So... Dog fighting

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manic_depressive13:
Someone who chooses to torture dogs when there are obvious alternatives is no worse than someone who chooses to cut an animal's life short when there are obvious alternatives.

You realise that you've just equated most animal rescue organisations, who often euthanise animals for budgetary reasons, to the scum they rescue the animals from?

RhombusHatesYou:

manic_depressive13:
Someone who chooses to torture dogs when there are obvious alternatives is no worse than someone who chooses to cut an animal's life short when there are obvious alternatives.

You realise that you've just equated most animal rescue organisations, who often euthanise animals for budgetary reasons, to the scum they rescue the animals from?

No, I said "when there are obvious alternatives". Budget constraits mean that rescue organisations can't keep the animals forever, so if they can't be rehoused there isn't really an alternative. The animal will die. This is different to actively paying for and thus perpetuating the slaughter of animals when you could as easily eat plant protein. In your example the fault doesn't lie with the animal shelters. It lies with the pet industry, and with the people who created the demand for so many animals to be bred only to end up either unable or unwilling to look after them.

manic_depressive13:

RhombusHatesYou:

manic_depressive13:
Someone who chooses to torture dogs when there are obvious alternatives is no worse than someone who chooses to cut an animal's life short when there are obvious alternatives.

You realise that you've just equated most animal rescue organisations, who often euthanise animals for budgetary reasons, to the scum they rescue the animals from?

No, I said "when there are obvious alternatives". Budget constraits mean that rescue organisations can't keep the animals forever, so if they can't be rehoused there isn't really an alternative.

Actually, there's one really obvious alternative... stop killing animals just to make room for more animals they'll just kill anyway.

Don't even get me started on the groups who take government coin based on the number of animals they rescue per year.

RhombusHatesYou:
Actually, there's one really obvious alternative... stop killing animals just to make room for more animals they'll just kill anyway.

Don't even get me started on the groups who take government coin based on the number of animals they rescue per year.

I don't really care about animal shelters. They are a symptom of society's callous attitude toward animals, not the cause. Shelters are not responsible for creating excess supply nor demand. They pick up animals off the street that are probably going to die anyway and they kill them. Not exactly knights in shining armour, but there's nothing particularly objectionable about what they do either. As for "hargle bargle taxpayer's dollars"- I don't give a shit about those either. There are bigger issues with our government and taxation system than the fact they give handouts to shitty animal shelters.

manic_depressive13:
As for "hargle bargle taxpayer's dollars"- I don't give a shit about those either. There are bigger issues with our government and taxation system than the fact they give handouts to shitty animal shelters.

Errr... what?

I don't care about 'handouts' or 'taxpayers' dollars', it's that shelters that receive any funding on a per rescue basis tend to have higher 'disposal rates' than shetlers that don't. Those same shelters are usually also the ones who 'cut costs' when it comes to euthanising animals.

I find that suspicious when it concerns groups that claim to care for animals.

RhombusHatesYou:
snip

Sorry, I guess that was a baseless assumption on my part. I've been having a lot of arguments about public funding recently.

But if you don't like animal rescue shelters for killing animals under the pretence of saving them, what exactly was your issue with my initial premise? Are we not in agreement that both mistreatment and needless killing is bad?

manic_depressive13:

RhombusHatesYou:
snip

Sorry, I guess that was a baseless assumption on my part. I've been having a lot of arguments about public funding recently.

'Scool, shit happens.

But if you don't like animal rescue shelters for killing animals under the pretence of saving them, what exactly was your issue with my initial premise?

I guess it's that no matter how I feel about certain animal rescue organisations I stil feel that people who abuse animals for their own sadistic pleasure are far worse.

Are we not in agreement that both mistreatment and needless killing is bad?

That would depend on if you allow for varying degrees of 'bad' or not.

manic_depressive13:
I can't see what argument you can use against the mistreatment of animals that doesn't reek of hypocrisy when you fail to apply it to the slaughter of animals.

It's not hypocritical if the argument is based off of suffering, and if the method of slaughter is painless (or nearly so).

BrassButtons:

manic_depressive13:
I can't see what argument you can use against the mistreatment of animals that doesn't reek of hypocrisy when you fail to apply it to the slaughter of animals.

It's not hypocritical if the argument is based off of suffering, and if the method of slaughter is painless (or nearly so).

It's hypocritical because the basis of the argument is that animals should be granted consideration because they are conscious and are capable of feeling emotions. Ending the life of an animal which is capable of feeling contentment, curiosity and joy is not hugely different to hurting a creature which has the capacity to feel pain, fear and anxiety.

Admittedly, I think torture is worse than death, whether it's inflicted on an animal or a human, but I still don't think killing things is justified. I don't think "They didn't see it coming and so they didn't suffer in the end" is an excuse to kill anything. In fact, I would be curious as to why you feel that argument applies to animals but not to humans.

manic_depressive13:

It's hypocritical because the basis of the argument is that animals should be granted consideration because they are conscious and are capable of feeling emotions.

Except that isn't necessarily the basis of the argument ("suffering" doesn't have to involve emotions).

In fact, I would be curious as to why you feel that argument applies to animals but not to humans.

We haven't discussed my personal views (which I'm still figuring out, to be honest).

