This house will ban animal testing
Hello today we have 3 rounds.
1. Acceptance/ Introduction
Medical research is the hardest case for proposition in this debate to prove, since it has previously yielded substantial benefits for humanity , while contemporary animal research continues to contribute demonstrably to the speed and efficiency with which new scientific break throughs are achieved. Focussing the proposition case on toxicology, or cosmetics alone would divert the debate into an area of law and ethics that is settled in most respects: many states around the world have instituted bans using animals to test cosmetics and the toxicity of domestic cleaning products. Thus the best proposition strategy is to focus on the hard case of medical research.
Animal research has been used for several centuries as part of efforts to better understand the world around us. Almost all states actively research on animals at present. The total scale of all research on vertebrates is hard to measure, but according to some estimates it could be as high as 115,000,000 animals per year, with the vast majority of these being euthanized at the end of the period of experimentation.
The pharmaceutical industry spends a significant amount of time conducting research on animals. Due to the relative paucity of drugs that make it on to the market place after the initial testing phases, the global cost of each successful new drug in terms of animal lives, is around 5.75 million animals. By contrast the now shrinking industry sector on chemical safety testing using animals, uses around 860 animals per chemical when screening for carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).
Whilst much the research described above is categorised as causing minimal pain and suffering, figures obtained in 2010 show that in the USA alone 97,123 animals were used in research likely to involve pain and suffering, where pain killers and sedatives would not be administered. However, it should be born in mind that this figure is equal to only 8.5% of the total number of animals used in research activities covered by the US Animal Welfare Act - but the act does not cover mice, rats, birds or fish.
I accept and thank PRO for instituting this debate.
Thanks for cathaystewie to accept this debate. I will defend my case by 3 main reasons. My first reason is that Animals have the right to not be harmed. My second reason is that Animal research necessities significant harm to the animals involved. My third reason is that is it acceptable to test on animals that are aware and intelligent and can feel pain.
First I will go on my first argument which is that animals have the right to not get harmed. Animal research, by its very nature necessitates harm to the animals. Even if they are not made to suffer as part of the experiment, the vast majority of animals used, must be killed at the conclusion of the experiment. With 115 million animals being used in the status quo this is no small issue. Even if we were to vastly reduce animal experimentation, releasing domesticated animals into the wild, would be a death sentence, and it hardly seems realistic to think that many behaviourally abnormal animals, often mice or rats, might be readily movable into the pet traded is prim fascia obvious, that it is not in the interest of the animals involved to be killed, or harmed to such an extent that such killing might seem merciful. Even if the opposition counter argument, that animals lack the capacity to truly suffer, is believed, research should none the less be banned in order to prevent the death of millions of animals.
Now I will go on my second argument which is that animal research necessities significant harm to the animal involved. As experimenting on animals is immoral we should stop using animals for experiments. But apart from it being morally wrong practically we will never know how much we will be able to advance without animal experimentation if we never stop experimenting on animals. Animal research has been the historical gold standard, and in the case of some chemical screening tests, was for many years, by many western states, required by law before a compound could be released on sale. Science and technology has moved faster than research protocols however, and so there is no longer a need for animals to be experimented on. We now know the chemical properties of most substances, and powerful computers allow us to predict the outcome of chemical interactions. Experimenting on live tissue culture also allows us to gain insight as to how living cells react when exposed to different substances, with no animals required. Even human skin leftover from operations provides an effective medium for experimentation, and being human, provides a more reliable guide to the likely impact on a human subject. The previous necessity of the use of animals is no longer a good excuse for continued use of animals for research. We would still retain all the benefits that previous animal research has brought us but should not engage in any more. Thus modern research has no excuse for using animals.
Now I will go on my third argument which is that is it acceptable to test on animals that are aware and intelligent and can feel pain. Animals are intelligent and they can feel pain but many scientists do not feel small animals like rats as animals and a tester. What do you think the rat will feel like? He will probably want a home, be a pet, or run free. But if we try to test him and might kill him it will feel pain.
For these reasons we urge you to vote for Pro.
Thank you to the PRO side for their arguments. I will now rebut them one by one and proceed onto my own case.
R1) "Animals have the right not to be harmed"
My rebuttal is simply that animals do NOT have such a right, and this can be proven in two ways.
