The Instigator
JohnnyC
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Sheldor
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Vegetarianism

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/29/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,083 times Debate No: 29666
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)

 

JohnnyC

Pro

I am a vegetarian for ethical reasons and I believe that the killing of animals for meat is wrong. This debate is about whether it is right for human beings to eat other animals. The first round is acceptance.
Sheldor

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
JohnnyC

Pro

The following is some of my arguments (I might save a few more for later rounds)

Animals have the right to life
If any organism has a moral desire then that organism has the right to act in accordance with that desire. There is nothing wrong about this. Therefore other organisms have no right to stop the organism from their desire. All organisms have an interest survival. We have no utilitarian or moral reason to deny organisms of that desire. We, as humans, do not have the right to take away the life of other animals when it will not benefit a greater moral value as it would be denying their right to life which they possess because they want it.

It is immoral to kill animals
As evolved human beings it is our moral duty to inflict as little pain as possible for our survival. So if we do not need to inflict pain to animals in order to survive, we should not do it. Farm animals such as chickens, pigs, sheep, and cows are sentient living beings like us - they are our evolutionary cousins and like us they can feel pleasure and pain. The utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham even believed that animal suffering was just as serious as human suffering and likened the idea of human superiority to racism. It would be unfair to assume that humans deserve rights but other species don’t due to superiority. To relate to an example: black people were thought to be inferior to the whites and so did not possess the same rights as the whites did. This is relatable as it shows that the person/people with power discriminate against others with the excuse that they are superior. Now, obviously whites aren’t superior but if we use the criteria of measuring human superiority to other animals (intelligence) then it would be hypocritical for humans to claim superiority over other species but not over the some people with inferior intelligence such as the mentally ill. Even with this, it has been documented that certain food animals are exceptionally clever, and fully capable of perceiving pain and responding to suffering, much like ourselves. It is wrong to farm and kill these animals for food when we do not need to do so.

Vegetarianism is better for the environment
Becoming a vegetarian is an environmentally friendly thing to do. Modern farming is one of the main sources of pollution in our rivers. Beef farming is one of the main causes of deforestation, because trees are being cut down to make room for cattle bred to kill. Many species are facing extinction from hunting them. Eating meat and fish not only causes cruelty to animals, it causes serious harm to the environment and to biodiversity. The 2006 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report concluded that worldwide livestock farming generates 18% of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions — by comparison, all the world's cars, trains, planes and boats account for a combined 13% of greenhouse gas emissions. The same is true with water use due to the same phenomenon of meat being inefficient to produce in terms of the amount of grain needed to produce the same weight of meat, production requires a lot of water. Water is another scarce resource that we will soon not have enough of in various areas of the globe. Grain-fed beef production takes 100,000 liters of water for every kilogram of food. Raising broiler chickens takes 3,500 liters of water to make a kilogram of meat. In comparison, soybean production uses 2,000 liters for kilogram of food produced; rice, 1,912; wheat, 900; and potatoes, 500 liters.

Vegetarianism is healthier than a normal meaty diet
Studies comparing vegetarians and meat eaters have found that eating less or no meat lowered the risks of certain health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, strokes and cancer. Vegetarians often come out on top in health studies. 60 billion land animals are killed each yearin order to be eaten. The majority of these animals are confined to cages and crates or packed by the thousands into dark, filthy sheds. Animals raised in these intensive farming systems are unable to raise their families, root around in the soil, build nests, or do anything that is natural to them. Most animals kept on factory farms will not see the sun until the day they are transported to a slaughterhouse to be murdered. This clearly unfair treatment of animals would be prevented if people stopped eating meat. A vegetarian diet contains high quantities of fibre, vitamins, and minerals, and is low in fat. In 1996 the American Cancer Society recommended that red meat should be excluded from the diet entirely. A vegetarian diet reduces the risk of serious diseases and, because it is low in fat, also helps to prevent you becoming overweight. There are plenty of vegetarian sources of protein, such as beans and bean curd; and spinach is one of the best sources of iron.


Meat eating is based on selfishness
The ill-treatment and eating of animals is based on selfishness. If we did not all derive the benefits of our treatment to animals; if meat suddenly stopped tasting appealing to some, we would all be animal rights activists. Such is the nature of human selfishness. The desire for meat doesn’t outweighs the animals desire to live for most people. There are off course some people (vegetarians for ethical reasons) who arguably have more will power, compassion and consideration than others for understanding that the taste is a superficial reason to be in favour of meat eating. Killing an animal for the sole purpose of eating it to satisfy your taste, causing pain, injury and death solely to bring diversity to your diet is immoral.

http://www.time.com...
http://www.news.cornell.edu...
Sheldor

Con

"Animals have the right to life."