BrassButtons:
-snip-

Of course suffering involves emotions. What is the significance of pain if one does not have the awareness or capacity to respond emotionally to it. Emotion is the difference between suffering and mere defensive reflexes. For example, insects sometimes make threat displays or run away as a response to perceived danger, but if they feel pain it is extremely unlikely that they have the capacity to respond emotionally to it by way of fear, anxiety or depression. Emotion is how you distinguish pain from a mere response to noxious stimuli.

Many birds and mammals, on the other hand, including the ones we eat, clearly respond to pain very similarly to us. However, it is not just suffering which they have in common with us, but also the capacity for positive emotions like joy and even love. I would argue that this makes them deserving not just of freedom from suffering, but also a right to life. Until someone is able to provide a rationally consistent argument for why I should care about animal suffering but not their slaughter, or why pet animals should be granted rights while farm animals are denied them, I'm simply going to have to dismiss the people who hold those views as filthy hypocrites. I'll reiterate: death and suffering go hand in hand. To draw a line between them is completely arbitrary and self-serving.

manic_depressive13:
Of course suffering involves emotions.

No, it doesn't. At least, that's not what I meant when I used the term. Someone can oppose causing physical pain to animals, and thus it would not be hypocritical for them to accept forms of slaughter that don't cause pain.

Emotion is how you distinguish pain from a mere response to noxious stimuli.

That "mere response" is pain. The ability to feel pain is not dependent on emotions, and an argument against causing pain to animals therefor doesn't depend on animals feeling emotions.

Until someone is able to provide a rationally consistent argument for why I should care about animal suffering but not their slaughter, or why pet animals should be granted rights while farm animals are denied them, I'm simply going to have to dismiss the people who hold those views as filthy hypocrites.

I've already gave a non-hypocritical argument for the first claim.

As for the second, I know a farmer's grandson who thinks that animals fill different roles, and thus are treated differently depended on where they fit in society. For instance, his dog is a service dog and is thus granted rights that other animals aren't. So to my friend, we humans put animals into categories and then we determine how to interact with them based on that.

BrassButtons:
That "mere response" is pain. The ability to feel pain is not dependent on emotions, and an argument against causing pain to animals therefor doesn't depend on animals feeling emotions.

You've not actually explained why you think causing them pain is a bad thing.

If an unconscious person responds automatically to external stimuli, are they really feeling anything? Even if their body is responding, it is the conscious emotional response to the physical stimuli which makes pain significant. Is a creature incapable of feeling terror, anxiety or depression capable of suffering?

manic_depressive13:
However, it is not just suffering which they have in common with us, but also the capacity for positive emotions like joy and even love.

You're veering into anthropomorphism.

BrassButtons:

That "mere response" is pain. The ability to feel pain is not dependent on emotions, and an argument against causing pain to animals therefor doesn't depend on animals feeling emotions.

A signal that something is wrong must be co-ordinated with a system to drive activity to prevent that wrongness. Otherwise, the body can tell the brain that something is wrong, but the brain has no motivation to do anything about it.

Pain is therefore something to be disliked, and to dislike something involves emotion. A signal that something is wrong without any sense of displeasure is not pain.

RhombusHatesYou:

manic_depressive13:
However, it is not just suffering which they have in common with us, but also the capacity for positive emotions like joy and even love.

You're veering into anthropomorphism.

Oh pish. There's good experimental evidence that suggests they can feel such things. Do you think humans are so special that we're the only ones capable of experiencing happiness and love? I would say love is practically essential for social animals.

manic_depressive13:
I don't see it. I don't think there is a clear argument that dog fighting harms society. You definitely didn't provide one. The only thing dog fighting clearly harms is dogs, and I think that's reason enough to forbid it.

..neither did I promise to do so. I merely said that one exists. By simply carrying on as if it doesn't because you can't see it, you're kind of proving my point.

Anyway, here are several. I'm not saying I agree with all or even any of them, but they exist.

Context Argument

Dog fighting is heavily associated with organized crime. It is used by criminals to fund their organizations, and also forms part of various "criminal" subcultures in which it is prized specifically for its countercultural appeal. It also contributes directly to other crimes, with dogs being stolen to order for fighting purposes.

Thus, the argument that if you legalized dogfighting it would suddenly be so much better because it would suddenly become legitimate is kind of bullshit. It's not like there is a great market for it, it isn't like a vast wave of potential fans are just waiting for it to be legalized. It's not terribly exciting to watch and most people would find it horrible to watch. The only people likely to want to get involved in it are those looking to gain some kind of counter-cultural credentials.

Additionally, the people who are in the best position to capitalize on the legalization of dog fighting are the organized crime syndicates who are already doing it. They're not going to suddenly give up and go home because they only want to do illegal stuff. It's not going to be possible, certainly not for decades or perhaps even centuries, to ever separate "legitimate" dogfighting from that which is supported and backed by organized crime. That alone outweighs the pitiful civil liberties argument in its favour.

Psychosocial Argument

There is some evidence that abuse or indifference towards animals is a predictor of similar behaviour towards humans. It's not yet clear how direct the relationship is, but certainly it's a good candidate for being a risk factor for aggression. If you have learned not to care about the suffering of animals, it seems likely that (in particular situations) you will be able to shut out or override empathy towards the suffering of humans because you are used to it, and it is psychologically easier to do so.

This is not the same as a media violence argument, because media violence generally concerns material which is fictional (or fictionalized). The effects of living in an environment where real violence is common are much clearer than those regarding fictional portrayal of violence, and the case for it being damaging is much, much clearer.

