The Instigator
Otherclay
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
BoggyB
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Nonhuman animals should have the same rights as human beings

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
BoggyB
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/12/2015 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,022 times Debate No: 71551
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (1)

 

Otherclay

Pro

I am starting this debate because the one started by Trans4mers434 on the exact same topic died down, and I would happily take his/her place as the Pro. Oh, and for fairness' sake I'll say that I only took a glance at BuggyB's arguments on the previous debate, so I haven't had any extra time to analyse them.

FORMAT (I'm not looking to do this debate super formally, as this is my first debate here, but I do like a bit of structure.)

Rd. 1 Pro: Rules/Definitions
Rd. 1 Con: Acceptance

Rd. 2 Pro: Opening arguments
Rd. 2 Con: Opening arguments

Rd. 3 Pro: Rebuttals/arguments
Rd. 3 Con: Rebuttals/arguments

Rd. 4 Pro: Rebuttals/closing statements
Rd. 4 Con: Rebuttals/closing statements

KEY DEFINITIONS

Animal:
noun. any member of the kingdom Animalia including many-celled organisms and often many of the single-celled ones (as protozoans) that typically differ from plants in having cells without cellulose walls, in lacking chlorophyll and the capacity for photosynthesis, in requiring more complex food materials (as proteins), in being organized to a greater degree of complexity, and in having the capacity for spontaneous movement and rapid motor responses to stimulation [1]

Human being:
noun. a person distinguished from other animals or representing the human species (Homo sapiens sapiens). [2]

Human:
noun. a human being. [3]

Nonhuman:
adjective. not (a) human [4]

Right or rights:
noun. that which is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles, etc.:
e.g. “women’s rights” [5]

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[3] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[4] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[5] http://dictionary.reference.com...;
BoggyB

Con

Hello, I accept this challenge. I look forward to your take on this.
Debate Round No. 1
Otherclay

Pro

Intro

Firstly, to avoid confusion, I would like to detail the definition of the word rights, in this context. I believe this is warranted and reasonable, as the original definitions made in Rd. 1 are merely clinical dictionary definitions meant to prevent getting caught on pure semantics.

When we talk about two distinct individuals or groups having “equal rights” or the “same rights”, we do not mean that they should have literally the exact same rights. Having equal rights means receiving equal consideration for one’s interests. For example, many of those who demand equal rights for both sexes also insist on women’s right to abortion. It would be absurd to claim that, as proponents of equal rights between sexes, they must also insist on the right for men to have an abortion. Similarly, demanding equal rights for animals does not equate to demanding for them the right to vote, for example. Men cannot have abortions, and animals cannot vote, so these kinds of demands are meaningless. [1]

I There is no reason to exclude animals from the concept of equality

The underlying issue behind the question of equal rights for different groups is a demarcation problem. Where should we draw the line between beings that are entitled to certain basic rights and beings that are not entitled to those rights? During the last few centuries, especially in the Western world, the line has been moved further and further, to incorporate groups that used to fall on the wrong side. There have been huge improvements to the rights of women, ethnic minorities, sexual minorities, and so on.

All the aforementioned groups are unified by one attribute: they all belong to the same species. The obvious question now is, why should the line be drawn at the point where our species ends? Wouldn’t it be reasonable to claim that there is no rational or, arguably more importantly, no ethical basis for this demarcation?

As we, the human species, learn more about nonhuman animals, it becomes clearer and clearer how much their cognitive capabilities have been underestimated. It is unequivocally obvious that nonhuman animals can feel pain.* Apart from that, we are realising that a multitude of attributes that have been thought to be unique to humans, are actually inherent in other species as well. These attributes include complex social behaviour, the use of reason (as opposed to mere instinct) and animal language. [2]

However, even if nonhumans did not display these “advanced” attributes, why should they be left outside the realm of equality? On what basis do we only include humans in it?

II Using animals as commodities is not only unethical, but unnecessary

Even if we were to accept the distinction between Homo sapiens and other species in terms of equality, it is quite clear that causing unnecessary suffering to any living being is inherently wrong. The animal industry causes unthinkable amounts of suffering everyday. [3] As has been demonstrated by countless vegans, a diet consisting of only plant-based foods can be just as healthy or healthier than one incorporating animal-based foods.

Animal testing is another case that causes vast amounts of pain. Some (or even most) people think that animal tests are absolutely necessary to ensure that certain ingredients and products are safe for humans. (Again, this argument is under the hypothesis that there is a valid reason to regard human safety as more important than the safety of nonhuman animals, to begin with.) However, there are plenty of alternatives to animal testing, including

– in vitro tests methods based on human cell and tissue cultures
– computerized patient-drug databases and virtual drug trials
– computer models and simulations
– microdosing. [4]

These kinds of alternative methods can be even more reliable than animal testing methods. [4] Even if they weren’t (yet), if animal testing would stop, these methods would obviously gain a lot more attention and would consequently be developed faster and more efficiently.

These are just a few of the ways in which humans unnecessarily abuse other animals. I mentioned these particular ones because they are the most prominent causes of animal cruelty and the abuse of animal rights. The same conclusion applies to plenty of other ways we use animals as well.

