The Instigator
Pro (for)
15 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

The practice of humans purchasing and then eating meat is unethical

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/9/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,269 times Debate No: 41991
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (22)
Votes (3)




Greetings! I hope to engage in a debate about whether buying meat and then eating that meat is unethical. I wish this debate to include primarily arguments surrounding veganism/vegetarianism, so I have given definitions in order that we might focus on "generic" meat-eating cases.

This debate is only open to persons who have completed at least three debates.

1. Pro must defend that the general practice of purchasing and then eating meat (but not necessarily every example) is unethical.
2. "Eating meat" will mean the common and continued practice of eating nonhuman flesh by adult humans who are reasonably economically self-sufficient.
3. The round will be specifically be aimed at the purchasing and then eating of (the same) meat in America from grocery stores (and not, for example, road kill).

To clarify, the ethics I am talking about does not refer to some "inherent" morality, but a morality in the context of the contemporary American community.

First round is acceptance, and a chance to contend or ask about any of the conditions of the debate, if you choose to do so.

I'm looking forward to a great debate!


As one reader of rage face comics might say: challenge accepted.

Okay, that's it for any jokes. I'll try to keep this light-hearted, but this is a serious debate.

I think the premise of the topic is pretty clear. I shall be happy to debate you on this topic. I feel this shall be fun. I'll let you post your arguments now. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1


If my opponent will indulge me, I'd like to tell a personal experience that I think help us rethink what it means to be "human."

As a resident of the United States of America, I have read about and even seen firsthand the effects of dehumanization within my homeland. I am white, and live with a mostly-white family, but I also have a black sibling. Once my family visited a restaurant we've been to previously without my sibling.
Because my sibling was black, we were kicked out of the restaurant.
The members of the restaurant had no patience for a racially-mixed family. It was an allusion to a time not long ago to when persons of color were considered mentally and spiritually inferior to white persons. There was a widespread belief among persons who had power that "Negroes" were not fully human--they were spiritually-depraved persons who could not be trusted with their own autonomy. They were often associated with apes, were given a culture of mistrust, and given only partial voting rights. Even earlier, black persons were so dehumanized that they became the economic property of white persons. They were forced into extraordinarily small crates and shipped to America where they would be raped and tortured and made to live at the pleasure of the white master.
The culture believed that the person of color was so inhuman that her only value came from her master, and not from herself. The only difference between the white "human" and the black "animal" is one's body: because one had light skin and the other had dark skin, American politicians were allowed to believe that a black person's value based based on white authority.
Recently America celebrated Thanksgiving, so I think it appropriate to briefly remind the judge of the travesty that transpired in America that inspired the hypocritical holiday. What Americans celebrate during Thanksgiving is the "settling" (or rather invading) of Europeans into land that was already occupied. The vast and powerful tribes of America were killed, raped, and relocated until they became a fraction of their original stature. What justified the violation and destruction of the American tribal nations? Europeans called them "savages." They were not humans, but instead shadows of humans--some pre-human race capable of only basic and barbarous social interactions. For this reason they did not truly "occupy" space, or have the right to "human" dignities. For this reason they were massacred and moved across the nation: The Trail of Tears occurred because they were in the way.

Moral of story:
We often use the word "dehumanization" to refer to the solidifying of "out-groups," the compete lack of empathy and self-identification toward the same, and the absurd hierarchies that occur through this framework. In almost all cases, we use the word "dehumanization" to refer to some horrendous series of policies. Please notice, however, that these policies are for the most part uncontested within the culture that supports them. Jews were "justifiably" exterminated in Nazi Germany until many years after WWII. Native Americans were "justifiably" slaughtered until they were almost extinct. Racism wasn't a bad thing until around 50 years ago. LGBTIQQA persons are only just gaining mainstream acceptance. It is often very hard to halt systematic injustice in the midst of systematic injustice. For this reason one must oppose them at every opportunity.