None of this is certain, but it is a risk, and that risk may be considered to outweigh the pitiful civil liberties arguments in favour of dogfighting.

Indecency Argument

..and the big one.

A basic principle of law is that it must reflect, to some degree, the sensibilities of the majority of a population. This is why we allow trial by Jury and thus effectively allow a group of "ordinary citizens" to make legally binding judgements which can, in fact, determine precedent in future legal decisions. If the overwhelming majority finds the existence of dog fighting to be obscene and upsetting to the point where having it be legal and (more importantly) public would constitute a nuisance for them, and given that the consequence of this decision do not infringe on the basic liberties of those who disagree in any meaningful way, then it is perfectly acceptable for it to be banned merely on the grounds of the public offence it would cause if it were allowed.

I could go on.. seriously, you can't think of any of these?

manic_depressive13:
I can't see what argument you can use against the mistreatment of animals that doesn't reek of hypocrisy when you fail to apply it to the slaughter of animals. Either animals are nonentities that should be subject to our use/misuse, or they should be granted enough consideration for us to refrain from causing them arbitrary harm (and yes, death constitues harm). You don't get to draw the line wherever you see fit.

Neither do you.

Have you ever killed a spider? Swatted a fly or other insect? Eaten vegetables coated with pesticide?

If so, then apparently you must believe it's okay to make dogs fight each other to the death. Except you don't, that's really not how it works at all. Your arbitrary logic does not govern the world, and neither does mine.

manic_depressive13:
Oh pish. There's good experimental evidence that suggests they can feel such things. Do you think humans are so special that we're the only ones capable of experiencing happiness and love? I would say love is practically essential for social animals.

When we describe animals as feeling love, that is what is called an analogy. It's like when religious people describe "God's love", they don't really mean that God loves us in the way other humans love us. They are referring to something greater. When we refer to animals as displaying love, we are referring to something, possibly not something greater, but certainly something different to the love we talk about sharing with each other.

"Love" is sometimes our closest conceptual approximation of the bonds animals create with each other and occasionally with us, but that doesn't mean what they feel is love, because they have no concept of love. To pretend that they do is anthropomorphizing.

evilthecat:
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I'm sorry, when you said "clear" I thought you meant there was unequivocal evidence, rather than a load of speculative bullshit.

Neither do you.

Have you ever killed a spider? Swatted a fly or other insect? Eaten vegetables coated with pesticide?

If so, then apparently you must believe it's okay to make dogs fight each other to the death. Except you don't, that's really not how it works at all. Your arbitrary logic does not govern the world, and neither does mine.

Yeah, it's largely arbitrary, but there are more obvious and valid cognitive differences between arthropods and other animals, where I draw my arbitrary line, than between species of mammal.

When we describe animals as feeling love, that is what is called an analogy. It's like when religious people describe "God's love", they don't really mean that God loves us in the way other humans love us. They are referring to something greater. When we refer to animals as displaying love, we are referring to something, possibly not something greater, but certainly something different to the love we talk about sharing with each other.

"Love" is sometimes our closest conceptual approximation of the bonds animals create with each other and occasionally with us, but that doesn't mean what they feel is love, because they have no concept of love. To pretend that they do is anthropomorphizing.

I would imagine animals feel love similarly, if not identically, to the way a young child in the preoperational stage does. It isn't developed, complex or reasoned, and they have difficulty with empathy, but what can you call it if not love?

If acknowledgeing that animals probably feel basic emotions is anthropocentric, isn't pretending that humans are the only animal capable of any sense of love absurdly anthropocentric?

I have no idea what people refer to when they talk about God's love.

manic_depressive13:
Oh pish. There's good experimental evidence that suggests they can feel such things.

For basic emotions (postive/negative stimuli reactions and associations), it's a given that most animals experience them. However, the apparent ability to experience complex emotions varies wildly from species to species.

Do you think humans are so special that we're the only ones capable of experiencing happiness and love?

It's got nothing to do with humans being special or not, but thanks for trying to paint me as the arsehole again.

The issue is taking sets of observed behaviours in animals, drawing very rough analogies to the common sets of human behaviours that we assocaited with the intangible/abstract concept of emotions. It's taking a bunch of stuff we don't even really understand about ourselves and applying it to other animals that are essentially alien to us when it comes to what's going on inside their brains.

manic_depressive13:

I can't see what argument you can use against the mistreatment of animals that doesn't reek of hypocrisy when you fail to apply it to the slaughter of animals. Either animals are nonentities that should be subject to our use/misuse, or they should be granted enough consideration for us to refrain from causing them arbitrary harm (and yes, death constitues harm). You don't get to draw the line wherever you see fit.

manic_depressive13:

Yeah, it's largely arbitrary, but there are more obvious and valid cognitive differences between arthropods and other animals, where I draw my arbitrary line, than between species of mammal.

You say both of these things, but you've been complaining about other people being "filthy hypocrites"? Really? Pots and kettles, glass houses and rocks, etc.

BrassButtons:

manic_depressive13:

I can't see what argument you can use against the mistreatment of animals that doesn't reek of hypocrisy when you fail to apply it to the slaughter of animals. Either animals are nonentities that should be subject to our use/misuse, or they should be granted enough consideration for us to refrain from causing them arbitrary harm (and yes, death constitues harm). You don't get to draw the line wherever you see fit.

manic_depressive13:

Yeah, it's largely arbitrary, but there are more obvious and valid cognitive differences between arthropods and other animals, where I draw my arbitrary line, than between species of mammal.

