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The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Justice requires the recognition of animal rights

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/22/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,088 times Debate No: 22260
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)




Resolved: Justice requires the recognition of animal rights

This debate is for 16kadams tournament, round one.
I am affirming the resolution, my opponent is negating.
First round is for acceptance, everything else is for the debate.

I wish him luck.


Many thanks to Zaradi for proposing this topic. I look forward to a thought-provoking debate.
Debate Round No. 1



As justice is prescribed by the resolution, we must allow justice to recognize and provide for the capabilities of living organisms. Martha Nussbaum writes:

[T]he dignity of a form of life that possesses both deep needs and abilities…is to take into account the rich plurality of activities that sentient beings need — all those that are required for a life with dignity…that it is a waste and a tragedy when a living creature has an innate capability for some functions that are evaluated as important and good, but never gets the opportunity to perform those functions. Failures to educate women, failures to promote adequate health care, failures to extend the freedoms of speech and conscience to all citizens — all those are treated as causing a kind of premature death[.]

Thus justice must account for the dignity of life forms and allow their capabilities to flourish. These capabilities include things like sensations, life, and bodily health. All capabilities are equal and trade off with one another. Only this approach to justice respects the unique capabilities of each individual species and subject. Nussbaum continues:

There is much to be learned from reflection on the continuum of life. Capacities do crisscross and overlap: A chimpanzee may have more capacity for empathy and perspectival thinking than a very young child, or than an older child with autism. And capacities that humans sometimes arrogantly claim for themselves alone are found very widely in nature. But it seems wrong to conclude from such facts that species membership is morally and politically irrelevant. A child with mental disabilities is actually very different from a chimpanzee, though in certain respects some of her capacities may be comparable. Such a child's life is difficult in a way that the life of a chimpanzee is not difficult[.] There is something blighted and disharmonious in her life, whereas the life of a chimpanzee may be perfectly flourishing.

Thus, we must respect the capabilities of each individual.

Contention one: Animals have capabilities that justice must allow to flourish. Nussbaum continues:

The same attitude to natural powers that guides the approach in the case of human beings guides it in the case of nonhuman animals: Each form of life is worthy of respect, and it is a problem of justice when a creature does not have the opportunity to unfold itspower, to flourish in its own way, and to lead a life with dignity. The fact that so many animals never get to move around, enjoy the air, exchange affection with other members of their kind — all that is a waste and a tragedy, and it is not a life in keeping with the dignity of such creatures. [S]eeing our ethical duties to animals as direct, not indirect, and also in its starting point, a basic concern for sentient life, not just rational life it takes an interest not just in pleasure and pain, but in complex forms of life.

Thus animals also can be influenced in positive and negative ways. Bernard Rollin writes:

[A]ny sentient or conscious being has states that matter to it in a positive or negative way - pleasure matters to an animal in a positive way, pain or fear in a negative way. [The Animal] can value what happens to it, it has intrinsic value. Given the logic of morality, we should extend our moral attention to those states that matter to it when our actions affect that being. [N]ot all of our moral attention focuses on reason. Most of it focuses on feeling, on not hurting people physically or mentally, or helping them be happy or escape from suffering. So if human beings are ends in themselves, why not animals, since they too have feelings and goals that they value?

Thus, sentient beings can have their interests affected in positive and negative ways that harm their capabilities. And there is a distinction between intrinsicly valuable capabilites and those that we can violate. Nussbaum resumes:

[T]he capabilities view distinguish[es] two aspects of the capability in question. A tiger's capability to kill small animalsdoes not have intrinsic ethical value, and political principles can omit it. But a tiger's capability to exercise its predatory nature so as to avoid the pain of frustration may well have value, if the pain of frustration is considerable. Zoos have learned how to make that distinction. Noticing that they were giving predatory animals insufficient exercise for their predatory capacities, they have had to face the question of the harm done to smaller animals by allowing such capabilities to be exercised.The Bronx Zoo has found that it can give the tiger a large ball on a rope, whose resistance and weight symbolize the gazelle.The tiger seems satisfied. Wherever predatory animals are living under direct human support and control, such solutions seem the most ethically sound.

The capabilites approach is not a prohibition on killing animals or using them at all but is rather an approach that ensures animal flourishing is calculated as well. Kami Daws writes:

[T]here may be cases where the perceivable mistreatment of animals is potentially justifiable, such as the killing of animals for food and the experimentation on them for medical research[.] Nussbaum never explicitly states the killing of animals for food is justifiable, she implies that it is acceptable as long as the slaughtering is humane and painless for the animals[.]Nussbaum does argue “against killing at least the more complexly sentient animals for food”… while research that inflicts the risk of disease, pain, or premature death on animals is immoral, it is possible that research to promote human health and safety is acceptable if experimentation is absolutely necessary and is done humanely[.]… Nussbaum accepts human uses of animals as long as the treatment of them does not violate basic animal entitlements.

