The Instigator
NSG
Con (against)
Losing
31 Points
The Contender
Raisor
Pro (for)
Winning
46 Points

Keep animals home as pets

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/28/2007 Category: Health
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 9,878 times Debate No: 1110
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (23)

 

NSG

Con

Animals don't really belong in a human home. We can't properly meet their needs in terms of exercise, diet and environment, so it is cruel to keep them as pets, therefore, I am against keeping animals home as pets.
Raisor

Pro

First I would like you to clarify the policy implications of your stance. Do you advocate:
1. The release of all animals kept in homes, including animals of produce such as cows, chickens, seeing eye dogs, etc.?
2. The release of all in animals kept solely as pets (solely for companionship)?
3. Simply that it is unethical to keep animals (of produce or company or both) in the home, without any actual advocacy for a solution?

I will begin my defense of the ethical issue:

1) Many Animals CHOOSE to live as pets.

There a hundreds of stories of pets getting separated from their owners ("free at last!") and then returning to their human homes, sometimes at great expense to the animal. Many pets are not held forcibly in a human home, but can come and go freely via doggy/cat doors. These pets choose not to run away.

2) Ownership of pets has health benefits to the owner.

"The survival rates of 92 coronary patients were studied by one group of researchers, who found that within a year after hospitalization, 11 of 29 patients without pets, but only 3 of 53 who had pets, died" ("The Healing Power of Pets," The Saturday Evening Post October 1986)

"Written by Allen M. Schoen, D.V.M., M.S., a Colorado State University veterinary medicine professor, the book presents a variety of evidence suggesting that pet ownership can have specific healing effects, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. One such study, done at Australia's University of New England, found that cat owners had fewer psychiatric disturbances than those without feline friends. And research conducted at the University of New York at Buffalo found that hypertensive stockbrokers improved dramatically after owning a pet for six months." (http://www.medicinenet.com...)

3) Current legislation exists to protect pets.

For this point I assume developed countries. I know for a fact that the U.S., Britain, Australia, and Mexico all have laws against animal cruelty. On top of this, many individual citizens feel passionate about the subject and do their part to ensure that the laws are upheld. When pets are mistreated, there is general outrage and swift action to uphold justice. The recent scandal of U.S. football player Michael Vick is an example of this. There is also a piece of legislation called the "European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals."

4) Pets are usually cared for properly.

You have provided no empirical evidence for your statement that "We can't properly meet their needs in terms of exercise, diet and environment." As such, any anecdotal evidence that I provide will outweigh your outright assertion without ANY evidence at all (obviously citation of a proper study would trump anecdotal evidence). I own a dog. He has skin disease so my family buys him food that is supposed to be healthy for dogs with skin disease. He always has water in his bowl. I play with him and walk him regularly, and he seems happiest when he is receiving attention. Most people I know care for their animals properly. Some don't, but as mentioned in argument #3, there are laws to prevent animal cruelty.

5) Pets in captivity have higher standards of living due to medical care, housing, and food.

People are willing to spend extraordinary amounts of money on their pets. Some animals, in the course of medical care, receive operations, MRI's, and eye surgery. Animals in the wild have no hope of receiving medical care. Pets are provided with shelter that far surpasses that of a wild animal. Wild animals must brave the elements- something which is not only extraordinarily unpleasant (think Chicago winter), but also deadly (think Chicago winter). Human shelter also protect pets from natural predators. You claim that we cannot meet animals' dietary needs, despite the fact that one of the major difficulties in the life of a wild animal is finding food. A wild animal isn't concerned with meeting their "dietary needs" so much as staying alive. Pets rarely have to worry about eating from one day to the next. Food is provided for them by their owners.

6) Humans enjoy owning animals.

Humans enjoy the companionship and responsibility of owning animals. This accounts for the popularity of pets. The pleasure derived from the ownership of pets must be taken into account when weighing this debate.

7) Humans can do whatever they want to animals, so long as they aren't being "cruel."

