The Instigator
dollydo
Pro (for)
Winning
26 Points
The Contender
xxdarkxx
Con (against)
Losing
18 Points

Protecting Animal Rights

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/25/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 10,802 times Debate No: 10944
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (41)
Votes (8)

 

dollydo

Pro

Animal rights is ethically justified, in the fact that it's basic principle lies in the foundations of the value of life. If you believe that animal rights is unjustified then you also have to believe that human rights is unjustified. What makes someone care about another persons life? What makes me care about your life? Why are murderers sentenced to prison? Society as a whole puts value on life...and those that do not value life (like the murderers) are removed from society, and made to suffer the consequences. If you look at it from that perspective, you will see the major error in a previous debate.

We do have a moral responsibility to protect animals. Because we, as moral agents have the ability to think, make decisions, and also decide what is morally right or morally wrong. If we lived in a world where animals had no rights, it would then be acceptable to have dog fights, mutilate animals bodies for the fun of it, kill a neighbors pet, have sexual intercourse with an animal, but obviously that is not the case. We live in a world that believes animals should be protected to some extent. That is why there is punishment for any of these actions that I stated above.

The question is, what rights do we as people have? No living creature, including humans are born with inherent rights. These rights have been given to us by a society that can and have made moral decisions regarding the value of life. For example, what makes a mother obligated to breastfeed her child? A mother is morally responsible to provide her child sustenance. If a mother wasn't morally responsible for her child's well being, her child would surely die. A mother does decide that it is ethically right to breastfeed her child, that her child does have the right to life. If mother's, as a whole, decided it to be ethically wrong to breastfeed their children, arguing that it was their bodies undergoing the breastfeeding, and that they shouldn't have to perform any acts that were against their own will, our species would eventually become extinct. This is just one example I have provided that supports the fact that humans do put value on life.

It is this moral responsibility (deciding to one's self whether or not something is right or wrong) that makes us, as a society, responsible in deciding what is right or wrong for all other species.

Moral responsibility exists within all humans at some point, in some shape or form, this can not be argued. It is whether we decide to do what is right, or whether we decide to do what is wrong. It is through these choices that we ultimately have to suffer the consequences of our actions.

In an earlier debate, I was surprised with the voting poll. Most agreed animal rights to be ethically unjustified. If animals rights are unjustified, so are our rights as humans. Who says that we are entitled to freedom of speech? Who says that we have the right to pursue happiness? Who says that we have the right to live?
The Constitution of Independence are laws which were created by a society to give us our basic human rights. Laws are put into place to create harmony, order, and community within a society. As our society consciously evolves, so does it's moral obligations. Laws are evolving and changing everyday. Things that were once accepted may not be accepted today. Animals have more rights today because we have decided that animals deserve these rights. Animals deserve these rights because humans value life.

This is not to be confused with the levels of value. For example, an individual values their own life over another person's life. An individual values their immediate family over another individuals family. An individual values the members of their own society over members of another society. Humans value human life over any other species life.

Another example, if a child and a dog were in the middle of a road and a car was heading towards them and there was an ability to save one, we would save the child. The question then, is what if there was the ability to save them both? Most would try to save both. Another point that supports the value we have placed on life.

In conclusion, I personally enjoy living in a world where people have taken moral responsibility for animals. I like living in a world where individuals are punished for their crimes against animals. I like living in a world where people are protecting the extinction of certain animals. I am glad there are shows like Animal Cops. I am glad that there are organizations like PETA, which bring some of these horrific things to light. I am glad to say that we have people who love animals so much that they are willing to come into harms way to save and/or protect them. I am glad that laws have been established to punish those who maliciously harm animals.

It sure beats the alternative. You can imagine that world all on your own.
xxdarkxx

Con

I would first like to thank my opponent for posting this engaging debate and look forward to having a good debate.

Throughout my opponent's first round she states that "We do have a moral responsibility to protect animals." However why should we protect animals when they are not sentient. Animals do not have the ability to decide morality for themselves. What is the purpose of protecting something that can not decide for them self between right and wrong.
Debate Round No. 1
dollydo

Pro

A "sentient being" is any animal that's behaviour is directly related to it's avoidance of pain and/or suffering and it's desire to maintain well-being and happiness.