Contention 2: the logic of excluding animal rights is flawed. Animal rights are based on arbitrary distinctions between species that justify more exclusion like racism or sexism. Peter Singer writes:

[T]his suggestion should be made in defence of treating members of our species better than members of another species, when it would be firmly rejected if it were used to justify treating members of our race or sex better than members of another race or sex. [T]he impact of possible differences in IQ between members of different ethnic groups, whatever the difference between the average scores for different groups, some members of the group with the lower average score will do better than some members of the group with the higher average score, and we ought to treat people as individuals and not according to the average score for their ethnic group[.] [W]e cannot consistently accept the suggestion that we should grant profoundly intellectually disabled humans the status or rights normal for their species.

Finally, ignoring animal rights actually harms humans as well. Justice requires the recognition of all animals otherwise humans will be excluded as well. Mark Rowlands writes:

It is impossible to view the world and everything in it primarily as a resource without this infecting the way we view each other. This is the logical culmination of the resource-based view of nature: humans are part of nature, and therefore humans are resources too. And whenever something—humans or otherwise—is viewed primarily a resource, things generally don’t go well for it. [I]ts implications for human beings, is exemplified in our treatment of animals…They are things to be eaten, things to be experimented on, things to be stared at, hunted or killed for our entertainment…[W]hen you are talking about fundamental ways of conceptualizing and understanding the world, what goes around comes around. The instrumental view of animals necessarily infects our views of humans.[T]he dialectic by which the instrumental view of animals becomes transformed into an instrumental view of human beings, and the unfortunate consequences this transformation yields.



Burden of Proof

Animal Rights: the idea that the most basic interests of animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings. Animals should no longer be regarded as property, or used as food, clothing, research subjects, or entertainment, but should instead be viewed as legal persons and members of the moral community -- from Wikipedia

As such, Pro has the burden to show a just society must provide animals legal access to similar rights as humans. To show animals deserve moral consideration does not meet this burden. Pro must prove animals deserve not only moral consideration but legal rights on par with those given to humans.

Re: Pro's Case

Pro's overarching argument boils down to the following claims:

1. "We must respect the capabilities of each individual."
2. "All capabilities are equal and trade off with one another."
3. "Animals have capabilities that justice must allow to flourish"
4. Denying animal rights is discriminatory and leads to more "exclusion like racism or sexism."

(1) alone is not enough to grant animals access to legal rights. When (1) is coupled with (2), however, Pro provides the (hypothetical) framework for arguing (3) and (4). It is clear, then, that Pro's entire argument depends on the soundness of (2). I argue (2) is false: it jumps from the conclusion that capabilities deserve moral consideration, the conclusion of (1), to the conclusion of (2) that all capabilities deserve "equal" moral consideration. The jump in logic is unsubstantiated and unsupportable. If we were to compare the moral worth of a dog's life to a human's life, it goes against all our moral intuitions to say a dog's life is morally equivalent to the life of a human being. Hence, (2) cannot be correct, and therefore, neither can Pro's argument for (3) or (4).

For example, take (3): Pro argues that, because animals are "sentient and conscious" of what happens to them, they deserve moral consideration. Because animals feel pleasure and pain like humans, animals deserve "moral attention." But Pro admits (2) cannot be true when Pro, along with Martha Nussbaum, acknowledges that (3) does not prohibit the killing or use of animals for furthering human goals. Pro implicitly denies the plausibility of (2) by granting humans greater moral value than animals. Hence, while (3) may provide a basis for giving animals moral attention, it does not provide a basis for granting animals legal rights.

Pro's (4) presents Peter Singer's well-known argument against speciesism. But because (4) depends on (2), Singer's argument is false. Singer argues, if animals deserve moral consideration, it must be equal to the moral consideration given to humans. But suppose a dog was attacking a human infant and the only way to prevent this was inflicting severe pain on the dog—more pain, in fact, than the bite would inflict on the infant. Pro, along with Singer, would have to say: let the dog bite. As Richard Posner explains, "Singer's position is that if an animal feels pain, the pain matters as much as it does when a human being feels pain, provided the pain is as great; and it matters more if it is greater." [1] But any moral person (not only the infant's parents) would question sparing the dog, even though doing so would minimize the sum of pain in the world.

The superior moral consideration we grant the human infant than the dog is a moral intuition deeper than any reason that could be given for it and impervious to any reason that anyone could give against it. Hence, although race and gender have been proven morally irrelevant categories, membership in the human species, as opposed to other species, is a morally relevant fact.