You say both of these things, but you've been complaining about other people being "filthy hypocrites"? Really? Pots and kettles, glass houses and rocks, etc.

How is that hypocrisy. I said that to seperate "harm" from "death" is ridculous. I said that all vertebrates and some invertebrates are conscious, emotional creatures, and that is reason to grant them consideration. My claim about insects is not hypocritical, and if you think it is I suggest you go study some biology. Why is it that every argument I have on R&P ends up with me teaching someone things they should have learnt in high school.

manic_depressive13:

How is that hypocrisy.

Because first you said that either it's never wrong to hurt any animals, or it's always wrong to hurt them, because "you don't get to draw the line wherever you see fit".

And then you go and draw a line where you see fit.

manic_depressive13:
I'm sorry, when you said "clear" I thought you meant there was unequivocal evidence, rather than a load of speculative bullshit.

You didn't ask for evidence. You asked for an argument. It's actually there in your post. The word "evidence" is not.

I have given you some possible arguments, thereby demonstrating that there are multiple lines of reasoning which can lead a person to oppose dogfighting. My point stands. You have randomly assumed that there is a single logically inevitable approach to animal rights which anyone who disagrees with is a hypocrite. You have no evidence for this, only reasoning (which I find inadequate).

I have demonstrated what I have claimed, which is that there is more than one reason to oppose dogfighting. You, on the other hand, have claimed that there is only one reason to oppose dogfighting and that the logically inevitable outcome is a specific form of animal rights which is opposed to meat production. I think it falls to you to demonstrate that, because that is a very authoritative claim which raises a whole bunch or original assumptions.

manic_depressive13:
Yeah, it's largely arbitrary, but there are more obvious and valid cognitive differences between arthropods and other animals, where I draw my arbitrary line, than between species of mammal.

BrassButtons has this one, but I'll add to it.

You outright stated that you don't get to draw the line where you see fit. By discriminating in this way, you have drawn the line where you see fit. You have also contradicted yourself by admitting that this discrimination is arbitrary but then trying to claim that it isn't and is in fact based on real differences which (according to you) are completely unquestionable.

Personally, I believe that there are real differences between torturing animals for entertainment and killing them for meat. I would therefore say that discriminating between these two acts is not logically inconsistent or for that matter hypocritical. What makes your reasoning in this regard more valid than mine, given that they are both based on arbitrary discrimination?

manic_depressive13:
what can you call it if not love?

What do animals call it?

Again, I think this demonstrates my point. The fact that you observe an animals behaviour and deem what it does to be indicative of "love" has no bearing on the animal. It neither understands nor cares whether what it does is "love".[1] Human intelligence is not necessarily an order of magnitude greater than animals, but our minds work differently because unlike almost all animals we can use language (yes, most pre-operational children can use language better than almost any animal alive). We can use words and symbols to form abstract concepts (like "love") which make sense of what would otherwise be chaotic, random experiences. Animals cannot generally do that, and this means that the way they experience the world is to some degree incomprehensible to us.

[1] With the very possible exception of a small number of apes who have taken part in language experiments, and even that is highly debatable.

evilthecat:
I have demonstrated what I have claimed, which is that there is more than one reason to oppose dogfighting.

Your initial argument was that it "harms society". I have seen that there is more than one reason to oppose dog fighting, but I fail to see how any of the reasons provided threaten society as a whole, except the bit about organised crime, but then it's the crime which is harmful to society, not the dog fighting.

What makes your reasoning in this regard more valid than mine, given that they are both based on arbitrary discrimination?

I am saying that although the line is arbitrary, some lines are less arbitrary than others based on cognitive milestones, if you will. Like with the issue of abotion the line will always be slightly arbitrary, but it needs to be drawn somewhere and some places are more logical than others.

For example, I can't know for certain how insects feel, but to the best of my knowledge and my understanding of biology, their bodies and brains too simple for them to have the capacity to suffer. On the other hand, I know for certain, due to similarities in biology and recognition of behaviours, that birds and mammals definitely have the capacity to feel basic emotions, including fear and stress. The case for fish is slightly more shaky but again, I choose to give them the benefit of the doubt. I don't need to eat fish. I don't even fucking kill insects and spiders. I see no reason why I should. However, I don't consider harming them morally objectionable.

So yes, my line is arbitrary. Nothing is black and white. I am acknowledging that the line is arbitrary, but I am arguing for the best arbitrary line I can find on the basis of our current understanding of animal cognition. Despite my line being arbitrary, I am arguing that the line between insect and mammal is far less arbitrary than your line between humans and other mammals. Apparently the fact that I am not blindly convinced that my line is perfect, and am willing to discuss the issue, is reason to dismiss my arguments. That's fine. I'm quite tired of ten people with vested interests jumping on me every time I quote a single person anyway.

manic_depressive13:
-snip-

The question of the influence language has on our cognition is a subject of much debate. Are we able to think of abstract concepts because we have language, or does our language merely accomodate this unique ability? To what extend does vocabulary affect how we percieve the world?

I don't think it matters. I don't think the ability to verbalise or fully comprehend an emotion reduces one's ability to feel it. Just because an animal could never visualise or convey the abstract concepts of love, happiness or fear, doesn't mean that it can't experience such things. I don't think they are aware that what they are feeling is what we consider to be fear, but I also don't think that changes the fact that an animal experiencing fear is in distress and suffering.

