This house believe that animals have rights
Debate Rounds (4)
The first round is for acceptance. You just have to say "I accept". Please do not start your arguments until the second round. If you have any questions about the debate, say in the first round. I will answer through either the second round or the comments.
The second round will only be for arguments. No rebuttals will be allowed until the third round.
The third round is for rebuttals, and for extra explanations for your current arguments. No new arguments are allowed
The forth round is for the conclusion. Rebuttals and extra explanations for current arguments are allowed. No new arguments are allowed.
1. No forfeits with no excuses. You should make sure that you have enough time to ensure a fun debate.
2. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
3. No trolling
4. No K's of the topic
5. Violation of any of these rules or of any of the round set-ups merits a loss and the instigator has the power and authority to coerce the challenger to accepting so.
By accepting the challenge, you have agreed to all of these terms and set-ups
I look forward to an interesting debate!
The issue over animal rights has been long contested through the history of mankind, ever since we have first domesticated animals. However, it is clear that animals should indeed not be subject to the same or even separate rights that humans possess. This is why I negate the resolution: This House believes that animals have rights. Before we move on, please allow the negative side provide some definitions to ease the debate:
Animals: A being that performs functions in order to stay alive
Rights: Laws that protect the moral interest of the said animals
Using these definitions, the negative proposes the following arguments:
1) Humans do not have any obligations towards animals
A) Animals have no rationality nor interests
It is clear that animals have no form of rationality from their day to day business. According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, rationality means "based on or in accordance with reason or logic". Animals have shown no capabilities for doing so, due to the fact that animals only follow their instinct, and cannot follow logic. The main reason why animals have such a different capability for solving problems is due to the structure of their brain. Humans have undergone an evolution of the brain; for example, our neocortex, which deals with with sight and hearing, started to develop during Australopithecine times, and our most modern evolutionary element, Broca's Area, which deals with language, has continually developed up to this day. Animals do not have such developed forebrains, and due to this fact, they cannot think rationally. Having less developed 'left parts" of the brain (which controls rational thinking and linear/verbal aspects), they cannot be considered to have any form of morality. How can beings who cannot think morally nor rationally ever get rights? Philosopher R.G. Frey argued that animals do not have interests because they do not have language. Especially due to the fact they do not have a developed Broca's Area, they cannot have any interests, other than the survival instinct. Due to this fact, we cannot give rights to protect beings who don't have an area to protect in the first place.
B) Animals are not agents of morality
It makes no clear sense to give animals rights because they cannot make decisions concerning morality in the first place. Due to this lack of morality, they cannot treat us in an ethical manner in return. If they can, at least, develop to become more rational, then we can consider giving them some rights, but due to the lack of this ability, it is impossible to consider this in the first place. A right is like an agreement between the government and the beings concerned. If a person agrees to follow the government's laws and interests, then they get that right. Animals are not capable of doing so, and since they break that social contract, it is impossible to consider them getting rights in the first place. Of course, we could act "like angels", and give up our money and resources in order to give them rights. However, this is a waste of the aforementioned resources, as we get no benefits in return. We have to expect something to be given in return, but as there is no hope for this, the case for animal rights falls apart.
2) Humans have the right to dominate other creatures
A) Humans are at the top of the animal hierarchy
Humans, have technically, become the alpha predator of the food chain. We can exercise a number of animals under our control, and we even develop farms to provide a food source using other animals. Due to this, it is our natural obligation to exercise the power we have earned, due to the fact that nature has put us on top of the food chain. At first, this seems morally wrong. However, we have to kill animals for numerous reasons that protect our own species. We need meat to have a balanced diet, we need to test medicines to ensure that pathogens cannot harm us, and there are numerous more reasons for which we need them to further our own race. Thus, having no animal rights is actually morally correct, due to the fact that we are protecting our future generations. When deciding between a sick child and a morally-confused animal, most people would help the sick child. Thus, we have to make sure that our own species is safe from any harm before considering other animals beneath us.
B) Animals should not be a major concern
We have numerous other threats heading our way, and we cannot let a matter of animal rights get in our way. Countries are at edge with each other, and we have to diffuse these threats before they erupt into a bigger conflict. Animal rights cannot come in the way as they are not currently a big an issue. Our world is not ready to take on trivial issues, and we have to ensure the safety of our species before considering the rights of others.