The problem with "dehumanization" however is the fact that it relies on the presence of a human for its validity. In the cultural status quo, one needs to be of a particular biological species to be considered worthwhile. This requirement for value is ridiculous to the same degree as having a particular skin color, a particular culture, a particular gender, or a particular sexual orientation. A human who lives closely with a dog, cat, or horse should intuitively recognize that these creatures do have value independent of their human price tag. And yet, this belief in the value of non-human life is not extended to the "farm animals," who undergo extreme cruelties solely for the pleasure of the human who is subsequently placed at the peak of the hierarchy of value.

Concerning meat-eating in America:
Ninety-nine percent of meat comes from factory farms, so if we are talking about meat-eating in general, it seems only natural that we focus on factory farming. In addition to that, 99% of all slaughtered animals are raised and slaughtered in the United States, so it would seem that factory farms in the United States are most relevant to our discussion.

In America, chickens are not given even the legal status of "animal." This means that literally any cruel action may be taken against the chicken, and it would be legal. They have been bred to be too fat to walk, and live their entire existence in extreme pain. Turkeys are also bred to be too fat to walk or even breed. That's right: humans have made turkey's so fat that they cannot even have sex. The solution? Humans spread the turkey's legs and gives them artificial insemination. This problem of turkey breeding is across factory -style farms and non-factory-style farms. Both chickens and turkey's are crushed to death under their own weight. Chickens, turkeys, and sows are born and die in an unnatural cycle of pregnancy, birth, and slaughter where they never get to see the outside world. Here's a really sick fact: because there is no federal protection for chickens, "almost all chickens are conscious when their throats are cut, and many are literally scalded to death in feather-removal tanks after missing the throat-cutter."

Pigs literally live in their own waste for virtually their entire lives. They are so bored by being in captivity for so long that they exhibit neurotic, self harming behavior. I don't think I need to mention the extraordinary cruelties of veal. Cows are slaughtered when they are very young. When a male cow is born, rather than be given to a live of imprisonment as a dairy cow, he is slaughtered to produce veal, which is prized for its tenderness. The diary cows have strong attachments to their children, and yet their children are stolen away hours after they are born. We drink their stolen milk.
As an aside, the unnaturally large number of animals produced and slaughtered in factory farms are a significant contributor to global warming and soil erosion.
All of these practices represent horrid cruelties and tortures toward creatures who have committed no crime. There is no justice here. By eating meat, one not only symbolically places humankind above the other creatures that she/he determines (in prejudice) is morally and intellectually inferior, but also engages in and funds a system of torture that would be horrible for any creature, regardless of its label or epidemiological status. And yet, we continue to ignore these problems. Approximately 9 billion animals are slaughtered in factory farms in America alone. One's enjoyment of animal flesh comes at the cost of agony, and yet many say that it is morally acceptable because humans are omnivores, not recognizing the cultural parallel in which "boys will be boys" is a culturally-acceptable justification for rape. The treatment of animals in factory farms is much like what the treatment of slaves would be in contemporary times, if we could eat slaves.
Animals are alive, and have their own value independent of the economic value we assign them. Factory farms also cause environmental problems, and even health problems.

Link to vegetarianism veganism:
1. By purchasing and eating meat one is engaging in a kind of slave trade, in which one purchases the life-long imprisonment of those whose only crime is to have a "different" exterior.
2. By purchasing and eating meat one is commodifing the life of a living creature.
3. By purchasing and eating meat, one is funding the factory farms
4. By purchasing and eating meat, one is showing others that you support the practice of eating meat
5. By purchasing and eating meat, one is supporting a culture of eating meat.
6. By purchasing and eating meat, one is paying for the assassinations and torture of hundreds of persons.
7. By purchasing and eating meat, one is drawing attention away from the 9 billion animals killed in factory farms each year.
8. By purchasing and eating meat, one is treating animals as being valuable only for the pleasure it brings to humans
9. By purchasing and eating meat, one is funding the maltreatment of the earth and causing global warming.
10. By purchasing and eating meat, one is funding the processes that bring about E. Coli and Salmanila. That's right, factory farms are the reasons for this outbreak. Poop flows from factory farms into other food products. Factory farms are the #1 source of food-related safety problems in America.
11. By not eating meat you solve for the above problems. One vegetarians can save hundreds of animals. You also bring light to this issue, and show that you truly care about life.
America is engaging in slavery and genocide and rape for billions of creatures every year. This must end now.
By defending this position, I am taking steps to bring this change about. Voters, you have the opportunity to support this change too: I encourage voters to help change this system by supporting my arguments.


