Team Debate: Animal Rights
Debate Rounds (4)
== Intro ==
This is a team debate, with myself and Fkkize [http://www.debate.org...] pitting ourselves against whomever accepts. We're looking forward to a deep, interesting, engaging discourse.
The opposing team consists of Wylted [http://www.debate.org...] and Yonko [http://www.debate.org...]. Per Wylted's request, I am challenging Yonko.
== Team Dynamics ==
Whoever accepts must first have a teammate. They must declare their teammate in round one. Failure to declare an active, DDO teammate in round one gives me the right to have Airmax reset the debate. Teammates should both actively contribute to the debate; team members are free to coordinate for each round or to each take turns posting rounds. If a team member is genuinely inactive, the debate may be called off.
== Resolution ==
Justice requires the recognition of animal rights.
== Definitions ==
The following definitions were influenced by Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Merriam Webster, and Encarta:
Justice - 'giving each their due' and/or 'fairness or reasonableness esp. in the way things are treated or decisions are made'
Require - to demand as essential, where essential means extremely important or fundamental
Animal - 'a non-human, vertebrate mammal'
Right - 'something that one may properly claim as their due' and/or 'a moral or legal entitlement to (not) perform or have others perform certain action(s) and to (not) be in certain states'
== Rules ==
1. No forfeits
2. Any citations or foot/endnotes must be individually provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final round
4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks," arguments that challenge assumptions in the resolution (e.g. moral skepticism, moral nihilism, rights don't exist) or deconstruction semantics
7. My opponent accepts all definitions and waives his/her right to add resolutional definitions
8. For all undefined terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate
9. The BOP is Shared
10. Violation of any of these rules or of any of the R1 set-up merits a loss
== Structure ==
Rd. 1: Acceptance
Rd. 2: Cases and rebuttals
Rd. 3: Rebuttals and defense
Rd. 4: Rebuttals, defense and conclusion
First round acceptance only. No new arguments in the final round.
...to Wylted, Yonko and Fkkize, and to bsh1 for the rules and set-up!
We begin our case with some observations.
(1) The Aristotelian conception of justice -- and the Aristotelian conception of justice -- define it as "giving each their due." Such a conception means that *all* applicable, existent rights must be recognized by justice. Therefore, if we can prove that animal rights exist, we simultaneously prove that justice requires their recognition, and fulfill our burden of proof.
(2) It is not our burden to show that animals are due all rights acquired by humans, or even most or some rights given to humans. All we need to show is that "animal rights," i.e. one or more rights applicable to one or more animals, exist. This means we have shown that "justice requires the recognition of animal rights." Therefore, if we can demonstrate that one or more non-human, vertebrate mammals have one or more dues, then we affirm.
== Framework ==
We value justice. The resolution holds that justice requires the recognition of animal rights, therefore the only value to be recognized is justice. Prefer this value as it is the most topical and relevant value. The Aristotelian conception of justice, which is also provided under the definitions, is "giving each their due." The framework we shall affirm in this debate is simple -- justice requires giving each their due, thus recognition of rights is critical to morality and justice. This means that, if there is sufficient reason to recognize the rights of anyone, then it would be unjust to deny them rights.
== Our case ==
Rights exist to reduce needless suffering. Suffering is inherently undesirable. Reducing suffering is a necessary criterion to recognize dues. Under a just framework, suffering must be prevented. Why? Suffering -- and other negative mental states -- is undesirable to the person undergoing suffering, thus must be prevented. The basis for morality is recognizing what is desirable and what is undesirable. Any obligation is to perform a morally *desirable* action, or to prevent an undesirable action. In fact, the existence of almost *every right* is to shield against needless suffering. Take, for example, the right to property -- the reason it exists is to shield against suffering without any property. Any basic right merely upholds a right against suffering. Justice, by definition, is "fairness or reasonableness . . . giving each their due." Needless suffering isn't fair, isn't reasonable, and *does not recognize any dues,* therefore is unjust.
