“How Do You Vegans Justify Killing Plants When They’re Living Things, Too?”

As I’ve always stated around here, I’m up for spirited debate, and I don’t mind anyone challenging my life philosophies.  This is how we all continue to evolve.  Occasionally, however, these “challenges” can get pretty ridiculous… almost as if the “challenger” is grasping for ANY kind of clever, unassailable theory that will somehow render an entire way of living as invalid.

In the world of Witty But Asinine Retorts to Veganism, there are a few that, unfortunately, will not go away.  Heading this list would have to be the truly pathetic, “But Hitler was a vegetarian, so what does that say about your movement?” (By the way, Hitler was a far fucking cry from being veggie, as his diet included steady rations of Bavarian sausage, liver dumplings, ham, and squab.  The vegetarian myth was just another calculated part of his manufactured public image as a “revolutionary ascetic.”)

A close second would probably be the the good ol’ plants-are-living-things-too retort, which usually unfolds something like this: “You talk about having a diet and lifestyle where you avoid killing any living thing.  But what about plants?  Plants are living things and you kill them.”

I hadn’t actually heard this one in a while… until its bell was sounded in a New York Times article from last week entitled, “Sorry, Vegans: Brussels Sprouts Like to Live, Too.”  Predictably, the author seemed to be making a case about the futility of being vegan, since we were doomed to eat plants, and plants want to live as much as any animal does.  In other words, if we’re all destined to be murderers anyway, what difference does it make who or what we’re murdering, be it plant or animal?

Of course, in the article’s first paragraph, the author also admits to her own ethical quandaries and resultant dietary inconsistencies (omitting pork and “mammalian” meat, but not birds, fish or dairy).  Whatever.  I only bring up this point because these kind of lame-ass arguments are usually presented as much for the benefit of the questioner (in rationalizing their choices), as they are for those being asked the question.

Are Plants Living Things?

Okay, to be fair, let me draw a line in the sand on the subject.  I think the concept of plants as living things is legitimate and fascinating.  Yes, of course they’re living things.  In fact, from the perspective of quantum physics, there is nothing in our three-dimensional world of matter that is not “living” on some level, including water, stones and computer screens.  Everything is energy, as they say, vibrating at various rates of speed.  And for those growing, expanding, self-propagating things – like fruit, veggies, algae and bacteria – there are varying degrees of intelligence involved so they may live, develop and evolve within their respective environs.  Having built-in defense mechanisms to this end is obviously part of Mother Nature’s master plan.

This makes sense for all of us because, remember, if it weren’t for all of these plants and trees swapping out carbon dioxide for oxygen, humans and animals wouldn’t even be around.  So, yes, Brussels sprouts and all other forms of veggies, fruits, grains and various plant-life are designed to thrive and survive… apparently for both their benefit and ours. (Also, is it any coincidence that the same antioxidants in plant-foods that help them survive in the wild, are also of immeasurable benefit to our survival when we ingest them?)

However, it’s quite a leap to automatically surmise that a plant’s survival mechanism is parallel to that of an animal’s.  This is why you will often hear the word “sentient” used to describe the kind of living beings who we vegans wish to safeguard with our food, clothing and lifestyle choices.  Simply put, a sentient being – like a chicken, cow or cockroach – is one whose cognitive faculties are such that they can clearly feel pain, discern survival conditions, have specific preferences, express some degree of emotion, etc.  For these reasons, sentient beings operate from a more evolved level of consciousness than plant life.  And, to me, the ultimate built-in criteria to define this really starts with that all-important question:

Do Plants Feel Pain?

The answer is no, and I’ll give you three good reasons why they do not:

  • Scientifically speaking, a plant-based food is not a sentient being, does not have an innate, emotional inclination to avoid bodily harm or death (in the same way that animals do), does not have a nervous system, and, therefore, is not even designed to process the sensation of pain.
  • Philosophically speaking, it’s safe to say that Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, would never bestow upon a living creature the capacity to feel pain without also giving him or her the ability to engage in a fight or flight response to the imminent threat or actual experience of pain.
  • Practically speaking, I’ve yet to see any irate celery stalks or bell peppers jump up from the cutting board and run out of my kitchen lately.  Such is clearly not the case with the 50-plus billion farm animals around the world who meet their fate in the slaughterhouse every year.

So, please… to all intelligent folks out there wishing to challenge the merits of veganism, let’s at least put this one to rest, shall we?

My Job

I understand that veganism often appears to be the ultimate “inconvenient truth” to those considering its comparatively rigid parameters.  And I understand that it’s human nature to find that loophole – that flawed piece of an otherwise logical puzzle – that enables us to dismiss the whole of something as quackery, so we can throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.  I get that.  So my job, in part, is to illuminate the flaws in some of these whacked-out perceptions so that people can make more informed decisions.  What someone chooses to do from there is, as usual, their choice.

Finally…

Now, after all of this plants-are-living-things stuff, if you’re still on a mission to save as many plants as possible from the ravages of the dinner table and feel that eating dead animals is somehow serving that end, remember: we are currently feeding about 80-plus% of many of the crops we grow in the world to farm animals.  So by eating animal products, you are actually causing the “death” of even more plants (to say nothing of animals), since we feed a disproportionate amount of plant foods to animals, relative to what they yield to humans in the form of food.

The irony here is that, by trying to use this killing plants argument as a case against veganism, it’s actually making more of a case for it.

Just a little more food for thought…

BR

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About Bobby Rock

Bobby Rock is a world renown drummer, the author of seven books, and a recognized health and fitness specialist with certifications in exercise, nutrition and meditation. He has recorded and toured with a variety of artists, released three CDs as a solo performer and is recognized as a top drumming educator. (He is currently touring with rock icon, Lita Ford.) Through speaking, writing and activism, Bobby remains committed to a number of animal and environmental causes. Bobby lives in Los Angeles.
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123 Responses to “How Do You Vegans Justify Killing Plants When They’re Living Things, Too?”

  1. nz says:

    Amen. People are so fucking stupid sometimes. Thanks for putting this nonsense in perspective. It is as if they have nothing to write so they manufacture something they consider “clever” or “crafty” to pontificate about. It disgusts me…

  2. Lisamarie says:

    Yeah I was wondering if you saw that article, Bobby. The things people will do/say to justify their horrible habits!
    The other statement I don’t get when you tell others about veganism and animal rights is stuff like, “Who are you to tell me what to eat and what not to? I don’t tell YOU what not to eat”?
    Oh and when they say it’s a “personal choice”. It’s really NOT; when people eat animal products it effects ALL of us and the planet that WE live on, too, so we have every right to speak up-not to mention it’s our TAX DOLLARS that pay for their doctor and/or hospital bills when they get sick and have to be treated-so yeah, again, when you’re spending MY hard-earned $$ for the clean-up of your bad habits I CAN say something about it!
    So anyway, that’s MY 2-cents–thanks for addressing the ridiculous plant arguement; I’ll post this on my Facebook.

  3. carol says:

    Adam and Eve In Eden may been veggie and fruit eaters ,but when they ate of the Tree they weren’t allowed to eat from,Then God slew an animal and covered them with the skins ,being a foreshadowing of the Lamb sacrifices made until Jesus came to be the Lamb being sacrificed for All People by the shedding of His blood for our sins.
    Also, after leaving the Garden and toiling the Land, God allowed meat and fish to be eaten and In Lev. He told what was clean and unclean in eating food.
    Yes, we may not really need to eat meat, but most People and Animals do and certain Sea Life too.
    But we were never meant to abuse ourselves having It.
    That’s where Health Issues happen.
    Also alot of additives are added to our food supplies and things In our water too.
    Smoking,Drinking. Drugs, etc are contributors too.
    The list goes on,but yeah,we got to take a stand somewhere.
    We can cut back,until It’s not needed to eat anymore.
    But Animals don’t needed to be crowded In cages and abused either.

  4. carol says:

    I do admit that I’ve been think twice about eating meat.
    I’m not as content eating It as I use to be.
    I also wish People would drive more careful, I saw a very Large Deer
    dead out on the grass from being killed by cars,also a Large Dog and a Little Kitten too.
    I saw on TV how thousands of Animals are killed daily across America on Highways and Workers have to clear them off the road or traffic be stopped everywhere.Such Senseless loss of life.
    So much has to be done!

  5. Christine says:

    No only do plants like to live (in referencing Bobby’s New York Times article), according to this article, they can do math, too!
    “Do plants know math? – Horticulture”. USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education). FindArticles.com. 29 Dec, 2009. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1272/is_2697_131/ai_102840995/
    All kidding aside, in both this article and the New York Times article, the plant kingdom is quite sophisticated and intricate.
    I agree with Bobby and stand on his line in the sand on this topic, but, in bringing up this subject, it sure was interesting reading about how “deep” & evolved Botany is. (i.e., Plants and Fibonacci/Golden Selection numbers) Thanks for another informative post.

  6. Lisamarie says:

    As far as Bible stories go, there are any number of ways to interpret certain scriptures, as they’ve been written and rewritten to say what people want them to say.
    I for one truly do NOT believe God would condone the killing and eating of ANY sensient being for food, clothing, or anything else; if he did intend for animals to be “used” this way, He would not have given them a fully-developed central nervous system, a brain, nerve endings, and extensive capacities for pain and emotions.
    I’m not sure what scripture it is exactly, but it’s right in Genesis where God clearly states He gives us every fruit bearing seed and that THAT shall be used for our “meat”.
    As far as the story about the fish goes, there is talk of fish being brought to the people by Jesus in Biblical times, but it doesn’t say anything about Him eating it–any religious teaching that condones the eating of meat is not following the teachings of the Holy Spirit.
    In fact there is a VERY good, Christian couple named Frank and Mary Hoffman who left the church because of this very thing and started their own ministry through their web site.
    You can check it out at http://www.all-creatures.org.

