Resolved: Hunting is immoral.

Listen, scientists can’t even understand the mind of another human being fully, so don’t start pretending you know how higher mammals of another species might think.

Oh, and can you back up the “vital” word in your first sentence, with a report that isn’t funded by the meat-marketing industry?

I wanted to expand more on this. Were it not for hunting seasons, you would be up to your eyeballs in wildlife in populated areas. Mass starvation would ensue.

The powers that be in each state carefully calculate how long the season lasts for each animal along with the limits allowed for each to keep the population of those animals in check.

I remember as a boy in West Virginia, the part of the state that I was in had no deer hunting because the population was so low. Now, with the right combination of permits and seasons, you can take up to 8 deer per year. And the population is thriving. My home county opened for bear season a few years ago; absolutely unthinkable that there would even be bears there 10 years ago.

Proper wildlife management allows these animals to survive and thrive along with humans.

Have you ever had a pet? Ever have a dog (or cat or whatever) injure itself? Ever been in a vet emergency room?

I can say from personal experience that animals most certainly experience pain and can suffer. It is heartbreaking if you ever have the misfortune to witness it. Just because they may do so silently (and not always silently) does not mean there is no suffering.

There are overpopulated parts of the world where humans are dying in droves from starvation and disease. By your logic we’d be doing them a favor if someone just went in there and shot them. :rolleyes:

  1. Plants feel pain. (Cite: Mythbusters)

  2. Animals don’t necessarily suffer when killed, and generalizations can’t be made by pointing to the obviously flawed U.S. meat industry.

    This article covers every point I’d hope to make, and basically concludes that meat-eating is a necessary evil this day and age.

I know! And seeing as organised culling is a fairly recent thing, and wildlife has sort of been around for quite a while, why aren’t we completely overrun by the beggars?

And a housefly has more ‘consciousness’. Meaningless, except in a gimmicky fashion.

We could make it so those “starving millions” didn’t “suffer” - does that make it morally correct?

About the author of the above report.

Now why should I doubt that sort of expertise?

How would you define ‘meaningfully’? Animals are able to associate pain with experience the same way we are. They experience fear. That alone is enough reason not to harm them unless absolutely necessary.

I would say that all ethical questions are questions of happiness and suffering.

The existence of millions of healthy vegetarians proves that meat is not vital to human health.

That’s an irrelevant consideration.

The fact that animals can experience suffering at all is enough reason to leave them be if at all possible. An animal like a Sea Cucumber may experience pain and then forget about it ten seconds later. That doesn’t mean that someone who hurts Sea Cucumbers for fun is freed of all moral considerations.

You’re going to have to do better than that.

They’re still being killed.

tldr. Could you summarise the main points please?

Yes nobody can claim to understand any brain fully, but that’s no reason to throw educated guesses out the window. Unless you want to continue your baseless emotional projection. It may come as a surprise to you but scientists do have much of what I said nailed down. Here’s the gist of it: the prefrontal cortex, from what we know from experiments, is the seat of what we call working memory. This is basically temporary storage of important information from bottom up processes. Working memory is also where executive functions exercise top-down control on lower processes. In other words, this is where consciousness happens. Yes, we don’t know exactly how, but we do know if we cut that part out, the things I described stop occurring.

As for meat being “vital”: from what I understand, good meat is our best source of fats and proteins. We need fat to burn as our primary energy source, and we need protein for muscle maintenance and building. I recall reading a study that said soy and soy derivatives have some kind of plant based pseudo estrogen, which can cause breasts to form in men and breast and cervical cancer in women. I’ll try to dig up these studies if you’re not satisfied.

Like I said, it is possible to act in accordance with the feeling we call ‘pain’ and yet not experience it consciously. In other words, cognition (reception, calculation and reaction) is possible without consciousness. Just because the two often go together in our experience doesn’t mean they do for all animals. In fact all the evidence is against it. Have you ever fallen into a rhythm reading something, blocking every other sensation out, until someone called your name? Something drove you to turn your attention to your name, but it wasn’t a conscious decision. Otherwise you would have had to have been conscious of every other input as well. The fact is our minds are made up of many different lower order processes, that go on outside of our ‘working memory’, and only when they are deemed important are they pushed into our working memory and our consciousness. Because our working memory is firmly linked to our prefrontal cortices, we may deduce that animals with tiny prefrontal cortices have a much diminished working memory and therefore a much diminished form of consciousness. Yes your dog or cat can whimper and squeal and limp from an injury, but these actions do not mean that they are consciously aware of pain. I’ll say it again–consciousness is separate from cognition.

This doesn’t justify causing those animals pain unless absolutely necessary.

Truly bizarre. It really didn’t cross your mind to check if people season and cook their dead plants before they eat them, did it? :smack:

Not even 10 seconds. To the best of anyone’s knowledge they don’t feel anything, because they aren’t equipped to do so. They may respond to a stimulus, and the mechanisms by which stimuli lead to simple responses are pretty well understood. They are not the same as the mechanisms that lead to conscious experience.

An “educated guess” is when, without ever having seen the objects before, you come across a watch and its strap separated, and presume that they should go together.

We haven’t got anywhere near that much information about brains and how other animals use them.

Let’s free the animals from their enslavement, before we start advocating for the rights of plants.

Before continuing, may I clarify one point. just so we’re not misunderstanding one another, is your assertion that it is not immoral to kill, for fun or profit, creatures which cannot consciously experience suffering?

You are not reading what I am writing. I won’t hold my breath, but there is a wealth of information out there available to you that makes a lot of sense regarding the brain, it’s not the magic black box you think it is.
The real contention in this thread is do animals feel pain the way we do, and yes I will concede that it’s impossible to say with absolute certainty either way. But I have presented some arguments, to which you’ve just replied “we still don’t know”. Fine, but there isn’t much more to argue is there?

So, how about something a little more advanced, like a dog, for instance? Do cultural differences" excuse them being subjected to pain and discomfort, prior to being eaten?

Yes. Actually to be absolutely sure I don’t even like using the word moral, but here: “As far as I know game animals do not consciously experience suffering. It is impossible to say whether every act of killing animals is justified, because too much killing of animals may cause conscious suffering to human beings such as ivan astikov or Cort, which should be taken into account. It may also deprive others of some pleasure derived from a living animal. However, I believe the suffering of the animals themselves should not be part of the cost benefit analysis.”

I contend that the only meaningful pain and suffering is in the eye of the (human) beholder. My opinion is liable to change at any time, but from what I know of dog brains their prefrontal cortices are practically nonexistent.