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The Contender
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if you eat meat, you do not care about animals

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/27/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 948 times Debate No: 64033
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (3)




So this argument came about when my carnivorous flatmate said she's strongly against animal testing, because it's cruel. I questioned her on how can she be against this type of cruelty, but contribute to the slaughter of animals and nonchalantly chew on their carcasses. I believe if she really had empathy for other creatures, she'd give up eating meat. I also believe that meat-eaters genuinely feel no sympathy for creatures other than human beings.

I'm not looking to argue whether or not everyone should be vegan/vegetarian, but rather that meat-eaters simply do not care about animal ethics.


I eat meat - not a lot, but I do without really bad feelings.
I care a lot about ethics.

You made your point, I'll line out mine.
Some animals eat other animals. Others are armed to fend off attackers. Nature obviously rules that killing is acceptable under either of two conditions:
1. Kill in order to eat.
2. Kill in order not to be eaten.

So, unless my cat is an evil being for eating meat, why would I be denied this?

I care a lot about animals. Following the example of a number of African tribes, whenever I eat meat, I thank the deceased animals for giving their life so that my cat and child and I can last another day.
And only after that silent prayer, which I also taught to my child, I eat.

We're humans. Our digestive system is built to digest animal protein. Then there is no evil in eating meat.
How we raise the animals is the important part. I take great care to buy meat only from animals from local farms where the animals enjoy years of a content life, before they ultimately die.
This is a lot like nature, actually. Do you deem lions cruel for hunting young antelopes and wildebeest?

Every animal is born with the instinctive knowledge that its life will end, and most probably in a cruel way.
So, in siding with other predators, where is there a lack of morals?

Whether we eat meat or not does not make us evil or good. What we put into our mouths is far less important than what comes out of it.

And lastly: for a long time people assumed animals had no soul and consciousness. We found out they have.
What makes you vegetarians so sure that plants don't suffer from being eaten or cooked? Cutting off plants does not instantly kill them, as evident from flowers which need days to rot away and are only then allowed to finally pass on. Or potatoes. Are they not meant to grow a new plant, and do we not deny it that predestined fate? Are we also monsters for eating plants?

If not, where is the difference? Only in your assumption that you know nature better than the "carnivores". Which is no less arrogant than any other assumption.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for the reply.
I'll take time in replying to your points one at a time.

It is essential to the survival of some animals to eat other animals, for survival. However, as a developed species, it is not essential for human beings to eat animals. Also, it is a myth that the human digestive system is 'built' to consume animals; it isn't. Also, in the broad spectrum, on the timeline of human life, homosapiens have been herbivorous longer than carnivorous, just compare our teeth and tongues to wild predators like the lion. If one were to care about animals, and it is easy to avoid eating them, then why would one continue to fund an industry that slaughters them?

'Every animal is born with the instinctive knowledge that it's life will end, and most probably in a cruel way' this is a statement that can not be backed up with any evidence. Having visited a slaughterhouse, animals to very much not enjoy dying.

Plants have no nervous system and are insentient.

Also, it is a myth that animals live in good conditions before slaughter. They live in cramped, dirty and squalid conditions And even so, would it be ok for a human to live a fulfilled life for ten years, if they are stunned before you murder them?

One may care for human ethics, but one cannot truly care about the well being of animals, whilst feeling no guilt for consuming them.


Firstly, I want to remind the audience that my opponent bears a distinct burden of proof: show that people who eat meat do not care about animals.

I have shown that I pray for dead animals I eat, which is clearly a sign of compassion.
My opponent is thus already disproved.

Now, for my opponent's false assumptions:
A) that humans do not need to eat animals, using the word "essential".
Vitamin B12 an ESSENTIAL nutrient, and cannot be found in plants in a sufficient amount. Some people claim that nori, Japanese seaweed, contains B12, but studies show that it is in a form that the human organism cannot process:
This comes from a vegan site, notably.
Hence, humans need to consume animals to survive.

