“Plants have feelings too. So if we eat plants, why can’t we eat animals?” At first glance, this seems a legit statement. Science HAS proven plants have “feelings” – of a sort, and well, we all know non-human animals do, so where do vegans go from here? Vegans decry taking a life for our useage, so what the fuck are we supposed to eat based on this rationale?
Most of us understand non-human animals have feelings: they have consciousness, think, feel, have babies with whom they bond, live in communities in which they bond, recognize faces and scents, communicate, and have individual personalities. They are not automatons designed for our personal use and to do our bidding; they are beings in their own right.
Plants have been scientifically proven to sense their environment using hormones and sensory ions: they lean into the light for food production, many close up at night when there is no sun to produce food, enabling them to retain moisture. Plants also sense beneficial fungi and work underground through the root systems to connect with plants of the same type to send signals and nutrients back and forth. There is no doubt nature is amazing. However, does this mean the plant has the same sentience as an animal? Science has shown that answer is No.
The main consideration for feeling pain is a central nervous system. Human and non-human animals share this attribute. Plants do not. Plain logic shows animals and plants sentience is different: animals scream, cry and bleed when cut; plants do not. Certainly, modern research has shown plants do have a reaction to being pulled from the earth or off a stem, it is an automatic sensory reaction to a change in their environment. It’s not a feeling of pain or fear, it’s more a chemical reaction to what’s going on in order to adapt to their environment. This has been proven scientifically.
A plant’s life goal is to procreate – that’s it; that’s all. So having a blossom or fruit plucked from a plant, where the seeds will be disseminated elsewhere and germinate and grow to fruition is exactly what it wants. The area where the fruit is plucked from becomes the focus of the plant as it sends enzymes to promote quick healing so it’s food production can be sent to further it’s goal of procreation. That is its reaction to being eaten. Not fear, not bleeding, no screaming.
All this to say: plants want to be eaten! Since pollination, seed dissemination, root upheaval, etc are all vehicles for a plant procreation, being eaten is the fulfillment of their life goal.
Now, they are obviously not rubbing their hands together in glee, chortling at the success of building the prettiest fruit and being chomped on by someone to further their ends of world domination, umm no. Invasion of the Body Snatchers aside, if a plant is eaten, it has fulfilled its raison d’etre – its reason for being: spreading its seeds.
Conversely, non-human animals do NOT want to be eaten. We can tell this, quite simply, by their body language, no science needed. Rolling eyes, crying in terror, running physically away, shaking, vomiting, defecating where they lay/stand – all very obvious signs of fear and distress. Their life goal is NOT being fulfilled by being eaten, because their life goal is to LIVE. Killing an animal will not cause it to spread seeds around the earth to continue life. Science has proven non-human animals do feel the same as us; they have a central nervous system which allows them to feel the excruciating pain of suffocation in gas chambers or the sting of a bloody blade. This is NOT a natural process for them.
We don’t want to die. Humans sometimes die in car accidents, work accidents, through illness; we devise laws and methods to protect us and heal us so these events are fewer. Animals don’t want to die either, but rather than putting measures in place to protect their lives, we condone their death and we justify it by saying it fulfills the “circle of life”.
No. A plant being eaten fulfills the circle of life. An animal being killed ends it.