At this point, I want to return to a discussion of (1). (1) is a claim that is possibly more dubious and dangerous than (2). For example, if the "capability" of being "sentient and conscious" were enough to grant moral consideration, as Pro argues it is, why are computers categorically excluded from moral consideration? Many scientists and philosophers believe computers will soon achieve consciousness, and no one disputes that computers have already developed particular cognitive capacities that exceed the cognitive capacity of animals and humans. But most of us would think it downright wrong to give rights or moral consideration to computers. The claim that sentience or cognitive capacity deserves moral consideration is clearly suspect, as is Pro's subsequent claim that moral consideration of all capabilities is equal. Hence, Pro's framework, including both (1) and (2), is clearly false. And therefore, Pro's (3) and (4) are also false.

Property Status

Justice cannot require the recognition of animal rights because justice requires animals be treated as objects of human ownership. Why? Because the survival and advancement of human civilization depended on the domestication and use of animals. As University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein insists, "There would be nothing left of human society if we treated animals not as property but as independent holders of rights." [2]

Jared Diamond argues there are "many ways in which big domestic animals were crucial to those human societies possessing them. Most notably, they provided meat, milk products, fertilizer, land transport, leather, military assault vehicles, plow traction, and wool, as well as germs that killed previously unexposed people." Smaller animals, such as birds, were likewise domesticated for their "meat, egg[s] and feathers." [3]

Today, the blood of a slaughtered cow is used to manufacture plywood adhesives, fertilizer, fire extinguisher foam, and dyes. The cow's fat helps make plastic, tires, crayons, cosmetics, lubricants, soaps, detergents, cough syrup, contraceptive jellies and creams, ink, shaving cream, fabric softeners, synthetic rubber, jet engine lubricants, textiles, corrosion inhibitors, and metalmachining lubricants. Her collagen is found in pie crusts, yogurts, matches, bank notes, paper, and cardboard glue, her intestines used in strings for musical instruments and racquets, her bones in charcoal ash for refining sugar, in ceramics, and in cleaning and polishing compounds.

Today, we are all complicit in human ownership of animals. Animals are assets with positive economic value, and as such are important objects of a system of property law. Animals were pivotal to the survival of past human societies, and their central role in human survival continues even today.

Benefits to Animals from Ownership by Humans

Human ownership of animals has worked to the advantage of animals and not to their detriment. Left in their natural state, life in the wild leaves animals exposed to the elements, to attacks by other animals, to the inability to find food or shelter, to accidental injury, and to disease.

owners, on the other hand, spend large quantites of resources to ensure the protection of animals (their property). Humans often provide animals with food and shelter that said animals would not otherwise have found. As for injury and disease, veterinary medicine may not be at the level of human medicine, but it is not far behind. When it comes to medical care, it’s better to be a sick cat in a middle-class U.S. household than a sick peasant in a Third World country. Even death from human ownership is more humane than in nature. Slaughter that spares cattle unnecessary anxiety and suffering tends to improve the amount and quality of the meat that is left behind. Hence, it is in human interests economically and morally to provide a more humane death than death in the wild.


Pro argues for animal rights. By way of response, I attacked Pro's framework by unpacking its inherent absurdity and incompatibility with our deepest moral intuitions. I concluded by arguing animals should be considered human property.


[1] Sunstein, Cass and Nussbaum, Martha. Animal Debates: Current Debates and New Directions
[3] Diamon, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel
Debate Round No. 2


On the BOP:

I argue that the burden placed upon me by the pro is absolutely ridiculous. What my opponent means by this is that animals having the same rights as human to the full extent (i.e. voting rights, the right to bear arms, etc.) But this burden is absolutely ridiculous to place upon me, as it's impossible to prove true. As Peter Singer explains:

Obviously nonhuman animals cannot have equal rights to vote and nor should they be held criminally responsible for what they do. That is not the kind of equality I want to extend to nonhuman animals. The fundamental form of equality is equal consideration of interests, and it is this that we should extend beyond the boundaries of our own species. Essentially this means that if an animal feels pain, the pain matters as much as it does when a human feels pain—if the pains hurt just as much. How bad pain and suffering are does not depend on the species of being that experiences it.

This equal consideration of interests is exactly the "moral consideration" my opponent discredits. As such, it's my burden to prove that justice would require this equal consideration of interests. Prefer my burden because it's much more fair and is actually able to be fulfilled.