On the other hand, plants are sentient beings too. Research has shown that plants respond electrochemically to perceived threats and may feel fear, so vegetarians too are causing harm in order to eat.

"Derrick Jensen, "The Plants Respond: An Interview with Cleve Backster," The Sun, July 1997"

"We have no utilitarian or moral reason to deny organisms of that desire."

Every organism on earth eventually dies, and is consumed into the circle of life, either through consumption or decomposition. Meat provides more iron then a vegetable diet as well. The body absorbs 15% to 35% of the heme iron in meat, but only absorbs 2% to 20% of the non-heme iron found in vegetarian sources. There is nothing wrong with this cycle, but if we are going to pull morals and ethics into this debate, it is more ethical to save the vegetables instead of the animals. (Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Instututes of Health)

"As evolved human beings it is our moral duty to inflict as little pain as possible for our survival."
As the BoP rests on you, the instigator, to prove that it is not ethical that humans eat other animals. You offer no explanation of how this works, simply refer that it is our duty since we are "more evolved"
Vegetarian diets cause animal deaths as well. According to a 2003 study by Steven Davis at Oregon State University, about 6 animals per acre, or 52-77% of the animals (such as birds, mice, and rabbits) that live in agricultural crop fields are killed during harvest. (Steven L. Davis, "The Least Harm Principle May Require That Humans Consume a Diet Containing Large Herbivores, Not a Vegan Diet," Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 2003 )

"Farm animals such as chickens, pigs, sheep, and cows are sentient living beings like us - they are our evolutionary cousins and like us they can feel pleasure and pain."
Monkeys are the closest things to evolutionary cousins to us; Plants can feel pleasure and pain as well. Finally, refer to the above statistic

"The utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham even believed that animal suffering was just as serious as human suffering and likened the idea of human superiority to racism."
That's good for him. The main, large, huge difference is that there is almost no difference between whites and blacks (aside from skin pigmentation and vulnerability to the sun) while humans and plants are entirely different species that are unable to communicate.

"Now, obviously whites aren"t superior but if we use the criteria of measuring human superiority to other animals (intelligence) then it would be hypocritical for humans to claim superiority over other species but not over the some people with inferior intelligence such as the mentally ill."
First of all, like I stated above, we cannot compare plants to humans. They are simply not of the same species. This is not anti-plant-ism, it is simply a scientific and widely believed fact. Also, we have nothing to gain in any way by killing the mentally ill.

"It is wrong to farm and kill these animals for food when we do not need to do so."
Simply because we don't need to do it doesn't make it wrong...just because I don't need to chew gum doesn't mean it is wrong to chew gum. Also, as I stated, animals are killed during plant harvests...while they need not do so.

"Modern farming is one of the main sources of pollution in our rivers. Beef farming is one of the main causes of deforestation, because trees are being cut down to make room for cattle bred to kill."

Vegetarian diets are not necessarily better for the environment. Please refer to these statistics:

About 90% of US cropland suffers from top soil loss at 13 times the sustainable rate. (US Department of Agriculture (USDA))
US meat consumption does not significantly contribute to loss of US or global forest land. In 2001, about 95% of animal products consumed in the US were produced in the US. Despite the US consumption of about 27 billion pounds of beef per year, the percentage of forested US land has remained steady at around 33% since 1907. (US Department of Agriculture (USDA))

"Studies comparing vegetarians and meat eaters have found that eating less or no meat lowered the risks of certain health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, strokes and cancer. "
Cite your studies.
Eating meat provides healthy saturated fats which can strengthen immune and nervous systems. They also contain vitamins A, D, E and K. Saturated fats are also essential for building and maintaining cell health, and help the body absorb calcium. Cholesterol from animal fat is needed for proper function of serotonin receptors in the brain. Low cholesterol levels have been linked to depression. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2002)
Saturated fats from meat are not to blame for modern diseases like heart disease, cancer, and obesity. Chemically processed and hydrogenated vegetable oils like corn and canola cause these conditions because they contain harmful free radicals and trans fats formed during chemical processing. (Stephen Byrnes, "The Myths of Vegetarianism) and
(Sally Fallon Morell, "Know Your Fats Introduction)

"Vegetarians often come out on top in health studies"
Vegetarians do not live longer. This myth stems from the fact that vegetarians tend to be more health conscious than the general population, eating a balanced diet, exercising more, and smoking less. If Person 1 is A(vegetarian) and B(health conscious) while person 2 is -A(Not a vegetarian) and B(not conscious of their own body), you cannot directly link one or the other to benefits; You need conclusive research, which I have. (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers)

"The ill-treatment and eating of animals is based on selfishness."
The ill-treatment is, but the eating is not. The choice to choose what we want to eat is based off our ability to choose the better choice for humanity. It is a basic human liberty to pick what we eat. Yes, you may say that our desire to eat meat outweighs the animals "right" to live. However, no matter what we do, animals inadvertently are hurt. Whether you harvest crops, or make linen, or drill for oil, plants or animals are hurt.