Besides, that opens a can of worms about people with aphasia, people with mental handicaps, and so on. Someone is going to attack me now for the crime of daring to compare a human being to mere animals, and perhaps accuse me of being Hitler, but the truth is your line is just idiotically arbitrary.

Finally, my accusation of hypocrisy was merely on the basis of drawing a distinction between "causing harm" and killing the animal, because it is obvious the only reason you have drawn that line is that you like eating meat, and I find it quite amazing to watch people rationalising that to themselves. I do not think drawing lines between classes of animals is hypocritical. I just think that some lines are stupider than others.

manic_depressive13:

I am saying that although the line is arbitrary, some lines are less arbitrary than others based on cognitive milestones, if you will. Like with the issue of abotion the line will always be slightly arbitrary, but it needs to be drawn somewhere and some places are more logical than others.

I don't think it's possible for something to be both arbitrary and based on any kind of logic or reasoning.

So yes, my line is arbitrary.

Do you still hold that "Either animals are nonentities that should be subject to our use/misuse, or they should be granted enough consideration for us to refrain from causing them arbitrary harm (and yes, death constitues harm)"? Because if so, you are being hypocritical.

Apparently the fact that I am not blindly convinced that my line is perfect, and am willing to discuss the issue, is reason to dismiss my arguments.

That's not what's happening here, though. You may want to read what people are saying a little more closely.

I do not think drawing lines between classes of animals is hypocritical. I just think that some lines are stupider than others.

Case in point: we're not saying you're a hypocrite because you draw lines between classes of animals, but because you draw that line while also claiming that it's wrong to draw such a line (your exact words: "you don't get to draw the line wherever you see fit").

BrassButtons:

Case in point: we're not saying you're a hypocrite because you draw lines between classes of animals, but because you draw that line while also claiming that it's wrong to draw such a line (your exact words: "you don't get to draw the line wherever you see fit").

Hello, Captain Out-of-Context -__-

Either animals are nonentities that should be subject to our use/misuse, or they should be granted enough consideration for us to refrain from causing them arbitrary harm (and yes, death constitues harm). You don't get to draw the line wherever you see fit.

It was said in regards to harm. He claimed it's wrong to draw such a line in regards to harm.

BrassButtons:
I don't think it's possible for something to be both arbitrary and based on any kind of logic or reasoning.

Don't you? When you are drawing a line on a continuum it will never be perfect. It becomes even blurrier when you draw the line on the basis of something as hard to define as intelligence. There will always be people who think that it should be further up the continuum, and others that think it should be further down. All I ask is that you are consistent. For example, if you wouldn't be comfortable with people needlessly breeding dogs only to kill them once they reach adulthood then you can't reasonably support industries that do the same thing with pigs, which are at least as intelligent if not more intelligent than dogs.

BrassButtons:
Do you still hold that "Either animals are nonentities that should be subject to our use/misuse, or they should be granted enough consideration for us to refrain from causing them arbitrary harm (and yes, death constitues harm)"? Because if so, you are being hypocritical.

Since you are being childish I will amend that to "mammals" rather than "animals". I believe you know what I meant since the context makes it clear. I have already explained why I think some animals are deserving of consideration while granting rights to creatures like insects would be unnecessary. You are now deliberately perverse.

That's not what's happening here, though. You may want to read what people are saying a little more closely.

Perhaps if you read what I was saying I wouldn't need to repeat myself so often, nor word my responses so carefully as for you not to have anything to nitpick. That's all you are doing. You are trying to call my out on my supposed hypocrisy instead of providing your own arguments to justify the views you hold.

Case in point: we're not saying you're a hypocrite because you draw lines between classes of animals, but because you draw that line while also claiming that it's wrong to draw such a line (your exact words: "you don't get to draw the line wherever you see fit").

I am basing my line on scientific evidence. I am explaining that the reason I draw those lines is based on cognitive capacity. I am attempting to reach a moral conclusion.

You are drawing your lines based on whether you like to eat the creatures in question. You compromise your own morality in order to rationalise your taste for meat. I have told you that I don't kill insects despite not believing that they have any emotional capacity. I have said that I don't eat fish despite acknowledging the argument that they have only limited emotional capacity. When I say "drawing the line where you see fit" I am clearly refering to when it suits your own interests. I don't draw the line at insects because it suits me. I draw the line there because I think it is a fair place to draw the line. You, on the other hand, have provided no evidence, no reasoning, no argument as to why you believe killing some mammals is okay while killing others isn't, or why killing something doesn't constitute harming it. All you have done is pathetically nitpick my posts in an attempt to show my hypocrisy.

manic_depressive13:
Your initial argument was that it "harms society". I have seen that there is more than one reason to oppose dog fighting, but I fail to see how any of the reasons provided threaten society as a whole, except the bit about organised crime, but then it's the crime which is harmful to society, not the dog fighting.

"Harm" and "threaten" mean different things.

If something "threatens society" then I would take that to suggest it has the meaningful potential to destroy the current social order completely. Dogfighting does not do this. Neither does shooting up on heroin for that matter, or watching child pornography. Society will not collapse because people do these things, because only a relatively small number of people will ever want to. These things are not illegal because they have the potential to destroy society, they're illegal because they are seen to be harmful to the individual members who make up society. The child who is being exploited to make porn is part of society. The person who is mugged fund someone's heroin addiction is a part of society. The person whose dog is stolen to use in fighting, or whose neighbourhood is terrorized by criminal gangs, is a part of society. If they are harmed, then society is indirectly "harmed". Whether it is harmed enough to override the basic civil liberties argument that people should be able to do what they want is a question of context.

