People should not keep pets
Debate Rounds (4)
Humans are a natural part of the animal kingdom, and have been used to be around animals for the entirety of their existence. But is it really right to keep them as pets?
Just to introduce the topic I have written a bit about the history..
One of the defining characteristics of the human race is that we developed the ability to domesticate and eventually control other species for our use.
The first sign of a relationship between humans and animals can be traced as far back as 20,000 years ago, when humans and wolves were hunting the same animals for food.
Around 12,000 years ago this relationship developed into the domestication of dogs as a separate kind from wolves through selective breeding to choose those individuals who were most obedient and less likely to harm their human keepers. In this process the initial bond between humans and dogs were created. It extended beyond their use for hunting and was the necessary foregrounding for keeping pets in general.
Dogs appear to have been with early humans in many different parts of the world - the domestication of cats on the other hand was rather more localized.
The Ancient Egyptians first bred wild cats 5000 years ago to eventually produce the domestic cats we know today. Other people around the world seem to have tamed many sorts of animals as companions and pets, from goldfish and birds to monkeys and reptiles, and the isolation of these examples suggests that it is an intrinsic human quality to tame animals beyond the role of hunting. Despite the vast popularity of pet ownership, especially in more economically developed countries, the question still remains as to whether the practice should be continued.
I accept this debate.
"Humans are morally considerable because of the distinctively human capacities we possess, capacities that only we humans have" argues an article in Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.
If this is the case, then we should use our morality for the animals that have no thought of it - I mean should we be able to decide to keep them in an unnatural environment that they have no understanding of?
You hear many animal rights groups say that: "Pets are our property. Dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, and other animals are mass produced like bolts"
AND that is wrong! All living creatures deserve the basic rights which captivity denies even though they may have no moral comprehension of their experiences!
I think it is up to the humans, who actually do have an awareness of these factors, to ensure that these rights are maintained.
Beyond this there is the issue of tampering with evolution to change the appearance of animals for our enjoyment. This process of evolution is morally wrong! We have no rights to change each other.
Thank you pro for posting your argument, I shall now present mine.
1) Pets are not enslaved into the home
Keeping an animal as a pet does not neccessarily mean to enslave that animal. Dogs, cats, rabbits and other common household pets are often seen by their owners as members of the family and are loved and cared for accordingly. Pets offer a sense of companionship and bonding that positively affects both the animal and its owner. For example, according to studies, it has been proven that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression in comparison to pet owners. Owning a pet can also increase an owner's fitness. (1) Pets such as dogs, cats and rabbits wouldn't be able to survive without us, and if even if they weren't domesticated, their life expectancy in the wild would very likely be far worse than that of a life spent in the human home. Generally, pets live a far happier and warmer life under the love of a human than they would out in the bitter wilderness. Besides, most pets such as cats and dogs have the option to break free via a cat flap or for a dog when it has been let off lead, but the vast majority stay because they love their owners.
2) Animals don't care
The hard truth is that animals really don't care about morality or any of those mushy human traits - all they require is love, a degree of freedom, nutritious food and shelter. ALL of these are provided by law-abiding owners. The only commodity listed that an animal would indefinitely receive if released into the wild is full, unprecedented freedom, which isn't always a positive thing given the lack of direction and guidance they'd have.
You said that all living creatures deserve basics rights and that captivity doesn't fulfil these demands.
How does feeding, excercising and loving a pet not accomplish their basic rights?
You have provided no evidence whatsoever to support your claim that keeping animals as pets is affecting their evolutional process. And even if we were 'tampering' with their biological structure, who is to say that it will be for the worse?
The other way around; Animals getting sick because of humans - this is also a big risk! And isn"t it our fault that we take them in and then make them sick?
Animals can also get sick with the same infections as humans. Flu and rabies are well known, but sexually transmitted diseases crop up in animals too.
And if animals don"t really care about morals and whatsoever, why can they become depressed? "Depression is actually pretty common in the animal kingdom and "Many kinds of animals exhibit a classic depression-related sense of helplessness when they can't change their situations".
Animals can"t talk, so how do we even know if they want to be with us or not? Maybe we should just let them completely live their own lives.
And it isn"t only dogs, cats and rabbits that we see people have as pets. It is also seen that someone actually has a monkey, snake or a pig inside.
Anything beyond the initial taming of animals for protection and hunting is unnatural. Some of the animal species that we keep as pets cannot be 'domesticated' - they are simply wild animals in captivity. Especially in the case of birds, keeping them as pets greatly limits the experience they would have in the wild. They are born to fly, and they don"t get very far in a case or in a house, do they? And as Monica Engebretsen argues for Born Free USA, "Birds are routinely denied two of their most fundamental natural behaviors " flying and socialization. Denial of these activities can cause physical and behavioral abnormalities including incessant screaming, pacing, head-bobbing, feather-plucking, and self-mutilation"
From a basic animal welfare point of view then, many animals which are currently kept as pets are not suited to that lifestyle, and in fact they are often suffering for no other reason than human gratification is reason. We are selfish! Isn"t this enough to stop this from happening?
