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How bad is animal cruelty?

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There is nothing comparable in the slaughtering of chickens for food and the deliberately sadistic execution of inconvenient dogs.

Aside from the fact that my tax dollars subsidizes only one of them, yes there is! I refer you to

The lesson you're not learning from the Michael Vick case is that there is ample evidence to show that he is a sadist, which is sufficient basis for rendering moral judgment.That is old news and the topic under discussion, as far as I'm concerned. You won't find anyone here supporting the laws under which he was prosecuted. The question is whether Vick is morally sick. Asked and answered.

The lesson that you are not learning is that--unless you demonstrate otherwise--you are not qualified to render any such judgement, nor do you have enough information to do so even if you were a qualified professional.

See Psychology of Psychologizing by Ayn Rand and become a better man, dood.

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As always: You silly!

Jesus Christ, will you start spelling right already.

No I don't draw the line a molecules dood, nor do I consider the words of "scientists" about global warming 100% valid or relevant to man, and his relationship to the earth. Hopefully you can follow that one... duh.

Yes, that's what I was saying. You don't care for no "science", you make your own.

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Whew ! [ Ducking the crossfire ] :worry:

Before we all lose the plot here, let's look at what we do have.

a. Every person present is agreed that (and is shocked that) the rights of an individual have been compromised/violated.

b. Every person feels a degree of moral indignation, ranging from distaste to disgust, at the image of adult men finding pleasure or profit in a dog fight.

c. (b is secondary in significance to (a).

Consensus? :lol:

This is not so much about cruelty to domestic animals - and I stand by my statement that purely because they don't have 'rights', and should never have rights, is the very reason they should be treated kindly - as it is about ethical judgement on another man.

Jake says "A person's psychology and values determine his actions." No one can disagree with this, surely?

But it is the application of judgement on this person, using, or usually guessing at, his values and psychology, that Ayn Rand strongly opposed.

So, as in the case of Mr. Vick, one must judge his moral character,' by his actions, his statements, and his conscious convictions '[A.R.] - (thank you , Charles.)

My conclusion is that Mr. Vick demonstrated his morality (in action) by attending and organising dog fights. The spectacle of men gaining any sort of reward from the blood and pain of animals enticed to attack one another, is sub-human.

Edited by whYNOT
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b. Every person feels a degree of moral indignation, ranging from distaste to disgust, at the image of adult men finding pleasure or profit in a dog fight.
This is false at the most elementary level. Objectivism does not oppose professional wrestling, boxing or any other contact sport. In what universe would "for profit" be objectionable to an Objectivist?
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Please try to remain attacking arguments, not arguers.

Profit is moot to whether any of this is morally good or bad. There are also many cases where we can have animals made to suffer in many ways, but it does not make anything wrong with the people who like to do it. There’s medical research on animals and various uses for their carcasses such as food and clothing. There’s also cases where people can find fighting enjoyable for entertainment without it necessarily making them mentally disturbed because of what it is about the fights that people are enjoying, such as things like boxing where the fighters are showing some elements of strategy and will power and the results of training themselves.

However, I still maintain that dog fighting does not have the same things which make it fine as those other things I’ve listed. This is because the fighters in this case are all incapable of thinking out strategies or choosing training regimens for themselves and neither are the results fully a consequence of the people either who can think of strategies and such like in the case of robot fights. There's not even anything the animals are gaining for themselves really here either like when they might on their own attack another animal for food or for defending their young which might make it interesting to watch in a nature document, observing how an animal may use its methods to secure its values for survival. What goes on in a dog fight is just basically seeing how angry you can get how tough a dog and then waiting to see what happens from there on pretty much, yes? There’s also no benefits to this aside from the entertainment like there is with producing medical research. The only thing here is enjoyment from being entertained by cheering on mutilation as such. There’s no significant products of virtues on display here like will power or intelligence, there’s no other benefit that the beating up of the animals is enjoyed for leading to. It’s that there is no clear possible other thing for them to be enjoying as their entertainment from dog fights than mutilation as such that make this something which I’d say made me find the character of those who find it entertaining to be quite questionable.

Edited by bluecherry
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Let's get somethign else straight: there is a vast qualitative difference between pets and other kinds of animals.

We can divide domestic animals in two broad groups. 1) Animals we make use of, 2) animals we live and/or work with. In the first group you have cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, etc. We keep them around because we obtain materials and products from them, be it milk, leather, wool, meat, etc. In essence their purpose is to be exploited and killed. We don't go out of our way to mistreat them, but we don't much care aout their comfort or well-being, except as it affects their ability to produce what we need. Almost all of them are bound to be slaughtered shortly after they reach their full size, long before the end of their natural life-span.

