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Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:19 pm UTC
by jewish_scientist
I think that everyone here will agree that it is wrong, but why is it wrong?

P.S. I am putting this here because we do not have a philosophy section.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:01 pm UTC
by Zohar
Can you really not think of a few reasons yourself?

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:24 pm UTC
by Mutex
Because it encourages gambling.

Also it's a waste of perfectly good dogs that could be used for fox hunting.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:26 pm UTC
by ahammel
Utilitarian (classical) wrote:Dogs can suffer, and therefore their suffering ought to be minimized, therefore it's wrong to torture them.

Utilitarian (Peter Singer style) wrote:Because dogs are rational enough to have preferences, they prefer not to be tortured, and the moral course of action is the one that maximizes the extent to which rational creatures can satisfy their preferences.

Deontologist (Kantian) wrote:Because dogs are rational enough that they ought to be treated as ends in themselves. By torturing them for fun, you treat them as a means to an end.

Deontologist (Rawlsian) wrote:Because if two rational actors were to come to an agreement on how dogs are to be treated without knowing whether they represented the Dogs' Guild or the Dogfighting Afficianados' Union, the agreement would prohibit torturing, and promote petting and cuddling*.

Virtue Ethicist wrote:Because the love of bloodsport is a vice, the indulgence of which is incompatible with human flourishing*.

Objectivist wrote:Because it's not in your best interests. Because you'll go to jail.

Moral Relativist (Cultural) wrote:Because there is a very strong taboo against torturing dogs in this society.

Moral Relativist (Individual) wrote: Because it makes me sad.

Moral Nihilist wrote:Trololololol


* I don't understand this ethical theory all that well, and I'm probably misrepresenting it.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:39 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
Let's have a go, a flawed attempt though it may be.

A dog trained to protect its master and/or its master's intetests may end up suffering for its 'duty', at times, but normally the suffering is for the sake of the whole dog-man 'pack' - from which membership of, the dog enjoys reciprocal benefits, some duty of care. Whether or not the dog understands this, and fully appreciates it, as its ancestral pack-mentality is manipulated by the human (see "service dogs", including Diesel, but with a contentious upper-end to the analogy), only the human handler(s) truly having the capacity to know for what stakes the dog is playing the game, and thusly lies the incumbant responsibilities.

It is analagous (if not identical!) to a military command knowing best to what objective troops are deployed, and the risks they may endure, and knowing that the subordinates may not (perhaps should not, at times) know the full import of their missions, but must trust that they are not being deliberately used for no net benefit.

In dog-fighting, the trust developed may be considered lop-sided. The dog's utility is not repaid by care to prevent needless risks. Their only purpose is to court mortal risks, expendably so, and enter situations of their handler's engineering that need never ever have occured, but for an agreement between rival handlers in a relationship that trumps the previously expected 'our pack' bond. The fate of a winning dog is only to compete again, again and again, until not successful; the fate of an (eventually) unsuccessful dog is rarely a reward of a happy retirement (which may not even be possible for one undefeated, without extreme care and effort). For the dog, there is no wise pack-leader to trust, however much pack-trust they 'feel'.


Counter-arguments to this include that such dogs only live due to their potential to be sent into combat, and a life (however terribly endured in parts) may be considered better than never having a life in the first place (debatable), or an otherwise truncated one (differently debatable). Also that the pack (human plus succession of expendable, and often expended, dogs) may indeed benefit from the deliberate sacrifice of the canine party, by creating a better life for the human party by reputation and earnings1, to advance (or maintain level-ish against a relative expectation of degradement) the standard of living of the revolving-door-pack, over time. Assuming that the betterment/sustenance of the (obviously dedicated and successfully ruthless) human trainer does not correlate with a zero or negative welfare gain on the part of the trainees. Still, even those caveated caveats may well be explored.


I suspect similar arguments surrounding slavery vs servitude vs employment (at various points on their much-overlapping spectra effective benificences from above) are applicable, but I couldn't quote you any chapter or verse from the extensive philosophical masters who have surely already covered every inch of this.

1 This is also where the war-time bomb-dogs theoretically come in to the discussion at a meta-pack level.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:43 am UTC
by Tyndmyr
Why is picking the wings of a fly a dick thing to do?