B) that it is a myth that we are constructed to digest meat.
If B12 is essential for us and is found only in animals, it is proved that we are designed to process meat, otherwise we wouldn't rely on a B12 source to function.

C) that humans are herbivorous longer than carnivorous.
Show me a single bit of evidence for this, if you please.
The evidence I have presented shows homo sapiens requires B12 from animals, making them omnivorous.

D) raising the question why "one" continues to fund an industry that slaughters animals.
Off-topic. Since we NEED to eat meat and all products deserve to be paid for, this question adds nothing to the topic.
Besides, where is the proof that no member of this industry is a vegetarian? In fact:
This is the story of one former vegan who trained to become a butcher, for ethical reasons.
Who says, then, that only "carnivores" support this industry at all?

E) that animals do not enjoy dying.
Straw man argument, that one. I never said they enjoy it. I said they are aware that they are mortal.
Calling on evidence for my statement is rich, coming from a person who does not present any evidence whatsoever.
But here's my evidence, anyway:
"... higher animals also possess abstract awareness of death. Whether it is really so, has not been proved yet, but there are numerous documented examples that allow to presume this. The mourning of wolves, but also elephants, dolphins and several spe-
cies of apes after their loss of a partner is generally known." from:

So, the claim that there isn't "any evidence" is obviously wrong.

F) that plants have no nervous system
Yeah, no:
"So the plants perform a sort of biological light computation, using information contained in the light to immunise themselves against diseases that are prevalent during that season. Professor Christine Foyer, a plant scientist from the University of Leeds, said the study "took our thinking one step forward".
"Plants have to survive stresses, such as drought or cold, and live through it and keep growing," she told BBC News.
"This requires an appraisal of the situation and an appropriate response - that's a form of intelligence."

Research clearly indicates that there are signal transmission routes through plants, very much alike to even our own nervous system, down to the genetic code:
"The idea that plants have nervous systems stems from several sources of information. First, plants have genes that are similar to those that specify components of animal nervous systems. Such components include receptors for glutamate, an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of proteins but that also functions as a neurotransmitter. Other components are neurotransmitter pathway activators, such as those known as G-box proteins, and a family of “14-3-3” proteins, which act to bind various signaling proteins. All these proteins have been observed in animals, in which they have been shown to have distinct roles in neural function. Yet they are also found in plants."

So, what we see here is exactly what I was referring to above: my opponent BELIEVES plants don't have nervous systems, and thus assumes this to be true. And as we see, my opponent may be totally wrong about this. While demanding proof and evidence, my opponent disregards the need for such totally when it comes to their own argumentation.

As for the sentience of plants: again, this was long believed of animals, too. Turns out, they are sentient. Where's my opponent's proof for their bold statement that PLANTS are not?
Apparently, there's a system in plants akin to a nervous system, and they show even signs of intelligence (see above). So, intelligence without sentience? In that case, maybe animals have the same condition? We don't know enough to assert there's a difference. What we do know is that eating meat is essential for us, so it's not evil to do so, lest we should be condemned for breathing away the air from animals.

G) that it is a myth that animals live in good conditions before slaughter.
Yes, many animals suffer. Which is why I pointed out that I pick the source of my meat with great care, from local organic farmers who treat their animals well.
Which again gets to show that I genuinely care for animals, as does the farmer, while all of us eat meat. It's just that we realize that these animals, after a decent life, can serve as a source for vital nutrients for us and our children without us being cruel about it.
See an example:

Let's compare to wildlife: out in the cold, constantly in danger of being torn to pieces while fully awake and alive by a pack of predators like wolves or lions, or a bear. Starving in hot summers. Sometimes dying of thirst during long treks through desert to the next pasture. An animal life isn't fun and games, even in the wild.

H) that killing an animal for food may be compared to murdering a child:
The "appeal to the extreme"-fallacy.
There is no need to kill ten year old children. Eating them would probably cause diseases, as cannibalism often does. And they pose no threat for our lives. Hence, by the definition I provided above, this is an unfitting comparison of no value.