Citations/notes

* I do not feel the need to add a citation for this statement, as this is quite a universally accepted fact and there are endless sources for it. If you would like a citation for this statement, please ask (or google).

[1] This example and definition are more or less directly lifted from Peter Singer’s book Animal Liberation, p. 2: http://www.xiquinho.com...
[2] http://www.humanesociety.org... (This is merely an example of a nonhuman animal species displaying “advanced” attributes. Countless of other examples exist.)
[3] http://veganoutreach.org... (Again, merely examples.)
[4] http://www.neavs.org...

BoggyB

Con

Intro:

I understand how the animal rights being discussed in this debate excludes political/economic rights including but not limited to: voting, abortion, jobs/pay etc...

Pro hasn't stated many specifics, but what I can deduct is that he is lobbying for animals to have the rights to life. This would include abolishing any sort of killing of animals, accept when the animal may pose a threat, similar to humans threatening other humans. Also I may assume he is lobbying for an animal version of autonomy, which would prevent us from neutering/spaying and other things relating to animals bodies.

One more note, I don't endorse violence against animals. Just because I don't think they deserve the same rights doesn't mean I enjoy killing/inflicting pain/abusing them. It's not that I don't enjoy animals or appreciate their beauty, it's just I don't think that they warrant the same treatment/rights as a human.

Arguments:

1.) Animals aren't active participants in our society. Rights are a concept made by man. If you believe in religion you may have a different origin of your concept of rights, but if not, rights are basically a concept derived by man. There is no baseline for rights. We have just created rights country by country to control people and their actions. Rights differ country to country. In China they kill babies, because of the one child policy. [1]. In some places around the world, baby girls are killed just based on gender (known as "gendercide"). [2]. We can see from these that rights don't have a baseline, and aren't universal. They aren't law to everyone. In the US, we give rights to contributing, beneficial, members of our society, AKA humans. All humans have the ability and potential to talk, walk and contribute. Animals cannot converse with us. They will do nothing to contribute, and will not be appreciative. They cannot understand what they are being presented with. When people enter our society, they are bound by these rights and laws and are expected to abide by laws and therefore receive rights. Animals have no concept of this, so why should they be given any privileges that aren't already given to them? Animals cannot obey commands beyond simple actions and will not be benefit society any further than they already have. So, we know that animals have not contributions to make further than already made, thus there is no reason to grant them more rights to give them opportunities which can't be abided by or appreciated. These animals can't knowingly be part of a working society, and since rights become relevant in a society, the rights shouldn't be extended to them. With rights, comes responsibility, animals can't fulfill any responsibility.

2.) It would destroy our economy to give animals rights. If we couldn't kill animals, it would drastically affect the economy of the US. Let's take for example Perdue Farms. They are a massive company producing close to 60 million pounds of chicken annually. They have approximately 19,000 employees. More than 6 billion a year in revenue. [3.]. If animals were given rights, all of that money would be down the drain. 19,000 people would be out of work. These people have families to feed, mortgages to pay, possibly student loans to pay off. 19,000 jobs, gone. And this is just one company. Tyson Chicken, produces poultry, beef and pork. A multi million dollar company with over 115,000 employees. [4]. How can't you justify taking away the jobs of all these people who must pay bills and for a child's education? These are just two companies who have 130,000 jobs and over 6 billion in revenue annually. Only two companies. Perdue is also on the Forbes top 100 private companies in the US. [5]. Tyson has also donated 78 million dollars of food charitably to hunger/disaster relief. [4]. Hillshire Brands is a company largely focusing on meat products. They employ another 9,000 people and generate close to 4 billion in revenue a year. [6]. National Beef Packing Company is large producer of beef. They have close to 9,000 employees and 7.5 billion in revenue. [7].

Across only 4 companies, we have witnessed around 150,000 job opportunities with over 22 billion in revenue in certain time periods. There are hundreds of more companies that rely on meat production, and giving animals rights would cause almost all of these companies to go belly up. Put hundreds of thousands of people out of work and destroy these companies.

3.) Food shortages. Besides putting all of these individuals out of jobs, we would see a large shortage of food in the U.S. In 2012 poultry and meat production reached over 90 billion pounds of meat. Meat and poultry is Americas largest agriculture segment. [8]. If we where to give animals rights, we would eliminate Americas largest agricultural segment, and by doing so reduce Americas amounts of food by 90 billion pounds a year. Gone. All of it gone. In 2013 almost 50 million Americans lived in food insecure households. [9]. 15 million children lived in food insecure households in 2012. [10]. I understand not all of this is due to food shortages, but if we where to eliminate Americas largest agricultural segment, these numbers of hungry Americans will certainly rise. How can we afford to cause hunger, job loss, and economic insecurity for a large society just for the sake of animals?

Citations:

[1]. http://en.m.wikipedia.org...

[2]. http://www.economist.com...

[3]. http://en.m.wikipedia.org...

[4]. http://en.m.wikipedia.org...

[5]. http://www.forbes.com...

[6]. http://en.m.wikipedia.org...

[7]. http://en.m.wikipedia.org...