The second group consists mostly of cats, dogs and horses. These are animals we like to have around for companionship, for fun, for enjoyment and for work. We don't eat these animals (I know there are exceptions), we care a great deal about their comfort and well-being, we go out of our way to make sure they are well-cared for. They are our friends and, in many cases, part of our families. We love these animals, not merely appreciate the use we can get out of them. I defy any pet owner here to state he doesn't care if his pet is happy. We play with them, we give them treats, we buy them toys, we bathe them, we give them regular medical care.

So of course we don't care that cows, sheep, chickens, etc have poor but sanitary living conditions, or that they get killed in their prime. Why should we? We eat them. They are very literally things we use, resources like oil or iron. But we do recognize they ahve feelings, so to some extent we treat them humanely. We don't slaughter animals by beating them to death, for example, or by dismembering them while still alive. But there's no way to slaughter large numbers of animals without some pain involved.

Now, in the second group we do make use of dogs as tools for some jobs, but in a much different way. For instance, dogs sued in arson investigations live with their handlers and possibly see their work and training as some game. They get treats for sniffing out gasoline. I know less about horses, but even people who use them for work (there are still some) seem to care as much for their horse as a city-dweller cares for his car.

So naturally we'd be very upset to see animals of this kind mistreated and used in barbaric practices involving pain and poor living conditions. This only reflects the kind of value these animals represent. SO trying to equate dog fighting with the slaughter of chickens is ridiculous.

Lastly sometimes dogs are used in medical research. Personally I hate the idea, but if it's necessary then it is and too bad about my feelings. I'd feel worse without it, I'm sure.

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I do say that there is no way to totally understand the underlying motives of people that do, and it is outright wrong to pretend that we have such psychological expertise.

Moral judgment requires no psychological expertise because it is not based upon guesses about a person's psychology but on the evidence--the things they say and do. It doesn't matter whether someone tortures animals because they get a sexual thrill from watching them fight or because they enjoy inflicting pain or because they think God has commanded them to sacrifice or they're just jerks who can't be bothered to train their pets. They are evil and should be judged as such by moral individuals.

It is stupid and absurd to insist that you can't decide someone is evil unless you know everything that's going on inside their heads. This is a post-modern doctrine designed to disarm the good in the face of evil by making people afraid to pronounce moral judgment, and it is certainly no part of Objectivism.

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Why is it sadistic of me to enjoy watching the grace, agility, and skill with which a predator dispatches its prey?

Grace? Agility? Skill? I've seen predators kill other animals dozens of times and it looked awkward and uncomfortable to me, not graceful and skilled, especially since they were never very efficient about it--the prey animal squirmed for quite a long time and sometimes even managed to get away after you thought it must be dead. The only word I can think of for watching a snake swallowing an egg is "gross".

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Moral judgment requires no psychological expertise because it is not based upon guesses about a person's psychology but on the evidence--the things they say and do. It doesn't matter whether someone tortures animals because they get a sexual thrill from watching them fight or because they enjoy inflicting pain or because they think God has commanded them to sacrifice or they're just jerks who can't be bothered to train their pets. They are evil and should be judged as such by moral individuals.

It is stupid and absurd to insist that you can't decide someone is evil unless you know everything that's going on inside their heads. This is a post-modern doctrine designed to disarm the good in the face of evil by making people afraid to pronounce moral judgment, and it is certainly no part of Objectivism.

And as I said earlier, Michael Vick was in the BUSINESS of dog fighting. It was within this context that the torturing and deaths of animals occurred. Without psychologizing, please explain to me the vast difference between what Michael Vick did and what any factory farmer, owner and employee of a slaughter house, pharmaceutical company, furrier, etc. does and what Vick did. So far the ONLY explanations offered have been psychological evaluations. The hard facts such as actions, evidence, statements, etc. are the same between Vick and his contemporaries in the business of exploiting nature's resources.

At the risk of being calld "stupid" or "absurd" I ask you to attempt to do this without degrading into the realm of alleging to profess Michael Vick's psychological state as the difference. By the way, I consider it to be stupid and absurd to continually evade such a simple argument, rather than confess that there is no difference other than psychologizing.