"One may care for human ethics, but one cannot truly care about the well being of animals, whilst feeling no guilt for consuming them."
Which is a full concession of this debate. This says that indeed anyone who feels guilt for consuming animals is living proof that your resolution is wrong.
And here's that proof:
This is a confession of a vegan who due to malnourishment HAS to eat meat, and calls herself a "guilty carnivore".

So, by your own standards, here you have a meat-eater who feels guilty, because she cares for animals deeply.

Face it, the only thing we're debating here is your prejudice. This debate is basically done and over.

You have not provided any proof for your allegations. You made wrong assumptions. You claimed there were no caring meat-eaters. Yet here I am.
Then you switched to "guilty", and I've offered an example for that, too.

You can try to post-hoc your way out of this, but I've met and proved all of your criteria already.
Debate Round No. 2


praying for animals does not excuse their suffering. That is the least amount of compassion humanly possible. Compassion is a natural reaction to death, it is an egotistical feeling. It does not show empathy for the animal you are consuming.

Moving onto your horrifically backed up points/sources.

"Humans need to consume animals to survive" firsthand, my girlfriend's mother has been vegetarian for 25 years and vegan for 10, she is very healthy.
For your education, here is a list of vegetarians:
Mohandas Ghandi (died aged 78)
Dame Jane Goodall (aged 80, still alive)
George Bernard Shaw (died aged 94)
Edna Parker (died 115 years)

'B12 is an ESSENTIAL nutrient, and cannot be found in plants a sufficient amount."
This implies that vegetarians only eat plants, however, they don't,. This vitamin can be found in many sources:
Thiamin (vitamin B1)

Thiamin is also known as vitamin B1. It has several important functions, including:
working with other B-group vitamins to help break down and release energy from food
keeping nerves and muscle tissue healthy
Good sources of thiamin
Thiamin is found in most types of food. Good sources include:
fresh and dried fruit
wholegrain breads
some fortified breakfast cereals


'keeping skin, eyes and the nervous system healthy
helping the body release energy from carbohydrate
Good sources of riboflavin
Good sources of riboflavin include:
fortified breakfast cereals

Humans, historically, are omnivorous.
Here is a definition of omnivorous:
'An omnivore /G2;;4;mniv;6;ər/ is an animal that can derive its energy and nutrients from a diet consisting of a variety of food sources that may include plants, animals, algae, fungi and bacteria.[1]

The term means 'all-eater' (Latin, omnes, omnia, meaning "all" or "everything" and vorare meaning "to devour"),

Omnivores often are opportunistic, general feeders which lack carnivore or herbivore specializations for acquiring or processing food, but which nevertheless consume both animal protein and vegetation.[2]'

This suggests that there are no signs, throughout the known human dietary system, that humans have ever had or adapted anything that solely aids a carnivorous diet, henceforth we can get nutrients from plants and crops.

'there is no need to kill 10 year old children. And they pose no threat to our lives'
As explained, there is no need to kill animals to sustain health. Also, chickens, cows and sheep do not pose a threat to our lives, either.

In this unique case of the vegan woman who suffered a disease in which she specifically needed meat (which is already false as all nutrients from meat can be found in plants, that's where the animals get the nutrients from in the first place) this is a UNIQUE case, she specifically 'needed' meat, you do not. And self admittedly, you do not feel guilt either.


"praying for animals does not excuse their suffering. That is the least amount of compassion humanly possible. Compassion is a natural reaction to death, it is an egotistical feeling. It does not show empathy for the animal you are consuming."

Lack of sources. Again, this is totally unsubstantiated.
Obviously wrong, too.
The least amount of compassion would be "none". You admit there is compassion in prayer.

Merriam-Webster's dictionary states:
Full Definition of COMPASSION

: sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it (source: )

There is thus nothing egotistical in compassion, it is sympathetic. Which is - oh surprise - a synonym for empathetic (source: )
Hence, by its very definition, compassion is an expression of empathy.