These arguments are arguing in favor for the human race. Animals, who have no moral compass, should not be guaranteed rights, such as humans are. Thus, using these two arguments (Humans have no obligations towards animals and Humans have the right to dominate other creatures) that the negative side takes the debate home.
I just finished contradicting your whole argument before I realized which round it is so I've been forced to save that in a word document and start again. So now I will make some arguments to why animals should have rights.
"Animal rights teach us that certain things are wrong as a matter of principle, that there are some things that it is morally wrong to do to animals. Human beings must not do those things, no matter what the cost to humanity of not doing them. Human beings must not do those things, even if they do them in a humane way."
The message of this quote is telling us that animal rights is important because it teaches us a lesson of how to behave morally and it allows people to clearly establish the difference between rights and wrong (ethics). The basic principle of equality does not require equal or identical treatment; it requires equal consideration. This is an important distinction when talking about animal rights. People often ask if animals should have rights, and quite simply, the answer is "Yes!" Animals surely deserve to live their lives free from suffering.
The question is not - Can they reason?"It is not - Can they talk? The real questions is: "Can they suffer?"
The capacity for suffering is not just another characteristic like the capacity for language or mathematics. All animals have the ability to suffer in the same way and to the same degree that humans do. They feel pain, pleasure, fear, frustration, loneliness, and motherly love. Whenever we consider doing something that would interfere with their needs, we are morally obligated to take them into account.
Animals have an inherent worth"a value completely separate from their usefulness to humans. We believe that every creature with a will to live has a right to live free from pain and suffering. Animal rights is not just a philosophy"it is a social movement that challenges society"s traditional view that all nonhuman animals exist solely for human use.
Only prejudice allows us to deny others the rights that we expect to have for ourselves. Whether it"s based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or species, prejudice is morally unacceptable. If you wouldn"t eat a dog, why eat a pig? Dogs and pigs have the same capacity to feel pain, but it is prejudice based on species that allows us to think of one animal as a companion or a pet and the other as dinner.
Animal and human rights come down to one fundamental right and that is
"Animals with rights must be treated as ends in themselves; they should not be treated by others as means to achieve their ends."
I will end this round with a few quotes regarding animal rights:
"If you want to test cosmetics, why do it on some poor animal who hasn't done anything? They should use prisoners who have been convicted of murder or rape instead. So, rather than seeing if perfume irritates a bunny rabbit's eyes, they should throw it in a murderer's eyes and ask him if it hurts."
"The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality."
"He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals."
"I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being."
These quotes aren't by random people - these are by philosophers, scientists and politics. Including Abraham Lincoln!
When considering the motion today, it is clear that the opposition has won this debate. To further put forth this belief, I will now be refuting some of the claims that the proposition has put forth.
First of all, he has refuted my definition of animal. This is technically a violation of the terms set by the instigator, which said "the second round will only be for arguments. No rebuttals will be allowed until the third round". The definition is a mistranslation. Apparently, my computer "bugged up" and some of my progress was lost. I had to rewrite the forward part of my arguments, and I believe I missed the mistakes in the definitions. The original definition was one from a different debate. The definition was supposed to be "a living organism that feeds on organic matter, able to respond to stimuli, other than humans". Thus, I believe that the proposition will have no room to refute this definition. Furthermore, since he has not produced any counter definitions, it means that he should accept mine.
The most obvious problem facing in his claims is his use of quotes. He has merely listed some quotes that supposedly "aren't by random people - these are by philosophers, scientists and politics. Including Abraham Lincoln". However, he has not produced any names, and unless he expects the voters and opposition to go to one of his sources and track each quote individually, we have to assume that these quotes have no place within this debate.
His question of whether "can animals suffer" is unproven. He has put forth no definition for suffering and because of this, we have no boundaries for which his claims lie. I can, for example, say "if animals don't get the exact food they want, they suffer for this". According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, suffer means "experience or be subjected to (something bad or unpleasant)". Thus, technically a bad memory could be a form of suffering.
Furthermore, his entire claim that all animals have the ability to suffer in the same way and to the same degree that humans do, claiming that "they feel plan, pleasure, fear, frustration, loneliness, and motherly love". This is in fact not any emotions, but rather the survival instinct. These animals want to protect their own genes in order to carry on their own species. This is the fundamental aim for an animal. Thus, the traits that look like love and morality are simply chemical outputs that tell the animal that they must protect their own species. Furthermore, animals do not have a developed limbic system, which controls emotions in humans. Paul Kluver and Heinrich Bucy, researchers trying to find if animals had emotions, performed temporal lobectomies on monkeys. His conclusion was that their limbic system controlled fight or flight responses, which is largely involuntary. Thus, we can conclude that animals only feel a very basic form of emotions.