On Nussbaum 2:

My opponent completely misunderstands what this card is saying. He says that this card is saying that all capabilities deserve "equal" consideration, but that's not what the card is saying. What Nussbaum 2 is talking about is how capabilities can be found in different species, and that there is no unique capabilitiy to one species, thus making the capabilities equal and trade off with one another. Since he hasn't actually responded to what the card is actually saying, he's essentially conceded it. Clear extension.

His only other argument was saying that the life of a human is far more in worth than that of a dog, but 1) there's no warrant other than his assertion that this is true and 2) all this is is a baseless, fallacious appeal to emotions without an actual warrant.

On Contention One:

I'm a little confused as to what my opponent means by this argument. It seems he doesn't really understand what my evidence is saying. Allow me to clarify. A life is not the same thing as a capability (i.e. a capability being able to walk, to breathe, to roam, to hunt, etc.) He's taking my talk about capabilities and interchanging it with life and value, which entirely strawmans my argument. It is the capabilities that animals possess that justice must allow to flourish, as my argument clearly talks about, which is why justice requires the recognition of animal rights.

Nothing about this argument disproves my framework. But it is true that the recognition of rights does not prohibit killing, as the Daws evidence provides us. As long as the killing is done humanely and gives consideration to the animal's capabilities, then it would be permissible.

At which point you can extend Nussbaum 3, which points out that animals all have capabilities that justice must allow to flourish. This warrant was NEVER adressed in my opponent's last speech: it went entirely conceded. In so far as I'm proving that animals have capabilities that justice must allow to flourish and that justice requires us to consider the capabilities of all animals, I'm fulfilling my burden for the round and thus is enough for me to win.

Also, extend the Daws evidence, which says that things like killing and ownership of animals isn't prohibited by justice as long as it is done with consideration to the animal's interests. There was nothing said against this in the last round, it went entirely conceded. It's going to be play an intergral part in the dismantling of my opponent's arguments, so keep it in mind as we progress.

Next, I'm sad to say that my opponent has comitted a bit of plagiarism. His argument against the Singer evidence I provided in my case was, effectively, copy/pasted, with little to no credit given to the actual author of his argument (Posner). The quoted argument from Posner's words are below:

Suppose a dog menaced a human infant and the only way to prevent the dog from biting the infant was to inflict severe pain on the dog—more pain, in fact, than the bite would inflict on the infant. You would have to say, let the dog bite (for "if an animal feels pain, the pain matters as much as it does when a human feels pain," provided the pain is as great). But any normal person (and not merely the infant's parents!), including a philosopher when he is not self-consciously engaged in philosophizing, would say that it would be monstrous to spare the dog, even though to do so would minimize the sum of pain in the world.

The italicized part is what my opponent credits Posner with saying, while the bolded is what was not credited. Notice the glaring similarities between the word choice and sentance structure of the two arguments. I ask my opponent use his own arguments to rebute mine and if he uses evidence from another person, to give credit where credit is due.

But to respond to the actual argument, there's literally no warrant to it. All it is is a massive, fallacious appeal to emotions with no actual warrant for why it is true or why it matters or makes my argument invalid.

And to respond to my opponents arguments against Nussbaum 1, the reason why computers are not granted rights is because they are not alive and living, and thus cannot be sentient and conscious in the sense that my case implies and the resolution implies. When they become alive and living, then of course they ought to be granted the same consideration.

In so far as I've refuted all my opponent's arguments against my case, it can clearly be extended. There were many warrants my opponent conceded, but that will be adressed at the end. Now let's respond to my opponent's arguments.

My opponent's arguments rest on the fact that the domestication and exploitation of animals is necessary for the advancement of the human race. The one and only problem with this is the Daws evidence I provided in my case that says that as long as the animal's capabilities are given consideration, the killing and exploitation of them would be a permissible action. So in the affirmative world, I would be able to still have the same animal products that would advance the human race. His argument is inherently non-unique. Since he conceded the Daws evidence, this is going to have added weight to it. In so far as this is true, there is no offense for him to garner off of his case that can't also be used as offense for me. His case is defused in a single blow.

With that being said, the debate breaks down pretty easily from this point:

1. My opponent misunderstands my case, and his arguments misconstrue what I'm saying.
2. Most of my opponent's arguments are fallacious appeals to emotion without an actual warrant.
3. My opponent has conceded far to many warrants in my case (i.e. the Daws evidence, the Rowlands evidence that says that if we do not consider the animals capabilities, we will be next to be wrongfully exploited, and the Nussbaum 3 evidence). All of which prove wonders for my case and disprove his case.
4. I'm refuting all of my opponent's arguments and giving clear extensions off my evidence.

So at this point, there's really no reason not to vote pro.