  7. Zack says:

    Scientifically speaking, plants have an innate ability to avoid being harmed. Just because they cannot run away, does not mean they want to be eaten. Although they cannot escape from humans, plants do many things to avoid being killed, such as releasing chemicals in their leaves to ward off insects or releasing chemicals into the air to “warn” other plants in the area of dangers like fire.

    Philosophically speaking, I don’t think mother nature has anything to do with this, however, just because a living thing has no nervous system, doesn’t mean it can’t feel pain. Don’t you guys use that same argument about crustaceans? Supposedly they don’t feel pain, but vegans still think there is a problem eating them. Plants may not experience pain the way we do, but they sure as hell don’t want to be eaten (unless they are the seed-bearing fruit, in which case it is only right to eat if you are going to drop their seeds off somewhere that they can sprout, rather than your eco-conscious toilet)

    Practically speaking, plants may not be able to run away, but they have developed other characteristics to prevent them from being eaten (other than tasting bad). Soy is full of chemicals that will mess with your thyroid, brain and hormones.

    Now, I am no proponent of factory farms, but if animals were fed their correct foods (like cows who should eat grass), then nothing has to die other than the way nature intended. When cows eat grass, the grass doesn’t die (the roots are still there), but when you pull something completely out of the ground like with corn, you are constantly killing and replanting. On top of that, agriculture destroys topsoil, which is basically the building block of life.

    Next time you think you are living without any animal products, take a look at the fertilizer that created your plants. If there aren’t any animal products in that, you may want to ask yourself what sort of chemicals you are ingesting. And besides, those chemicals are still probably animal products.

  8. Christine says:

    Hi Zack, I would like to say I appreciate you expressing your opinions. I would like to make a comment and ask a question. With regard to your statement, “Don’t you guys use that same argument about crustaceans? Supposedly they don’t feel pain, but vegans still think there is a problem eating them.”
    You might want to read this article. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29915025/).
    My question is regarding your comment on soy, “Soy is full of chemicals that will mess with your thyroid, brain and hormones.” I, too, have read negative studies on soy. I have also read the contrary and am rather perplexed; either it is the most wonderful superfood or the next best thing to “potassium cyanide”. Would you mind siting some articles that back up your claim. I would be interested in reading them for my own sake. Thank you.

  9. Zack says:

    Good point on the crustaceans. I definitely believe they feel pain, but I also think that plants feel a kind of pain that we are simply unable to understand. Here is a great, although old, article about how trees communicate and try to help each other: http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF7/762.html

    As for the soy argument, there are multiple studies on the way it can mess with your body. A simple internet search for “soy side effects” will probably scare the crap out of any soy eater, but of course you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. I would recommend picking up a book called The Vegetarian Myth. It sounds like a crazy conservative propaganda, but it is actually written by an extreme liberal. It covers a lot of ground, but there is also a section on soy and it’s possible side effects, which include memory loss, sterility, thyroid problems and even breast cancer.

    You may be able to eat soy your whole life and feel no side effects, but some lifetime smokers can live to be 95, so really it’s not the kind of risk I think is worth taking.

  10. Bobby Rock says:

    Hey Gang –

    Good stuff. Even when I personally don’t agree with everything being said, I still like the idea that different perspectives are being expressed around here. And I really appreciate that everyone’s keeping a respectful tone in the process. That seems to be very rare around the web these days!

    And good timing on the subject of soy. Just posted a long overdue blog about it today: 1-5-10. Dig it…

    Thanks, everyone –
    BR

  11. Cyberquill says:

    Perhaps plants “don’t want to be eaten,” but whether or not they experience anything even remotely resembling pain and suffering is strictly speculation. Perhaps the wall doesn’t want to be punched and releases an as of yet undiscovered defensive chemical prior to my driving my fist into into it.

    In the case of animals, however, we know they experience pain sensation, emotional as well as physical, akin to ours. So I’d suggest we just go with what we know for sure. After all, if plants suffer like animals, all bets are off, because then there’s literally nothing to eat.

    As to the soy issue, if it does indeed have side effects, they are probably relatively mild compared to those of meat, coffee, dairy, and alcohol. I suspect the dairy people to have a hand in disseminating studies that highlight the downside of soy. As a non-scientist, it’s very difficult to distinguish valid scientific findings from biased studies commissioned and subsequently marketed by special interests.

  12. Zack says:

    For starters, a wall isn’t a living thing.

    If we based our lives on the things we knew, rather than the things we thought we knew, our world would be a vastly different place. We used to “know” that the earth was the center of the universe and we used to “know” that the earth was flat and we used to “know” that Africans were three fifths of white people.

    Also, just because a living thing experiences feelings more similar to ours, it doesn’t mean that they somehow suffering more. The point is that when you eat, something has to die. If you choose to eat vegetables, you should also recognize the countless insects and small mammals that were killed in the agricultural process of pesticides and insecticides. And that doesn’t even take into account the millions of animals that were living in the topsoil before that was destroyed to grow crops. Basically, there is no such thing as a kind diet.

    And as for soy, perhaps dairy people have had a hand in the studies, although I’m not sure how that explains the hormonal changes someone in my family underwent when she went from real milk to soy milk. And those studies that say that soy is really good for you are being funded by the same companies that grow soy.

  13. Cyberquill says:

    By “knowing” I mean based on verifiable scientific data, not guesswork like the earth being flat or the dopey three-fifth compromise cooked up at the Constitutional convention for political purposes.

    The wall may not be a living thing, but who says only living things feel pain? I the plant suffers despite not having a nervous system (which is the only thing we know causes pain and suffering in the first place) than a brick may be hurting when kicked, too.

    If there’s no such thing like a kind diet, there certainly is such a thing like a much kinder diet than the one most people practice.

    A person may undergo hormonal changes anytime they switch from anything to anything.

  14. Zack says:

    I’m sure there is scientific data out there, although I don’t have the time to look it up right now. Nonetheless, we must also realize that we don’t know everything and if plants experience pain in a way that we are unable to comprehend, then we may never know.

    I’m not sure I see your point as far as a kinder diet. One grass-fed cow can feed me and a lot of people for a long time, while one vegetable based meal is going to cause the deaths of thousands of animals and only feed me for one meal. Not sure how that one is kinder.

    And you’re right, a person may undergo hormonal changed anytime they switch diets, but that doesn’t explain the thyroid problems Japanese people experience on their soy diets.

    In truth, we can go back and forth here forever. At the very least, I just wanted to provide a counter argument for you guys. So many of these vegetarian forums or blogs bash people who eat meat and have a group of loyal supporters who will agree with everything. Hopefully I’ve made you think a bit.

  15. Lisamarie says:

    I’d like to leave just one comment/thought on all this talk about plants feeling pain and such.
    Consider this: it takes 16 lbs of grain(and plants) to produce just ONE lb of beef.
    Given how much land it takes to produce the BILLIONS of animals murdered in just the US alone for our insatiable taste for their muscle tissue, just how many thousands to millions plants do you think are killed for a meat-based diet?
    By comparison, it takes a small fraction of the land to grow crops for a plant-based diet that it does to feed a meat eater, so now which would you supposed is the “kinder diet” going just by plants and their “desire to live” alone, in terms of the # killed between the 2 eating habits/styles?
    Food for thought. 😉

  16. Zack says:

    Ok fine, now I have to leave one more comment. Cows are not meant to eat grain, they are meant to eat grass. Humans cannot digest grass. Therefore, the amount of grass taken to create one pound of beef is inconsequential to humans, as we cannot digest their natural foods. Also, when cows eat grass, they are not killing it because the roots remain in tact, like with a lawn mower, except there is that wonderful bi-product of manure, which helps nourish the grass even further.

    If cows were fed their correct diet of grass, then the grain argument wouldn’t really work.

  17. Lisamarie says:

    Grains consist of plant foods. Also, when plants are **correctly** harvested for us(which is what we are meant to eat), the root of the plant is not destroyed, thereby letting it regrow.
    As for the grass arguement, we don’t eat GRASS anyway do we??
    Also, our bodies are designed to properly digest plant foods; we are not designed to digest/process animal foods, as they have no fiber, and therefore sit and rot in our colons and eventually cause colon cancer as well as other problems.
    DO you know that before 1900, when people lived on plant-based diets, the diseases we hear about on a daily basis these days were practically unheard of and were not even in any medical text books?
    Here are some good resources to check out:
    http://www.ravediet.com(esp the “Eating” dvd)
    “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell
    Do searches for Dr. John McDougal and Dr. Michael Klaper(as I don’t know their web addresses right off).
    Just do a thorough search/self-study on the benefits of a plant-based diet. The info is there-and “happy trails” on your journey. Happy learning! 🙂

  18. natalia says:

    plants can see, hear don’t believe me see the video

    http://www.ceveni.com/2010/02/can-plants-see-hear-think-and-feel.html

  19. trololo says:

    “we are not designed to digest/process animal foods”

    Tell that to the billions (if not trillions) of modern humans who have eaten meat, and lived to tell the tale. (roll eyes)

    Humans are omnivorous, end of story.