Animals have no legal rights besides freedom from cruelty. The burden of proof lies on you should you decide to claim animals have other rights. This being said, you must prove that the average ownership of a pet is "cruel" in order to win this debate in terms of "animal rights." Given the my claims of the benefits of pet ownership, your claim of animal cruelty must be extremely sound in order to claim the "rights" trump card.

Next I would like to note that a plan that fixes any supposed ethical issues must be supplied in order for you to win this debate. If you have no alternative to keeping animals home as pets (i.e., you cant provide a course of action that fixes the ethical issues and results in an overall better state of affairs) then I win, because I have shown that keeping animals as pets is the best policy alternative.

In other words, even if you show that keeping pets is terrible, you must provide an alternative to show that keeping pets isn't still the best course of action. An example:

Say we are are starving on an island and are rationing the food to prevent depleting the food supply. You may say "rationing is terrible, we never get enough to eat and are always hungry." I then say "That may be the case, but what can we do about it?" Because you would be unable to explain an alternative course of action, you have not shown that we should not ration.

In a similar way, unless you can suggest a better policy option, you have not shown that we should not keep animals as pets.
Debate Round No. 1
NSG

Con

Hello Raisor,

Reply to all of your assumptions:

1.Animals don't choose to be our pets. Dogs are pack animals that need companionship, but they are often kept singly and left during the day. Birds flock together and need to fly free - impossible in the prison of a cage. Burrowing, climbing, swimming or very mobile animals are forced to live unnatural lives in small spaces. Animals are driven to breed but usually are not able to as pets.

2.Keeping pets is a risk to human health. Many animals can pass diseases on to people (such an illness is called zoonosis). Examples include salmonella from handling reptiles and amphibians, psittacosis from parrots and bird flu from many birds. Pregnant women risk their babies by handling cat litter. And many people are allergic to pet hair or feathers.

3.People that are doing pet trade business are after the profit. The pet trade is bad for animals in the wild. Birds and exotic animals in pet stores may have been trapped, often by raiding nests or killing mothers. Usually most of those caught die on the journey to the pet store. For some species collecting for the pet trade may lead to them dying out in the wild.

4.People often fail to look after pets properly. Today we all lead such busy lives that animals can be neglected. Dogs go without walks and proper training, cats don't get their litter trays changed, fish tanks go uncleaned, etc. Many owners let their cats, dogs or hamsters breed, and then fail to find good homes for the babies. We should not look on animals as a consumer toy, to be enjoyed for a while and then put away. Too often films inspire families to buy pets which are then cast off. Examples include (Teenage Mutant Ninja) turtles, clownfish (Finding Nemo), and breeds of dog (any Hollywood dog film).

5. However, what human being have done first is removing pets' reproductive organs before keeping them home.

6.That's the problem, human beings enjoy keeping animals, therefore, they are producing animals for the pet trade. It is cruel! There are two reasons for this. Many dogs are born on puppy farms where conditions are bad and individual dogs do not receive the care they should. In some countries, cats are declawed and dogs have their tails docked (cut off) to make them easier to sell - both cruel and painful processes.
The other reason is that the whole pedigree (purebred) animal business is cruel. Breeding animals to meet human standards is bad science. Getting the physical features we specially want in a breed of dog or cat means breeding from a small group of related individuals. But small gene pools also lead to a whole range of health problems. For example, boxer dogs unable to give birth safely, german shepherds with bad hips, fearful spaniels, bald cats, etc. Crossbreeds (mongrels) are usually both healthier and more intelligent.

7. How do you feel if others remove your reproductive organs?
Raisor

Pro

First I would like to point out that you dropped my arguments about the conditions for deciding who wins this debate. Since you did not dispute them, they stand as true in this round. They are:

1)You must supply a plan of action as an alternative to keeping pets.
2)You must prove this plan to be better than the status quo of keeping pets
3)If you fail to do the above, I am the winner of this debate

You did not dispute these standards in the previous round.

