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Binghamton Speech & Debate

Proposition: Christian Chessman (University of Florida) vs. Opposition: Chase Hutchinson (Wood River High School)

Judge: Guy Risko (Binghamton University)

Resolution: RESOLVED: The United States Federal Government should ban all testing that requires the use of animals.

  • Christian Chessman
    Christian Chessman

    Chase Hutchinson
    Chase Hutchinson
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    Speech Details

    Click on the other tabs to watch watch that speech.

    Posted at N/A by Christian Chessman



    Butler, Judith in 2008. Frames of War. Print. Quals: Judith Butler would be God if she believed in one. Cards available upon request at

    PETA in 2013. "Animals Experiments: An Overview".


    In the time it will take me to speak this sentence, fourteen nonhuman animals will have lost their lives as a direct result of experimental testing on their bodies. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals calculate that every year, this number amounts to over 100,000,000 million animals dead from testing alone. Because I believe this slaughter is morally repugnant, we stand Resolved: The USFG should ban all testing that requires the use of animals.

    Before I begin, I offer an observation about the nature of obligations and bans. Any decision calculus for when bans are appropriate implicitly relies on a larger normative framework for determining moral action. As such, we will explicitly provide a moral framework for making decisions. The negative must either explicitly provide an alternative framework for decisionmaking, or accept mine.

    I propose a framework based on egalitarianism and precariousness. Judith Butler defines precariousness as life's fundamental uncertainty. Butler says this uncertainty is characterized by two principles. first, injurability ot the ability of life to be injured or ended and second, sociality, or the mutual reliance of living things on a multitude of other living things for sustenance.

    With respect to the first principle, injurability, Butler's argument is that all life can be ended and ultimately will end. No life ends "harder" or "more" than any other life; at the end of the day, all lives find equality in their end. Similarly, all lives have a fundamental equal ability to be injured. Stab thirty beings of different races, sexes and species, and all of them will bleed.

    With respect to the second principle, mutuality, Butler's argument is that all life relies in some way on other life to carry out its various beings and doings. I relied on my family to raise me, strangers to produce this laptop, friends to tell me about this tournament, farmers to grow the snack I ate while writing this speech, and builders to create the house I'm in. My life -- and all life -- is fundamentally intertwined from birth with the lives of thousands of others, many of whom I will never personally know.

    Given these two conditions of precarity -- mutual sociality and injurability -- we can begin to ask on what grounds precariousness can be allocated. Should certain groups receive more protection from injury? Should select individuals benefit disproportionately from social systems?

    Butler answers no to both. She argues that precarity is a generalized condition, which inherently implies an egalitarian distribution of life's dangers and society's protections. She says "precariousness must be grasped not simply as a feature of this life or that life, but as a generalized condition" of all life. On this basis one objects to the differential allocation of precariousness".

    Because precariousness applies equally to all beings, it would be arbitrary to reduce it disproportionally for only white beings or male beings, or human beings. That is why Butler argues that this understanding of precarity necessarily implies equal consideration of nonhuman animal life. She argues "it does not make sense to claim that we have to focus on what is distinctive about human life, since if it is the "life" of human life that concerns us...there is precisely no firm way to distinguish in absolute terms the bios of the animal from the bios of the human animal. Any such distinction would be tenuous and fail to see that the human animal is itself an animal."

    In summation, obligations derive from the injurability and mutual reliability of life. That is true of life, regardless of whatever adjective you put before it -- black, white, male, straight, animal. Life and only life itself is the source of obligation, and the logically derived obligation is for equal treatment. Therefore, it is impossible to justify the inequal distribution of precarity for nonhuman animals. To win this debate, the negative must justify for you why it is permissible to unequally allocate the distribution of precarity. The negative fundamentally must justify unequal treatment for equal beings. Because we believe that is impossible, we are proud to stand in affirmation. Thank you.

    Posted at N/A by Chase Hutchinson



    Works Cited

    Contention 1:
    Crowell, Susan. "Animal Research Saves Lives of Both Humans and Animals | Farm and Dairy - Agriculture News, Auctions, Classifieds." Farm and Dairy Agriculture News Auctions Classifieds RSS. Farm and Dairy, 6 May 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. <>.

    Contention 2:
    Russo, Juniper. "Humane Animal Testing: A Kinder Alternative." Yahoo! Voices. Yahoo! Contributor Network, 19 Feb. 2009. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. <>.

    Contention 3:
    "Animal Testing a Necessary Research Tool, for Now." Animal Testing a Necessary Research Tool, for Now. The Arizona Republic, Sept.-Oct. 2006. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. <>.

    Posted at N/A by Christian Chessman



    cite requests available at

    Posted at N/A by Chase Hutchinson



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    Posted at N/A by Christian Chessman



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    This match has been completed. Show the Decision.

    Submitted at N/A by Guy Risko

    Category Christian Chessman Chase Hutchinson
    Use of evidence: 5 5
    Delivery skill: 5.3 5
    Coherence of arguments: 5.5 5
    Responsiveness to opponent: 5.4 4.6
    Identification of key points: 5.4 5
    Comments: A. We've met. Hi! I'm Guy Risko-- i judged you at JV nats last year and for a bit at the Madison cup
    B. I'm assuming your lack of an immediate recognition of my name is to blame for your 1AC. Here's what I wrote as I listened: "the 1AC's discussion of life does not do a great job of asking the question of the uniqueness of testing-- the equality of testing remains possible". I think your 1AC needs to be more offense heavy rather than a production of your justification for equality (which is important).

    HEY! We haven't met! I'm Guy Risko, Binghamton University, blah blah bullshit, college coach. I thought your first construction was smart, and that you're making a ton of interesting in-roads.

    However, here's what I wrote down as you made your1NC:
    "1nc should talk about human testing helping animals instead of forcing hte issue to the resolution". This is important-- you need to produce a minimum threshold to your argumentation outside of the resolution (especially if you move towards college debate. which you should. 100%. if you're curious)

    Here's what I wrote about your NR:
    "the 1NR missses a fairly big boat-- if you don't, win the equality claims, then all of your arguments are functionally no responsive
    overreliance to the resolution without a support-- you miss the weakness of his argument by not increasing the precision"

    So over all, my comment is that you rely on the a priori meaning of the resolution. You either need ot really push in on its meaning, or create external definitions.

    great job!

    The decision is for the Proposition: Christian Chessman

    Reason for Decision:

    I think the aff wins a pretty damning impact argument to the role of the governmentsince the aff wins precarity/egalitariainism (a dubious marriage), I think the government must treat beings equally (undercuts the people argument). Given that, I dont think the negative has proven the unique importance of animal testing in relation to alternatives and the limited effectiveness of animal testing compared to their alternatives.

    In other words-- Aff wins that the risk of unequal treatment outweighs the potential (universal? dubious...) benefits of animal testing.

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