing to long term survival and well-being of species in their natural ecosystems and habitats". This is a crucial aspect of the AZA, and an institution cannot in any way bacome a member without fulfilling this requirement.

2. Breeding programs are indeed a part of some conservation programs. My opponent assumes, however, that breeding programs in AZA accredited institutions produce offspring for the purpose of exhibiting the animals. This is erroneous, and I assert that the primary purpose of breeding programs in the AZA, like the GAQ's Small Clawed Otter program and MBAQ's Sea Otter program, are specifically designed for realeas into the wild. Contributor to these programs go as far as to disguse themselves from the animals, so that the animals do not lose their natural apprehension of humans, in preperation for their release.



Clause 3:

Dolphins in the wild may swim up to 40 or 50 miles in a day and can dive to depths of hundreds of feet. Even in the largest captive facilities, dolphins have access to less than 1/10,000 of 1% (0.000001%) of the space available to them in their natural environment.

I have already addressed this contention in my previous round. My argument stands. My opponent has attempted to discredit my source, an scientific paper published by respected scientisists and experts if this feild, by providing her own source to contradict my argument. See her qoute below.

"You said that "according to experts" dolphins only swim in order to avoid predators or hunt their prey. However, I noticed that the source you referenced is from nearly 20 years ago.
Note that I have found information from a much more recent source that seems to say otherwise:"

Not only does my opponent have to jump through logical hoops in order to construe this as a direct contradiction to my source, but she proceeds to do so by citing an article meant for children and written by a musician who has absolutely no background in science. No further wxplanaition is needed to illustrate to the voters that my opponents argument collapses under scrutiny.

My opponents other source, the WSPA, is horrendously unreliable, as it is incredibly biased. In simply reviewing the FAQ's page, I found countless deception, misrepresentation, and bold-faced lies. This source is shameful.
Sara07

Con

Sara07 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
PotBelliedGeek

Pro

My opponent has again FF'd. I extend all statements.
Sara07

Con

Sara07 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by PotBelliedGeek 3 years ago
PotBelliedGeek
As requested, I will wait 24 hours before posting the fourth round
Posted by PotBelliedGeek 3 years ago
PotBelliedGeek
I sincerely hope that my opponent does not forfeit this debate. She is the first person to accept this debate and offer an argument.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by baus 3 years ago
baus
PotBelliedGeekSara07Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: FF but S&G was equally good on both sides so didn't feel the need to give it.