Unnecessary suffering is sort of an evil thing to try to maximize.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:18 am UTC
by CorruptUser
Dogfighting requires training the dogs. This often involves something known as "bait dogs", dogs that have their mouths taped shut so the other dog can rip it to shreds without getting injured itself. Some of the dog trainers use puppies they get from people giving them away, but the dog trainer needs to feed them until they are large enough to actually be trained on; many rely on dognapping other people's fully grown dogs.

Now if you don't find anything reprehensible in the above paragraph, please, join me in the next topic, "Why is castrating people who don't find dogfighting abhorrent morally wrong?".

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:02 am UTC
by SecondTalon
"Because a castrated dogfight enthusiast can still enjoy dogfights"

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:05 pm UTC
by jewish_scientist
CorruptUser, did you read the OP. I do not think you read the OP. You should probably go read the OP.

P.S. Subsitute 'castrating' with 'punishing' and 'don't find dogfighting abhorrent' with 'hold a different belief than me'.
CorruptUser wrote: "Why is punishing people who hold a different belief than me morally wrong?".

It is wrong because enforcing thoughtcrimes violates human rights.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:35 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
jewish_scientist wrote:P.S. Subsitute 'castrating' with 'punishing' and 'don't find dogfighting abhorrent' with 'hold a different belief than me'.


No substitutions

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:20 pm UTC
by Zamfir
Me for him. My coke for gin. You for my mom. At least I get my washing done.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:58 pm UTC
by SDK
jewish_scientist wrote:It is wrong because enforcing thoughtcrimes violates human rights.

If you're allowed to appeal to "human rights" to prove something is morally wrong, then surely I can appeal to "animal rights" and leave it at that, yes?

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:19 pm UTC
by speising
It is morally wrong because it is against the rules which codify our morality.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:38 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
jewish_scientist wrote:CorruptUser, did you read the OP. I do not think you read the OP. You should probably go read the OP.

P.S. Subsitute 'castrating' with 'punishing' and 'don't find dogfighting abhorrent' with 'hold a different belief than me'.
CorruptUser wrote: "Why is punishing people who hold a different belief than me morally wrong?".

It is wrong because enforcing thoughtcrimes violates human rights.

While I doubt CorruptUser was seriously suggesting we actually go out and castrate everyone who doesn't find dogfighting abhorrent, you can't just substitute specifics with generalities and expect important qualities to all be preserved. That's the same false equivalence bullshit that leads to people saying ridiculous things like, "Disliking violent racists is just as bad as being a violent racist."

When "Should we execute people who leave chairs in public parking spaces?" and "Should we fine companies that kill millions of people?" can both be abstracted to "Should we do bad things to bad people?", the abstraction itself might be part of your problem.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:07 pm UTC
by Samik
Tyndmyr wrote:Why is picking the wings of a fly a dick thing to do?

I spent a month this past summer backpacking in Colorado. The black flies there, in some places, are absolutely unreal. Slather yourself in 98% deet all day long - forget about it, they don't even care.

I got incredibly good at killing these things. They approach their landings in certain predictable ways. I would sit and eat lunch, and wind up with piles of 40 or 50 of them on either side of me by the end.

Sometimes I would hit them and only stun them. Then I'd pluck their wings. Not at first - at first I'd just swat them and be done with it. It took me a few weeks of being eaten alive to reach a point of taking some actual satisfaction in their demolition. They're living off of my blood - I'm under no obligation to allow them to do that (and they hardly seem to care, happily dying by the handful just for a chance to leech off me).

After a while, I graduated to legs, and then antenna. Leaving little wriggling larva with no limbs or sensory apparatus. I learned a fair bit about fly anatomy and behavior. While resting, I'd lay and watch them wriggle. I'd poke them in the eyes when they stopped moving. Until finally they stopped reacting to the pokes, and I'd flick them away.

By the end of that month, I saw no good reason to have any empathy whatsoever for black flies.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:21 pm UTC
by jewish_scientist
I just want to make something clear about my last post because a lot of people have misinterpreted it. I knew that CorruptUser was not being 100% sincere, so I made my reply very insincere. It was suppose to be a joke that had a little truth at its core.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:30 pm UTC
by SDK
??

You asked him to go back and read the OP since he didn't answer your question. Maybe you can frame what a good answer would actually look like to you?