You did not provide a plan of action in the previous round, so as of now I am winning this debate hands down.

1) i. While many animals don't choose to be our pets, many DO. Please see my above examples of lost dogs that return home and cats that have cat doors in my previous round. You did not dispute and of these examples.

ii. Also, just because animals don't choose to be pets doesn't mean they don't like it. Furthermore, you have conceded my #7, which states that the only right animals have is to not be treated cruelly. Not having as much space as life in nature would provide is not a cruelty, so your point doesn't have any bearing on whether we should own pets again.

iii. I contend that other benefits such as medical care, food provision, shelter, etc. make up for the minor discomfort of living in "small spaces."

2) i. You provide no quantification of the risk pets create to health. There is no way to tell from your argument if the risk is serious.

ii. Other contact with animals from farming, at zoos, etc. provides humans with much more contact with animals. Even if we were to not have pets we would still be at risk to animal diseases. Of course, since you have provided no plan of action to evaluate, there is no way to evaluate if the issue would be better or worse after your (currently vague) stance of "no more pets" was enacted.

iii Finally, people have the right to put themselves at risk. They do so every day when they drive, eat junk food, fly airplanes, ski, etc. If people choose to accept the risk of contracting a disease from their pet, that is their choice.

3) i. Your point 3 simply points out a flaw in the way pets are provided to people, not something intrinsically wrong with owning pets. A parallel case: often cocoa beans are harvested using abusive child labor. This doesn't make eating chocolate wrong.

ii. Most pets are obtained legally and humanely. Your argument only applies to a few exotic animals and is not applicable to pet owners at large. My golden lab wasn't forcefully taken from the jungle.

iii. Once again, I have no way of evaluating whether or not changing "keeping animals home as pets" would solve the problem of abusive animal trading, because you don't provide any plan to change this.

4) i. No quantification or way to evaluate. This isn't cruelty so it isn't relevant. (that's my point 7)

ii. This applies to a very small group of people. You have no evidence that this is common practice. Owners are innocent until proven guilty, so the burden is on you to demonstrate that poor care is a common practice.

iii. Why can't animals be looked at as a consumer toy? You provide no reason why this is wrong. Animals don't have the same rights as humans. So long as the animal is not being excessively mistreated (cruelty), the owner has done nothing wrong.

5) I'm assuming this is a response to my #5, but I have no idea how it affects this debate. In fact, spaying/ neutering is GOOD for the pet. The Humane Society:

"Spaying or Neutering Is Good for Your Pet
�Spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives.
�Spaying and neutering can eliminate or reduce the incidence of a number of health problems that can be very difficult or expensive to treat.
�Spaying eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer and greatly reduces the incidence of breast cancer, particularly when your pet is spayed before her first estrous cycle.
�Neutering eliminates testicular cancer and decreases the incidence of prostate disease."
This is another reason why owning pets is good.

6) i. Once again, this Is not an argument against owning pets, but an argument against some particular aspects of the current system. I can say "you're right, I agree, we shouldn't do these things. We should only own pets that weren't brought up on puppy farms and aren't purebred." That's just one way of showing that your criticisms don't relate to the ownership of pets in general.

ii. "Not having pets" wont solve the problem of pedigree animals. This is a problem that is already created. This is just another example of how you need to provide a clear course of action that I can evaluate!

iii. The pet trade isn't inherently cruel. People should just be responsible about where they get their pets from so as to not support businesses that treat animals poorly.

7) How I feel isn't relevant to this debate at all. Im not sure what your point is.

Note that you did not dispute my point 2, that pet ownership has health benefits to the owner, or my number 3, that current legislation exists that protects animals from cruelty..