"The majority of these animals are confined to cages and crates or packed by the thousands into dark, filthy sheds."
Modern slaughter techniques minimize the suffering of animals. US slaughterhouses must conform to the Humane Slaughter Act (HMSA) which mandates that livestock be stunned unconscious before slaughter. (Ingrid Newkirk, "Temple Grandin: Helping the Animals We Can't Save," prime.peta.org, Feb. 14, 2010)

Now to my own points:
First and foremost, humans have been eating meat for 2.3 million years, and it has been an essential part of our evolution. The inclusion of meat in the ancestral diet provided a dense form of nutrients and protein that, when combined with high-calorie low-nutrient carbohydrates such as roots, allowed us to develop our large brains and intelligence. Evidence shows our taste buds evolved to crave meat's savory flavor. (Christopher Joyce, "Food for Thought: Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter

In many areas of the US, raising beef is the most efficient way to produce food for humans because about 85% of US grazing land is not suitable for raising crops humans can eat directly. Also, 98% of the American prairie is gone. So which is more efficient/better for the environment? (National Cattlemen's Beef Association) and (State Environmental Resource Center, "Biodiversity Policy Issues Package).

Finally, there is nothing inherently cruel about raising animals for food. There is a growing movement in the US to raise "cruelty free" organic meat. In the US, animals raised for certified organic meat must be given access to the outdoors, clean air, and water. They cannot be given growth hormones or antibiotics and must be fed organically-grown feed free of animal byproducts. They live pleasant and short lives.
Debate Round No. 2
JohnnyC

Pro

Defending my points:

If you read what I wrote under "Animals have the right to live", you'll realise that I did explain how it is more ethical for
humans not to eat animals.

If that is true about animals which die when fields are harvested then you must be able to realise that far more die as a result of meat eating. Nevertheless, much of the world's crops is used to feed animals which are bred to be slaughtered.

The fact that we are separate species doesn't justify murder in the name of "superiority." Even if one will gain from it, it is still morally wrong (as I have explained).

Chewing gum isn't exactly morally questionable. Killing animals is immoral and, as i mentioned before, "if we do not need to inflict pain to animals in order to survive, we should not do it."

Vegetarian diets are better for the environment. Please refer to these statistics:
The FAO report estimates that the livestock sector contributes about 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions expressed as 100-year CO2 equivalents. This estimate was based on life cycle analysis, including feed production, land use changes, etc., and used global warming potential of 23 for methane and 296 for nitrous oxide, to convert emissions of these gases to 100-year CO2 equivalents.
A 2010 UN report explained that Western dietary preferences for meat would be unsustainable as the world population rose to the forecasted 9.1 billion by 2050. Demand for meat is expected to double by this date; meat consumption is steadily rising in countries such as China that once followed more sustainable, vegetable-based diets. Cattle are a known cause for soil erosion through trampling of the ground and overgrazing.

About health: science is showing that cutting back on meat is healthier for just about everyone, and more and more people are doing just that: today, 3 percent of American adults (over 7 million people) never eat meat, fish or poultry. The Meatless Monday campaign - a successful voluntary reduction effort in the U.S. during both World War I and World War II that was relaunched in 2003 at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to help Americans cut down on saturated fat"has become a full-blown movement. Cities like San Francisco have made official Meatless Monday proclamations; school systems and college dining halls have adopted the philosophy; celebrity chefs like Mario Batali are leading the charge in restaurants. Meatless Monday programs are thriving in countries such as Korea, Brazil, Croatia and Canada. You probably know several people who"ve given up meat"maybe dairy and eggs too"every day of the week. Maybe you"re one of them. (http://www.eatingwell.com...)

I do not believe that the right to chose what we do not need should out-way the right to life. But we'll have to agree to disagree.
Sheldor

Con

"If you read what I wrote under "Animals have the right to live", you'll realise that I did explain how it is more ethical for
humans not to eat animals."
That may be true, but would it not be more moral for humans to simply eat raw vitamins and nothing else? Or to simply let our race die off to allow animals and plants to live? Humans should solve their own problems before attacking a completely species problems. Morality in this case is subjective.

"Chewing gum isn't exactly morally questionable. Killing animals is immoral and, as i mentioned before, "if we do not need to inflict pain to animals in order to survive, we should not do it."
My point here is that the morality of killing animals is subjective, not objective.