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:37 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
All I'm reading is "It was a social experiment, bro! Ban me now plz"

There still plenty of time to walk this back. But arguing in bad faith in serious business? That's a paddlin'

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 1:14 pm UTC
by jewish_scientist
SDK wrote:Maybe you can frame what a good answer would actually look like to you?

ahammel's and Soupspoon's answers is what I was expecting, wanted, and to a certain extent needed.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:19 am UTC
by doogly
Will you ever love them?

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:38 pm UTC
by nichi
Assuming some theoretical stuff like virtue ethics being right for the sake of getting to the question at hand:

Love is a virtue. Love being a sort of caring about other beings as intrinsic goods. You can get wrapped up in trying to justify a sort of hardcore consequentialism and convince yourself otherwise, but then when you encounter a loving person, unless you've been severely calloused, you'll recognize their love as good.

Dog fighting is directly contrary to this virtue. If we were to make a list of things loving people do and a list of things unloving people do, dog fighting would be on the second list.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:11 pm UTC
by Writergirl
I think it's easy to come up with a moral system that's against dog fighting- the bigger problem is finding a moral system that's against dog fighting and for the slaughter of pigs and cows. I know just about everyone thinks dog fighting is abhorrent, or at least a little sketchy, but those same people will chow down on a hot dog with no problems. Pigs are more intelligent that dogs, and cows have been shown to have social groups. It comes down to the fact that dogs are cute and pigs aren't, and I don't think 'cuteness' should be relevant to one's moral standing.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:15 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
Cuteness has nothing to do with it. We don't make pigs deathmatch in a cage and eat the loser.

If we raised herds of Corgis and slaughtered them for steaks, I'd probably be eating Corgi tonight. And Corgis are adorable. So are pigs, and goats, and cows. But their purpose (at least insofar as meat cows and meat goats go, and most pigs) is food.

Which is why it fits in a system that disallows dogfighting. Dogfighting creates pain for entertainment, and truest to maximize pain. The meat industry creates food and seeks to minimize pain. Generally speaking.

(In before " it what about this one shitty farm that beat the shot out of their animals?" because .... that's not the norm. Because injured animals hurt the bottom line)

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:45 pm UTC
by The Great Hippo
SecondTalon wrote:Which is why it fits in a system that disallows dogfighting. Dogfighting creates pain for entertainment, and truest to maximize pain. The meat industry creates food and seeks to minimize pain. Generally speaking.
It really doesn't? I mean, not even in a general sense. The meat industry creates food and seeks to maximize profit; the comfort of their animals (nevermind just minimizing their pain) doesn't seem to factor into it much. I mean, you're right that certain types of injuries might hurt profit margins, but to believe that the universe has aligned in such a way that injuring animals will always hurt the bottom line is folly. There will always be cases where it's more profitable to treat animals like things, and doing so will always end with animals being treated horribly.

I agree that a dog's cuteness is not really relevant to why we wouldn't want to eat it or injure it; we murder baby-chicks, and they're frigging adorable. I think it has more to do with our cultural view of dogs -- loyal, faithful creatures who are trained to help, save, and protect humans -- I think a lot of us find it unsettling to imagine Lassie saving Timmy from a well, only to get tossed into the meat-grinder the instant Timmy gets hungry. (If you don't find that unsettling, just imagine Lassie being sad but ultimately okay with it -- after all, he had a good three years of life, and Timmy is a growing boy!)

To the point: Dog-fighting is a form of entertainment. And you know what? You could argue that, in some part, so is the meat-industry. People do not need to eat steaks every day (or every week, for that matter) to maintain their health. Meat is a high-value food, and like most high-value foods, its consumption is at least partly recreational. We don't always eat it because we need to; we often eat it just because we want to -- and derive pleasure from doing so.

That's not to say we should do away with the meat industry entirely, or stop eating meat altogether (that's for another thread, I think?); however, I can definitely see a parallel between our excessive consumption of meat versus dog-fighting. Both treat animals as things that exist purely for satisfying our indulgences.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:14 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
SecondTalon wrote:Cuteness has nothing to do with it. We don't make pigs deathmatch in a cage and eat the loser.

If we raised herds of Corgis and slaughtered them for steaks, I'd probably be eating Corgi tonight. And Corgis are adorable. So are pigs, and goats, and cows. But their purpose (at least insofar as meat cows and meat goats go, and most pigs) is food.