The opposition, nor have most advocates against animal rights ever claimed that "all nonhuman animals exist solely for human use". Unless the proposition can find direct evidence that the majority of people against human rights believe in this statement, then we have to assume his entire paragraph useless.
Furthermore, the proposition claims that it's only our prejudice that allows us to deny others the rights that we expect to have ourselves. Firstly, his arguments for dogs versus pigs is unfounded due to the fact that some culture do eat dogs. Most Asian countries in fact eat both kinds. Furthermore, he has said that two different species have the same capacity to feel pain. This is incorrect, as I have already proved to you that these so-called emotions are in fact a form of the survival instinct.
Lastly, his quote regarding "Animals with rights must be treated as ends in themselves; they should not be treated by others as means to achieve their ends" puts too much pressure on the human race. For one point, it is scientifically proven that we must have meat in order to survive healthily. We cannot be forced to become vegetarians just for the sake of other species who cannot think rationally nor morally. His quote means that we have to let all animals live freely, which is something that the human race cannot do.
Now, I shall move on to further explain my own arguments, though I cannot do it a lot due to the fact I have hit my character limit.
1) Humans have no obligation towards animals
Using my definition of animals as "a living organism that feeds on organic matter, able to respond rapidly to stimuli, other than humans" (Source: New Oxford American Dictionary). This means that, technically, a plant or mouse can be an animal. Does this mean that these two species have rights? The answer is undoubtedly no. It's impossible to consider rights such as "right to life" to these types of species. We cannot give these rights to these animals, due to the fact that they cannot think any rational thoughts nor do any rational actions. Instead, they merely act out of the survival instinct.
2) Humans have the right to dominate over other animals
We have this right because it is given to us by nature. Just because a lion dominates an antelope doesn't mean it treats it with rationality. This given right means that we are able to use it, and it is nature given. Of course, we should not abuse this right, yet we have this right in order to get a consistent food supply and in order to ensure our species's health and safety.
The negative's rebuttals against the proposition's claims breaks down them completely. Furthermore, he has technically broken the terms to which he agreed to, which stated he was not allowed to rebut in the second round, yet he has done so. Lastly, the negative's arguments make the most rational sense, using evidence gathered from scientific and philosophical sources. Considering these facts, it is obvious that the opposition has won this debate.
I will now contradict your arguments from round 2.
Regarding you first argument that "Humans do not have any obligations towards animals." Firstly we do have obligations towards animals - ethical obligations but I will not elaborate on this since it is going off topic. You claim that animals have no rationality or interests. Animals can understand cause and effect. A pet dog or cat may come onto your lap. Why do they do this? They do it because they are seeking comfort and warmth.We have a base desire to look, nurture and respect - although there is a minority who do not follow this basic human desire.
I will like to thank con for his long (and unnecessary) explanation on the animal brain. You have said that if they cannot think morally or rationally then they cannot receive rights. Babies and people with profound disabilities cannot always think rationally or morally! Does this mean that babies shouldn't receive rights? Does this means that people with disabilities shouldn't receive their rights? If you do believe this then feel free to challenging me to this debate separately because I will gladly debate this topic with you.
Again, regarding your short paragraph on morality, just because somebody cannot treat you in an ethical manner it doesn't mean that they should lose all of their rights. This also comes under a large percentage of the people. Criminals, babies, people with disabilities, the elderly ..... the list goes on. You have said that it is a waste of time to give money to animals because we receive no benefit in return. I am going to have to go back to the point about disabled people and babies. Are you saying that it is a waste of money helping disabled people - and that includes babies, children, adults and the elderly.
Now I will contradict your second section. It is true that we kill animals for meat and that is because we need food to survive and we need more specifically meat to have a balanced diet of protein. That does not mean that animals do not have rights. Some people eat meat and some animals eat meat. That is another similarity between us. If you claim that nature put us at the top of the food chain so we should kill animals then that makes us no different from them. That would make us the same as all other animals. I understand that we should help our own species before animals but they still deserve rights. Con has failed to provide an argument to back up his statement claiming that we would choose a sick child over an animal. As I have already said - it is obvious that we would choose the sick child but you haven't said why this means that animals shouldn't have rights.