    Humans have eaten meat throughout history, and our ancestors have as well, right down to bugs or other animals if they could be caught. I’d say its you people who are going against the natural order. Mother nature cares not about kindness, life eats life.

    There just might be an argument in sustainability, but any of this bs about morality and having a kinder diet by eating a dumber creature is arrogant.

    Modern human have lived on meat and plant based diets, its called a HUNTER-gatherer society, not simply a gatherer society. A tribesman would take a hunk of meat over the fruits and nuts their women picked if they could only pick one, but the nuts and fruits were able to be eaten to stay alive.

    Vegan scientists should find some way to get humans to digest sunlight, now that would be a true kind diet, and you could have it! lol

  20. Lisamarie says:

    Sounds to me like you are one of the arrogant ones if you see someone of another species as “dumb”.
    Also, we’ve only been eating animals for about the last 10,000 or so years; before that our ancestors lived on a PLANT-BASED diet.
    Besides, look at the thousands and thousands of people who die every year as a result of their carnist diet!
    Humans are HERBIVORES naturally, and the proper term for someone who has a non-compassionate diet is a CARNIST, not a carnivore or omnivore, as that is a being who is DESIGNED to eat animals and/or animals and plants-not someone who merely eats other individuals for their selfish pleasure.
    Non-human beings are sensient individual beings with a life agenda of their OWN to live, just like we do, and it’s a VERY racist, speciesist way of thinking to grant them any less right to that life.
    It’s really pathetic that we are having this kind of argument in the 21st century anyway, really. Here we’re supposed to be among the most intelligent animals on Earth and yet look at what we do to our fellow creatures, our planet, and each other-SERIOUSLY! I actually almost feel rather embarrassed to think I’m of the same species as those who do SO much harm and claim that “they don’t care”. 😦

  21. Andrew says:

    I’ll have to disagree with the fact that because you assert that plants don’t feel pain justifies eating them because killing any living being should be wrong if I follow your logic. Let’s put an example you use against meat-eaters:

    If you were a plant, would you mind being eaten against your own will or being grown just to die at the hands of a filthy, disgusting, puny (described in the same adjectives you use) human? Or would you like to live a life where you die of old?

    For those argumenting the rescue of a captive animals, they don’t live happily ever after being released from their “always necessarily abusive homes” (I’ve got 2 examples for the ones interested). Animals in captivity aren’t ALWAYS abused, and it would leave clear psychological or physical signs hinting mistreatment. I don’t think people complying with the rules would want to abuse a profitable animal as it would earn them legal troubles, not to mention said creature not wanting to perform. Also, I guess their liberation does not have ANY impact at all in the ecosystem they are living on, huh? Take horse-slaughter as an example of the last one.

    I think some humans (whether veg*ns or not) downplay the lives of plants and then come saying “meat is murder!” without reasoning that they’re taking the life of another being. I’ve heard the statement “nothing justifies the killing of an animal” countless times, but I’ve yet got to hear someone using the same argument on behalf of plants. Unless, of course, veg*ns are hypocrites who prey upon acceptable targets (i.e. plants).

    Just for laughs, did a seed consent to being planted by you? Did it consent to being watered by you or your employees? Did it consent to being harvested, cooked and served in a plate? I guess not.

    Face it, you are favoring animals over plants. And because something is natural or “organic” it doesn’t mean it’s healthy! Mushrooms are organic (derived or coming from a living organism), yet most cause disease and death. This fallacy is known as “appeal to nature”.

    Finally, stating that our species is herbivore is a big fat lie, as we’ve been able to survive (read: survive) off meat and achieve a healthy lifestyle by combining both flesh and vegetables. To top it off, instead of leaving people alone with their beliefs, you just have to complain “when will they learn?”, “a veg*n diet is the way to go”, “meat-eaters support abuse of animals!”. Tell the last two to a carnivore animal and see if they spare you.

    And don’t even mention that it’s excusable for carnivore animals to kill others as they are contributing to the deaths of other fellow animals who did nothing wrong. Shouldn’t those carnivores die for murder? (I really want to know about this one as I heard it’s ridden with censorship.)

    Why does the fact that we can reason mean that we shouldn’t consume meat? Why can’t humans act as predators instead of introducing a predating species to control the population of an ecosystem? Why can non-human animals predate but we can’t fulfill that role?

    Thank you for taking the time to read my comment. This was especially directed to the kind of people who act in a “holier than thou” manner and act condescendingly. My point with this is that you can’t eliminate meat consumption, unless you’re willing to go to extremes, such as wiping or modifying several entire species. As they say, it’s natural (albeit I don’t care) and healthy (in moderation), and most arguably, a CHOICE.

  22. Lisamarie says:

    I don’t know HOW many times we actually have to go over and OVER the point of TRUE carnivores(ie, lion, tigers, bears, etc) and it being NECESSARY for them to hunt and kill other animals-because they are CARNIVORES who are DESIGNED to eat meat, whereas we are NOT! People who insist upon dining on the remains of abused, murdered animals are actually CARNISTS. We are TAUGHT from before we even walk and talk to be carnists; we have dead animals parts in BABY food, for goodnes sake!
    One last time, meat is NOT HEALTHY! Why do you think thousands to millions of people die from various cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and the list goes on. These are all caused by a LOUSY, MEAT BASED DIET as well as one full of other processed and sugary foods and drinks.
    The facts are what they ARE; either you accept them and at least make an attempt to re-evolve back to our true roots when we started out as plant eaters, or you insist on continuing to be an ignorant neanderthal and only accept the good news you hear-and WANT to hear-about your bad habits.
    Personally, I think deep down all meat-eaters know this stuff already, really, but since they refuse to change they just have to keep coming up with all these mundane, stupid arguements to make themselves feel better about what they know DEEP down is wrong in/with what-or WHO-they are eating, as it helps keep them from developing, God forbid, a conscience.

  23. Lisamarie says:

    OH and btw, “vegan” is NOT a bad word-you can spell the whole word out without the * in place of the “a”. 😉

  24. David says:

    Ok, so lets get some real facts in this discussion, humans started eating meat 2.5 million years ago, not 10,000 years ago like Lisamarie is talking about, according to a physical anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley. And what happened after we started eating meat? Our brains started developing and we started evolving into th modern human beings we are today. So because of those vitamin and nutrient dense meats we ate you can now have those thoughts about being a vegetarian, isnt that funny.

  25. David says:

    Oh yeah, one more thing. If we are not meant to be eat meat, why do we have canine teath?

  26. FVG says:

    Life is life! regardless of what stage of evolution this life is currently is. Sentient is a gray area since we model intelligence and feeling to our own and life can be expressed in different ways we do not know. Unknown scientific fact doesn’t make it invalid. Plants can very well evolve in the future and show more animal like senses, or maybe not. But they are still life. humans have the ability and to adapt and to choose. Many of this animals that we eat wouldn’t exist in the vast numbers they do today if we do not grow them for the consumption. It is an individual choice to eat whatever you want as long as it is available. Health issues are another matter.

  27. Lisamarie says:

    To eat another living being is NOT a “personal choice”! Not when you’re eating my friends and destroying the environment, which I happen to live in-not to mention you’re pushing your selfish desires on animals who have NO choice in the matter and have a right to live their OWN life, which is NOT to satisfy US!

  28. Zack says:

    Do you think that plants live to satisfy us? They struggle for survival just as much, if not more than animals. Plus their adaptations are even more remarkable when you consider they lack the ability run away from predators.

  29. Matt G says:

    I’m glad that you bring up this subject as it is something that has troubled me for quite some time. The highest of my personal ethics is that all life is sacred. In a mostly empty universe virtually devoid of anything spare a few rocks and clouds of gases, life is a rare and special thing. However, life cannot sustain itself on nothing, it always comes at a cost. To my mind, the only truly ethical consumer is the decomposer- reaping nutrients from a life form that has expired naturally (which is for obvious reasons extremely difficult to emulate in diet). I respect your argument regarding life forms with nervous systems, emotion awareness and self-preservation mechanisms, but I feel that it is inadequate as the final word on the matter. Why? Because you’re ranking a life form’s importance and value based on, to me, arbitrary biological mechanisms (plants do have self-defense traits, by the way, delineating a “desire” to live). Why is a cow of more innate value than say a tomato plant, or any other plant we harvest? Is its innate value based solely on how complex it is? I feel it unnecessary to dive into the whole nervous system debate because I think its a fundamentally flawed. Why is the sensation of pain (a fabrication of the mind, one can be in pain without being injured) the sole determinant of the answer? In that vein of logic, we are morally permitted to eat people in persistent vegetative states- after all, they’re alive yet they don’t feel pain. I don’t have an agenda here, I’m just looking for something more out of the discussion.

    On a side note, you will never, I repeat NEVER, attract anyone to your perspective by insulting, condescending and demeaning them. Use your damn head.

  30. Pete Moss says:

    1. Humans are omnivores.
    2. Just because animals engage in murder and rape does not mean humans should follow the law of the jungle and adopt the morality of animal sharks and other animal predators. Without compassion and mercy we are not human or humane.
    3. There is evidence for human sentience there is no evidence for plant or rock sentience.
    4. Single-celled animals, worms, cockroaches, fish and most fowl very likely have very limited sentience. Emergent properties requires a sufficient level of neural complexity.
    5. If humans just used leather products animals would be much better off than they are now.
    6. “Perfection” should not be the enemy of “better.”
    7. Eating meat coarsens human beings.
    8. Religious extremists of all stripes tend to suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder.