Firstly, a "right" is essentially a social contract, whereby two parties are guaranteed equal entitlement to said right given that neither party infringes on the rights and privileges of the other party. This is known as a quid pro quo - a world where I give you the right to speak without restrictions so long as you allow me to express my ideas freely as well. Animals do not have the intellectual capacity to assure humans that they will not inflict harm on us under the premise that we promise to leave them unscathed. This does not fulfill the quid pro quo specification and thus does not constitute the right for animals not to be harmed.
Secondly, let us analyse the nature of what rights really are. "Natural law" is synonymous with the birth of the concept of rights, in association with the fact that rights are a set of unwritten rules that people tend to follow, not because of any constitutional incentive or restriction, but rather because people are instinctively inclined to based off of their moral conscience . In other words, rights are self-recognised and self-authorised. Whether the animal kingdom implements and exercises a system of rights is something that we humans do not know. In the face of such uncertainty, simply imposing the idea that animals inherently have rights without knowing whether or not the animals themselves observe the idea of 'rights' to begin with is an ill-founded and hollow claim.
Even if we grant PRO his argument and argue this debate under the precondition that animals do have rights, we still do not see how this warrants a ban on animal testing. Rights are sometimes contradictory, and in the event that they are, some rights will need to be overridden in order for at least one right to be exercised. Animals have the right not to be harmed, but humans also have the right to access to means of ensuring adequate quality of life, including access to decent healthcare (Article 25 of UNUDHR) . It is upon PRO to justify why animal rights should override human rights under the proposition that animal rights are in fact beneficial to humanity, which PRO does not deny.
R2) "Animal research necessitates significant harm to the animals"
PRO deviated from his/her argument and instead went on to talk about how there are other medical alternatives to animal testing. The only relevant assertion he/she made was that "it is morally wrong" which has yet to be substantiated. I will address this in my second substantive.
The argument that animal research necessitates significant harm relies on the previous argument about how animals have the right not to be harmed to stand. Even if we ignore my rebuttal and assume that it stands, we still see that animal research does not equate to harm to the animals involved. Animal test subjects are kept in good health condition as that facilitates the derivation of accurate test results, and should the testing physically harm or kill the animal, painkillers and harmless euthanasia are used respectively . PRO needs to prove to us that ALL animal testing methods, by nature, harm animals (which he/she has not done) in order for the motion to stand.
Even if we disregard this and assume ALL methods of animal research do end in pain for the animals, we can draw a parallel with other activities that administer pain for the animals involved. The consumption of meat, for instance, is indisputably painful for the animal, but that does not justify an outright ban on meat consumption. In other words, there is a gap that needs to be bridged between "activities that are harmful to animals" and banning these activities.
R3) "Is it acceptable?"
PRO tries to pull the pathos card by getting us to empathise with the experience of going through animal research in the eyes of an animal. A criminal could easily do the same by getting their prosecutors to step into their shoes in the hopes of showing them the cruelties of prison life so that they can be set free. We all agree that being harmed is not exactly enjoyable, but PRO has yet to tie that in with the question of moral acceptability (which was ironically the title of his/her point).
P1) In essence, animal testing is just another way of humans utilising our intelligence to our advantage
Much like how humans hunt to eat or hunt for the furs of animals for clothing, animal testing is simply another form of human intelligence in action. We hunt for food to sustain our lives, and we test on animals so that we can advance our knowledge on diseases and cures to save the lives of many that are vulnerable to lethal diseases, and prevent others from contracting said diseases and putting their lives at risk to begin with. Both are done with the goal of survival in mind, and there is no principle discrepancy between the two.
To argue that animal testing is wrong principle-wise is to argue that the practices that contributed to the longevity of humans as a species is also wrong in principle. PRO, then, must either distinguish between said practices and animal testing by nature, or argue why both are wrong altogether in order for his case to be morally consistent.
P2) Animal testing is only used when other alternatives are inadequate
It is important to note that animal testing is considerably more expensive than other forms of medical research and involve a lot more bureaucratic paperwork, hence it makes all the more sense for researchers to opt for methods other than animal testing whenever possible. However, the fact of the matter is, animal research is a commonplace in the field of biological studies, indicating that researchers are choosing to test on animals purely based on its statistical and informational merit.