This is also a problem that is growing rather than receding, as zoo vet and government inspector Matt Brash points out: "There is a big problem out there. There are an awful lot of exotics in the country. A lot of them are not being kept properly".
These animals are kept in unsuitable conditions which damages their health.
I am going to utilise this round to rebut pro's arguments.
"As well as the risk to health of the humans, keeping pets can be damaging to animal health. Diseases that can be transferred between animals and humans are called "zoonoses". The list of these diseases is long and varied, and they are often transferred by a subsidiary medium - a parasite like a flea or tick, when it comes to humans getting sick because of the animals."
The likelihood of anyone contracting an illness from a pet and vice versa is very slim in modern times. It's 2015, all pets are carefully bred and vaccinated upon birth to prevent these sort of diseases from spreading. If a pet does obtain a disease or illness, then there are multiple options available to the owner to eradicate it. There are thousands of veternarys scattered across the entire UK alone (http://www.vetsdirectory.co.uk...) so if the issue of health does arise in a household where there is a pet, then it's the owners fault and not an problem created by the concept of keeping a pet alone.
"And if animals don"t really care about morals and whatsoever, why can they become depressed? "Depression is actually pretty common in the animal kingdom and "Many kinds of animals exhibit a classic depression-related sense of helplessness when they can't change their situations"."
What has depression got to do with animals and their lack of morals? A pet becomes zoochotic under the circumstances of poor care, not because they've got some form of humanistic morals. Again, the problem of depression among pets is not a problem directly related to the concept of keeping pets but to poor care from their owner. Most owners do take of their animals and so your argument that we shouldn't keep pets because they may become "depressed" is just plain weak.
"Animals can"t talk, so how do we even know if they want to be with us or not? Maybe we should just let them completely live their own lives."
This is a shamefully poor exposition. Animals can talk, just not in our sphere of languages. As I mentioned in a previous argument, most pets do have the opportunity to run free if they wish. Most dogs are let off lead when out and about with their owner and cats are always open to the option of escape through a cat flap or window - but they very rarely do, simply due to the fact that they enjoy their home and owner. They get given proper food, a warm shelter and all the love and affection they need to be happy, so why would they run away?
May I just also point out that lsignificant depression among domesticated animals is very uncommon, and a grey area in science at that.
Bonnie Beaver, DVM, executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists stated that "it’s rare for dogs to suffer from long-term depression" (http://pets.webmd.com...).
"And it isn"t only dogs, cats and rabbits that we see people have as pets. It is also seen that someone actually has a monkey, snake or a pig inside."
Ok? And what point are you trying to convey here to support your argument?
"Especially in the case of birds, keeping them as pets greatly limits the experience they would have in the wild. They are born to fly, and they don"t get very far in a case or in a house, do they? And as Monica Engebretsen argues for Born Free USA, "Birds are routinely denied two of their most fundamental natural behaviors " flying and socialization."
Birds held in captivity do not feel deprived off their natural activities because they don't know any better. Birds for pets are bred and brought up in captivity and so they have never learned to fly - how can they become depressed over something that doesn't exist in their own minds? Where we depressed before the internet was invented? No, because we didn't know any better.
Take a look at this video here: https://www.youtube.com...
It proves that owners do allow their pet bird to fly around for certain periods of the day in order to grant them that freedom that they may or may not need. It is also worth noting that even though the bird has been granted the freedom to fly around out of the supreme control of the owner, it still returns to the owners hand upon every call. Birds in captivation are totally different to birds in the wild and therefore do not require the same primitive needs.
"From a basic animal welfare point of view then, many animals which are currently kept as pets are not suited to that lifestyle, and in fact they are often suffering for no other reason than human gratification is reason. We are selfish! Isn"t this enough to stop this from happening?
This is also a problem that is growing rather than receding, as zoo vet and government inspector Matt Brash points out: "There is a big problem out there. There are an awful lot of exotics in the country. A lot of them are not being kept properly"."
Have you got any examples of animals that are kept as pets that are not suited to the domestic lifestyle? Admittedly, more exotic species such as snakes and lions may not be suitable for the household due to their limited domesticated history, but animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs have all been bred and domesticated for thousands of years. They don't know the wild lifestyle! They have been genetically programmed over centuries to live with humans.
My final point is this: just because a minority of pets are treated badly, doesn't mean that the concept of keeping pets is a negative attrocity as a whole. Most people love their pets, and most pets love their humans. THe problem of poor pet welfare is one caused by a small group of people and should not by the entire pet-keeping population as a whole.
I'd also like to ask pro this: what is your solution to the problem that you see as so significant that you wish to prevent people from keeping pets? Shall we just ban the right to ownership over all pets and let them run rampant in the streets?
matterzip forfeited this round.
Extend previous arguments and rebuttals. If pro cannot counter rebuttals or fulfill their burden of proof then I can only assume victory in this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TheAdamb99 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited last round and did not rebut any of Con's points in round 2
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