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  32. nicole says:

    i enjoyed reading this very much. in fact, i quoted you through commentary on my blog entitled, “french women don’t get fat.” please check out the comment sequence which has turned into a debate about spiritual connections with food v. eating for fuel. and of course, the central theme is my endorsement of the vegan diet.

    what do you think about this? should a person spiritually connect with their food? or should they simply eat for fuel? i think that food is something that our bodies need for survival and not for profound relationships or zen-like epiphanies of greatness. spiritual connections with food, in my opinion, are equivalent to eating disorders. relationships with food should be stopped directly at the consumption for survival level.

    pleasure can also be experienced from food, as i am extremely pleasured by pinot noir wines. but i do not have a spiritual connection with wine. ha! 🙂 ~ nicole in pittsburgh
    http://nicoleandgwendolyn.com/2011/07/22/french-women-dont-get-fat/.

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  35. Stefano says:

    True, celery won’t jump from the cutting board and run, but, well, so won’t mussels; they won’t even try to escape when you pick them up from the sea.
    And what about mushrooms? Are they animals or plants? They’re quite mysterious, aren’t they, the world’s largest living thing is actually a mushrooms as far as we know, so is it ethical for us to eat them just because they don’t scream and run away?
    I don’t know, you make it sound a bit too simple.
    I like people who think about what they eat and about the moral implications of the act of feeding oneself, but I don’t like the easy way out of the dilemma you seem to suggest.

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  37. Dileep says:

    Wow..there are some pretty awesome arguments going on here, from both the Veggies and the “Meat Eaters”. I personally am a Ovo Lacto vegetarian, and I don’t like preaching others to give up meat. I don’t eat meat just because when I see some muscles/legs/wings etc in my food, I find it disgusting.. I feel as if I am eating a corpse..
    If others don’t feel the same, it’s up to them..

  38. LARS says:

    interesting comments. However, have you ever seen a sloth moving quickly to avoid an attack? What about pitcher plants… sit in hiding then digest its prey. It’s sad tha most veggitarians use veggies for politics, Our teeth are designed to eat meat…look at horse and cow teeth. Anyway, I’m not trying to persuade you. Peole need to use their common sense. Thanks for your time.

  39. SHELA says:

    Fucking THANK YOU!

  40. Cem says:

    “we are currently feeding about 80-plus% of many of the crops we grow in the world to farm animals. So by eating animal products, you are actually causing the “death” of even more plants (to say nothing of animals), since we feed a disproportionate amount of plant foods to animals, relative to what they yield to humans in the form of food.
    The irony here is that, by trying to use this killing plants argument as a case against veganism, it’s actually making more of a case for it.”

    This is idiotic. Are you trying to say the animals that keep on living because they weren’t eaten consume lesser crops than the ones that get killed?

  41. Cem says:

    And by the way, how does killing something just because it does not feel pain make it more ethical than killing something that does feel pain? Both ends the same. Would you kill a comatosed animal, or even a human being for that matter, if it’s so far deep into coma that it does not feel pain?
    Maybe you would start eating meat if animals were killed by drugs that kill them without hurting them?

  42. Cem says:

    You’ve probably heard these before, but I’ll say them anyway. Humans are born omnivores. We are supposed to eat both plants and meat. If the whole humanity turned vegan, the balance of nature would collapse. You can say that we have a choice, but I think that would only be denying what you truly are.

    Of course these are all just theories. But the fact remains that humans are omnivores. You are what you are because your ancestors ate meat. You can choose not to eat meat, BECAUSE you evolved superior as a result of eating both meat and plants, among many other reasons of course.

  43. Cem says:

    Sorry for chain commenting but it is what it is.
    Someone before me said:
    “2. Just because animals engage in murder and rape does not mean humans should follow the law of the jungle and adopt the morality of animal sharks and other animal predators. Without compassion and mercy we are not human or humane.”

    I disagree. I think whatever we do as humans, we are still humans. It just changes the definition of the word human, which us humans created in the first place. Of course I do not think murder or rape is in any way moral (execution is not murder, just that you can not know for sure you are doing the right thing, so I find that wrong too) but the fact stands we are humans after all. Sometimes I wish aliens would invade us so all humanity could become one in the face of danger.

  44. mohit says:

    great article…for those who think eating meat is ok…would you start eating human flesh if there were no laws to protect humans??…i still dont know whether we kill plants to eat them..but it feels so much better than to see poor animals being slaughtered…

  45. EFC says:

    Whilst in principle I support the idea of consuming less animals to support ourselves, your argument is poor as you clearly dismiss the needs of common plants that ironically vegans and vegetarianism argue against. Just because they may or may not lack a nervous system is a poor justification for killing them to live. I propose that vegetarians and vegans are even greater hypocrites for failing to acknowledge their own double standards. Thank you.

  46. just because plants can’t move i wonder how do we know that that means they can’t feel pain since they can’t get away from it.
    in a way it could mean we should eant only meat since animals can apparently feel pain and try to excape from it.

  47. ukn742 says:

    Loved the blog and arguments…with which I agree and disagree, so I believe I’ll never make my mind up about this (among many others things), which I guess is as transient as nature itself, everything changes and so do our opinions, so here’s what I think…
    IMO, We know animals feel pain because it is similar to ours; this should not be disputed. They might not

    know what pain is, but we know; we wouldn’t like to be treated that way ourselves. There’s something

    unnatural about being able to “kill” an animal of a substancial size, especially a mammal. Imagine

    killing your kitty or your puppy? Some of us just don’t think (or choose not to) about the fact that

    the piece of meat you’re eating is from an animal that’s been killed for someone’s profit and for your

    pleasure, sacrificing everything else in the way that just about passes for legal (and everything else

    that gets killed in the process; nor can we scientifically prove that these huge effects on living

    things is bad for us or even define a context as to what BAD means; agree with others’ points about

    just how much is affected by the fact that we eat). It’s not too far off starting to eat dogs like

    they’re chickens. Would you like your dog to be eaten? I know my pet will feel pain and aware of it he

    may not be, I will empathise with that pain and that’s enough (selfish as it looks). I appear not to

    have been eating anything that had 4 legs for the past 6 months.
    And, if you were to start chopping a tree with an axe, chipping away at that perfectly healthy tree,

    there undoubtedly will be a sense or a presense of intuition that we are inflicting tremendous pain to

    that tree. Not sure about smaller plants and mushrooms, but like someone pointed out, is a damn sight better than “animals being slaughtered”.
    Whatever the definition of pain may change to and what the ethical/philosophical implications of that

    might be, is irrelevant. What your philosophical standpoint is and what you choose to do and whether

    you do it now, is what is relevant.
    I believe plants have defenses and feel pain in either a primitive way or on a level which we cannot

    understand; obviously their evolution predates ours by billions of years so it’s understandable that

    we don’t understand them like we do our 4 legged friends, for example.
    I agree with the fact that there’s a trade off no matter what you do, something has to die. We make

    some exceptions: no eating each other, no eating dogs etc 😛
    What is important however is the context, i.e. the time that we are living in: the now; and what we

    pass for accepted knowledge: science (the word itself translates to knowledge in Latin).
    Like the author said, the choice is, as usual, yours. The author drew his line in the sand, you draw

    yours.

    Our choices might be perfect such that there’s a perfect balance in the universe and every choice has

    a trade off. Perhaps if we spend less energy on trying to prove to each other which faith is more

    right, having endless and unprovable eventts, we could be happier 🙂

    We make our own choices on this matter with feeling, intuition, our own internal sense of right and

    wreong. Surrender to what IS and how nature (us included) perpetuate ourselves (which includes this

    conversation!); don’t have to know; go with the flow; be open to change your mind. Ultimately this

    argument cannot be won, much depends on what we don’t yet know and perhaps never will (i.e. answers to

    the fundamental questions); because perhaps everything including knowledge never stops changing. For

    now (and always), Everything just IS and plants just ARE, and so are we. Paraphrasing Wallace D

    Wattles: “The world is perfect for its time”.

    P.S.

    FVG: agree and disagree 🙂 So because I am more powerful I have the permission to kill something/someone and then eat it? I thought that’s what we call evolution (or a psychic evolution); that we rise above that and try to get in touch with our “non-physical” side. There’s an animal side in us, but we learned to communicate and live sort of peacefully for mutual advantage. You can of course go ahead and strip away everything down to animal level (anarchy much?).
    Animals eat other animals, but they don’t have a choice, and because we do we have to think. No one knows; there’s no true way.

    LARS: in “some” places, animals are fed the processed remains of their dead fellow animals (after all the good stuff has been stripped off).

    Cem: “I think whatever we do as humans, we are still humans. It just changes the definition of the word human”…but that implies denying your ability to choose (which is a fine choice btw; I’m on the fence on this one and the opposite stance).

  48. ukn742 says:

    Sorry for the messy post. Damn Notepad’s word wrapping!

  49. Henry Pfeiff says:

    A child is the perfect gauge to kindness and cruelty. Take a child to a garden to fruits and veggies and see if he/she is mortified by the sight of ‘killing’ plants. Take the same child to a slaughterhouse. He/She will surely need psychotherapy!

  50. Henry Pfeiff says:

    To those who use the argument that plants are sentient, let me complete it for you.

    If vegans kill plants, carnists have the moral right to kill animals (whom they usually call dumber).