[8]. https://www.meatinstitute.org...

[9]. http://www.feedingamerica.org...

[10]. http://www.feedingamerica.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Otherclay

Pro

Intro

As stated in rd. 2, equal rights means equal consideration for one’s interests. Nonhumans have interests such as the interest in living and not suffering, but also species-specific interests in certain types of living conditions, social relationships etc.

Con seems to look at the question solely from a US standpoint. Even though I am European, I do not mind rebutting US-specific arguments, because I am well aware of how the US animal industry works. However, Con seems to insist on examining the question from a strictly practical, anthropocentric viewpoint considering solely the US. This implies that the more profound, ethical and global implications of the question have not quite been comprehended.

Rebuttals

1) Like all concepts, the concept of rights is indeed created by man (concept: something conceived in the mind; an abstract or generic idea generalised from particular instances. [1] To have a concept, there needs to be a mind).This, however, does not mean that rights cannot be considered universal, objective or independent from man. Sometimes concepts are created to structure and fathom phenomena and objects that exist independetly. Con seems to be confusing rights with laws. For example, he states that “We have just created rights country by country to control people and their actions.” Like the definition made in rd. 1 indicates, rights are not necessarily based on laws, but can be based on moral principles, for example.

The sanctity of life and the right to life are commonly accepted principles. To someone who accepts them, it should be irrelevant whether in parts of the world people are killing babies or anything else. If one accepts the principle(s), it would be contradictory to justify killing by appealing to socities that do not follow said principle(s).

“In the US, we give rights to contributing, beneficial, members of our society, AKA humans. All humans have the ability and potential to talk, walk and contribute. Animals cannot converse with us. They will do nothing to contribute … .”

Based on the claim that rights are given to those with the ability to be “beneficial” and to “talk, walk and contribute”, we should not give rights to babies. You might say that babies will grow up to be contributing members of society (although not all of them will), but what about severely disabled persons who will never be able to “talk, walk [or] contribute”. Is it okay to abuse and kill these individuals?

Con’s arguments are plagued with sociocentrism. He keeps insisting that animals cannot “benefit society”. He says, “animals can’t knowingly be part of a working society”. He does not seem to realise that not everything is about OUR society (this is especially ironic since I do not even belong to his society). Nonhuman animals form their OWN societies [2] [3]. What is it that gives us the right to shatter the ones they have formed and enslave them in order to better our societies, in the way that Americans (and others) shattered African societies and enslaved their members?

2) “It would destroy our economy to give animals rights. If we couldn’t kill animals, it would drastically affect the economy of the US.” (italics mine)

Again, appealing to possible negative effects on the US economy is not a valid justification for destroying other societies and individuals. However, for the sake of argument, I will treat it as one for the rest of rebuttal 2.

“If animals were given rights, all of that money would be down the drain. 19,000 people would be out of work.”

If people did not consume animal products, they would consume something else: plant-based products. In order to produce these products, countless workers would be employed (in positions where, perhaps, annual turnover rates would not exceed 100 %, which they do in poultry plants. [4] Guess why.). In other words, there would be little to no loss to employment. The same applies to the money. People would still need to buy groceries, and they would pay for them. (Side note: I never thought I would hear wealth inequality (i.e. the fact that Perdue Farms gets 6 billion dollars a year whereas local family farmers get little to none) used as an argument against animal rights.)

3) The argument from food shortages is a common misinformed argument. Abolishing the animal industry would not create food shortages. Quite the contrary. 95 % of oat production and 80 % of corn production is consumed by farmed animals. [5] [6] [7] These are merely examples. Similar percentages apply to soy, for example. According to Diet For A New America by John Robbins, if Americans reduced their meat intake by 10 %, 100 million people could be adequately fed. [6]

The animal industry does not prevent food shortages or malnutrition. It creates them.

Citations

[1] http://bit.ly...
[2] http://bit.ly...
[3] http://bit.ly...
[4] http://bit.ly... (Chapter Influence/Speechlesness: The Life and Death of a Bird)
[5] http://bit.ly...
[6] http://bit.ly...
[7] http://bit.ly...;

BoggyB

Con

Rebuttals to my opponents opening arguments:

1).

"There is no reason to exclude animals from the concept of equality."

This point Pro has made isn't advancing his argument substantially. It may be slightly similar to proving a negative. "Why not?" BoP is shared, but this isn't bringing proof to the discussion at hand. This is not showing why animals deserve the same rights as humans.

"During the last few centuries, especially in the Western world, the line has been moved further and further, to incorporate groups that used to fall on the wrong side."

While this may be true, all examples of extended rights have been for humans, not animals. Secondly, this is an "Appeal to Tradition," that if we have done it in the past, and it has worked before, it will be good this time around. This a fallacy. [1]. Pro still has yet to explain why animals deserve to have equal rights to humans, but merely asserted that "why not?"

"The obvious question now is, why should the line be drawn at the point where our species ends?"

That certainly is the question Pro, please explain why they deserve the rights, beyond this. Expand. Convey why it shouldn't be drawn at species. Why not, is not an argument, nor is it a reason.