Moral reasoning, is making a conscious decision between right and wrong, and usually only concerns the human race. Although there is evidence that supports that some animals are capable of moral reasoning on some levels.

Animals are sentient beings, in that they do experience pain and/or suffering. For example, when a dog is kicked it whimpers and howls. When an animal is cornered it cowers, or in some instances attacks because it feels threatened. Animals feel the cold and heat, and react to these situations. Animals become in a state of panic when they lose their young. Animals care for and nurture their young, proving that there is a sense of family and unity amongst them. These examples which I have provided prove that animals do act as sentient beings and therefore should be taken into moral consideration by humans, who do have moral reasoning.

Plants, rocks, trees, etc. are not considered sentient beings because there is no displayed behaviour of pain and/or suffering. Not to say that future evidence could prove otherwise. But as it stands, they are not considered sentient beings and therefore shouldn't be taken into moral consideration by humans. Although plants, rocks, and trees shouldn't be morally considered by humans, they are beneficial to our survival as a species. Destroying a whole forest of evergreens is destructive to the wildlife, and disrupts the delicate balance of our ecosystem, and to a certain extent are protected by humans.

You pose two questions that I will proceed to answer. First question, "Why should we protect animals when they are not sentient beings?" My response, is that animals are sentient beings because they can feel pain and/or suffering. Even if they weren't sentient beings like the plants, rocks, and trees, we still have a moral responsibility to preserve and protect these things because it is crucial to the survival of our own species.

Second question, "What is the purpose of protecting something that can not decide for them self between right and wrong?" My response, is that a baby can not decide what is right or wrong, a mentally disabled person doesn't have the rational capability of deciding what is right or wrong. You say "what is the purpose of protecting something that can not decide for them self between right is wrong?" The answer is that babies deserve to be protected from abusive parents, the mentally disabled should be cared for properly by their caregivers, animals (sentient beings) should not be tortured, abused, or maltreated by their owners. And the reason why it should be taken into moral consideration, is that we should not inflict excessive pain and/or suffering onto any sentient being that strives to live in happiness. Just because "something" doesn't have the capability of moral understanding, doesn't permit humans who are capable of moral understanding, to say that they don't count, and therefore shouldn't be taken into moral consideration. It is because we do have the capability of moral reasoning that it is our duty as humans to decide what is right and wrong for the future of all other species.
xxdarkxx

Con

xxdarkxx forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
dollydo

Pro

That's it? xxdarkxx forfeited the round. If anyone else is up to a challenge, let me know. It is really disappointing that my first debate was forfeited so easily. I was really looking forward to it. :(
xxdarkxx

Con

First I must apologize for my lack of response in the 2nd round. I have been having troubles with my router and have been unable to obtain access to the internet over the course of the weekend.

Also I would like to thank my opponent for starting this debate and look forward to the response.

Before I start my rebuttal I find it prudent to define a few words.

Sentient-http://dictionary.reference.com...
1. having the power of perception by the senses; conscious.
2. characterized by sensation and consciousness.

Conscious-http://dictionary.reference.com...
1. aware of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.
2. fully aware of or sensitive to something (often fol. by of): conscious of one's own faults; He wasn't conscious of the gossip about his past.
3. having the mental faculties fully active: He was conscious during the operation.
4. known to oneself; felt: conscious guilt.
5. aware of what one is doing: a conscious liar.
6. aware of oneself; self-conscious.
7. deliberate; intentional: a conscious insult; a conscious effort.
8. acutely aware of or concerned about: money-conscious; a diet-conscious society.
9. Obsolete. inwardly sensible of wrongdoing.

"A "sentient being" is any animal that's behaviour is directly related to it's avoidance of pain and/or suffering and it's desire to maintain well-being and happiness."

By saying this your are in fact wrong, a sentient being is by definition "conscious" and as consciousness is defined as someone who is aware of there own existence, sensations thoughts, and surroundings, as well as being inwardly sensible of wrongdoing, animals are not sentient. You stated that being sentient is to be maintain well-being and happiness, as well as avoiding pain. When it is actually just as I said, having a conscious mind of morality, otherwise known as being inwardly sensible of wrongdoing. Animals are not able to accurately make decisions based on morals. When an unprovoked dog bites someone it shows its inability to make decisions based on morality.