For the symptoms of a lack of B12:
"Vitamin B12deficiency can be slow to develop, causing symptoms to appear gradually and intensify over time. It can also come on relatively quickly. Given the array of symptoms it can cause, the condition can be overlooked or confused with something else. Symptoms may include:

  • strange sensations, numbness, or tingling in the hands, legs, or feet

  • difficulty walking (staggering, balance problems)

  • anemia

  • a swollen, inflamed tongue

  • yellowed skin (jaundice)

  • difficulty thinking and reasoning (cognitive difficulties), or memory loss

  • paranoia or hallucinations

  • weakness

  • fatigue"


And if we look at the physical state Gandhi was in, we clearly see that he was malnourished to the brink of death.
As for the others:

Shaw ate "lots of eggs", according to the vegetarian site , which provided him with B12
Eggs are allegedly "vegetarian", but they are comprised of animal proteins and nutrients. Which only strengthens the point that we need animal nutrients to survive.
You may claim that eating eggs does not generate suffering, but are we not stealing the unborn of birds? Do those not grieve, maybe? And is it not odd that I, who allegedly does not care about animals, have these thoughts, while you - dear opponent - take a man who made a diet which was funding cage-keeping hens as an example of a responsible life-style? Hypocrisy is what I call this.

Goodall, in this day and age, most probably takes B12 supplements, as all responsible vegetarians do.

Says Jack Norris, from
"While true that, at the time they become vegan, some people have enough B12 stored in their liver to prevent overt B12 deficiency for many years, people often misinterpret this to mean that you only need to consume a tiny amount once every few years. Actually, to build up such stores, it takes years of consuming B12 beyond one's daily needs (unless you are using supplements which can build up stores more quickly). Some people do not have large enough stores of B12 to be relied upon for optimal health even for short periods."
He goes on to advise at least weekly high doses of B12.

Now, Edna Parker is another story:
"When Edna Parker of Indiana died at age 115, Governor Mitch Daniels was impressed by her diet: Parker especially enjoyed eggs, sausage, bacon and fried chicken. “I guess we’ll have to rethink lard,” Daniels quipped after hearing about her high-fat diet."

And what that makes my opponent is a big fat liar.

Now Thiamine, B1, can indeed be found in many sources.
Not so B12, which is what we're talking about here. Whatever the purpose of this distraction tactic, it doesn't help. A strictly vegetarian diet is harmful without B12 supplements.

Now, for those:
Those are produced microbially.
Microbes are living beings, and I have just the prejudiced example how hypocritically vegetarians claim that microbes may suffer:
"Therefore, not only has the first condition – assuming sentience – not been satisfied, but the case of bacteria, as it relates to the second condition, is markedly different than that of consuming meat: some types of bacteria kill human beings; and unlike any other situation between nonhumans and most humans, in our day-to-day lives bacteria cannot simply be avoided – they exist all around us, all the time. How many bears do you encounter while watching television? Is your “struggle” with the birds of this world tooth-and-nail? Such encounters are easily avoidable, while bacterial infections, or colds, the flu, etc. are common: in these situations there exists a true conflict of a most fundamental sort – health, life – whereby some harm, assuming that bacteria can be “harmed,” is justifiable. Of the billions of nonhumans we murder or torture annually, none present a threat of harm to you – it’s laughable to suggest otherwise."

That is what happens if someone corners vegans about harvesting, farming and using bacteria: another "Appeal to the extremes"-fallacy. What it all comes down to is this: which life-forms vegetarians eat/abuse or not is totally arbitrary. It serves JUSTIFICATION, so that they won't have to feel bad about eating meat. I frown at the ease with which vegetarians declare all life they want to eat non-sentient and lack any and all compassion for those. Suddenly, double-standards arise, like declaring ALL bacteria legitimate targets for exploitation because SOME want to kill us. Guess what? SOME animals kill humans, too. And I would NEVER sink so low as to use that for justification. We all live off the death of other life. Making a difference only works by making a difference in how we treat the animals while they live. And out of compassion, as I declared as a meat-eater already, I only eat meat that comes from animals that had a decent life. Most vegetarians eat eggs without ever asking from where they came. That's far more uncaring than what I do.