"As we, the human species, learn more about nonhuman animals, it becomes clearer and clearer how much their cognitive capabilities have been underestimated."

Here we are. Pro has brought forth a few reasons. I'll summarize all of point one: Animals should be included because there is no reason not to. Why should we draw the line at one species? Non-human animals have shown more intelligent that previously thought, so that means we should include them into human rights. Pro also mentioned a few aspects such as social behavior, communication, and problem solving as some of the abilities animals are capable of performing. Animals are certainly not stupid or dumb, they can be very smart. They are all complex and wonderful creatures, but are nowhere near the complexity, intelligence and capabilities of humans. There is no question to the superiority of humans, on all levels of measurement. We operate machinery, converse with others, solve complex mathematical problems, have a diverse vocabulary, and the ability to use logic at a far more advanced level than animals. We are superior. With that established, I can advance in my explanation and refutation. We are one species, we don't kill each other within our own species for survival reasons. That is why we have not included other species into our formation of rights. In nature, species kill other species for survival purposes and out of instinct. We see lions killing different animals for food. Bugs kill different bugs, birds kill different birds and rodents for food. Everywhere we look we see Intra and Inter-specific competition. [2]. It is natural to see other species attacking/killing other species than themselves. It should thus be natural for us to use animals as a means of survival, correct? Just like Pro has offered that we animals should have rights just because "why not?" I can likewise say that, it's natural for species to eat other species, so "why not?"

2.)

"Using animals as commodities is not only unethical, but unnecessary."

If we were to use this as a basis for rights and equality, we would quickly confront many questions and contradictions among Pros stance. We have already been aware of the difference between species and interspecific killing. Pro is claiming that all animal are the same and deserve equal rights. Should we be policing the killing between two animals, human or not? If the line shouldn't be drawn at just our species, then why should we then drawn the line that it's ok for other animals to kill each other, but not ok for us? Pro will likely counter with that eating meat is not a necessity for us. There are in fact omnivorous animals in nature, that also don't need meat to survive. [3]. Bears are exemplify my point. Some bear's diets range from almost entirely herbivorous to entirely carnivorous. If these animals warrant the same rights as humans, then it would be immoral for bears to be eating other animals when they can most certainly survive on a herbivorous diet. It is not unethical to use animals as commodities, or for survival, because it is a component of nature. It may not always be necessary to be eating meat, but it is not unethical, and since its not unethical to do so, the necessity aspect becomes irrelivant and it becomes a preference whether we could eat meat or eat herbivorously.

Rebuttals to opponents comments on my arguments:

1.)

"Con seems to look at the question solely from a US standpoint. Even though I am European, I do not mind rebutting US-specific arguments, because I am well aware of how the US animal industry works."

You said it yourself that there's no reason for rights not to stretch worldwide, so If you suggest that animals rights to be universal, the U.S. definitely qualifies as a place that would be affected.

"This, however, does not mean that rights cannot be considered universal, objective or independent from man."

This is true, there is no reason they can't be universal, but that doesn't mean that they are universal. We cannot establish objective rights for humans. They are subjective to the world. Not every nation agrees on rights, whether they should be objective or not. How are we to establish animals rights, without even finding a common ground for human rights. It's even controversial within certain countries. Abortion is considered wrong by some, but right to others.

"The sanctity of life and the right to life are commonly accepted principles. To someone who accepts them, it should be irrelevant whether in parts of the world people are killing babies or anything else. If one accepts the principle(s), it would be contradictory to justify killing by appealing to socities that do not follow said principle(s)."

I wasn't attempting to justify killing babies, but I was showing how rights aren't as absolute as they may seem.

"Based on the claim that rights are given to those with the ability to be "beneficial" and to "talk, walk and contribute", we should not give rights to babies. You might say that babies will grow up to be contributing members of society (although not all of them will), but what about severely disabled persons who will never be able to "talk, walk [or] contribute". Is it okay to abuse and kill these individuals?"

You have said so yourself that babies will grow up and be capable of greater things than they initially have. Although you did mention disabled people. Those people are in fact exceptions, because it isn't the norm. They aren't supposed to be disabled, but due to whatever disease or genetic mutation they suffered, they are an exception to what a fully functional human is, and should still be treated with care. Just because some are unfortunate to have these disabilities doesn't make it a baseline.

"Again, appealing to possible negative effects on the US economy is not a valid justification for destroying other societies and individuals. However, for the sake of argument, I will treat it as one for the rest of rebuttal 2."

Animals gaining rights would substantially affect our economy and individuals directly. Likewise we have affects on animals. My argument is a mirror to Pro's. Pro is asking why we have the right to "shatter" other societies and animals, and I can ask a likewise question: why can animals shatter our society and affect hundreds of thousands of people and their lifestyles?

"If people did not consume animal products, they would consume something else: plant-based products. In order to produce these products, countless workers would be employed (in positions where, perhaps, annual turnover rates would not exceed 100 %, which they do in poultry plants. [4] Guess why.). In other words, there would be little to no loss to employment. The same applies to the money. People would still need to buy groceries, and they would pay for them. (Side note: I never thought I would hear wealth inequality (i.e. the fact that Perdue Farms gets 6 billion dollars a year whereas local family farmers get little to none) used as an argument against animal rights.)"