There is some truth to this. Computer testing, by way of illustration, may suffice when one wishes to perform basic tests on cell lines, but it is a daunting task, to say the least, for even the most advanced of computers to account for the dynamic elements of a disease or a product. The biological configuration of the human, or the animal for that matter, are extremely complex in the sense that all of its biological mechanisms (nervous system, endocrine system, immune system) are intertwined and interdependent. The relationships between these systems and how they directly and/or inversely affect one another is something that, at present, cannot be factored into consideration by computer research or isolated samples of human/animal remains. Contrarily, the DNA of chimpanzees and mice are approximately 99% and 98% identical to that of humans respectively, making them susceptible to many of the conditional phenomenon of the human body .
To quantify the magnitude of the challenge of replacing animal testing with other methods, the world's fastest supercomputer was employed to conduct a simulation of just half a mouse's brain, not to mention that the results were far from perfect - the computer was only capable of running the test for ten seconds at a speed ten times slower than the rate at which a mouse brain functions. Even the computer itself was only made possible by the knowledge and findings derived from animal testing .
P3) Animal testing has the potential to benefit both humanity and the animal
Many tend to stumble into this debate under the assumption that animal testing only exists to fulfill the interests of humans and that the consequences, whether they be intentional or unforeseen, only benefit the human side of this matter. This is far from the truth. Many advances in medical science that were originally aimed at protecting the welfare of humans have now made their way into many veterinary practices. One such example is the pacemaker, which, initially implanted into the cardiovascular systems of dogs in 1967, now sees its application to be for both humans and cardiovascularly challenged household pets. Similar stories can be said for gum disease, sight impairment, and premature birth .
Additionally, animal testing as an entity has now matured and familiarised itself with the medical industry so much so that it is not uncommon to see scientists conduct tests on animals for the purpose of bettering the lives of the animals themselves. Vaccines have been developed in recent years that target animal-exclusive diseases including distemper, rabies, canine parvovirus, and feline leukemia. With a more in-depth understanding of animal illnesses and the biological workings of said animals, biologists are now more successful than ever in their attempts to preserve biodiversity and minimises extinction rates through means such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer .
What all of this means is that in any plausible scenario, animal testing does not jeopardise the animals, if not benefit them. Animal testing may not impact the animal in any way, or it may benefit the animal in cases of human and animal-oriented testing.
In Con's first argument which was that In essence, animal testing is just another way humans utilising our intelligence to our advantage
I just want to say that, Do you need to do it with animals? Animals are living things like us so it is wrong to just have a experiement which might kill the animal when it is a living thing. That is just plain cruel. Also they have the right to not get harmed because it is the same thing. Elephants might kill people on there experiments. Is that fair? And many people use lab rats which are also animals but many people don't think they are.
In Con's second argument which was, Animal testing is only used when other alternatives are inadequate. Yes, but not always. We do not just test things if it is wrong. It says that they tested an animal but it got killed. It wasn't wrong. It was perfect. But they just did it one last time, then it died.
In Con's third argument which was that Animal testing has the potential to benefit both humanity and the animal, I just don't get it. In the third paragraph Con said that there is no impact, but why did you say it is a benifit? Also we are not sure. A lot of testing is successful, but an animal might die.
And also in Con's rebuttal when she said they don't have a right, that means that animals have no freedom to act and we rule the animals. That is just cruel and we should stop it. Lets go to the animal perspective. The animal has to be tested with chemicals that are dangerous when it can be free. The animal wants to go around too. Lets feel if the animal tests us. Would we like being tested. Of course we won't. Then what about the animal. The animal feels the same way we do.
Also about your sources. Your sources aren't really good because no one needs to know about human rights. Also you have a pdf.
Please vote for Pro!!!
I will rebut PRO's content in the third round paragraph by paragraph.
PRO's response to my call for him/her to distinguish between other acts of humanity that involve the suffering of animals for the betterment of human lives is the rhetorical of "do you need to do it with animals?" (to which, of course, I would answer yes, and PRO would realise that my answer is yes if he/she had actually taken the liberty to read my arguments). PRO ignores my refutations that animals do not inherently have so-called 'rights' without bringing up a logical criterion of his own, and ignores the fact that, as per my first rebuttal in the previous round, even if we assume that animals have rights, he/she has still needs to tell us how the rights of animals can be equal to or superior to that of conflicting human rights. It seems that all of my rebuttals have fallen on deaf ears.