:lol:

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There are also many cases where we can have animals made to suffer in many ways, but it does not make anything wrong with the people who like to do it.
Uh, hang on here. It may be that chickens suffer some when they are slaughtered in an efficient manner, but that suffering is incidental and not reasonably avoidable. There is something wrong with a person who deliberately inflicts pain on an animal for the purpose of seeing it suffer. That person has accepted a fundamentally evil philosophy of life.
However, I still maintain that dog fighting does not have the same things which make it fine as those other things I’ve listed. This is because the fighters in this case are all incapable of thinking out strategies or choosing training regimens for themselves and neither are the results fully a consequence of the people either who can think of strategies and such like in the case of robot fights.
Why would the result have to be fully the result of human control as with battlebots? The possible virtue of animal fighting pertains to the manmade -- the training and breeding.
What goes on in a dog fight is just basically seeing how angry you can get how tough a dog and then waiting to see what happens from there on pretty much, yes?
I don't know: we need some actual expert witnesses. If that's accurate, that's just a condemnation of particular participants, and not an inherent fact about dog fighting.
There’s also no benefits to this aside from the entertainment like there is with producing medical research.
Aside from entertainment value, there is no benefit to movies; aside from medical value, there's no benefit to medical research. What's your point?
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When I said, "There are also many cases where we can have animals made to suffer in many ways, but it does not make anything wrong with the people who like to do it," it was an introduction to the general idea and then I specified why some cases were fine and some were not. Yes, the people working killing chickens are fine even though what they did still of course hurts chickens. I went on to explain why they are fine and others are not, that they may enjoy what they do not because they like to make animals suffer, but because they like knowing what they are doing provides good food for many people, possibly including themselves. I was specifically aiming in my post to draw distinctions between people like this and, as you said, "a person who deliberately inflicts pain on an animal for the purpose of seeing it suffer."

I did ask the question I did in my post because I admit I am not very well versed in what is involved in dog fighting, but from the sounds of things it seems that the majority of the thing is not the product of human intellect at work.

About that last quote where I said, "There’s also no benefits to this aside from the entertainment like there is with producing medical research," the meaning gets lost taken out of context. I wasn't saying something just being for entertainment is bad. What I was saying was that given that there seemed to be nothing else like the food you know will be produced with the people killing chickens in the earlier example or the useful medical information you got from studying how a certain poison works on another type of animals nervous system, that took away the sorts of things which were good that others were enjoying when they were happy when an animal was hurt. They had only entertainment from the dog fights as opposed to some other benefit it was a means to and though entertainment is not bad, it looked to me to be that what they found entertaining was just "deliberately inflict[ing] pain on an animal for the purpose of seeing it suffer."

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This is false at the most elementary level. Objectivism does not oppose professional wrestling, boxing or any other contact sport. In what universe would "for profit" be objectionable to an Objectivist?

1. The contact sports you mention are the ones involving human beings - volitional, skilled, beings, who have chosen their sport knowing the risks involved; under controlled circumstances and with RULES of fair play.

2. Just because we are all Capitalists here, does not mean we should get too wedded to the word 'Profit', when it means profit at all costs. You know full well that there are many immoral ways to make a profit. I don't have to expand on this.

Would a person of high self-esteem indulge himself in the training of fighting dogs; the organising of dog fights; betting on and attending them? For profit, or for pleasure? And would he rationalise this as a productive way to make a living?

I think that there are certain "off the scale" moral aspects that are implicitly condemned in Objectivist ethics, without having to spell them out - simply because the ethics concern Man, and his life with other men - not his life with dogs.

Pain, blood, and gratuitous violence and death, of animals, merely for entertainment, is one of these 'beneath the radar' aspects of O'ist ethics that I can't see Ayn Rand ever having sanctioned.

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And as I said earlier, Michael Vick was in the BUSINESS of dog fighting. It was within this context that the torturing and deaths of animals occurred. Without psychologizing, please explain to me the vast difference between what Michael Vick did and what any factory farmer, owner and employee of a slaughter house, pharmaceutical company, furrier, etc. does.

There doesn't have to be a "vast" difference and demanding one means you are intentionally constructing a hypothetical universe in which you CANNOT be wrong in order to "win" this argument. This is massively dishonest behavior.

The difference between dogfighting and a slaughterhouse is the difference between executing criminals via lethal injection or the electric chair and forcing them to fight to the death in the arena. I don't care if the other participants claim they're "in business" or they "just want to protect people from criminals" or whatever. Their intentions, psychology, or anything else do not matter. What matters is that they are inflicting excessive pain and harm, and I rate anyone who acts indifferently toward another creature's pain and harm as an immoral person with whom I will not associate. Notice I said "acts". I don't care how they *feel*. "Feeling" bad about it would not make it a correct and moral action any more than Ozymandius "making himself feel" all the deaths he caused in Watchmen made it all right.

Is it *more* immoral than, say, killing a human? No. But there's nothing pro human life in intentionally making dogs into vicious monsters. The people who do this are often injured and sometimes even killed by their own dogs. That alone indicates the stupidity of this kind of behavior. It is about on par with having sex with strangers for money or lighting your own farts. How repugnant one finds particular examples of this type of behavior varies from person to person. I happen to like dogs, so I have a stronger emotional reaction against dogfighting than against lighting farts. But I recognize that both are bad and for the same reasons.

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