This whole rebuttal is ignorant and is based on no fact or evidence whatsoever. Pro casually ignores the statistics I brought to the table. I showed in my opening arguments with facts, of how hundreds of thousands of jobs would be lost, astronomical amounts of money would disappear from a circulating economy, and 90 billions of pounds of food would disappear and no longer be available to a large group of people. Does that sound moral to you? Pro skips over this by simply saying that something else will replace it. This is the largest agricultural section of a country with over 300 million citizens, Pro has gravely underestimated the negative affects this would entail onto people. Would this be a moral thing to do? This society will be immensely affected by animal rights, what gives animals the ability to do that?

3.) pro claims that food and revenue will be replaced, not quite to 100% though. One thing that will not be replaced is the 60 billion in revenue a year from animal feed production. [4]. 60 billion a year in revenue would disappear. This would be a largely negative affect on large amounts of people and thousands of companies.

Citations:

[1]. http://www.logicallyfallacious.com...

[2]. http://en.m.wikipedia.org...

[3]. http://en.m.wikipedia.org...

[4]. http://www.statista.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Otherclay

Pro

Note: The judges might want to acknowledge that Con managed to exceed the character limit by a substantial amount in his rd. 3 argument. See comments for details. This may have affected how evenhanded this debate can be considered. For the sake of pursuing a level playing field in this last round, I am going to exploit the glitch that enables one to exceed the limit.

Rebuttals to Con's comments on my opening arguments:

1) "This point Pro has made isn't advancing his argument substantially. It may be slightly similar to proving a negative. "Why not?" ... Why not, is not an argument, nor is it a reason."

It seems that Con did not finish reading my first argument before he started commenting on it. A reader who reads the entire argument can clearly see that the sentences Con picked as examples of not "advancing the argument substantially", were merely opening sentences leading to the actual argumentation. Con criticised the HEADING of my first argument for not advancing the argument, apparently not realising that I naturally give reasons other than "Why not?" in the actual body text.

This is not to say that "Why not?" is "not an argument", like Con claims. Asking why, is a crucially important and necessary thing to do when encountering irrational and arbitrary rationalisation for injustice. Con is effectively claiming that questioning the status quo and traditional or existing values, and concluding that they have no rational basis, is not a reasonable act to commit or to appeal to. Con compares asking "Why not?" to proving the negative, when it is quite the opposite. By asking "Why not?", I am trying to examine the reasons for unequal treatment between species, and I am concluding that there are no rational principles behind it. An appeal to a lack of valid, rational reasoning by the contender's side IS indeed an argument, and a strong one.

"... all examples of extended rights have been for humans, not animals."

So what? Con is obviously missing the whole point of my first argument, which is that drawing the line for "extended rights" at the species boundary is arbitrary. He goes on to accuse me of appealing to tradition, whereas this sentence of his clearly contains an Appeal to Tradition fallacy.

"Secondly, this is an 'Appeal to Tradition' ... ."

According to Con's source, Appeal to Tradition takes the logical form of "We have been doing X for generations. / Therefore, we should keep doing X." or "Our ancestors thought X was right. / Therefore, X is right."

The source states, "Traditions are often passed from generation to generation with no other explanation besides, 'this is the way it has always been done' ... ." However, quite obviously, in the case of equal rights, equality and the handing out of equal rights is NOT the tradition. It is not what we have been doing for generations. It is certainly not what our ancestors thought was right. Quite the contrary. Equality is the result of rational thinking and structured thought. Rational thinkers started asking, "why do we rate minorities and other races lower than ourselves?" and "why do we not give everyone equal rights?" When people began realising that there are no valid answers to these questions, minorities began getting equal rights.

"There is no question to the superiority of humans, on all levels of measurement. We operate machinery, converse with others, solve complex mathematical problems, have a diverse vocabulary, and the ability to use logic at a far more advanced level than animals. We are superior."

Who exactly sets the paradigm of "superiority" as the ability to operate machinery, converse, solve maths problems and use logic? I do not agree with this reasoning, as it is an arbitrary, painfully anthropocentric view. Why is the fact that humans can drive a forklift any more valuable than the fact that opossums can emit a protein that can neutralise nearly all poisons that enter their bodies? [1] Why is the fact that humans can construct syllogisms any superior to the fact that a salamander can naturally regenerate lost limbs? [2] Why is the fact that we have the means to torture millions of nonhumans any superior to the fact that a stranded human will almost certainly lose in a fight with a vicious tiger, for example?

"We are one species, we don't kill each other within our own species for survival reasons."

Yes, we do. We even eat each other for survival (and other) reasons. [3]

"It is natural to see other species attacking/killing other species than themselves. It should thus be natural for us to use animals as a means of survival, correct?"

Yes, it could be considered natural. But that does not mean that we ought to do it. Con is committing the naturalistic fallacy [4]. The fact that something happens in other nature does not mean that it ought to happen amongst humans as well. We do plenty of things that go against nature. For example, according to Con's fallacious logic, we should seize operating machinery, conversing with others, solving mathematical problems and having a diverse vocabulary or the ability use advanced logic, as these are all things that other animals do not practice. Con spends a lot of time arguing that we are vitally DIFFERENT from other animals, only to lead himself into a trap by asserting that, in fact, we still ought to look to other animals for moral guidance. Con should decide whether he thinks we are above other nature or at its level.