I take responsibility for eating meat, and my prayer serves to teach my child respect for life. Not guilt, because that's unnecessary. Vegetarians run from guilt. While I accept that burden: animals die so my family will be sustained. It's natural. And we're part of nature. No need to run from that.

Humans can - as omnivores - indeed get nutrients from plants and meat. But since plants do not contain B12, there's nothing to get from there, and there's no justifiable reason why we should let our children suffer from B12 deficiency in order to spare the occasional animal an untimely death.

"Also, chickens, cows and sheep do not pose a threat to our lives, either."

They don't have to in order for us to eat them in accordance with the laws of nature. Again, ONE condition is enough. We kill them in order to eat, and that's how every predator does it. And how every herbivore s about eating plants, too. Kill to eat. Legit.

The allegedly unique case of the woman in my example gets to show that it is possible to eat meat and feel guilt. Which my opponent claimed was impossible. Post-hoc nonsense, there.

I also want to point out that my opponent left lots of my points unaddressed, and I extend all of those.

I thank the audience for their time reading and judging this.

Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mightbenihilism 1 year ago
I'm kidding, BoggyDag, although I do think plants are stranger beasties than we give them credit for. I'm fascinated by "plant" consciousness. I hope to reincarnate as a pumpkin.
Posted by BoggyDag 1 year ago
I wouldn't go that far, but to each their own.
What I'm saying is not that plants ARE sentient. I say there's no proof they are NOT.
As was the case for animals once. Turned out they are.
May happen wih plants. May not. But the self-righteousness of SOME vegetarians is somewhat disturbing.
Posted by mightbenihilism 1 year ago
BoggyDad speaks wisdom.

I think, at root, some vegetarians and vegans wish to feel superior. So the idea of plant sentiency threatens them to their core, for it would mean they are just as abominable and ferocious as their fellow humans. But it isn't people who are so awful: it is nature. Mother nature has foredoomed us all to a painful death at the hands of some other animal, or by our own failing flesh. The world is soaked in blood, and though we may not be able to hear them, the screams of all the dead still echo. Yet nature is too formidable an enemy for us: so we content ourselves picking at each other, righteous and smug.

A potato is as conscious and alive as a puppy. The cells that make up a banana are each as deserving of life as any woman or man. And nature will kill them all the same: grinding them into nothingness, as indifferent as a prison cell. Plucking a young onion from the earth is like clubbing a baby seal; there's no escape from the horror. Lovecraft was correct: in the center of the universe is the blind idiot alien overlord Azag-thoth, piping its insane rhythms, indifferent at times, sadistic at others, but never sweet, never gentle. And someday, we too will enter into its jaws.
Posted by BoggyDag 1 year ago
Claiming locomotion to be necessary for sentience is totally biased.
Plants do have an appetite. Once a plant has taken in enough water, it will stop drinking. It's basically the same thing.
But demanding locomotionis narrow-minded, and above all totally ableist.
You would deny paraplegic humans sentience with that.
Posted by BoggyDag 1 year ago
"Plants are able to "remember" and "react" to information contained in light, according to researchers.

Plants, scientists say, transmit information about light intensity and quality from leaf to leaf in a very similar way to our own nervous systems.
These "electro-chemical signals" are carried by cells that act as "nerves" of the plants. [...]
In previous work, Professor Karpinski found that chemical signals could be passed throughout whole plants - allowing them to respond to and survive changes and stresses in their environment.

But in this new study, he and his colleagues discovered that when light stimulated a chemical reaction in one leaf cell, this caused a "cascade" of events and that this was immediately signalled to the rest of the plant via a specific type of cell called a "bundle sheath cell".