"About health: science is showing that cutting back on meat is healthier for just about everyone,"
Statistics? My points on eating lean meat show that it is more healthy to eat mat, whereas you show no proof whatsoever.

" and more and more people are doing just that: today, 3 percent of American adults (over 7 million people) never eat meat, fish or poultry. The Meatless Monday campaign - a successful voluntary reduction effort in the U.S. during both World War I and World War II that was relaunched in 2003 at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to help Americans cut down on saturated fat"has become a full-blown movement. Cities like San Francisco have made official Meatless Monday proclamations; school systems and college dining halls have adopted the philosophy; celebrity chefs like Mario Batali are leading the charge in restaurants. Meatless Monday programs are thriving in countries such as Korea, Brazil, Croatia and Canada. You probably know several people who"ve given up meat"maybe dairy and eggs too"every day of the week. Maybe you"re one of them. (http://www.eatingwell.com......)"

Bandwagon fallacy/appeal to popularity. Just because a lot of people do it doesn't mean we have to do it.
ex. The romans kept slaves...we should be able to keep slaves too!

You also failed to address my points.
Also, since plants respond too, and it would require a lot more plants be killed for a sustainable vegetarian diet, would that not be more immoral?

As I said, there are standards and regulations on meat eating. Animals live pleasant, short lives, and have almost perfect lives. The only time they may feel pain is when they are killed. Modern slaughter techniques minimize the suffering of animals. US slaughterhouses must conform to the Humane Slaughter Act (HMSA) which mandates that livestock be stunned unconscious before slaughter. (Ingrid Newkirk, "Temple Grandin: Helping the Animals We Can't Save," prime.peta.org, Feb. 14, 2010)
Debate Round No. 3
JohnnyC

Pro

I apologise for failing to comment on your points. As I mentioned in a comment, I didn't see them. I shall argue against them here:
Nowadays we can find the same nutrients and protein that helped us to develop large brains and intelligence in the form of vegetarian food. Furthermore, the simple fact that our taste buds crave meat isn't a reason why people should eat meat as it serves no true benefit - just taste which is quite superficial.
Crops don't have to be grown in the USA.

About my points:
I submit to you that morality is subjective. Nevertheless, the common view is that chewing gum is not as much as a moral dilemma as killing.
I provided you with stats and evidence concerning health issues.
Plants don't have a conscious. They are alive but they will not feel pain as there is no central nervous system connecting to a brain.
Sheldor

Con

"Nowadays we can find the same nutrients and protein that helped us to develop large brains and intelligence in the form of vegetarian food. "
Plant proteins are somewhat compromised by their limitation of one or more amino acids. When we restore the relatively deficient amino acid in a plant protein, we get a response rate equivalent to animal proteins.
It is better to have a balanced diet from both plants and animals, to ensure maximum development...without one or the other the diet is somewhat limited.
Plants don't have a conscious. They are alive but they will not feel pain as there is no central nervous system connecting to a brain.
My point was they felt fear electrochemically. Also, they live too no? And we have "no moral or nihilistic reasons to deprive them of this right". Animals don't feel pain anyways, as I have told you above in my precious points.

Furthermore, the simple fact that our taste buds crave meat isn't a reason why people should eat meat as it serves no true benefit - just taste which is quite superficial.
Taste isn't superficial...there are whole economies and lives built around taste, and meat. Which brings me to my next point; If we did away with all the meat eating-related jobs, from sanitation to ranching to cooking, what would happen to the economy?
Debate Round No. 4
JohnnyC

Pro

Eating meat isn't necessary for maximum development. All of the vitamins, minerals etc. in meat can be found in other foods. Plants don't have a conciseness while animals do. Even if they did, it still doesn't justify the eating of meat. Does the taste of meat really out-way the costs of killing?

My conclusion:
I'll keep it short and simple. Vegetarianism is a good thing because it saves lives, helps one's health and it helps the environment. I didn't bring religion into this debate but almost all of the major religions (even the ones that allow meat eating like Judaism and Christianity) agree that vegetarianism is better than eating meat.
Sheldor

Con

Sheldor forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Sheldor 3 years ago
Sheldor
Sorry, was busy with schoolwork..didn't get to post last round
Posted by JohnnyC 3 years ago
JohnnyC
I do know... :( I didn't really try too much with this debate.
Posted by wolfman4711 3 years ago
wolfman4711
Johnny C must now he is gonna lose this one.
Posted by JohnnyC 3 years ago
JohnnyC
Ooops. Sorry Sheldor, I didn't see your arguments so I didn't counter them in round 2.
Posted by lit.wakefield 3 years ago
lit.wakefield
You should probably be more specific.
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