Also, as con states, nonhuman animals often kill others for SURVIVAL reasons. Yet the animal industry is far past the point of survival reasons. As I stated in rd. 2, developed countries no longer need animal products to survive. Moreover, the animal industry is far from anything that could be considered "natural". I challenge anyone to sincerely apply the traditional definition of the term "natural" (existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind [5]) to the act of tossing 150,000 sentient newborns via a conveyor belt into a mechanical shredder EVERY DAY, just because they are the wrong sex (and that number refers to merely one poultry facility). [6]

2) "If the line shouldn't be drawn at just our species, then why should we then drawn the line that it's ok for other animals to kill each other, but not ok for us? ... There are in fact omnivorous animals in nature, that also don't need meat to survive. ... If these animals warrant the same rights as humans, then it would be immoral for bears to be eating other animals when they can most certainly survive on a herbivorous diet."

Once again, Con is committing the naturalistic fallacy like before. Also, he creates an unwarranted connection between rights and morality. The fact that one has done something immoral does not mean that one should be stripped of one's rights.

Furthermore, to talk of immorality with a bear acting instinctively is meaningless. Morality and immorality require a rational agent. You cannot act immorally if you are not capable of rationally pondering your actions. A baby might yell at a funeral or punch someone, but you would not hold her responsible as she, bluntly put, did not know what she was doing. Similarly, an animal who does not - and could not - know better, cannot be considered a moral agent.

Advanced cognitive beings like humans, on the other hand, have the capability of judging their actions and the actions of others. This is what morality is based on: the fact that one can make conscious choices. This developed cognitive capability has also lead to many negative things, for example, the current state of the animal business. Using the same brains we used to create such a ruthless industry, we can examine and judge the morality of it. Nonhumans could not do either of these things. (But, as I said, it is important not to assert an arbitrary connection between rights and morality. The fact that animals (or newborn or severely disabled humans, for that matter) cannot act as moral agents, does not mean that they do not deserve rights.)

Rebuttals to Con's comments on my rebuttals:

1) "You said it yourself that there's no reason for rights not to stretch worldwide, so If you suggest that animals rights to be universal, the U.S. definitely qualifies as a place that would be affected."

It definitely qualifies as a place that would be affected. However, it does not qualify as a baseline. Con himself said, "There is no baseline for rights." Yet, he insists on universalising US-specific conditions and rights, as if they somehow form a baseline that are/should be followed globally.

"How are we to establish animals rights, without even finding a common ground for human rights."

I mentioned the example of the sanctity of life and the right to life. IF you accept those principles, it would be contradictory to support killing nonhumans. There is indeed no common ground for human rights. However, the question here is not the specific rights, but that whatever rights are given to humans in any given society, equal rights should also be given to other sentient beings in that society.

"[Disabled people] aren't supposed to be disabled, but due to whatever disease or genetic mutation they suffered, they are an exception to what a fully functional human is, and should still be treated with care."

This is a grossly ill-informed statement. There are several angles I could look at this from, but I will go with the biological standpoint.

There is no such thing as a "fully functional human". Genetic mutations are a tool of natural selection. Without them, all life would still exist at a primitive level. Granted, most mutations are negative as far as survival is concerned, but to say that a disabled person is not "supposed to be disabled", is utterly ignorant. There is no objective prototype of a human being. No one is "supposed to be" the way they are. They just are.

Similarly, when our ancestors slowly started to evolve from hairy, small-brained quadrupedal animals into the hairless, big-brained, bipedal beings we are today, you might have thought the evolved individuals were not "supposed to be" like that, as they were different from their predecessors. But, as we know in hindsight, those developments turned out to be largely positive. A species is never "complete", so it is absurd to claim that one is "supposed to be" a certain way.

"Just because some are unfortunate to have these disabilities doesn't make it a baseline."

Yes, and just because some are "unfortunate" not to have the ability to talk or walk does not make THAT the baseline. Who is it that creates these baselines that conveniently include all of our kind but not of any other?

"Animals gaining rights would substantially affect our economy and individuals directly. ... Pro is asking why we have the right to 'shatter' other societies and animals, and I can ask a likewise question: why can animals shatter our society and affect hundreds of thousands of people and their lifestyles?"

Again, why is our society more valuable than nonhuman animals' societies? We are destroying theirs based on the fact that if we did not, our economy and individuals would be "substantially affected" (and I have even shown why these effects would not be unreasonably detrimental). How is that justified?

In any case, this is a completely perverted argument. To reiterate: we first destroy and abuse other societies to the point where we are (supposedly) dependent on them. At this point we refuse not to abuse them because if we did that, according to some strange, upside down reasoning, they would be destroying us.