Burden of Proof

The resolution clearly indicates this debate is about something more than mere "consideration" of animals. It is about animal rights. My opponent, as Pro, has the burden to show a just society must grant animals access to legal rights.

Pro states the "animal rights"-burden cannot be fulfilled. Not sure why, both Peter Singer and Martha Nussbaum argue for animal rights and not only for moral consideration. This suggests the burden can be fulfilled. That said, by arguing the burden cannot be fulfilled, Pro implies that animals cannot be holders of legal rights. Pro in effect concedes the debate when Pro asks readers to "prefer" his "equal consideration"-burden because it is "actually able to be fulfilled."

Nussbaum 2

According to Pro, Nussbaum 2 claims that capabilities in different species are "equal and trade off with one another." Pro claims this does not mean capabilities deserve "equal consideration." I agree. It turns out I was granting Pro a stronger argument than Pro was actually making. Pro admits equal capabilities does not lead to equal consideration. So what is Pro saying here? That the capability of a human to swim is equivalent to another animal's capability to swim. The capabilities can "trade off with one another." I agree. What does this fact tell us about moral consideration of animals? According to Pro's own argument, absolutely nothing.

Pro claims I have no support for my claim that human life is more valuable than the life of a dog. I supported the claim in two ways: 1) because Pro admits humans can use and kill animals, implying human life is more valuable than animal life; and 2) by referring to deeply held moral intuitions (which are the basis of all ethical thinking).

Contention 1

Pro claims a "life is not the same thing as a capability." I agree. But depriving anything of life necessarily deprives it of the capacity to exercise all its capabilities.

Pro claims the capabilities animals possess should be allowed to flourish. What are the consequences of allowing animals to exercise their capabilities freely? If I am not mistaken, it means a grizzly bear with the natural capability to kill and eat humans should be allowed to exercise that capability. I disagree. Granting a grizzly bear the right to kill humans conflicts with our deepest moral intuitions.

Pro claims killing animals is allowed as long as it "gives consideration to the animal's capabilities." Killing, by definition, deprives animals of their capabilities. How can Pro justify the killing and exploitation of animals by humans while arguing for animal rights? Pro's position is logically incoherent.

Pro "extends" evidence that "ownership of animals isn't prohibited by justice." Human ownership of animals is incompatible with animal rights. When an animal becomes the property of a human, it becomes the equivalent of a slave. We are allowed to do whatever we want to our property. If an animal has rights, it cannot be property. Pro admits that justice allows animals to be property. Hence, Pro admits that justice does not require animal rights.

Pro claims I commit plagiarism. I explicitly cited Posner, and I follow that with a direct quote. As for the paraphrasing with similar wording, I wanted to explain Posner's thought-experiment using as little character space as possible. Regardless of what Pro may think, I referenced Posner. But so what if I had not cited Posner? The argument still holds. Pro can try to draw attention away from Posner's argument by calling it plagiarism, but that does not change validity of the argument.

Pro claims Posner's argument rests on a "fallacious appeal to emotions." But Pro does not explain why or how it is "fallacious." The argument is a thought-experiment intended to bring out our moral intuitions. Moral intuitions are the heart of moral philosophy, and they are usually brought out by thought-experiments. Even the results of Kant's moral constructivism (categorical imperative) is largely determined by our moral intuitions.

Let me clarify what Posner's argument says. Posner argues that equality in civil rights occurred because "facts mounted that there were no morally significant differences between humans based on race, sex, or sexual orientation that would support inequality. If and when similar facts emerge about the difference, or lack thereof, between humans and animals, the differences in rights will erode too." The point is that equality is supported through facts, or as Posner states, "facts will drive equality." [1]

Claiming that a dog's pain is morally equivalent to an infant's pain is not supported by the facts. Animals are far less judgmental than humans. As long as we feed them, dogs return affection regardless of what we do to them. Animals thus do not deserve equal moral consideration as humans.

Pro claims computers are not granted rights "because they are not alive and living, and thus cannot be sentient and conscious." If sentience or consciousness is the quality of things that gives them moral consideration, then whether something is alive or not is irrelevant. Furthermore, there are many examples of things that are "alive and living" that are not the moral equivalent of humans. Mosquitoes and rats, for example.

Many scientists and philosophers have argued that computers will achieve consciousness soon. Nonliving things can conceivably have consciousness and feel pain/pleasure. Should we then give moral consideration to nonliving things that are conscious and feel pain/pleasure? Our deepest moral intuitions tell us that computers should be categorically excluded from moral consideration. As such, sentience and consciousness are not sufficient reasons for granting moral consideration.