    Then I have the right to kill you coz IN MY OPINION, you are dumber than me! Get real and accept the fact that people eat meat not for survival but for pleasure. Else I want someone to explain how I am alive and fit to be posting here!

    And to those who claim they are omnivores, I will accept that when they will tear a raccoon with their teeth and eat its intestines and a**h*** (with all the shit that is inside) RAW and then claim to have had a real feast of a dinner like a bear would!

    There is nothing in a human’s feature that shows that we are omnivore. If you are thinking of our canines, you better do some serious thinking about how the MaD (milk and dairy) has indoctrinated you!

  51. Tony says:

    What is your opinion on this essay?

    http://www.vegetus.org/essay/plants.htm

  52. Aria says:

    There’s a condition called Congenital Analgesia. It’s a condition where a person is unable to feel pain. So, if it’s okay to kill plants because they don’t feel pain, is it okay to kill these people too?

    l really want someone to answer this.

  53. Fiona McDonald says:

    Aria, all Humans are created to feel pain. All Plants we eat are created not to- simple. Some humans may not experience pain because of certain condition, but all plants that humans eat cognitively don’t feel pain. period. So if a human unnaturally does not feel pain, you can’t juxtapose him/her to a plant that naturally does not.

  54. keith says:

    this is article is amazing !!! thanks much man …. i just had a question.. as u said we can eat plants, veg because it does nt have a nervous system so cant feel pain, so is it ok to eat eggs? as it not fertilized, and has no nervous system and may be it does nt feel pain .. please let me know your thoughts on this?

    thanks in advanced !

  55. Tony says:

    I’d still like an opinion on this article I posted a while ago.

    http://www.vegetus.org/essay/plants.htm

  56. Tony says:

    What do you think about Jain vegetarianism, as well as the people who follow this diet?

  57. Arthur says:

    so because a plant doesn’t jump off a chopping board and express fear or pain it’s not a living organism that dies when you eat it? You have not only looked very stupid in this article but you have not proven anything. It was once alive, when you take it from the vine, or roots it then dies. Thus they are killing something too just because it doesn’t run away from the knife doesn’t make it not alive.

  58. NUFCbenARFA says:

    Plants are living things cause they breath and can reproduce. A rock doesnt breath and it cant reproduce little rocks, therefore lifeless. Same goes for a computer screen etc. Being a living thing has nothing to do with energy, the 3 things that decide weather its a living thing or lifeless are
    1) can it reproduce
    2) does it breath
    3) can it move by itself

    A plant does all 3 (it can move its leaves) the fact that you said a computer screen is alive already makes me want to stop reading your article.

    Next, You say its ok cause plants dont feel pain. Well if scientists are to be believed many believe plants DO feel pain. Their is no 100% proof but a plant does react in certain ways to things that we think would be painful. That sounds abstract but scientists also cant prove animals feel pain like us, they are 99.99% sure animals feel pain because they react in certain ways to things we think would hurt. So just like plants, the only difference is plants cant make a noise to say they are in pain. Also they cant react with big movements (like running away) they still send the signals that we think is pain (like in animals) so you cant say plants dont feel pain cause we aren’t certain.

    I dont want to change your beliefs and if people want to be vegan let them be vegan. I hate it just as much as you when someone seems to be forcing it on to you. I dont care what your reasons are weather its the taste, how they get killed etc but I just thought I would point out those 2. I hope you and all vegans stay strong and keep to your beliefs, dont let anyone force you into changing :).

    P.S just wondering people who are only out to save farm animals do they know that if we didnt eat meat/their product the animals wouldnt of existed. Dairy cows for example evolved into the cow they are now thanks to selective breading for 1000s of years. Yes cows would be around but they would be wild and nothing like they are now. Survival of the strongest means a cow with no defense but produces alot of milk wouldnt really survive. Thefore wouldnt of kept evolving like that. Yes i know not all vegans are against farming and some (alot) are against the way the farming is done (a harsh death). But i just thought I would point this out to the anti animal farmers.

  59. Conrad Green says:

    Your scientific answers are scientific opinions. To put it frankly, what you’ve explained is a cop out. A explanation of why you think its okay to murder plants because they’re anatomy isn’t similar to ours. It doesn’t register pain like a mammalian or reptoid animal and that no evidence means fact or irrefutable to justify my carnivorous acts. Vegans do not consume blood but they do “chlorophyll” which is the life force of plants. Mother nature created all creatures to be treated equally. Don’t forget that just because man lives in a new society and age. That we’re still not on the menu. We are and don’t you forget that. Your saying murder is ok as long as the life form being eaten can’t show emotions or display them through human characteristics to prove genocide as justly because you can’t prove it. Thank you oh great vegan….. Your a murder just like my omnivorous self.

  60. Aanand Rai says:

    Great article more so because of the debate that followed it.

    IMO, the argument should not revolve around weather plants do or do not feel pain, but around humans causing the least amount of suffering, pain and damage to the environment in order to feed themselves a healthy, nutritionally rich and balanced diet.

    Everything in life is about levels. There are certain things in life we are willing to accept but will not accept if the same thing is taken to a higher level.

    e.g. If someone forgets to repay you the $10 they owe you, you may overlook it, but if the figure goes up to $1000, there’s no way you are going to overlook it.

    Similarly, a vegan diet causes the least amount of harm and the harm it does cause is negligible when compared to the suffering, pain and damage to the environment a non vegan diet causes.

  61. Christian says:

    Current science shows that plants feel, have memory, communicate, see, smell, taste, and feel. They are congnizant of individuals who have caused them harm or pleasure, visibly moving away from them. If you’re choosing to not eat meat because you’re hurting a being, then you can’t also are unable to eat much of the vegetarian diet. If however you are a vegetarian for dietary of environmental reasons, then many of those will continue to remain valid.

    It is important to understand, for you to live, something else must suffer. There is no way around this. The question is how much you are able to minimize that sufferring for all others, thereby helping maintain your own heightened awareness.

  62. AlexOh says:

    Thank God there are voices of reason somewhere on the interwebs. I can not stand eating meat simply because I can relate to the animals pain and fear. HOWEVER, vegetarians/vegans are NO better than meat eaters.

    We both kill to sustain ourselves, and I think it’s disgusting that one group thinks they are better because they are killing what they consider to be lesser beings as opposed to beings who can show discomfort easier.

    Meat Eaters: Certain animals don’t matter they aren’t smart enough.
    Plant Eaters: Plants don’t matter they aren’t smart enough.

    One of the two groups is a hypocrite, can you guess which one?

  63. Tony says:

    We are all hypocrites, one way or another.

  64. Laura says:

    I read an article once that mentioned…I think he was a Buddhist…who was talking with a vegan. He asked why the vegan sacrifices plants so easily and said that plants are his brother too- meaning we are all equals on this planet. Your diet is your business, but it is also easy to assume that vegans believe themselves superior to nature and other animal life. It isn’t humans vs. animal and plant kingdom, etc. Human beings are animals. Animals sustain themselves on other animals and life forms. That is not saying that one needs meat to survive or should even eat meat. I am classified as a vegetarian by my peers, however, I eat wild-caught seafood because it is nature. Just as other fish eat fish. I do not eat anything that was bred or born strictly for the purpose of being the meal of another life. To simplify, I would never assume myself to be better than any living being. I see absolutely nothing wrong with giving chickens safe, happy lives and in return eggs for breakfast or raising a pastured, grass-fed cow for milk. I also appreciate and respect the plants that I grow to make meals for my family. It is unfortunate that any form of life needs to die so that other forms can live. I think it is very important to remember that none of us are above Mother Nature’s domain. Sacrifices need to be made to survive, and unfortunately my sacrifice is to kill plants and eat certain types of seafood. But I would never think that plants are below me and that makes it okay to destroy them just because I don’t think they feel pain. I am not a plant and would just be basing my assumptions on what we as human beings believe thus far. All life should be cherished and respected. Sacrifice and eat what you must, but remember, we all are growing, evolving souls with much to learn. To think that we as human beings are above other creatures is just arrogant. Respect nature’s creatures and cycles. We are equals. They are, after all, our brothers. You may think of me as some crazy, hippie freak, but just as you wanted to get your thoughts out there, so did I! Thanks for reading. : )

  65. Zack says:

    I like a lot of what you say, however, I do think that the plants you eat are also bred strictly for the purpose of being the meal of another life. Plants are just as domesticated as the animals we eat as food.

  66. Laura says:

    Oh, man…we totally agree on that one! That’s why I’m trying real hard on getting away from that and growing my own. Even though I will be raising the plants for food, at least I will be doing it the right way (at least in my mind!). Just like meat-eating, there are right ways and wrong ways. It’s too bad the majority of humanity doesn’t see things that way!

  67. Doug says:

    While you do make the fine point that, sure, plants don’t possess a brain or other nervous system, nor do they experience emotions or other complex reactions. However, in the end, our reactions are basically nothing more than chemical and electrical reactions to stimuli. Our reactions are definitely more complex, as we can outright choose what to do with the information presented. However, at that most basic level, we’re still just piles of chemicals reacting to stimuli, just as plants are. You can even simulate conscious thought with algorithms, which again shows how simple this so-called “complex thought” really is.

    I personally believe that killing a plant to eat it really is just the same as killing an animal. They both want to survive, even though they experience life in different ways. We still don’t have any way, nor do I think we ever will, to tell exactly what it’s like to be a plant or microorganism.