The scientists measured the electrical signals from these cells, which are present in every leaf. They likened the discovery to finding the plants' "nervous system".

Thinking plants

What was even more peculiar, Professor Karpinski said, was that the plants' responses changed depending on the colour of the light that was being shone on them.
"There were characteristic [changes] for red, blue and white light," he explained.

He suspected that the plants might use the information encoded in the light to stimulate protective chemical reactions. He and his colleagues examined this more closely by looking at the effect of different colours of light on the plants' immunity to disease. [...]

Professor Christine Foyer, a plant scientist from the University of Leeds, said the study "took our thinking one step forward".

"Plants have to survive stresses, such as drought or cold, and live through it and keep growing," she told BBC News.

"This requires an appraisal of the situation and an appropriate response - that's a form of intelligence."
Posted by mightbenihilism 1 year ago

What works have you read on the sentiency of plants and what did you find dissatisfying or unpersuasive in the evidence presented by such works?
Posted by calk95 1 year ago
It is pretty hilarious thT anyone would bring up the 'but plants might have feelings too'
I mean surely you must have a basic concept of sentience,I might stop sitting on my sofa cos maybe that has feelings??)?)??

'Though certain scientific studies have shown that plants can react to stimuli, these reactions do not point to sentience because they lack three basic qualifications for requiring sentience:

Sensory organs " Plants don"t have organs which enable them to see, hear, taste, etc. like animals do.
Variability of response " Animals have a conscious perception which acts as an intermediary between their environment and their many different behavioral responses to it. Plants lack this variability in that they will react in the same manner regardless of different scenarios (ex.: growing toward the sun).
Appetite and locomotion " Nature has enabled animals to be sentient because they have the ability to move around. As I discussed briefly in my post about "ethical meat", pain exists to teach sentient creatures what stimuli to avoid in the same way that pleasure exists to teach sentient creatures what stimuli to seek.'
Posted by mightbenihilism 1 year ago
McMrdebateman, you have the truth path.
Posted by MrMcDebateMan 1 year ago
i am a meatarian, this means that i believe in keeping plants alive because we grow them just to kill them they a have feelings too plants are my friends what helps us more plants or animals i eat animals and only animals so deal with it
Posted by BoggyDag 1 year ago
There's no need to justify anything. All that lives either kills or suppresses other life, thus ending or impeding other creatures. Where a tree grows, no other tree can grow, even if a nut is placed in the ground.
It is a fact that biomatter is a limited resource, and not everything can grow without something other dying.
As long as we show our respect, we're not evil for what we eat.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by QTAY21 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Wow, very good debate con. Pro was doomed from the beginning with this one. Saying anyone who eats meat doesn't care about animals? I don't know how you're going to convince me that I don't care about my dog or cat. These are two animals that I consider family, and have saved them from death, at my expense. Do I not care for animals if I have cried over the death of previous pets? Very prejudice of you to say that. Maybe if the argument was "People who eat meat don't care ENOUGH about animals", it would have actually been a challenging debate. Sources to con as well. Wikipedia is not the most trustworthy source.
Vote Placed by TrasguTravieso 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro allowed Con to phrame the debate around the necessity of meat consumption. With the list of people who have lead long lives as vegetarians along with Con's mention of vitamin suplements (which is an unwitting concession that we no longer depend on animal sources for B12) Pro certainly addressed that argument. This, however, meant that no argument was made which fulfilled BoP on the matter at hand, which is that meat eaters do not care about animals. Con's mere anecdotal evidence in claiming to both eat meat and care about animals did more to address the issue than anything else in the debate. Arguments therefore go to Con.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: pro uses personal examples well, but not well enough to defeat con's fact that SOME PEOPLE eat meat, and SOME PEOPLE care. Although indeed, most animals aren't sentient, and indeed, some people may be vegetarians, but those human meat-eaters, those, con's arguments apply to. As long as pro cannot deny that at least some human beings eat meat, then con wins.