When I said that animal testing is another way of humans utilising our intelligence to our advantage, I am comparing the doctrinal similarities between animal testing and behaviours which are socially acceptable, such as killing animals for food. What PRO needs to do at this point is to either distinguish these two on a principle level, or argue that both are not socially acceptable at all. Bombarding me with the message that animals are living, breathing creatures does not, to the slightest of extents, fulfill any of this.
Speaking of PRO's undying commitment to remind me and the audience that animals are living creatures, we notice that PRO's entire argument in this respect can be summarised into the following: "Animals have rights because they are living things and living things have rights". This is a circular argument founded on the unproven claim as to why living things should have rights, and PRO has yet to tell us why that is the case.
PRO essentially concedes his/her stance when he/she says "Yes, but not always". Putting aside the fact that this claim is accompanied with no evidence, this counterargument still does not stand in a number of ways. In the event that animal testing is used when other methods are not available, that is the problem with the execution and implementation of animal testing, and the fault should be burdened on the scientists and authorities who chose to opt for animal testing when other methods were adequate and sufficient, not burdened on the concept of 'animal testing' itself.
We are here to argue the overall conceptual legitimacy of animal testing, and individual cases are by no means enough to corrupt the doctrinal integrity of animal testing. Analogically speaking, one would not claim that food is unhealthy for the human body just because there have been instances where food ingestion has choked people to death. That can only be attributed to the poor eating skills of those people, not the food itself.
PRO seems befuddled with my argument on how animal testing can pose a win-win scenario for both man and animal. When I say that there is "no impact" and then proceed to use the word "benefit" in the same sentence, I am saying that animal testing that there are two scenarios that can happen to an animal when it is being tested on, assuming the testing is carried out in accordance to all rules and regulations and no unexpected incidents occur:
1. That the animal is left unharmed, both physically and psychologically
2. That the animal (or rather, its species) benefits from the findings of the test
These two are mutually exclusive. I, too, would be dumbfounded if the animal were to benefit and not be impacted by the testing at the same time, but that was not what I was trying to convey. I hope this clarification answers PRO's queries.
By the time we get round to the fourth paragraph, we've already seen the word 'cruel' quite a few times. Why is animal testing, despite my side of the house demonstrating that animals need not suffer, and that it is beneficial to both parties involved, cruel? And if so, what is wrong with being 'cruel' in the first place? Would you say that killing animals for food is not cruel? Would you say that prisoners relish upon the prospect of being locked up in a cell and that they do not find it to be cruel at all? For PRO to make the 'cruel' argument sufficient enough to uphold his stance, he/she must also try and disprove the appropriateness of hunting for food and imprisonment for criminals, something that I have repeatedly called on him/her to do and is something that has not been done.
I applaud PRO's relentless attempts to tap into our tear glands, but getting us to imagine a role reversal where the animals are the researchers and humans are being tested on is borderline comedic. PRO has provided us with no reasoning as to why animals would not enjoy the experience of being tested on, and continues to build upon that baseless assertion with a second baseless assertion that is that animals "feel the same way we do".
I don't particularly enjoy being eaten, but that doesn't mean I'm not on good terms with my moral conscience when I sit down and feast on a nice steak.
PRO says that "no one needs to know about human rights", which is confusing considering that one of his main arguments concerns the entitlement of animal rights. Even if we do assume that the topic of 'human rights' and the source that I've used on this topic bears no relevance to the debate, by no means does that make it a 'bad source'. PRO lacks a criterion for what a bad source exactly is, and lacks justification as to why PDF sources are so-called 'bad sources'.
I would also like to remind PRO that the usage of 'good sources' doesn't exempt one from using circular and pathos arguments, which, frankly, are arguments which do a disservice to those 'good sources'.
Why do you vote CON?
Vote CON because CON was the only side of the house which argued on the practical and principle implications for both the animals and humans involved in the matter of animal testing. CON was the only side of the house to characterise what it really means to be tested on in animal testing, and CON was the only side that was morally consistent down the bench.
Thank you to PRO for his/her time and all potential voters.
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