Pro argues that the "killing and exploitation" of animals is a "permissible action." I agree. How does Pro reconcile the killing and exploitation of animals with animal rights? I'm not sure. Pro seems to think that, as long as animals are respected and treated "humanely," that animals have been granted legal rights. But reality is anything but. Pro explicitly admits that human ownership of animals is permissible. If something is property, justice does not require it have rights. Animals can be property, and therefore, do not hold rights.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 3



The legal rights my opponent is trying to get me to fulfill is incompatable with actual reality. If we were to follow the burden my opponent is trying to place on me, I would have to justify why my pet cat has the ability to vote for the next president, which is highly non-sensical. In effect, he's attempting to stick me with a burden both of us know is unfulfillable. My burden is a) still in line with the resolution, as when we respect their capabilities, the respect for life and happiness come with it and b) more fair since it is actually logically provable, as giving your dog Fido the right to bear arms and the right to vote are logically nonsensical.

Besides that, my opponent conceded the second Singer card I brought up to warrant my burden. Thusly, the burden on the pro debater is to prove that justice requires equal consideration of interests. Since I'm doing that already, and will be further doing that at the end of this round, you vote pro.

Nussbaum 2:

My opponent misconstrues this argument once again and completely ignores the previous arguments in defense of it. By equal capabilities, as I stated last round, I meant that capabilities are not unique to one simple species. This doesn't necessarily lead to equal consideration. What this tells about the consideration of the capabilities of animals is that if animals have intrinsically valuable capabilities, justice must allow them to flourish. This is proven by Nussbaum 3 and 4, both of which have gone entirely conceded throughout this debate.

His argument that human life is more valuable than dog life is still unsupported. He tries to support it with two things, however both fail. 1 fails because my argument in no way implies that. This misconstrues what I'm actually saying. 2 fails because what this justification is saying is that, basically, it's right because it just is. Mhmmm, totally logically valid.

Con claims that when we kill, we deprive it of it's capabilities. I agree, but this doesn't actually refute any of my evidence. As long as we take into consideration of the animal's capabilities before hand, as the CONCEDED Daws analysis states, then killing them is alright. I will go into further explanation as to what this means later, where he specifically adressed Daws.

Con claims that animals have capabilities that would be detrimental if allowed to flourish. I agree, but this was already discussed in Nussbaum 4, which has gone entirely conceded throughout this debate. Capabilities must have intrinsic value (i.e. a tiger's right to exercise it's predatory capabilities as to avoid the pain of frustration). In so far as this went conceded, this argument is null.

Con argues that since killing deprives animals of their capabilities, then my position is logically incoherent. Not true. As the CONCEDED Daws evidence explicitly states that as long as we are taking into consideration of their capabilities (i.e. not depriving them of their capabilities), then the HUMANE killing of them is justified. My position is still logically coherent.

Con claims that since I admitted that justice doesn't prohibit owning animals, that justice doesn't require it. Again, I ask you look to the CONCEDED Daws evidence. Apparently, my opponent has realized the gravity of his error in conceding it in his first round, and now has decided to go all-out in trying to refute it. I ask the voters to look back to the last round and realize that he made, literally, no arguments against Daws. I extended it clearly as a conceded argument. Prefer that link and clearly extend it across the round.

Con claims that he had, actually, not plagiarized, but I ask that you refer to the parts of the argument he DID quote Posner on and did not give the credit for. This is the very definition of plagiarism, quoting someone else's work while not giving the original author credit, and I ask that he be deducted in a conduct point at the least, the argument dropped at the most to punish bad behaviour and conduct.

Con claims that since I didn't say WHY it was an appeal to emotions, then it isn't fallacious. But this only a) concedes that it IS a fallacious appeal to emotions and b) presupposes why I have to justify your argument being something. The voters can read, I merely need to point out that the argument is a fallacious appeal to emotions. But to appease you, I shall explain why it is. The entire premise of Posner's argument is, literally, saying "Who would let a dog bite a baby? I mean, it's a freaking baby!" This only just appeals to the emotions of the voter with no actual warrant for truth, and thus is a fallacious appeal to emotions.

Con claims that living is irrelevant to sentience and consciousness. But I'd like to point out what I thought was pretty obvious before, but one cannot be sentient and conscious in the way the resolution implies if you are not alive. Computers are not alive, hence they do not deserve consideration. Once they gain life, hence gaining sentience and consciousness, then they would then deserve consideration, as I stated last round. He then tries to state things that are alive (i.e. the example of animals and rats) that don't have consideration. Thanks, that's the entire point of this debate. I'm saying they should.