    Even lacking a ganglia, let alone a brain, we can still argue about them having some form of soul. A human being who is essentially brain dead is still alive, regardless of how little brain activity they have going on inside. They could be reduced to nothing more than the subconscious mechanisms like heartrate and breathing, but there’s still a person in there somewhere.

    I know it’s not the strongest comparison to make, but the point is still there: Even without what we consider is needed to be “sentient”, sentiency can still be present. We simply may not understand how their version works. We may never understand how it works, and all we’d ever have done is reason with ourselves that “because they didn’t fight back or cry about it, then it’s alright to eat them”.

    Life is neutral in general. What survives, survives, and what doesn’t, doesn’t. Whatever you draw your energy from is fair, and how anything reacts to that method is fair as well. If you eat meat, then eat meat. If you don’t, then don’t. Nothing wants to be eaten. Sure, fruits are meant to be eaten, but they’re not their own entity. They’re simply a method of transporting the seed, almost a placenta or uterus in ways. The tree from which the fruit falls, as well as the seed(s) within, are the actual plants. They don’t want to be eaten, so they cleverly disguise their reproductive process within a tasty treat for animals.

    I also have to point out that the following statement: “Practically speaking, I’ve yet to see any irate celery stalks or bell peppers jump up from the cutting board and run out of my kitchen lately.” shows a certain lack of maturity about this subject. A jellyfish wouldn’t jump up and run away, so can I eat that if I want? It’s an animal, isn’t it? It lacks the ability to actively defend itself or run away, just like celery and peppers. However, it’s not a plant or other form of “non-sentient” life. It simply lacks the ability to do anything about being put on the cutting board, aside from passive defenses, which is what plants do.

    To me, life is fleeting and neutral. We’re all recycled over and over, and no one ever truly knows what they’re doing. What I do know, though, is that being an omnivore is what got us this far. Therefore, I continue to uphold this survival tactic. Take a look at your teeth, you’re definitely not an herbivore. Nature has carved us into opportunistic omnivores. We eat whatever’s edible because it’s the best way to survive. You can wax philosophically all you want about whether it’s right or not, but nature doesn’t care about that.

    The one and only good point you made that stands up after the philosophical arguments and immature mockery: We’re wasting so many resources on raising animals to be slaughtered. That’s something that I can agree with. We really do waste a lot of time and energy producing meat, when so many people seriously need to add in more fruits and vegetables to their diets. I even agree that eating meat like veal is disgusting. There’s no need to eat the young. You’re supposed to protect the young, or at least leave them to fend for themselves. Give them their fair chance. Don’t be tying them up to tenderize their flesh, just so some snobby fat cat can chuckle to themselves as they eat it.

  68. Joshua Huddleston says:

    I am not for or against your article. I would just like to state that when I do yard work and have to kill plants I often feel horrible. I see the Eco systems built around each individual plant. So based on the sentient bugs (such as cockroaches) living in or under or around these plants wouldn’t it be just as wrong? One other note, of you have any spiritual belief of being all connected wouldn’t plant life be just as sacred? Most cultures use herbs as part of there practice but if everyone went vegan there would be a lot less plants aswell. In turn we would be just as off balanced as we are now with “50 billion farm animals on the cutting board”. Just would like to hear your thoughts! Thank you!

  69. Agi says:

    Fore one organism to live another has to die. That’s the way nature works. In the end, we are all food.

  70. Nee says:

    As Agi said, we all are food. Human beings, just like any other animal, need food to survive. Currently, all our food is derived from some other life form. Hence the primary difference between vegetarians and non-vegetarians is the extent to which one finds it acceptable to kill a life form for nourishment. Veggies consider the limit to end at plants and Non-veggies(like myself) think the limit ends at animals. In some cultures, some humans consider it okay to eat other humans! ( though in most cannibalistic societies, its because of a ritual rather than food). So, where should we draw the line and who is right? In my opinion, there is no right answer to this question. The answer would differ from society to society and from person to person.
    My position? I don’t think any other life form is morally equivalent to humans. Why ? Cause they are not human! This is the same reason why I don’t think its right for someone to marry a cat or take a dog to court for tearing up homework. Does this mean I am okay to eat any kind of life form other than humans? Technically yes, but practically I eat only few. If tomorrow an alien super race want to displace us as the apex specie, they probably will not accord us the same moral rights as themselves. However,they might(I hope!) consider it unnecessary and a waste to kill/harm us just as we do with majority of animals today. But necessity does not justify morality. In that case any immoral act can be justified by the perpetrator. Unless the concept of food changes or all of us agree that other life forms are our moral equals, I feel that the morality of eating other life forms cannot be determined.

  71. MaryAnn says:

    Why do you have to be so snotty and mean in providing your response to this question? People are trying to understand more about veganism and it is hard to grasp why a mollusk has more rights than a carrot. You could have been nice and explained your position, but instead you had to insult those merely trying to learn more about the position. Actually, I believe the “final point” should have been your first point, preceding all the derogatory comments.

  72. Jeremy says:

    My wife is vegan, myself and our kids are far from it. When she chose to go vegan I completely supported her. And she doesn’t tryto change us, as she knows that she will fail. We are tolerant of each other’s beliefs. It sounds to me that you are very insecure about your life choice as you seem extremely intolerant of others if they don’t share your beliefs. We have a freedom of choice. Just because you feel a certain way doesn’t mean I have too. Either way is acceptable as long as we understand that everyone is different and believes differently.

  73. John says:

    How could anyone protest the murder of a defenseless piglet and enjoy the
    killing of a defenseless tomato plant?

  74. Vegan circular logic bullshit says:

    I fail to see how killing and eating an infantile animal is different from a plant.
    Neither can protect themselves, and we cannot prove they feel pain, only raise evidence to support the claim to an extent.

    If you have sympathy for animals, you should have it for plants as well. If you don’t have sympathy for one or the other (Or both) you’re biased and or fucked up in the head.

  75. Blauze says:

    Here’s what prevent me from being a vegan : Vegans !
    Look at all of you. Look at the very first comment here. Calling omnivores “fucking stupid” because we’re not the exact same as you. The way I see things, vegans are desperately trying to look superior, bashing everyone who isn’t a vegan, while those who eat meat almost never (to my knowledge) disrespect those who don’t. Now, your last argument that says more plants are used to feed animals is correct and I did “open my eyes” on that subject, since it used to be my main argument when vegans asked me why I’m not one of them. Because yes, vegans will ask this a lot, and will try to convince (or even in some cases, force) you to join them, more than cults and politicians would do, like some sort of culinary Nazism. While most omnivores will leave vegans alone and no, that’s not because deep inside, we know we’re wrong, that’s because we actually respect you. And I don’t want to become a brainwashed pro-veggie extremist.

    But still, we humans WILL kill something to feed ourselves. That’s human nature. We are born predators. We can kill plants, we can kill animals, I don’t care much, that’s exactly the same to me. At least sparing animals to sacrifice twice as many plants doesn’t go against our nature. This is what we’re meant to do as the primitive species that we still represent to this day.
    I get that you grew a conscience and suddenly realized killing is bad, but we can’t live without killing, period. And don’t you say “those who eat meat are the ones who kill animals”. Don’t blame the entire human species for surviving the way we did for centuries after centuries. Don’t be fooled by the fact we use more computers than our own mouths in order to communicate, we’re still pretty underdeveloped and not ready to force our own evolution pattern to change by altering our diet. We’re not ready to play Gods like you’re all trying to, but this is another debate.

    Besides, there are several proofs that SOME people, not all of you guys, live longer and healthier by being vegans, This is a fact and I’m not questioning it. But other humans, who previously were vegans, had to switch to an omnivore diet because they were suffering from diseases (sometimes unknown diseases) caused by their vegan habits ! And it has also been proven than they healed and felt better once they ate meat. This is another cold, hard fact for you, and you can’t question it either. Now I have a question for the more elitists among you vegans : Are these people not worthy in your opinion ? Are they inferior people ? Are they a threat for your plans ?

    Now that being said, the other reason why I’m not a vegan (other than “Vegans are scary”) is because I wasn’t educated that way. I’ve always had meat served on the table and never questioned it. But the day only vegetables and vegan meals are on my table, I will accept it and eat it, without questioning it either. Because that’s food and I eat food, period. There’s no real difference in my opinion, other than the mentality of those who eat what they eat. I’m ready to eat vegan, not ready to *think* vegan.

  76. Whatevergirl says:

    YOU’RE AN IDIOT!

  77. Alicia says:

    I am one I those people you mentioned questioning my transition into the vegan lifestyle. I know plants are alive! And I know that tress for instance do feel pain. They actually loose sap, like we humans do blood right? They die if we cut to much from them, and they die if not watered just like any animal. I’m torn. And your article relived my tho hrs in eating plants, but just a small amount. I’m not in any way a lame individual testing you I just want to better understand before I change my entire life. But changes need to be made and I do belie I should STOP putting dead thing into my body like American GMO filled meats!!!

  78. may_m says:

    The female broccoli picture is rather off-putting…ever read “The Sexual Politics of Meat” by Carol J. Adams?

  79. Teirdalin says:

    “a plant-based food is not a sentient being, does not have an innate, emotional inclination to avoid bodily harm or death (in the same way that animals do), does not have a nervous system, and, therefore, is not even designed to process the sensation of pain.”

