The Instigator
Quesadillas
Pro (for)
The Contender
Kital
Con (against)

On balance, Eating meat is not ethical

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 4/2/2018 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 602 times Debate No: 112190
Debate Rounds (4)
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Quesadillas

Pro

In this debate I will maintain that, on balance, eating meat is not ethical. My burden shall not be to prove that vegan, vegetarian, or any other diet is ethical; this debate is only about the ethics of eating meat.

1) Excessive consumption is never ethical
Consuming things beyond one's needs is always unethical. It does not matter if one is entitled to the things that they are consuming, or if they received the things they are consuming fairly. For one to consume beyond one's needs wastes resources which could otherwise be allocated to those in need. This is particularly true when we realize that 1/3 of all food produced worldwide goes to waste every year[1]. If we were to use our resources more efficiently, no one would ever have to go hungry. There is no way to reconcile unnecessary consumption with the level of suffering so many people experience.

2) All factory farmed meat is excessive consumption
Most meat produced is factory farmed [2]. When people in the rich world eat more meat than they need to, they cause damage to the environment[3]. Rich nations create a demand for meat which contribute to greenhouse gas production and use of natural resources which could otherwise go towards growing more sustainable food sources. The most important form of resource waste comes in the form of water used in agriculture[4]. When farming meat, animals must be fed, watered, cleaned, and cared for. Meanwhile 780 million people lack access to clean drinking water[5]. Consuming meat drives this demand for water which further limits access to those in need.

[1] http://www.fao.org...
[2] https://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[2] https://www.theguardian.com...
[3] http://wwf.panda.org...
[4] https://www.cdc.gov...
Kital

Con

1) While it is true that excessive consumption is never ethical, you cannot speak for every person. Eating meat does not have to be unethical, most people have a somewhat balanced diet that does not focus on excessive consumption of any product. You can't say "eating meat is not ethical because 1 out of 10 people overeats" And yes, if we use our resources more efficiently, theoretically no one would have to go hungry, although people would still go hungry even if someone on this planet had an infinite supply of food. People waste all sorts of food, but animals on the other hand do not produce as much waste, as we use the skin, meat and bones. No part of the animal goes to waste and in the end, if nobody bought the meat, it would be thrown and gone to waste, but the animals would continue getting bred and killed, while leather(and other animal sub-product) prices would go up.

2) As I said before, even if all the people would stop buying meat to eat, the factories would still keep farming animals for other reasons, continue to damage the environment but all the meat would go to waste. And you know that the factories wouldn't send the water to the 780 million people who do not have access to clean water.

As you said in the beginning, this discussion is about the ethicality of eating meat in specific, not of farming animals in factories.

It would be unethical for us to stop consuming meat, as it would mean a big increase in the amount of food that would otherwise go to waste.
Debate Round No. 1
Quesadillas

Pro

1) This resolution's wording was carefully chosen. I don't have to prove that eating meat is always unethical, only that it is not ethical on balance. This means is that if I am able to maintain that more-often-than-not, eating meat is not ethical, I win. Nothing is inherently ethical; some things are just amoral, meaning the burden in this debate is not one-sided; Con does not win just by refuting Pro ground, they must warrant that eating meat is ethical on-balance; if anything is amoral or morally grey, it flows Pro. Con claims, without proof, that all parts of an animal are used when they are slaughtered for consumption. Raw materials in factory farming can be thrown away just for being ugly[1], farmers don't go out of their way to use parts they don't need. Do not let Con arbitrarily determine when eating meat is and isn't ethical; any contribution to the demand for meat redirects resources which could be used elsewhere. The 1/10 stat con offers isn't based in evidence[2], most people eat 2 times their daily recommended allowance for meat; and to produce that meat requires 100 times as much water.

2) Three answers; first, this debate is not about how the world could be, but how the world is. At the point my opponent states that we could lessen the environmental or starvation impacts by buying less meat, they admit that we consume meat at problematic levels in the status quo. Second, we cannot divorce a product from it's source. When the majority of meat consumed comes from factory farming, we aren't immune from the farm's immoral practices; 99.9% of chicken consumed comes from factory farms, Con has to answer up for that fact. Finally, do not miss the forest for the trees; yes existing meat would go to waste, but after we stop farming meat the raw ingredients can be used more efficiently.

[1] https://www.ciwf.org.uk...
[2] https://www.huffingtonpost.ca... q
Kital

Con

Alright, let's look at some statistics. The average person is eating ~215 pounds of meat a year which is divided in(average): 27 chickens a year, 1/4th of a pig and 1/13th of a cow, on average, per year[1]. I honestly do not see this as over-consumption of the average human worldwide.

Of course most of an animal is used. Except for the edible products which have a variety of uses including gelatin and subproducts such as marshmallows, gummy bears, chewing gum, margarine(yes it contains meat byproducts) the hide is used in shoes, footballs amongst others. The oils are used for lipsticks, tanning oils, face and hand creams and more. Bones are used to make buttons, piano keys, glue, fertilizer and more. Other than all that, cattle also produces medicinal byproducts including insulin, even though not as much now as in the past.[2]

I am stating that even if we were to not buy meat, that will not drive the need of animal cattle down. Companies and individual people will still want and look for cattle byproducts and the production would keep going but the meat would go to waste.

[1] http://www.nationalchickencouncil.org...

[2] http://www.cattle-empire.net...
Debate Round No. 2
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