Con argues the same property argument I already refuted above. Refer to the conceded Daws evidence again to refute this argument. He seems to be missing the point of what it's saying, so I will re-state it again. What Daws is saying is that as long as we a) give consideration to the animal's capabilities (i.e. not arbitrarily deprive them of their capabilities) and b) treat them in a humane manner, then killing them and owning them is justified. This doesn't change whether or not they have rights, which I posit they do. He's essentially grasping at straws now that he realizes he shouldn't have conceded Daws in his last round.

All of my opponents arguments have been refuted. My case can be clearly extended across the flow.

So this debate comes down to a few things:
1. He's entirely dropped his case. No extensions of anything. Thusly, he cannot garner offense off of it. The only talking point left in this round is the pro case. Thus, at the least, you can vote pro right now on a risk of offense, as my case is the only case left standing and extended.
2. My opponent has conceded too much evidence on the pro case for his arguments to logically hold. He has conceded Nussbaum 3, which proves that animals have capabilities that justice must allow to flourish, Nussbaum 4, that refutes a portion of his arguments already made (the one with the grizzly bear), and the Rowlands evidence for the second time, which says that if we deny animals their rights, we will eventually have OUR rights denied, which provides a unique harm to negating the resolution. In so far as he's conceding all of this, I'm providing a) a clear link into my framework and my BOP, b) arguments against his rebuttals, and c) a unique harm to negating the resolution as a reason why we ought to affirm. Since I'm doing all that is necessary for me to win, plus a little extra, we can vote pro right now, regardless of the rest of the rounds.
3. My opponent conceded the Daws evidence in the last round, and then tried to bring up new arguments against it this round once he realized the gravity of his error. I ask that voters realize that a concession counts as an argument being verified as truth in debate, and clearly extend it to take out a) my opponent's case, and b) the vast majority of my opponent's arguments.
4. I'm refuting all my opponent's arguments, thus my case is clearly being extended across the flow.

At this point, there is no reason not to vote pro.


In closing, I will provide a brief summary of how the debate has progressed, followed by my concluding statements and responses to Pro's claims in the final round.

Pro's argument

Pro falsely claims I concede the debate by conceding the following points:

1. The "second Singer card"

The majority of my argument in R2 and R3 focused on attacking "equal consideration of interests," which directly addresses the "second Singer card." I showed how equal consideration produces results that conflict with our deepest moral intuitions. As an example, I provided evidence that Singer's equal consideration principle leads to the absurd conclusion that a dog's pain is the moral equivalent of an infant's pain.

Posner's thought-experiment furthered my argument: given the option between inflicting severe pain on a dog or letting the dog inflict slightly less pain on an infant, would you spare the dog or the infant? Pro states we should spare the dog. I argue we should spare the infant. Our deepest moral intuitions tell us that an infant's pain has greater moral consideration than a dog's pain.

2. Nussbaum 3

Nussbaum 3 states the "starting point" for "our ethical duties" is a "basic concern for sentient life." In R2, I directly responded to Nussbaum 3 with two points. First, I claimed that Nussbaum 3 and Nussbaum 4 are logically incompatible. Nussbaum states killing animals is permissible. Hence, I argued Nussbaum allows the destruction of "sentient life" and other capabilities of animals. This directly contradicts Nussbaum 3, which states that "justice must allow capabilities to flourish."

I also gave the example of computers, which have the same capabilities as animals, but are nonetheless categorically excluded from moral consideration. Finally, I also addressed Nussbaum 3 through my "property status" argument. I argue that human ownership of animals is more important than animal rights.

In R3, I continue defending the killing of animals, the categorical exclusion of computers from moral consideration, and the "property status" of animals. Nussbaum 3 was thus fully addressed.

3. Nussbaum 4

Nussbaum 4 states, "a tiger's capability to exercise its predatory nature so as to avoid the pain of frustration may well have value, if the pain of frustration is considerable." I addressed this in multiple ways. In R2, I showed that Nussbaum 3 and Nussbaum 4 are logically incompatible. Pro offered no response.

In R3, I gave the example of a grizzly bear who exercises its "predatory nature" against humans. I argued the grizzly bear therefore does not have equal moral consideration. Nussbaum 4 argues the grizzly bear should be given moral consideration.

Nussbaum 4 also supports "Zoos" and "direct human support and control" of animals. On this point, I agreed. Humans should be allowed to use, kill, support and control animals. Human use and ownership of animals does not support "equal consideration of interests" or "animal rights."

4. Daws evidence

The Daws evidence states the following: "[T]here may be cases where the perceivable mistreatment of animals is potentially justifiable, such as the killing of animals for food and the experimentation on them for medical research."

I agreed. I argued that the Daws evidence supports human ownership of animals, not animal rights. Pro agreed that the Daws evidence supported the property status of animals.