    That is actually, completely false; they have a different type of sensory for feeling pain than a nervous system as their structure needs to be able to readjust to damages ranging from a scratch to half of it being torn off; and they react positively to positive emotions and stimuli and negatively to negative emotions and stimuli. I find vegetarians to be disgusting hypocritical monsters; enforcing your diet on other people when you are no morally superior than the people whom eat meat. If you want to survive and have a middle-ground then balance is needed, not your brainwashing ideologically false BS you spout everywhere you go.

  80. Teirdalin says:

    If anything, plants actually feel on an even deeper level than animals do, if you imagine damaging a plant, the plant feels something which can be interpreted as fear.

  81. Valm says:

    In order for any member of Animalia to survive something else must die, there’s no getting around that, unless you kill yourself. I was watching an episode of Nadia when they brought this issue up. If you were stranded on an island with no nutritious food other than meat, is it evil to eat meat? And to the people who say that human’s can’t survive off meat, you are dead wrong. Eskimos and early humans(if you believe in evolution) survived on an animal diet and stayed perfectly healthy

  82. Shelby says:

    Actually your wrong, if i take a pumpkin off the vine to eat it, the rest of it is still alive. Nice try though

  83. Shelby says:

    comes down to right and wrong. Justify justify justify. your karma not mine

  84. Nadine G says:

    Interesting read.

    Plants, animals, predators… they’re all part of the natural order of things. Plants and animals feed whoever they feed, and when humans die and decompose they give Mother Nature lots of healthy nutriments.

    Going vegan or vegetarian is thus against nature’s order, and that’s pretty much the only truth there is on the subject. Everything else is a constructed opinion.

    My opinion: Life is too short and meaningless. So eat whatever you like, and think whatever you want. Peace.

  85. jorge says:

    The problem is the corporate structure controlling various animal product industries. They screw farmers and are the reason resources are depleted. Secondly solely plant based diets are usually the result of seeing how animals are treated. It’s more psychological. Look at various indigenous tribes throughout history. The majority of their diets was vegetation with a small portion of animal products. Remember that everything they ate was organic, non gmo, etc. Nothing was processed, there was no deep frying, etc. So how could they thrive for so long when they consumed animals? they got tons of micronutrients and fiber from the plants that they ate as well as many nutrients found in animals. The two go hand in hand. Even Harley of durianriders on YouTube has to get B12 injections. if animal products did cause health problems then those indigenous tribes would have wiped themselves out. I don’t have a problem with vegans or vegetarians, but the health argument is grossly misinformed because you label all meat eaters as fast food guzzling, lard asses. I’m currently at 11% body fat with no health issues.

  86. deep says:

    i love your article…….i get the same stopi theories about plants being living creatures also…..and how by ripping the root out of the soil the plants in their own way are crying in pain…… XD……

  87. Doug says:

    Yeah. plants actually DO release chemical signals to warn others about threats. They also use chemical signals to attract predators of pests like aphids. No living organism wants to be consumed or damaged, and will do whatever it can to stop or escape from threats. Maybe you should do some proper research on the matter and realise that basically every source of food you find requires that something dies. The only exceptions are synthetic foods, byproduct foods (e.g. cheese, yogurt), and fruits.

  88. zaley44 says:

    Simple solution to all this controversy:

    Yes humans are omnivores. we like the veggies and the bacon. Nom nom. But we are also superiorly advanced in the sciences of organic and bio-chemistry. We can synthesize sugars, protein, vitamins, and fat in the lab. We don’t have to kill anything- plant or animal- we can literally create nutrients from rocks.

    We can now allow mother nature, red in tooth and claw, to sort out pain and hunger in the subhuman realm, while us superior humans feast on synthetic rib-eye and cornbread in an ethically pure universe.

  89. smali35 says:

    NYTimes article:

    Study shows that plants can hear sounds and they defend themselves against predators:
    http://goo.gl/viQtrZ

  90. Karthik says:

    you cut a plant i grows again..does an animal grows back when u cut it for meat?

  91. Karthik says:

    you cut a plant it grows again..does an animal grows back when u cut it for meat?

  92. Jimbo says:

    Humans, like other predatory animals were designed to hunt. Just look at the whole mammal class for a second and find one animal, except the Duck Billed Platypus, which is seemingly an exception to most animal rules, that does not follow this example. Animals that eat, at least as part of their diet, other animals have their eyes in the front of their skull. Animals that serve mainly as prey have them more on the sides. This is to the benefit of both types. It gives the predator the depth perception to tell if it is close enough to strike. Additionally, the other allows for a near 360 degree field of view to be able to help spot threats to them.

  93. Bill Bones says:

    First, I’d like to say that I am not vegan/vegetarian, so I’m not arguing for that. But the reason we needed depth perception was because at some point we were living in trees. We needed to be able to tell how far away a branch was so if we jumped for it we didn’t miss and fall to our deaths.

  94. Predator says:

    Technically seen, every Living thing (plants, animals…) isn´t an other thing than, many athoms putted together. And if someone eat an other living thing he is just changing the constitution of the molecules. In other words: its the same if we eat animals or plants or some other stuff… At the end every Food type will transform into muscle, fat ,poo etc…
    About that plants or animals have feelings. Plants obviously have not. Animals, could be. BUT we can not forget , that animals are not conscious about what is happening, they just feel by instincts Danger,Wealth etc..
    Putting everything in a Nutshell: If the animals are killed, like they do to day (in miliseconds), they have not even time to thing about danger or pain…….. (Because like I´ve just written before they can not be conscious about what is happenning!)
    That is way plants and animals do not necesserily suffer by getting criated and after it killled to be Food.
    And about that some people think: <>. We cannot forget that if the human would not eat farm-animals, then these animals, wouldn´t even been borned (because they wouldn´t have the necessary conditions to get reproduced).
    So from an ethically point of view it is (in my personal opinion) the same if we eat animals or plants.
    We should more concentrate in eat sane, and good tasting food to enjoy our lives.
    It is more productive, if you spend your time informing yourself about real problems #Ukraine#Syria#Irak#Science#
    Best regards
    *(sorry about some spelling mistakes! 😉

  95. NOWAY says:

    ” In fact, from the perspective of quantum physics, there is nothing in our three-dimensional world of matter that is not “living” on some level, including water, stones and computer screens. ”

    Stopped reading after that. When the fuck did that become a FACT?!?!?!? You’re making shit up to help your argument.
    Here is the truth……As humans, we CHOOSE what we eat and we choose what we are ok killing and not killing. For example, I would never kill a dolphin for food, but I would kill a chicken. But those are two living animals (yes, I know dolphins are mammals, but I mean animals in the sense that humans are animals too). Just like if someone says they do not eat meant, but then eats lettuce. To that person it is ok to kill a plants but not an animal (which is fine!).

    The problem comes into play with the people who say they don’t eat animals because they are “living” things. Those are the retards. if you want to give up eating animals for health reason or because you love animals or whatever, that’s fine. But don’t be one of the retards that eat living plants and say you don’t eat animals because they are living. The person who wrote this article is just pissed that the rest of us are correct and is trying to think of any excuse to justify his eating lifestyle. Fail!

  96. Bill Bones says:

    Yep, absolutely agree!

  97. Carlos says:

    This is all shit! We can’t eat a computer screen, a rock, or a piece of metal and survive! The fact that plants don’t feel pain doesn’t make it an excused is a living being as well! Reality is that we can consume both animals/plants and there is nothing wrong with it!

  98. janine says:

    Watch the documentary “What Plants Talk About”–it neatly sums up a lot of the research on this subject. I think this article is actually an asinine answer to a serious question. It’s easy to draw the ethics-of-veganism line at “plants don’t feel pain” or “they don’t have a central nervous system.” First of all, you don’t know that they don’t feel pain. Second of all, is a central nervous system sufficient to describe what constitutes life? As a meat-eater and a pro-choice activist, I have my own answers to these questions. But I don’t think it’s right to dismiss this with such simple answers, as if these answers should be a given.

  99. W23edcxs says:

    Read this, and then come back to me when you’ve put more thought into your article. http://www.vegetus.org/essay/plants.htm

  100. Dulce says:

    Okay, I’ve read most part of the comments and there’s certainly a pattern going on here, and after reading the same arguments being made over and over again I have to ask: Why does it bother you? and this goes to both sides Vegans and Carnists, because this argument is just going back and forth but is lacking on stating a point. It can be as simple as “I believe this and you believe that” let’s tolerate each other and live our lives because honestly this isn’t going anywhere, you all sound like you are trying very hard to convince each other of eating a certain way, In my opinion people who think Vegans and Vegetarians are hypocrites for not “acknowledging” a plant’s possible capability of feeling pain, have very flawed arguments when trying to prove that plants also feel pain, not to mention most of the plants which are consumed by Vegans are usually not the plant itself but the fruit of the plant to call it that, for example if an apple tree gives apples and then you pick them and eat them you aren’t killing the tree and the apples WILL grow back again, the animals who are being slaughtered for meat will not reproduce that is a life lost, and are we going to continue doing this until cows become extinct? is it okay to slowly rid ourselves of a species just because it is not endangered?
    Now, before you start labeling me I am not a Vegan or Vegetarian but I do agree with them and admire them for giving up a regular diet for a completely healthy/natural based diet because if you think about it most foods you find in a supermarket are processed and probably list 2-3 or even more names on their ingredients which you can’t even pronounce and have no clue what it is.
    So my point here is, we won’t know for sure if a plant is feeling pain when eating it raw or when cooking it but I’m pretty sure vegans aren’t eating anything that can’t be renewable.
    Also it wouldn’t hurt to educate yourselves on what goes on in slaughter houses and dairy industries because even if “not all are cruel” there are enough being cruel to animals who have no say in this. Your argument stating that plants also have no say is true, but without us planting the seeds for them to grow those seeds won’t be a plant. (Please don’t ask me then how do I explain plants that have been here forever without us planting them because that is a different story and besides the point) and once again I repeat that most plants we consume are fruits and vegetables both re-grow-able and if they were let on the ground to “live their full life” they’d jut be left to rot and the plant who grew fruits itself will remain alive think about that.
    That’s just my opinion, there’s no need to convince anyone of anything as much as we disagree with each other.
    Hope you all have a nice day, thank you.