You also state that " Plants, rocks, trees, etc. are not considered sentient beings because there is no displayed behavior of pain and/or suffering." However by your definition that sentient means to have behavior that is directly related to it's avoidance of pain then plants are indeed sentient. In a particular episode of mythbusters a plant is subjected to electrical shock, and it then proceeds to show a response the signals pain. By what your saying we should then protect plants from things such mowing your lawn. But the reality is that we do not protect plants from things such as this simply because they are not sentient, because they are not able to make moral decisions for there own. A rose does not decide to not prick someone's finger with a thorn simply because it could be the wrong thing to do, no it can not control whether it does this or not.

"You pose two questions that I will proceed to answer. First question, "Why should we protect animals when they are not sentient beings?" My response, is that animals are sentient beings because they can feel pain and/or suffering. Even if they weren't sentient beings like the plants, rocks, and trees, we still have a moral responsibility to preserve and protect these things because it is crucial to the survival of our own species."

How exactly are animals crucial to are survival, for the sake of the argument lets consider your talking about animals such as pets. Yes, pets are companions. But they do not help our species exist. They do not provide us food, or oxygen, or shelter, or water. So in fact they in no way help us survive.

Humans have an obligation to protect other humans. This is why we raise babies and protect them, this is also why we help the mentally disabled. Also babies have rights and babies are protected not only because they are human, but because at some point they will be sentient. One who is sentient is always sentient. Thus those that are babies and those that are mentally disabled are indeed sentient. They are also sentient because they are indeed aware that they are alive.

Furthermore if you wish to implement more animal rights then you cant simply implement them for just animals you view as good such as cats and dogs. You must issue those animals rights to every single animal. For example do you really think that misquotes, wasps, and spiders deserve to have the same rights that a cat or dog does. No I am pretty sure you don't. Also if you delve so far to say that killing animals is wrong and that anyone that kills an animal should go to jail, then pretty much everyone in the world would go to jail. Every time you killed a spider, or every time you shot a deer during season. Animal population would get out of control, it is simply unreasonable to give rights like this to animals.

Finally how would you regulate these animal rights. There is no possible way to completely keep track of whether someone kills a spider. Also how would you know if an event truly did unfold. An animal cant simply walk into court and give a testimony, it is unruly, and unreasonable to believe that animal rights such as thus would go down efficiently.
Debate Round No. 3
41 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dollydo 4 years ago
dollydo
A quote I made from this debate, "No living creature, including humans are born with inherent rights."

I made the claim that "inherent rights" are nonexistent, but only created by humans to preserve what most would deem as basic human rights. Animals do not have "inherent rights," but humans should create rights that protect animals from unnecessary "cruelty." These rights should be given to animals because humans understand that all life wants to live in happiness without the infliction of pain and/or suffering...be that human life or animal life. Moral reasoning has allowed humans to think differently in regards to all other life, and because of it, are therefore responsible in taking into consideration their lives as well.
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
Con should have won this debate, but lost due to an extremely weak first round followed by a forfeit. The third round is too late to introduce arguments because they cannot be rebutted.

If animals have inherent rights, then an orca eating a seal and every other preditor/prey relationship on the plant is a violation of the rights of the animal being preyed upon. So all carnivores must be starved to death in the name of animal rights. Nah. We ought to protect animals from cruelty as a consequence of human morality, not the rights of the animals.
Posted by dollydo 4 years ago
dollydo
Obviously this is an ethical debate. Obviously it is ethical to give animals these rights I am referring to. I am confused of whether or not you are reiterating this claim I have made, or if you don't believe I have made this claim.

J. Kenyon states,
"If "rights" are granted by society, then it is sufficient to say that if society doesn't *want* to grant those rights, then they effectively cease to exist. Rights must, by necessity, be intrinsic and absolute in order to mean anything."