There are functioning heroin addicts in the world. There are people who live relatively normal lives and have decent jobs but, in their spare time, like to shoot up. The existence of such people does not mean that heroin does not harm society or that we must legalize it. In order to justify the criminalization of heroin use, we do not need to demonstrate that heroin use is in and of itself harmful to society or that every single use of heroin in human history has caused harm. We are allowed to consider the wider context, we are allowed to think about these issues in terms of risk.

If nothing else, legal dogfighting would be so offensive to the majority of society that its public nature and display could be said to constitute a form of harassment. This in itself is enough to be considered harmful to society, in fact it's the justification behind existing obscenity laws.

Speaking personally though, which seems to be what you're asking for, I do think dogfighting harms society, or more accurately I think its legalization would change society. A society in which it is acceptable to publicly torture animals for entertainment is, I believe, a different place to the one we live and that difference to me would constitute an erasure of some of the fundamental values on which I like to believe society operates.

manic_depressive13:
I am saying that although the line is arbitrary, some lines are less arbitrary than others based on cognitive milestones, if you will. Like with the issue of abotion the line will always be slightly arbitrary, but it needs to be drawn somewhere and some places are more logical than others.

Except in this case, there's no one single line. There are several lines.

If you pull the legs off a spider, you aren't going to be arrested. If you pull the legs off a cow, you can be arrested. If you lock a whole bunch of cows in a dark shed and force feed them, you will not be arrested. If you lock a whole bunch of dogs in a dark shed and force feed them, you can be arrested.

Again, it very much depends on context and reasoning, and yes, I have pointed out something which I find hypocritical, which is the legitimacy of keeping certain animals (including highly intelligent animals like pigs) in squalid conditions simply because they're food animals rather than pets.

But not all meat farming is factory farming. I grew up in the English countryside where smallholding is still an important part of the local economy. Some of my relatives are smallholders and some have kept livestock. It is perfectly possible to keep meat producing animals in reasonable conditions without having to resort to zero grazing, force feeding or battery farming. It is perfectly possible for a well run slaughterhouse to kill animals humanely. The hideous cruelty in parts of the agricultural sector is not down to meat production, but to the enormous demand for incredibly cheap meat which, frankly, we shouldn't be eating as much of as we currently are anyway.

manic_depressive13:
Despite my line being arbitrary, I am arguing that the line between insect and mammal is far less arbitrary than your line between humans and other mammals.

That's not really the line I was arguing.

I have no problem with slaughtering cattle for meat, but I do have a problem with bullfighting. That social context argument, to me, is a much more important line than the difference between different classes of animals. It's a combination of many different factors which ultimately come down to the fact that I view a pretty big difference between slaughtering a cow as quickly and humanely as possible to use as meat and torturing an animal to death for public display.

If you don't see that as an important distinction, fair enough. But don't expect your allegation of hypocrisy to be terribly convincing.

manic_depressive13:
Just because an animal could never visualise or convey the abstract concepts of love, happiness or fear, doesn't mean that it can't experience such things.

But it would also have no way to separate them.

That's what language does. It organizes and separates concepts. A cat doesn't walk up to another cat and knows that its a "cat" as opposed to a "dog", it just experiences the raw package of sensory data which evokes a particular response, whether friendly or hostile. It's difficult to imagine, that's kind of the point, but language is clearly far more than just the ability to express things or not.

This doesn't change the fact that animals have memory and emotions and even communication, and some can learn languages, including (possibly) basic abstract concepts denoting states of mind and so forth. But generally, the drives behind animal behaviour are very difficult to express in human terms, not because animals just can't express, but because animals have no way to separate what is "love" from what isn't "love".

I also think "love" is just a pretty bad example because it's such an abstract emotion. It's more than just the need or desire for something, it's a whole bunch of highly constructed stuff which goes along with that.

manic_depressive13:
Besides, that opens a can of worms about people with aphasia, people with mental handicaps, and so on.

I'm perfectly happy saying that if those people are incapable of differentiating the concept of love in any sense at all it is misleading to honestly believe that what they feel can be adequately described as love, rather than merely as something analogous to love.

Our society already accepts that children and mentally handicapped people may have difficulty understanding these concepts fully. It's a big part of why you are not allowed to have sexual relationships with them for example. Again, there is not one line, there is a continuum of understanding until you reach the point where a person is fully incapable of differentiating concepts, at that point it isn't fair to pretend that they feel "love".

You seem to want this to be an argument about the line between humans and animals. It's really not. Linguistic ability is not definitive of humans, and the lack of it is not necessarily definitive of animals. It does mean, however, that you have to be careful with assuming things like coherent emotional states.

manic_depressive13:
Finally, my accusation of hypocrisy was merely on the basis of drawing a distinction between "causing harm" and killing the animal, because it is obvious the only reason you have drawn that line is that you like eating meat, and I find it quite amazing to watch people rationalising that to themselves.

Actually, I would have no problem with not eating meat apart from the fact that my diet would suffer and I would need to have monthly injections. I deliberately eat a low meat diet, both for health reasons and because it means I can buy meat which I know has not been factory farmed.