Regarding your argument stating that "Animals should not be a major concern." I don't see how animals rights is interfering with these larger issues. I doubt that animal rights campaigners would have helped with these larger issues. Even if they would have helped. As my argument has explain - animals deserve rights.
If humans have the right to dominate other creatures then that makes us like the animals - does this mean that we don't deserve rights either?
Before I move on, I must answer some of the proposition's rebuttals to my arguments:
Firstly, the proposition claimed that his refute of the opposition's definition is not a rebuttal. According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, a rebuttal is "a refutation or contradiction". Thus, since he has made a contradiction, this means that the instigator (opposition) has the power and authority to coerce the challenger (proposition) to accepting so. The proposition must agree that he/she has lost this debate due to the fact that he/she has violated the terms to which it has agreed to. However, the opposition will carry on to further explain why the proposition has lost.
Secondly, the proposition has claimed that since I have used Wikipedia, some of my arguments may be incorrect. The reason that I have used Wikipedia was to find the experiment done by the researchers I have listed in the previous round. The source that it's supposed to be is a research paper that I could not find on the web. Thus, I had to list Wikipedia as a source in order to back up my arguments. Thus, let it be made clear that all of my arguments are backed up, just with Wikipedia as a medium between one of my arguments and the actual source.
Third, the proposition has also claimed that animals can understand cause and effect, an example being that a dog or cat may come onto your lap. The reason, he claims, is that they are seeking comfort and warmth. This means that this point goes into the opposition's favor due to the fact that this shows the survival instinct to stay warm. Furthermore, common household pets display "acts of kindness" not out of morality, but rather out of the fact that they have accepted you as the pack leader. Dogs are naturally supposed to be in packs, thus we have become their alpha. Thus, his rebuttal falls apart, and instead goes into the opposition's favor. Furthermore, he says that "We have a base desire to look, nurture and respect". The opposition agrees with this, and this also goes into the negative's favor due to the fact that this base desire is meant to protect our own kin. Of course, just because animals don't have rights does not mean that we cannot nurture them. What the opposition is advocating for is that these animals should not get rights that would eventually become useless, as outlined in the opposition's arguments.
Forth, the proposition has said that my explanation on the animal brain was unnecessary. On the contrary, the proposition is denying the scientific evidence that I have put forth, merely pushing it aside by saying it's useless. The point that I was trying to prove is self-evident; animals do not have the ability to think morally nor rationally, as proved by science.
Fifth, the proposition claims that if the opposition believes that beings cannot think morally or rationally, then shouldn't babies nor people with profound disabilities not get rights. Firstly, babies do not have any rights, thus his point falls apart. Secondly, the proposition has not outlined what it means to have a disability. Maybe, it involves movement, in which the people still have rights for they can think rationally and morally. Assuming that the proposition means a mental incapacity to think rationally, then this is an entirely different matter. We are debating about animal rights, not disability rights. As the opposition has given the definition "a living organism that feeds on organic matter and is able to respond to stimuli, other than humans" and that the proposition has not challenged this definition, we must stay within the parameters of the debate. His paragraph regarding my paragraph on morality also falls outside of the debate, talking about other human rights, rather than the animal rights with which we are debating today.
Sixth, the proposition has claimed that we are no different from animals due to the fact that "nature put us at the top of the good chains so we would kill animals". First, again the proposition has failed to go under the parameters of the debate. Since he has not rebutted against my definition, it is clear that we are separate from animals. Secondly, the proposition has once again failed to give rights that we should give to animals. For example, should we give animals the right to life, which means that this would force us to become vegetarians? Furthermore, killing animals because we are on the top of the food chain does not make us animals. Nature has given us this right, and other animals also use this right. This is simply a similarity, but nothing more than a similarity between humans and animals.
Finally, the proposition has claimed that animals would not be a major concern that would interfere with larger issues. Firstly, the proposition has failed to explain why it would not interfere. For example, let's look at the United States' Congress. Should it be focusing on the increasing threat of ISIS or discussing about whether we should give chickens the right to life? Naturally, the answer should be the former. Government should not be focusing their efforts to give animals rights, but rather focus to eliminate more pressing threats.