I would like to say once again, that this debate is extremely difficult to conduct without knowing exactly what the Con is advocating. Does she want to ban the sale of pets? Does she want to reform the pet industry? What actual policy does she want to institute to solve the problems she mentions? Without a policy advocacy, the Con loses this debate. As a judge, you should vote for me simply because I am the only one with a clear policy advocacy: the status quo, keeping things the way they are.
Debate Round No. 2
NSG

Con

NSG forfeited this round.
Raisor

Pro

I will not add more to my case in this round. I will simply restate the framework to this debate that my opponent has accepted via her silence on the issue:

"Next I would like to note that a plan that fixes any supposed ethical issues must be supplied in order for you to win this debate. If you have no alternative to keeping animals home as pets (i.e., you cant provide a course of action that fixes the ethical issues and results in an overall better state of affairs) then I win, because I have shown that keeping animals as pets is the best policy alternative.

In other words, even if you show that keeping pets is terrible, you must provide an alternative to show that keeping pets isn't still the best course of action. An example:

Say we are are starving on an island and are rationing the food to prevent depleting the food supply. You may say "rationing is terrible, we never get enough to eat and are always hungry." I then say "That may be the case, but what can we do about it?" Because you would be unable to explain an alternative course of action, you have not shown that we should not ration.

In a similar way, unless you can suggest a better policy option, you have not shown that we should not keep animals as pets."

"I would like to say once again, that this debate is extremely difficult to conduct without knowing exactly what the Con is advocating. Does she want to ban the sale of pets? Does she want to reform the pet industry? What actual policy does she want to institute to solve the problems she mentions? Without a policy advocacy, the Con loses this debate. As a judge, you should vote for me simply because I am the only one with a clear policy advocacy: the status quo, keeping things the way they are."
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by HellKat 6 years ago
HellKat
If we let all of our pets go that would be extremly harmful to the pets and to people, all those animals running around on their own isn't really good for them because they're used to having their food given to them instead of having to go and get it, and it's harmful to people in many ways aswell.

1. Free dogs and cats running around have a higher risk of attaining diseases that they could then pass one to any humans they come in contact with.

2. Seeing eye and hearing animals are of great benefit to deaf and blind people, far greater benefit than any risk to anyone really. Do you really want to take away the only thing that helps a deaf or blind person live a safer life.

3. Dogs that don't live in a home often end up becoming somewhat savage and attack people, even without provocation. Cats do this as well.
Posted by Lacan 6 years ago
Lacan
Its opening argument and then its all you. there is no other way to vote bro.
Posted by beem0r 6 years ago
beem0r
They might have seen the omission of a round on the part of Con and decided you won based on that.
Also, great debating style. Brazen and assertive. It's a very convincing style.
Posted by Raisor 6 years ago
Raisor
Ok, what is this?

The debate has been over for four minutes and I already have 3 votes. There is no way people read the entire debate in FOUR MINUTES.

Does anyone understand the concept of judging?

You judge a debate based on the quality of the arguments in the debate, not on which side you agree with.

Ideally, if someone says "Murder is good" and makes excellent points while their opponent makes poor ones, the judge should vote for "Murder is good."
Posted by symphonyofdissent 6 years ago
symphonyofdissent
I am leaving the country tommorow morning and may not have internet, so I can't take on this debate, but I wanted to offer an evolutionary argument in favor of pets.

I would hold that the domesticity of animals was a mutualistic relationship and exchange between human beings and animals. As we bred animals to be more tame and complacent those that were were rewarded with easy access to food and a more peaceful existance. Over time, however, the genetic changes increased, so much so in fact that new and completely domesticated species emerged.

To now go back and argue that having pets is in someways immoral seems silly. It is clear that because domesticated and friendly animals are so rampant that something about this development helped them to survive in a substantial sense. Moreover, now that they are so used to surviving in close interaction with human beings to categorically urge for their release is disastrous and benefits no one.
Posted by sethgecko13 6 years ago
sethgecko13
Do you mean even domesticated animals like dogs and cats, or are you talking more about exotic animals like large cats, large reptiles, and large exotic birds?
23 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by moeinc 4 years ago
moeinc
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