What are we proposing? A moral right against *needless* suffering to animals. The right shields against any suffering with no purpose whatsoever. It is a proven fact that animals -- at least *some of them* -- can needlessly suffer. Take, for instance, elephants. "Studies show that structures in the elephant brain are strikingly similar to those in humans. MRI scans of an elephant's brain suggest a large hippocampus, the component in the mammalian brain linked to memory and an important part of its limbic system, which is involved in processing emotions. The elephant brain has also been shown to possess an abundance of the specialized neurons known as spindle cells, which are thought to be associated with self-awareness, empathy, and social awareness in humans. Elephants have even passed the mirror test of self-recognition, something only humans, and some great apes and dolphins, had been known to do."  Research suggests that "all vertebrates . . . have some capacity for primal affective feelings." 
Conclusion: We know that animals can suffer, and there is a generic right against needless suffering recognized by justice; therefore, justice requires the recognition of the right shielding against needless suffering as extended towards animals.
Almost all legal structures recognize the legal rights of animals. Take, for instance, the right to inheritance. When people bequeath a certain amount of their money -- after their death -- to the care of a pet animal, the animal's *right* is to gain that money for the animal's care. In this manner, it is the animal that has the right to care and to the money. While a human is given the money, the human merely acts as a "regent," and the money is for the animal only. The animal's inheritance, therefore, is a legal right. "Children and idiots start legal proceedings, not on their own direct initiative, but rather through the actions of proxies or attorneys who are empowered to speak in their names. If there is no conceptual absurdity in this situation, why should there be in the case where a proxy makes a claim on behalf of an animal? People commonly enough make wills leaving money to trustees for the care of animals. Is it not natural to speak of the animal's right to his inheritance in cases of this kind? If a trustee embezzles money from the animal's account, and a proxy speaking in the dumb brute's behalf presses the animal's claim, can he not be described as asserting the animal's rights? More exactly, the animal itself claims its rights through the vicarious actions of a human proxy speaking in its name and in its behalf."  Justice requires recognition of any legal dues as well. The law acts as due. It is unjust to not recognize existent rights to animals which are due to them, since justice "recognizes dues," by definition, therefore recognizes legal rights.
There are no morally relevant differences between humans and animals. Animals and humans both feel emotions, suffer, feel pain, and have quite similar sensory systems. The severely mentally-enfeebled and animals lack any morally relevant differences; if the former are accorded rights, therefore, the latter must be accorded rights too, for true justice to prevail.
On what basis could we deny the moral status of animals? We would have to identify some property humans do and non-human animals do not posses. Of course, several properties possessed only by humans come to mind. Rationality, language, the ability to debate over the internet and so on. However, for any such property, there are quite a few humans not in possession of that property. For example, a severely mentally disabled child will never be in possession of any of those properties. Therefore, if we wanted to say "it is permissible to kill animals, because they are not rational," then we could not object to the claim that "it is permissible to kill severely mentally disabled children, because they are not rational." This is unacceptable, since they are already accorded rights, and -- per our observations -- if rights exist for animals, then justice requires the recognition of animal rights. Likewise, by denying the consequent of this implication, it is not permissible to kill animals, just because they are not rational. Alternatively, to avoid such a conclusion, we might appeal to properties all humans possess. Which are not many. Infants are conscious, the elderly are conscious, the severely mentally enfeebled are sentient and even comatose patients possess at least the ability to regain consciousness. So we can say consciousness is, in some form or another, a property (almost) all humans have. However, for virtually any property possessed by all humans, there are also many animals that also possess this property.
Conclusion: If we want to say that "it is impermissible to kill severely mentally disabled children, because they are conscious beings," then we cannot object to the claim that "it is impermissible to kill animals, because they are conscious beings."
The resolution is affirmed.
Yonko forfeited this round.
Yonko forfeited this round.
Yonko forfeited this round.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by ColeTrain 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Rule violation... forfeiture.
Vote Placed by tajshar2k 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
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