...It depends on what rights you are referring to. Basic human rights, like I stated, are essential to our very being. There are other rights that aren't directly related to our very being. For example, freedom of press, which over the generations has been censored and in some cases literature has been banned. The right I am referring to (that is essential to our very being) is the right to live a life without pain and/or suffering inflicted unnecessarily by any other person, groups of people, or society. Therefore because this right is essential to our very being, I believe this right should be included to all other species (sentient beings). Because, they too, want to live lives without unnecessary pain and/or suffering. There is no justified reasoning behind why other sentient beings shouldn't have these same rights.

The problem you have is that you like to pick bits and pieces out of the debate, instead of looking at the bigger picture. No, I am not going to define words for you. If you want the definition, feel free to look it up yourself. This reminds me of the other debate, where Spaztoid commented that a fetus is not male or female until later in the pregnancy. You were so swift to prove him wrong that you forgot to stop and listen to what he actually had to say.

I don't need to explain to you the connection I have with animals. One could live with animals all their lives, but still not possess any moral reasoning towards these creatures.
Posted by J.Kenyon 4 years ago
J.Kenyon
Define "moral," define "moral agent," and define "should." (As in "rights *should* be granted).

The issue of rights is at its core an ethical one. You can't just have a debate about animal rights without going into the ethics of it.

If "rights" are granted by society, then it is sufficient to say that if society doesn't *want* to grant those rights, then they effectively cease to exist. Rights must, by necessity, be intrinsic and absolute in order to mean anything.

RE: Aesius understanding nature better than you. I think it's extremely unlikely that you have done more than he has in that area. So, if you have, then correct me. Or you could always just debate him ; )
Posted by dollydo 4 years ago
dollydo
You are not born with a set of specific rights. Rights have been given to us because society deems that these rights are essential to us. Human Rights vary from society to society and change over time, as they are needed. I believe, we as humans, have the moral responsibility to protect animals from unnecessary suffering and/or pain. And therefore, because we should act as moral agents towards our own species as well as all other species, these rights should be granted. I'm not going to get into the details of "Rights" with you at this moment...for it is complex. Nor do I find it necessary at this time to explain my ethics.

J. Kenyon claims,
"I know for a fact that Aesius loves nature and understands a lot better than you do..."

...You know nothing about me, or my love and/or experiences with the animal world. Therefore, this statement is an outright lie.

Obviously neither of you have the ability to have a rational discussion. Like I stated earlier, I don't have time for you or your cousin for many reasons. Some are mentioned below.
Posted by J.Kenyon 4 years ago
J.Kenyon
And seriously, you have no idea what a right is. Can you explain to me what the foundation of your ethical system is? Where do rights come from?

I know for a fact that Aesius loves nature and understands a lot better than you do...he's bred bearded dragons since he was about 8, he's had geckos and all sorts of fish. He has a koi pond in his backyard and logged hundreds of service hours at the local nature center. He spent most of last summer studying conservation on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. So, if you want to have a rational discussion and see who understands this better, challenge him to a debate!
Posted by dollydo 4 years ago
dollydo
To Aesius,
If I assumed that you were against animal rights and was wrong in that assumption, then I truly apologize. But what can be expected when you come to this debate and claim that "PETA is a foolish organization," followed by a statement that goes, "Do you see your canine teeth? They are for meat consumption." What Conclusion should I have come to? You didn't say whether or not you were for or against animals rights in any of your comments. Therefore you left me to decide that on my own.

I will not continue to discuss this issue with you any further. Your conduct has been far from appropriate. Including snide remarks and an overall hostile attitude. I don't have time for people who aren't searching for the truth. I definitely don't have time for people who don't respect others view points.
Posted by dollydo 4 years ago
dollydo
Aussies states,
"First of all, domestic animals are not true wild animals, and cannot have the same rights.
Our society as a whole consumes entirely too much meat, but to go vegan is to effectively tell nature it was incorrect."

I agree with you on these two points referring to this debate. I believe animals should have specific rights, and obviously these rights are going to vary from one animal to the next. The right I am referring to specifically in this debate, is the right for all species to live a life without endued pain and/or suffering created unnecessarily by humans. Because humans can relate to animals, and humans enjoy to live lives without unnecessary pain and/or suffering, it is then unethical to inflict this onto any other specie.