Now, I shall explain why the opposition deserves to win today's debate:
First, the proposition has failed to rebut against the opposition rebuttals against his/her arguments. This means that either the proposition agrees with my proposals, which means that the opposition has won this debate automatically, or that he is waiting to post these rebuttals in the final round, where the opposition would not be able to explain further, thus removing the possibility of any threat to his/her arguments.
Secondly, I have the factual high ground due to the fact that I have made the most rational arguments, backed up by scientific research and philosophical opinions whereas the proposition has used less reliable sources than the proposition has done.
Third, the opposition has responded to each rebuttal made by the proposition which means that it's claims have fallen apart.
Due to the fact that the opposition has completely broken through the proposition's arguments, the opposition has clearly won today's debate.
I didn't claim that you used Wikipedia - I stated that you used it. A claim is not the same as a fact. Okay that's a fair point but if you use Wikipedia in future it saves time if you explain your reasons behind it.
You third contradiction states that the reason that some animals (pets) come onto your lap is because they view you as their pack leader or their alpha. However this is incorrect. When I was young I had a pet cat and he went onto my lap, my brother's lap, my father's lap and my mother's lap. Are you suggesting that my cat saw the whole family as alpha males. That would be highly unlikely since most animals only have one alpha males - that includes cats. Is there another explanation? As I said before they seek comfort and warmth. My opponent has also said that dogs are supposed to hunt in packs with an alpha - he did not say alphas. Therefore this backs up my claims.
I understand why you gave me the explanation of the brain but as I have said previously - there are people that have mental disabilities which don't allow them to think morally or rationally. Babies have the strongest rights out there. If you want to have a huge debate with UNICEF, UN, EU etc about the rights of babies then go ahead. Why wouldn't babies have rights? You haven't commented on it so I don't have a lot of information on what exactly you mean by this but I know for a fact
Article 2: Children must be protected from discrimination.
Article 3: The best interests of the child
(taking into account the rights and duties of parents).
Article 6: The right to life.
I will not go into too much detail because that is going off topic. I would also accept a debate with you on this topic separately.
Lets continue ... I understand that we are debating about animal rights but your arguments basically state that anyone or thing without the capacity to think rationally or morally doesn't deserve rights. Unless you can provide me with a reason to why animals should be treated differently to both babies and mentally disabled people then I don't see how your argument even makes sense. I spoke about human rights in the previous round because I was using it as a comparison. My opponent has (again) avoided trying to contradict one of my points.
If we are at the top of the food chain does that mean we should act with no morality. If we give animals no rights then we are acting like animals and therefore should be considered as animals. This would mean that we don't deserve rights.
Regarding my opponents final paragraph, if you didn't already know there are a huge number of issues being discussed and dealt with. People don't just do one thing at a time. In the United States Congress many issues are being discussed in huge numbers. What makes you think that one issue will prevent them from dealing with the threat of ISIS and any other major issues?
Now, I shall explain why the opposition does not deserve to win. The opposition has missed out and avoided certain arguments put forward by the proposition (as stated earlier). The opposition has also claimed that babies do not have rights which is false - this means that either the proposition does not know much about human rights or the proposition's sources are unreliable. The opposition has also said that animals don't deserve rights because they cannot think morally or rationally. The opposition has failed to provide a valid reason to why their argument does not refer to people with mental disabilities - all they have said is that this is a debate about animals not humans (according to their definition which has not been changed, a human counts as an animal).
The opposition claims that they have used rational arguments backed up with research and philosophical opinions. Firstly, the opposition has not provided a more rational argument. The basic message provided by the opposition is that humans are better than animals because they have better thinking capabilities. I have looked through the oppositions argument and I cannot see very many philosophical opinions or even arguments.
I have already explained why the definition correction is not a contradiction - I didn't even change the definition I merely pointed out that there was a mistake with it and that it should be corrected in the next round ( which it wasn't)!
All responses were either weak or off topic. Some arguments were even missed out so I don't see the any truth in the third claim made by my opponent.
The opposition has made off topic and some false arguments that were actually quite shocking. If you want to vote for someone who claims that babies don't have rights and that anyone who cannot think rationally or morally don't deserve rights then you can do that. If you vote for the proposition then you are voting for somebody who believes that babies deserve and already do receive rights and that disability doesn't matter to whether you receive rights or not.
Weak sources have been used by my opponent. Weak arguments have been used by my opponent. No sources were posted in the final round.
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