Somewhere along the line Con has asserted that if we let go of using and abusing animals, the ANIMALS would somehow be wronging US. As if the animals would somehow turn to the perpetrators who decide to shatter OUR society. This is the equivalent of enslaving a people, and, when the slaves demand freedom and fight for it, regarding the SLAVES as the bad guys. (Obviously animals cannot demand freedom as such, which is why we have to speak for them.)

2) "This whole rebuttal is ignorant and is based on no fact or evidence whatsoever. Pro casually ignores the statistics I brought to the table. I showed in my opening arguments with facts, of how hundreds of thousands of jobs would be lost, astronomical amounts of money would disappear from a circulating economy, and 90 billions of pounds of food would disappear and no longer be available to a large group of people. Does that sound moral to you? Pro skips over this by simply saying that something else will replace it."

I do not quite understand how Con could overlook the statement I made which makes all of these facts and statistics irrelevant. I did not "simply say" that something else will replace the animal industry (and the consequential money, jobs and food). No. It is quite obvious that something HAS TO replace it. People HAVE TO eat. I do not know what "fact or evidence" Con needs for this claim. I suppose I could cite a children's biology book that states that people need energy from food in order to live, but that could come across as a bit patronising... Anyway, as I said, the money, food and jobs that would disappear would instantly be replaced by others (plant-derived alternatives), because they would HAVE TO be replaced. I do not know how I could elaborate this point further to make it more accessible.

Also, as I demonstrated in rd. 3, the food that would disappear would be replaced by a significantly LARGER amount of food, which could potentially be used to feed millions of currently starving people.

3) "One thing that will not be replaced is the 60 billion in revenue a year from animal feed production."

Right. So, it is better to spend 60 billion a year for animal feed instead of using that food and money to, for instance, feed the hungry? I do not see why 60 billion dollars in the pockets of a vanishingly small number of people should be considered a more noteworthy consequence than all the negative aspects of the animal industry that I have mentioned.

Closing statements:

Instead of successfully refuting my arguments, Con's rebuttals have mostly introduced even more contradictions in Con's reasoning. For example, the idea that, if the animal industry was abolished, the animals would somehow be wronging us, pretty much epitomises the twisted nature of a lot of Con's arguments.

As a personal note (off the record), I would like to mention that I am not necessarily advocating an immediate abolishment of the entire animal industry. However, any moral being versed on the current state of the industry knows that fundamental changes need to be made.

Thank you for this debate!

Citations:

[1] http://yhoo.it...
[2] http://bit.ly...
[3] http://bit.ly...
[4] http://bit.ly...
[5] http://bit.ly...
[6] http://bit.ly...
BoggyB

Con

I did exceed the character limit, unknowingly. Judges can decide on that point. I think we've both exhausted our own points and it comes down to interpretation at this point, but I will make a few rebuttals.

Rebuttals: 1. "Con criticized the HEADING of my first argument for not advancing the argument...."

I read the whole thing, and considered the only real point that held wright was at the very end, and it was a small one. So I went back to the beginning and began taking the whole thing point by point, stressing how there wasn't much mass to the first point.

"An appeal to a lack of valid, rational reasoning by the contender's side IS indeed an argument, and a strong one."

It is an argument, but it doesn't show and vaild reasoning for your side, but merely questioning my side. It is in no way strong, because it didn't give examples as to why it should be opposite of what it currently is.

"He goes onto accuse me of appealing to tradition, whereas this sentence of his clearly contains and Appeal to tradition fallacy."

Pro said that we have given extended rights to minorities in the past, why not now? I showed how this is an appeal to tradition and that also, all examples were given to humans, not animals which are two different scenarios. I didn't appeal to tradition, while Pro did, and also made a false accusation.

"Who exactly sets the paradigm of "superiority" as the ability to operate machinery, converse, solve maths problems and use logic?"

Pro is contesting my statement of humans being superior. This is a lost cause for Pro, because it is blatantly obvious humans are superior in almost every way. Who says logic is superior, who says operating machinery is superior, etc etc. I don't understand how Pro can contest this. It is set that we are superior based on the observable society around us. I don't need to cite anything to show the complexity, diverseness and intuitiveness created by man. Animals can't rationolize like we can, animals can't solve math problems, animals can't drive a car, animals can't create things to any level that competes with humans. Humas are superior in almost every way, except for some mechanisms in nature, eg. Lizards tails and biological advantages.

2. I don't understand how my examples of herbivores Bears and the naturalism of animals eating each other is a fallacy. Also how rights aren't related to morality. The reason Pro wants rights for animals is because he believes it's immoral to kill them, does he not?

"The fact that animals (or newborn or severely disabled humans, for that matter) cannot act as moral agents, does not mean that they do not deserve rights.)"

In the paragraph this was taken from, Pro makes some considerable statements which ultimately boil down to this quoted above. So Pro's argument is that we will be giving rights to animals, who at their highest level of development will have no morals whatsoever.

"This is what morality is based on: the fact that one can make conscious choices."

Morality is something that has been developed by man, or a religion, to be given to people of a society and class. Morals are based on the ability to understand your actions. That's why morals are given used by man, and why rights are created based on these morals. If animals can't understand morality, there is no need or use for giving them rights. They won't understand the immorality that is being committed by themselves day and night. It is irrelivant to them.