I also agree that the United States consumes too much meat on an average. Resulting in many health problems down the road. Including, obesity, cholesterol, heart-attacks, etc, and numerous other health problems that could possibly be linked to a high meat consumption.

I will have to disagree with your statement, that "to go vegan is to effectively tell nature it was incorrect." Like I stated previously our canines don't prove that we are meat-eaters. Our teeth change because food availability and/or preference change. This gradually happens over time, through evolution. I also believe that because there is strong evidence to support that we have more in common with our fellow herbivores. That including larger amounts of fruits, vegetables, nuts, in our diets and cutting down on our meat consumption will ultimately benefit our bodies, health, and overall well being.

I also believe it is more ethical for a "fisherman" to catch a "wild" fish to feed himself and his family, than a factory-farmed, "caged" animal, that suffered all it's life, then to be butchered, packaged, and served at a local grocer. Too many animals suffer under these conditions, and I definitely believe it to be unethical.
Posted by dollydo 4 years ago
dollydo
Aussies states,
"First of all, domestic animals are not true wild animals, and cannot have the same rights.
Our society as a whole consumes entirely too much meat, but to go vegan is to effectively tell nature it was incorrect."

I agree with you on these two points referring to this debate. I believe animals should have specific rights, and obviously these rights are going to vary from one animal to the next. The right I am referring to specifically in this debate, is the right for all species to live a life without endued pain and/or suffering created unnecessarily by humans. Because humans can relate to animals, and humans enjoy to live lives without unnecessary pain and/or suffering, it is then unethical to inflict this onto any other specie.

I also agree that the United States consumes too much meat on an average. Resulting in many health problems down the road. Including, obesity, cholesterol, heart-attacks, etc, and numerous other health problems that could possibly be linked to a high meat consumption.

I will have to disagree with your statement, that "to go vegan is to effectively tell nature it was incorrect." Like I stated previously our canines don't prove that we are meat-eaters. Our teeth change because food availability and/or preference change. This gradually happens over time, through evolution. I also believe that because there is strong evidence to support that we have more in common with our fellow herbivores. That including larger amounts of fruits, vegetables, nuts, in our diets and cutting down on our meat consumption will ultimately benefit our bodies, health, and overall well being.

I also believe it is more ethical for a "fisherman" to catch a "wild" fish to feed himself and his family, than a factory-farmed, "caged" animal, that suffered all it's life, then to be butchered, packaged, and served at a local grocer. Too many animals suffer under these conditions, and I definitely believe it to be unethical.
Posted by dollydo 4 years ago
dollydo
Aesius states,
"Eating plants destroys life."

...Yes it does destroy life. My claim is that any UNNECCESSARY killing of life is unethical. Obviously all species need to destroy some forms of life in order to survive. And second, this claim is in regards to sentient beings since all sentient beings can experience pain and/or suffering. A plant has not been proved to be a sentient being, so therefore eating plants to survive can be justified.

Aesius states,
"And I wouldn't call taking protein supplements, something that most vegetarians do, natural." All it takes is one omnivore to prove this point."

...Like I said proteins can be found in many other NATURAL sources. A protein supplement is just another option if you wish to not consume meat. You haven't proved any point.

Aesius states,
"By the way, your "natural" arguments are extremely flawed and devoid of logic. Humans are a product of nature. Our brains, which have created our civilization, and all new technology, are a part of nature. Why are you excluding humans from nature?"

I never claimed that humans or technology were not part of nature. If I can recall, I used the words NATURAL. NOT NATURE. Two different words, two different meanings.

Aesius states,
"Simply because it benefits your Disney mindset of life and death. Again, when you want to get serious about this debate, challenge me. Since I have no challenges in my homepage, I'll take it that you wish to continue to wallow in your ignorance. I'm not wasting time arguing with a fool."

...Maybe you should talk to your cousin about his "Disney mindset of life and death." Since he claims that all life should be considered equal. Oh, that's right...only human life should be given this consideration. What happens when intelligent Alien life forms reach earth and they decide that we don't deserve rights to life. I guess you and your cousin won't be arguing with them. That would be, what would you call it? Hypocritical. LOL!
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