Which is why it fits in a system that disallows dogfighting. Dogfighting creates pain for entertainment, and truest to maximize pain. The meat industry creates food and seeks to minimize pain. Generally speaking.

(In before " it what about this one shitty farm that beat the shot out of their animals?" because .... that's not the norm. Because injured animals hurt the bottom line)


I hate to disagree with people on my side of the debate with regards to dogfighting, but you do realize that chickens were primarily domesticated for cockfighting and only secondarily for eggs/meat, right?

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:12 am UTC
by SecondTalon
The Great Hippo wrote:It really doesn't? I mean, not even in a general sense. The meat industry creates food and seeks to maximize profit; the comfort of their animals (nevermind just minimizing their pain) doesn't seem to factor into it much. I mean, you're right
pain creates adrenaline

Adrenaline soaked meat tastes off.

CorruptUser wrote:I hate to disagree with people on my side of the debate with regards to dogfighting, but you do realize that chickens were primarily domesticated for cockfighting and only secondarily for eggs/meat, right?
[Citation Needed] as everything I know points to them being food as well as sport. Dual purpose.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:27 am UTC
by CorruptUser
SecondTalon wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:I hate to disagree with people on my side of the debate with regards to dogfighting, but you do realize that chickens were primarily domesticated for cockfighting and only secondarily for eggs/meat, right?
[Citation Needed] as everything I know points to them being food as well as sport. Dual purpose.


From Wikipedia

The traditional poultry farming view is that chickens were first domesticated for cockfighting in Asia, Africa, and Europe, rather than for egg or meat production



I think we should blame the French for this one, but I don't know how. Because we should always figure out a way to blame the French. And I'm not sure what we are blaming on the French, but I don't care. Chickens, French, grr.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:33 am UTC
by Soupspoon
There's something, in the back of my mind, that here in historic Britain the eating of chicken was something we did not do for a long time after the use of domesticated poultry for their eggs, even whilst our continental neighbours (or masters, if it was the Roman British era) had clearly adopted the practice... Or perhaps it was the other way round... But I can't find an unambiguous statement to that (or at all for the other) effect.

The closest I can get is that chicken-flesh was a luxury product in the early US (and that lobsters and oysters were considered food for the plebs, a mere century or two ago, in various locales).

But this is straying from any kind of point.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:13 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
I don't think chicken was a luxury product. Chickens are the easiest animal to raise, and while they weren't eaten every day they'd be eaten once a week. Cows and sheep, on the other hand, well, butchers weren't stocked the way they are now so when a cow was slaughtered it was pretty much big news in the village.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:47 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
CorruptUser wrote:I don't think chicken was a luxury product. Chickens are the easiest animal to raise, and while they weren't eaten every day they'd be eaten once a week. Cows and sheep, on the other hand, well, butchers weren't stocked the way they are now so when a cow was slaughtered it was pretty much big news in the village.

I take as my source for that the Wikipedia(-repeated1) information that:
In the United States in the 1800s, chicken was more expensive than other meats and it was "sought by the rich because [it is] so costly as to be an uncommon dish." Chicken consumption in the United States increased during World War II due to a shortage of beef and pork.


But that's further off topic than if I were referencing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog#As_food

1 I saw it elsewhere as well but I'm on a different device now, so I'd currently have to re-search to find the other 'authorities' on this, or just hope to get back into the other browser history later...

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:24 pm UTC
by The Great Hippo
SecondTalon wrote:pain creates adrenaline
Right, but as the article explains, it isn't enough of an issue to really minimize pain so much as just maybe mitigate it when it's not too costly to do so.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:31 am UTC
by ObsessoMom
David Foster Wallace's famous essay "Consider the Lobster," regarding the ethics of boiling lobsters alive, seems relevant. (If you're short of time, I'd recommend skipping to the section that begins on p. 62 and proceeding to the end on p. 64.)