Don't make weird presumptions about other people's motivations. If I had an ethical problem with eating meat, I would have absolutely no trouble not doing so. If you simply cannot imagine that anyone would not have such an ethical problem, the that's an indication of the failure of your imagination. It has no bearing on anyone but yourself.

evilthecat:

manic_depressive13:
Despite my line being arbitrary, I am arguing that the line between insect and mammal is far less arbitrary than your line between humans and other mammals.

That's not really the line I was arguing.

That was the line Brass Buttons was arguing. You said you agreed with him which is why I adressed it.

I have no problem with slaughtering cattle for meat, but I do have a problem with bullfighting. That social context argument, to me, is a much more important line than the difference between different classes of animals. It's a combination of many different factors which ultimately come down to the fact that I view a pretty big difference between slaughtering a cow as quickly and humanely as possible to use as meat and torturing an animal to death for public display.

Would you hypothetically be comfortable with someone killing a healthy young cow painlessly, then throwing away the carcass to rot?

manic_depressive13:
Finally, my accusation of hypocrisy was merely on the basis of drawing a distinction between "causing harm" and killing the animal, because it is obvious the only reason you have drawn that line is that you like eating meat, and I find it quite amazing to watch people rationalising that to themselves.

Actually, I would have no problem with not eating meat apart from the fact that my diet would suffer and I would need to have monthly injections. I deliberately eat a low meat diet, both for health reasons and because it means I can buy meat which I know has not been factory farmed.

Don't make weird presumptions about other people's motivations. If I had an ethical problem with eating meat, I would have absolutely no trouble not doing so. If you simply cannot imagine that anyone would not have such an ethical problem, the that's an indication of the failure of your imagination. It has no bearing on anyone but yourself.

Why would you need monthly injections as a result of not eating meat? Do you have a condition?

Please kindly address my question about why causing an animal pain makes you uncomfortable, but causing an animal death is perfectly fine. If you would simply tell me I wouldn't need to speculate that it is for purely selfish reasons. However, I have asked repeatedly and you seem unwilling to tell me, so with my lack of imagination that is the best I can come up with.

Dijkstra:
It was said in regards to harm. He claimed it's wrong to draw such a line in regards to harm.

And then he himself draws such a line in regards to harm (edit to avoid re-opening this line of discussion: he has now adjusted that argument so that he's no longer contradicting himself, so the hypocrisy is gone.)

manic_depressive13:
Don't you? When you are drawing a line on a continuum it will never be perfect. It becomes even blurrier when you draw the line on the basis of something as hard to define as intelligence. There will always be people who think that it should be further up the continuum, and others that think it should be further down.

I think you're confusing "arbitrary" with "subjective".

All I ask is that you are consistent. For example, if you wouldn't be comfortable with people needlessly breeding dogs only to kill them once they reach adulthood then you can't reasonably support industries that do the same thing with pigs, which are at least as intelligent if not more intelligent than dogs.

That only works if the argument against killing the dogs is "because they're intelligent." If the argument is "because I like dogs" or "because the dog meat goes to waste" then there is no inconsistency (note that I'm not saying these arguments are otherwise totally sound, just that they are not inconsistent or hypocritical).

You compromise your own morality in order to rationalise your taste for meat.

Considering that I haven't mentioned my own morality (or my meat-eating habits--for all you know, I'm a vegan), I'm curious to see how you've reached this conclusion.

You, on the other hand, have provided no evidence, no reasoning, no argument as to why you believe killing some mammals is okay while killing others isn't, or why killing something doesn't constitute harming it.

That's probably because I'm not arguing either of those things.

manic_depressive13:
That was the line Brass Buttons was arguing. You said you agreed with him which is why I adressed it.

I don't think so. I'll leave it to him or her to clarify what they mean, but the bit I was agreeing with was the fact that you claimed we don't get to draw the line where we choose, and then chose to draw a line between insects and mammals.

manic_depressive13:
Would you hypothetically be comfortable with someone killing a healthy young cow painlessly, then throwing away the carcass to rot?

What is the motivation?

manic_depressive13:
Please kindly address my question about why causing an animal pain makes you uncomfortable, but causing an animal death is perfectly fine.

Because the purpose of animal welfare is not to prevent death, and I don't know why you've got into the frankly weird idea that it is. It is to limit suffering incurred in the course of existing interaction between humans and animals, which includes meat production. This can include killing for cruel or wanton motives, but it is highly contextual.

What you seem to be advocating instead is animal rights, that animals are basically equivalent to humans beings and deserve identical treatment, and your argument for this seems to be based on the idea that animals have anthropomorphized emotions which are basically the same as human emotions.

But ultimately, when it comes down to it, both these things are human inventions designed for humans. None of us cares about animals on the condition that they display the capacity to care about themselves (well, maybe you do but I think maybe you're imagining animals are communicating things to you that they're probably not), we care about them because doing so establishes who we are, what kind of people we want to be and what kind of society we want to live in. We assign welfare or rights to animals because they lack the ability to articulate welfare or rights for themselves, and it is those fundamentally unequal conditions under which we live with animals.

I do not see the cruelty in humanely killing cows for meat because they are cows. I don't indulge the delusion that they sit there imagining a better life for themselves, or that they are counting down the days to their deaths in mortal terror. They wander around being cows, and as long as they are not in pain, are not confronted with anything which frightens or upsets them and are kept in conditions conducive to being a healthy cow, then where is the harm to them and (more importantly) where is the harm to us, physical, social or moral?