  101. sal says:

    actually you’re wrong. plants DO think and feel and communicate and even read minds. they too ARE sentient beings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fStmk7e9lJo

  102. Nee says:

    Some humans eat all animals and everything below
    Some humans eat some animals and everything below
    Some humans eat fungi and everything below
    Some humans eat eggs and everything below
    Some humans eat all plants and everything below
    Some humans eat some plants and everything below
    Some humans eat fruits and nuts and everything below
    Some humans eat ….and everything below
    ….

    Some humans eat something that has never lived

    My point here is that most of us pick a level after taking moral and practical considerations. There is no correct level here. Some argue that killing plants is a ‘lesser’ crime than killing animals. But what does ‘less’ mean though in the context of the crime? Does a living being’s level of sentience justify it’s killing? Also, is it fair to have a ‘scale of crime’?And finally, is it a crime in the first place if the living being is not a human?
    Everyone has different answers to these questions none of which are necessarily wrong. l think its unfair to question someone else’s choice of diet from a moral standpoint.

  103. star 🌟 says:

    Jisne bhi vegetarian ke bare mein abusive languages use ki ya kuch bura kaha he is mindless, stupid, idiot, duffer, moron

    Or jo logic ye log dete hai vo logicless hai

    Nice answer to them

  104. Guest says:

    So you want to justify eating plants based on that they are on a different level of what “living” is? Why don’t you consider this. When you cut a branch off of a tree, what happens? Sap starts running out and tries to cover the broken spot in order to seal it and allow the tree to continue to live. This is no different in how our bodies work as well, except if you cut off a whole limp, chances are you are going to die because your body is not designed to recover from that on its own. Plants constantly strive for sun light. In fact if you watch how some plants grow, you can see that they follow the sun as much as possible throughout the day to get as much light as possible. That is why not all trees grow perfectly straight. Different plants grow thorns in order to protect themselves from those who may try to eat them. Just because you can’t hear a plant scream, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel pain. The juice from fruit is comparable to that of blood of an animal/human. You suck out the juice, and the fruit dies, even if it is still attached onto the tree.

    This isn’t to try to say being vegan is bad. This is just to show that plants are equal. You made the choice to only eat plants, and that is your choice to make. But people have been eating meat for thousands of years, and it is not the killing of animals that is making them become extinct. Developing societies that take away habitable land is killing animals. Making parts of animals an export item to make money off of, which then causes people to become poachers in order to make a bigger profit then hunting them legally is killing off animals. When hunting is controlled and used to provide a source of food for people, it brings no harm to how long that species is going to survive. Not everyone can only eat fruits and vegetables, in fact you cannot get all the necessary vitamins you need just by being vegan. Ever read the story of the vegan parents that ended up killing their 11 month old baby? Baby died of vitamin A and B12 deficiency, caused by being breast fed by a vegan with an improper diet. Some people might be able to live this way, but you shouldn’t expect everyone to live this way. Don’t be trying to force your ways onto us, and maybe we won’t force our viewpoints onto you.

  105. UnMe says:

    Why don’t you people STOP Fucking…..? That would control the out-break of population on the earth’s surface and help some species from being eaten or utilized for some other non-sense topics like this one.

  106. M. Colby says:

    Actually, among those of us who are more interested in science than in culture wars, this question has not been satisfactorily answered. The only people who are sure they know the answer already are twits who don’t know the definition of life, sentience, or pain.

    You know, people like you.

  107. JJ says:

    Why all this mental gymnastics? If plants can’t feel “pain” then why do freshly mowed grass sends out distress chemical? What’s the point of doing that if plants can’t be assed to mount a survival defense. Just because plants don’ suffer the same way animals do doesn’t mean you can take some stupid moral stance on eating them. Point is eat what you want based on preference not some dilusions.

  108. Alexander The Great says:

    Fruits and vegetables are taking from their natural habitat forced to be grown in mass pesticide covered farms, genetically changed, then ripped from their “families”. Since we can’t measure their pain they must not have any. Correct? Furthermore, if the DNA of these plants are being changed so much to sustain life on our planet what are you really eating? When Netflix comes out with a new documentary on why you should not eat meat everyone and expert.. I personally feel better when I eat meat and fruits and veggies. Yes I try to get them from farms both meat and veggies that do not abuse animals but I can’t always help it.

  109. priya says:

    Brilliant article I hav ever read to justify my veganism…!! Thank u 4r dis nice article…nd I feel it justifies more on vegans nd their plant eating habits ….

  110. R says:

    Eating meat contributed to the evolution of human intelligence in general and to the development of language and of capacities for planning, cooperation and socializing in particular. End of story.

    This also explains why you people are so f*cking dumb.

  111. Adelina Nadja says:

    Zack and Nee I really like your comments 🙂
    What if one chooses not to eat meat nor plants. What is left to eat except for fruit and nuts? Anyone please? Thank you

  112. Agiso says:

    Have you ever heard of plant neurobiology? Please read this article:

    http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-01-09/new-research-plant-intelligence-may-forever-change-how-you-think-about-plants

    I don’t thing I need to add anything else.

  113. Chris Foster says:

    Geez, people are very rude here. They sound just like the meat eaters who judge the vegans.

    Ultimately, the truth is – plants DO feel. They fight to survive, they’re aware of the surroundings, and can actively make decisions in a nanosecond for the better of them.

    I’m not trying to justify my behavior. But the vegan ego is far to overwhelming to separate it from that of the meat eaters.

    Look at the behaviors of mimosa. The relatively high amount of DMT (like in most living things). The plant can physically move at a rate almost faster than the human eye. Plants have neurotransmitters that science doesn’t even understand yet. You can burn a living bug in front of a plant – and get a reaction through it’s neurological system. You can burn a dead bug and receive less or none of a reaction. Plants can change direction of their roots to dodge objects under the earth, they sense when BUGS are eating them and secrete poisons sometimes (think they DON’T feel you eating them alive?).

    This article is NO different than meat eaters justifying their behavior.
    The best way to live, is understand your impact on everything – and thank it for it’s sacrifice.

  114. Maudie Valero says:

    Plants DO ARE “living things” and it is probably the same to kill them that kill an animal in that sense, or do you will kill an animal which has a nervous system illness and doesn’t feel pain? a human?

    I have been vegetarian for some time now, but killing plants still bothering me, even when they don’t feel pain you have no right to kill or mutilate them. Other that fruits, which the plant really benefits from you taking it, everything else is more less the same.

    On the respect of we have to eat something I will probably feel comfortable if I eat what I find naturally even if I have to kill it (plants, roots, animals). Every living thing kills others in order to survive (it is the way nature evolved), the problem is not the killing, is the industrialization and making animal (plants?) lives miserable so you are able to eat and a lot of times throw a lot of food. It’s about farms and methods of grow your food and how you get it.

    I believe the whole thing is to be in peace and harmony with the environment, but you have to feel the need to go that path.

  115. Nikole says:

    I hate to be the barer of the bad news guys but Plants actually do poses a nervous system. And they do and have been equipt with the ability to defend and protect themselves from predators. If a plant is being threatened by a specific insect, the plant will then omit a chemical reaponse to this threat. A chemical will be released attracting another species of insect, a specific species in fact. The plants intent is to entice an insect that is a natural predator of the insect that is currently harming the plant. Plants do communicate, hunt, reproduce, think ect. In fact, there are a plethora of case studies going back as early as the 1700’s supporting this. There are also an abundant of books dedicated entirely to the topic, as well as documentaries. The information is readily available for anyone who has taken the time to simply look! One of my favorite and recently published books being The Secret Life Of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. This book is great! It contains an abundance of information and tons of opportunity to follow up and research the topic further on your own.

  116. VirtualLife says:

    If plant’s don’t feel pain, then why do pain killers cause a moving plant such as the venus fly trap or the mimosa pudica not to move after administered. Just because we can’t explain it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Just like most peoples belief that fish don’t feel pain.

  117. Brian says:

    Circle of life your are still eat animals do to the fact the plant eat the poo from animals that have eaten animals and or the remains of animals that have died.

  118. Adelina Nadja says:

    life, nature, earth, the universe is so damn interesting and beautiful!!! that’s so true Brain! So I guess we all should do whatever one feels like doing or handling or thinking or feeling. LIVE AND LET LIVE! it’s the ones that are pushing their thoughts/ideas/protocols to someone else is most annoying. Stop judging and start understanding my dearest ppl! ❤

  119. piggypig says:

    What utter bullshit and it reek of self justification. As a matter of fact, plant grows and will grow towards the direction of light. And it respond to stimuli and is obviously a responsive living thing, even if it’s responses are in a time frame that are multitude slower than ours’. So ultimately, you are still killing a living, growing and responsive being when you eat plant. Deal with it but stop giving excuses.

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