TheOncomingStorm forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent has graciously informed me in the "comments" section that (s)he is forfeiting the round, since adding arguments in the last round would be unfair. I applaud Con's considerateness in letting me know this in advance and her/his dedication to the ethics of debate. Thanks!

With that being said, the debate must go to Pro, according to both of our admissions.

Can't wait to debate you again in better circumstances, TheOnComingStorm!


My opponent is correct. If you find this debate worth voting on, you ought to vote pro as I have conceded the debate. It will most likely be brought up another time, and I will do my best to calculate my time correctly.

I'll see you sometime else, kbub. Until then, I say farewell.
Debate Round No. 3
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheOncomingStorm 3 years ago
Thank you!
Posted by kbub 3 years ago
Good idea. Good luck on finals!
Posted by TheOncomingStorm 3 years ago
Thank you for understanding, and yes to me it's a doctor who reference, but I actually got the name bestowed upon me in my YouTube debates I did a while back, then bestowed upon me again for constantly standing up for my friends. I figured it would be suitable for this site :P

How about I PM you after I'm done with this school semester? It's finals week, and I think it might be good of me to focus on finals.
Posted by kbub 3 years ago
Aw, don't be so hard on yourself TheOncomingStorm. It's no big deal. We've all been there!

I definitely meant to say this earlier, but your name is awesome. Doctor Who reference, right?

If you like, and this is entirely up to you there's no pressure, I could set up this debate again, and we could quickly re-post our cases up to before the forfeit..
Posted by TheOncomingStorm 3 years ago
Words can't describe how sorry I am. I've committed the ultimate DDO sin. I expected to have this time to finish up my case, but I expected wrong :/ now it would be unfair for me to continue since the only thing I can post next you wouldn't be able to argue against. I'm sorry about the forfeit.
Posted by kbub 3 years ago
@bitterherbs I believe you when you say you don't care. What I'd ask is that you take a long look at your not caring about the torture and massacre and slavery of those who simply don't look like you. Factory farms may be among the worst crimes our species has ever committed.
Also, I imagine that white slave owners may have spoken similar words. But I think white slave owners might have at least pretended to be more empathetic.
Posted by bitterherbs 3 years ago
When animals have a civil rights movement, then we should consider not eating them. Until then, who cares what they think/feel I don't.
Posted by kbub 3 years ago
When I say "kind of," I made a mistake. It is a slave trade. But then we eat the slaves. When they are kids.
Posted by zrg4848 3 years ago
@kbub, @ADreamOfLiberty
Descartes is so interesting. He claimed that animals don't suffer or feel pain and if you kick a cat it will only react with pain because it is genetically programmed to do so. Animals are supposedly an organic machine. he's also the man that claimed "I think, therefore, I am". However, his claims on animal ethics are widely ignored. I only quote him as a joke in this subject.
Posted by ADreamOfLiberty 3 years ago
"As for Descartes, based on this quote I cannot help but wonder if he'd met any animals."

Took the words right out of my mouth.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by debatinghoe123 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro clearly won.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Interesting. I pulled up 5 different debates that I thought had interesting resolutions, and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them had forfeits.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro wins due to Cons concession. Pro also used sources, and as such gets source points. Conduct points are tied as Con conceded the debate. Grammar points are also tied.