You can't say the same thing about dog fighting.

This is not part of some overarching universal principle which I believe is written on the sky by the immortal hand of intergalactic space Jesus, it's a contextual human judgement.

evilthecat:
I don't think so. I'll leave it to him or her to clarify what they mean, but the bit I was agreeing with was the fact that you claimed we don't get to draw the line where we choose, and then chose to draw a line between insects and mammals.

This is what I was saying as well (and he has since adjusted his arguments so that there's no longer a hypocrisy).

And I'm a her, fyi.

manic_depressive13:
You're right. You're not arguing anything at all.

I had a feeling you weren't actually reading my posts. Thanks for the confirmation.

BrassButtons:

manic_depressive13:
I can't see what argument you can use against the mistreatment of animals that doesn't reek of hypocrisy when you fail to apply it to the slaughter of animals.

It's not hypocritical if the argument is based off of suffering, and if the method of slaughter is painless (or nearly so).

BrassButtons:
Someone can oppose causing physical pain to animals, and thus it would not be hypocritical for them to accept forms of slaughter that don't cause pain.

BrassButtons:

All I ask is that you are consistent. For example, if you wouldn't be comfortable with people needlessly breeding dogs only to kill them once they reach adulthood then you can't reasonably support industries that do the same thing with pigs, which are at least as intelligent if not more intelligent than dogs.

That only works if the argument against killing the dogs is "because they're intelligent." If the argument is "because I like dogs" or "because the dog meat goes to waste" then there is no inconsistency (note that I'm not saying these arguments are otherwise totally sound, just that they are not inconsistent or hypocritical).

manic_depressive13:
Cultural/ religious reasons. They believe the more buffalo that are PAINLESSLY slaughtered at a wedding will increase their future prosperity. They kill hundreds but don't eat the meat.

I believe it would be unacceptable as you've described it because, in that context, it would be all but impossible to guarantee humane slaughter or the safe disposal of carcasses. I don't think private citizens should be permitted to kill animals outside of a regulated slaughterhouse, particularly not in large numbers.

As for the morality of the actual act, I don't particularly feel any right to judge. I would find the whole thing a bit gratuitous and environmentally wasteful and I would feel entitled to discourage it on those grounds, but then I feel the same way about large scale meat production and it doesn't mean I think meat should be illegal.

manic_depressive13:
Please just answer the question. I'm so tired of talking to you.

I'm getting tired of you not reading my posts.

I believe that allowing animals to be tortured for entertainment would cause sufficient distress to a large enough section of the public to constitute a form of harm to society.

The reason for this cannot be put down to one single principle being violated, but a whole range of contextual differences which are not reducible to simple one line aphorisms, This is why it is not all or nothing, it is not about drawing a single line based on a single variable and saying that everything on one side has all rights and everything on the other side has none. The right to certain forms of protection does not automatically grant the right to all forms of protection. It can be as complex as we wish it to be.

That is why dogfighting would be harmful to society, whereas meat production need not be, which was the original question. However, since you've metamorphosed the question into an issue of personal morality. Read on.

manic_depressive13:
I suggest affording them the most basic rights - freedom from death and harm, on the basis that they have basic emotions.

..emotions which do not include the fear of death.

Animals react to pain and display fear. They show obvious distress, which is why I think it's legitimate to abhor the infliction of these things upon them. However, they do not have any awareness of abstract concepts like death. It is only humans who can have these discussions about the "value of life", and we do so purely to service ourselves. I'm not saying that as a bad thing, I think it's perfectly legitimate to do so and its the only honest basis on which we can have these discussions.

This is a human argument. It's not about animals and what they feel, it's about your attitude to death and how it makes you feel, and while your view is comprehensible and logically consistent it is not self evident as you trying to pretend it is.

manic_depressive13:
What a pathetically disingenuous snipe.

Unintended. But take it however you want.

manic_depressive13:
If all animals (MAMMALS) do is hang around being said animals, why should anyone care if it is in pain or suffering?

Ugh..

Why does anyone care about anything? Because they have something invested in it.

You are arguing that the reason we should care about animals is because they are basically the same as us, so if we hurt them it's the same as hurting a human being.

Now, I would argue that that is not true. It is certainly not convincing anyone here, largely because you haven't backed it up with anything except random suppositions about animal emotions being the same as those of children.

I am arguing that this is not essential to animal welfare. We don't need to be able to put ourselves in the position of an animal and say "well, if I was a cow I wouldn't want to be killed" in order to have a code of conduct for treating animals. Such a code should be based on what is important to us as a society, there is no other way to organize it.

manic_depressive13:
They can't comprehend their own suffering.

Except they clearly can.

Not on a human level, but they react to pain. They do not, however, react to the abstract fear of death. They do not value life, you value their lives.

Seriously. We do not need to buy into your dogmatic logic that either animals are either inconsequential or that they must have the right to life. We can actually posit a difference between painless slaughter and torture, because lo and behold such a difference actually exists in reality if you are willing to look for it.

If you feel it is unimportant, then argue that. However, once again, it is not self evident.

manic_depressive13:
That wouldn't harm society.

Yes, it would, and under those circumstances a court would probably declare that it did.

One more time. It would harm the great number of people who believe in some form of animal welfare (which may or may not include the right for life but which would include protection from ill treatment). There are enough of those people and the offence to them would be so great that it could be said to constitute an offence against community standards.

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