The Daws evidence thus supports my case, not Pro's. By conceding this evidence, I support human ownership of animals, not animal rights.

5. Rowlands evidence

This was addressed in R2 and R3. By arguing for the property status of animals, I directly advocate a "resource-based" use of animals, which counters the Rowlands evidence. Furthermore, the Rowlands evidence is logically incompatible with Nussbaum 4 as well as the Daws evidence. These points were addressed in the debate.


As it can be seen, Pro's claim that I conceded and dropped arguments is unsubstantiated and clearly false. The only evidence I agreed to was the Daws evidence, and that was only because the Daws evidence supported my case that human ownership of animals was just and therefore animals should not have rights. Just because Pro provides "evidence" does not mean his evidence supports his case. Pro thinks that, by agreeing with the Daws evidence, I concede the debate. No, by agreeing with Daws, I actually derive support for my case from Pro's own. The rest of Pro's evidence was fully addressed and refuted.

Pro's concessions

Pro concedes the following points:

1. Killing and exploiting animals is permissible.
2. Human ownership of animals is permissible.
3. Human ownership has benefited animals.

(1) was conceded in Round 2, Round 3, and Round 4. In R2, the Nussbaum and Daws evidence supports (1). In R3, Pro writes: "the killing and exploitation of them would be a permissible action." In R4, Pro writes: "killing them and owning them is justified."

(2) was conceded in every R3 and R4. In R3, Pro writes: "ownership of animals isn't prohibited by justice." In R4, Pro writes: "justice doesn't prohibit owning animals."

(3) was dropped, and therefore, conceded.

Why human ownership of animals is incompatible with animal rights

In R3, I wrote:

"Human ownership of animals is incompatible with animal rights. When an animal becomes the property of a human, it becomes the equivalent of a slave. We are allowed to do whatever we want to our property. If an animal has rights, it cannot be property. Pro admits that justice allows animals to be property. Hence, Pro admits that justice does not require animal rights."

Pro contests this statement by claiming that I conceded the Daws evidence. How does conceding the Daws evidence contest my argument? Pro expects readers to figure it out. I have no figured it out. I agree with Daws because I think Daws suppots my case, not Pro's. Think about it: the Daws evidence states that, as long as some moral consideration is given to animals, humans can do whatever they want with them. The central premise of the Daws evidence is that moral consideration of some kind is given to animals. But, moral consideration is the not the same as equal moral consideration.

Pro's burden is to show "equal consideration of interests," which is to say, equal moral consideration. Pro fails to show this by conceding the Daws evidence, which excludes equal consideration. By allowing humans to use animals, exploit and kill them, Pro admits that animals do not have rights. The Daws evidence, in effect, says the following: as long as the interests of humans and animals do not conflict, animals deserve to be treated like "humanely." That means animals deserve to be treated like humans, as long as animal and human interests do not conflict. But when an animal's interest conflicts with a human's, it no longer deserves "humane" treatment.

I made this argument in R3. The Daws evidence supports my argument. Therefore, this argument is not refuted.

Burden of Proof

Pro has the burden to show justice requires animals be given "equal consideration of interests," and then to show that "equal consideration of interests" requires the "recognition of animal rights."

Throughout this debate, I have shown that justice does not require "equal consideration of interests" be given to animals. Most prominently, I argued human ownership of animals is justified. Pro agreed. Therefore, Pro admits that animals do not deserve equal moral consideration as humans. Justice does not require animal rights. Pro has not met the burden of proof.

The resolution is negated.

Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 6 years ago
Why debaters post cases that are illegible, I will never understand.
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
Awh Dakota :D I'm touched.
Posted by DakotaKrafick 6 years ago
Two of my favorite debaters going at it. I'll read this later and probably vote.
Posted by Yep 6 years ago
Round 2 was easy 2 read :D
Posted by Yep 6 years ago
Nvm i got it
Posted by Yep 6 years ago
illl judge this very soon gimme like 30 minutes
Posted by FourTrouble 6 years ago
Yea, I had to read it by putting it in Word lol
Posted by 000ike 6 years ago
Pro's round two is difficult to read.
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
Well I kinda just c/p'd it...xD
Posted by FourTrouble 6 years ago
That was fast...
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Yep 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Ultimately i voted pro due to BOP. Pro doesn't advocate all human rights for animals, Animal rights can be defined as any rights due to an animal, as such i agree that human rights DO NOT suit animals, but i also agree with singer, we aren't jailing animals for eating one another, Pro vote on that, Con had ground on human ownership, but not enough to overdo pro. Also Pro, Nussbaum could've been extended with better impacts. I do not agree with c/p of an argument, but i don't vote off for it.