Second set of rebuttals:

1. "Yet, he insists on universalising US-specific conditions and rights, as if they somehow form a baseline that are/should be followed globally."

I wasn't trying to create a baseline, but show that this will be one of the repercussions. It doesn't have to be a baseline for it to be something negative.

"There is no such thing as a "fully functional human". Genetic mutations are a tool of natural selection. Without them, all life would still exist at a primitive level. Granted, most mutations are negative as far as survival is concerned, but to say that a disabled person is not "supposed to be disabled", is utterly ignorant. There is no objective prototype of a human being. No one is "supposed to be" the way they are. They just are."

This definitely wasn't the best wording on my part: "fully functional." What I meant was that disabled people aren't the norm for humans. If the whole human race was always severely disabled then we could strip them of rights, but the norm is fairly functional and the small percentage of people that aren't should be singled out.

2. " I did not "simply say" that something else will replace the animal industry (and the consequential money, jobs and food)."

He did in fact. He brought forth a couple statistics, but the complexity and gravity of the US economy can't be completely reconstructed as quickly and efficiently as Pro so easily asserts.
I have reached the character limit now, good job to Pro, this was a good challenge.
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Kozu 2 years ago
Kozu
There was definitely a fundamental misunderstanding as to "should" do. Since neither side specifically argued how we should determine our "oughts" i defaulted to utilitarianism.

Anyway, it was still a great debate. You both should come back to debate.
Posted by Kozu 2 years ago
Kozu
Feel free to ask for clarification. The RFD is very short and was made simply because I said I would vote on this.

I honestly expected this to get a vote after 5 months passing.
Posted by Otherclay 2 years ago
Otherclay
Thanks a lot, I really appreciate that. :-)
Posted by Kozu 2 years ago
Kozu
I'll try to vote on this before the voting period ends.
Posted by BoggyB 2 years ago
BoggyB
Thank you as well, it was definitely a good, challenging debate.
Posted by Otherclay 2 years ago
Otherclay
I'd just quickly like to note something which I touched on at the ending of my last post. Personally, I wouldn't call for an immediate reconstruction of the entire food industry/economy " certainly not in a quick manner. I know that that would definitely not work in practice. (But, as I said, changes should be made.)

Anyway, thank you very much for this debate. It's been fun!
Posted by BoggyB 2 years ago
BoggyB
I completely understand how this may look, but I wasn't aware of this glitch. Since I'm on my phone, I usually type out my round arguments in the notes app on my phone and paste it into safari. I've found it much easier. I must have hit the text button when I was fumbling around, because it's not always easy to navigate on mobile. Sorry about that. We may have reached an impasse, but I encourage you to use the glitch, like you said, so this doesn't become unfair.
Posted by Otherclay 2 years ago
Otherclay
Thanks for the compliment. :-)

When I saw your rd. 3 argument, I thought it looked abnormally long. So, when I copied it to Word in order to make notes on it, I also checked the number of characters. To my surprise, it was almost double the limit.

I very knowingly set the limit to 5,000, and had to struggle to keep mine under it (if you copy my arguments to a word processor, you can see that they're just under 5,000). I had to cut them down because it wouldn't let me go over 5,000.

After a bit of googling, I found out there's a technical glitch that involves copying the text from outside the debate and then changing it from rich text to basic text. At the risk of sounding accusing, I doubt that you ACCIDENTALLY used this glitch twice (rd. 2 is also over 5,000), especially since there's no apparent reason to switch from rich text to basic, as far as I can tell.

I don't know what this debate is worth anymore, but in order to pursue at least a nearly level playing field, I'm going to use the glitch in rd. 4.
Posted by BoggyB 2 years ago
BoggyB
I never checked the characters when I submitted it so I'm curious to know how you found out. Anyways, there are settings when the debate is created where you can choose the number of characters in a single round per person. They range from 1,000 - 10,000. If you attempt to submit a round exceeding the number of characters it doesn't let it go through. You probably set the limit for this specific debate at 10,000 unknowingly. I hope this answers your questions. By the way you're pretty good at debating.
Posted by Otherclay 2 years ago
Otherclay
BoggyB, I'm confused... Can you explain to me, as I'm new to this site, how you managed to make a 9,580 character argument when the limit is 5,000 characters? This is not strictly legal, is it?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Kozu 2 years ago
Kozu
OtherclayBoggyBTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Firstly, the BoP is on Pro since he is changing the status quo. Also, like most policy debates, this will be evaluated from a utilitarian stand point. So the first thing I need from Pro is a positive impact of giving animals the right to life, however the arguments given in R2 are entirely of a defensive nature, giving me nothing to really weigh. It explains alot about how we have given rights to other groups of humans and asks why animals need to be our species in the first place, but even if we give them rights, what positive impact am I being given? Is it helping to prevent a slippy slope of us killing the mentally disabled? Is it going to help our economy? I just don't see the good in given them rights. Con brings up heavy employment and revenue losses, which are major negative impacts. Pro's response that all the jobs from the meat companies would be replaced just doesn't feel well established enough to risk the losses of granting animals a right to life. Thus I vote Con.