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:37 pm UTC
by jewish_scientist
I have not had a chance to read everything yet, but I am in a bit of a rush and wanted to add a some tangential information. Write down every animal that is eaten by people across >3 cultures. I bet that they are all herbivores or omnivores. This is not a coincidence. To raise a herbivore, you must grow food and then give it to the animal. To raise a carnivore, you must grow food, give it to an animal, and then give that animal to the carnivore. This is significantly more inefficient. Hunting for animals is another way to feed a carnivore, but hunting is unreliable on larger scales. The reason dogs are on of the few domestic carnivores is that they have uses besides food. We do not eat dogs because there are simply better things to do with them and the food. This is the same reason we do not eat cats. Again, not really relevant to the morality of dogfighting, but it is interesting and I noticed that some people were talking about why we do not eat dogs.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:15 pm UTC
by Millumi
It's wrong to dogfight because PETA doesn't like it.
PETA doesn't like it because they want those dogs euthanized.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:43 pm UTC
by jewish_scientist
I actually wrote a featured article about that for my journalism course last semester. I think that I still have a draft of it, if you would like me to send it to you.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:58 pm UTC
by Millumi
jewish_scientist wrote:I actually wrote a featured article about that for my journalism course last semester. I think that I still have a draft of it, if you would like me to send it to you.

Nah. Thanks anyway.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:19 pm UTC
by Bane Harper
This is wrong to harm animals just for the sake of fun and gambling

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:58 pm UTC
by Whizbang
Like anything in morals and ethics, it becomes clearer if we think of the system rather than the specifics. Morals should be permissive in nature. By which I mean that anything should be allowed until a case is made to justify restricting the behavior. This gets muddy when you get into the interactions between entities, of course. Which entity's rights take precedent? We must iterate through permissive and restrictive states so we can draw fine lines around actions. Luckily here the measure of rights is easy to weigh. Does the dogs' rights to life and well being take precedence over your (impersonal you, here) right to take pleasure (and potential monetary gain from gambling) in their fighting? (or vice versa, however you want to phrase the question.) Yes. Clearly yes.

And how is this different than, say, slaughtering cows for food? Doesn't their right to life and well being take precedence over our right to enjoy their meat? Well, many would and do say yes. It is important to point out the differences, however. In the case of the dogs, they are forced to fight each other in a grueling, painful ordeal where often even the victor dies. Also, they are not then eaten. However, as mentioned above by ST, I think, we eat cows more for pleasure than necessity, so the eating isn't necessarily a large difference here.

So, again we refer to the system on permissive vs restrictive. We have to iterate through justifications to get to the fine line. By default actions are permitted. Justification is needed to restrict. We have that justification to restrict needless killing of animals. Therefore, any killing of animals needs to be justified to be returned to a permissive state. We have that justification, though arguably so, with eating cows. Dog fighting has not yet met that burden of justification, nor does it seem as if it ever will. We place a large taboo on intentionally causing pain to derive pleasure, even more than killing to derive pleasure. Granted many farmed animals endure torment and squalid living conditions, but that is systemic in nature, impersonal. And there is our line. A case can be made that this impersonal killing is immoral too, but the question asked here is about dog fighting. Farming animals for food has met the burden of justification that dog fighting is being tested for, namely personally torturing and killing an animal to derive pleasure directly from the act itself. Further testing and justification for eating animals is separate to the question of dog fighting.

Dog fighting is currently in a restrictive state until justification is presented to offset the taboo against personal torture and killing for the sake of torture and killing.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:24 pm UTC
by jewish_scientist
Quite a few people have mentioned gambling in there posts. I think that this is a mistake. The arguments 'dogfighting is wrong because it is cruel to dogs,' is very different than 'dogfighting is wrong because gambling is wrong'. I can explain this with a rather straight-forward hypothetical: if people engaged in dogfighting and no one bet on the outcomes of the matches, then would dogfighting be morally neutral or morally right? Someone believing in the first argument would answer no; someone believing in the second argument would answer yes. We (or at least I) took as an axiom that dogfighting is morally wrong. It follows from this that any mention of gambling must be superfluous, and therefor gambling should not be mentioned, or a given argument is off topic.

Re: Why is dog fighting morally wrong?

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:41 pm UTC
by Whizbang
Because dog fighting and gambling go hand in hand. Because without gambling dog fighting would most likely not be a thing. Dogs are valuable things. Using them to earn money in dog fighting is one thing, but throwing them away just for the sport of it is another. The cost-benefit is just not there, even if you derive pleasure from watching two dogs kill each other.

The primary motivator for dog fighting is gambling.

That said, yes, the gambling aspect should merely be parenthetical to the discussion of the morals of dog fighting.