Wednesday, 21 October 2015

From EVOLVE! Campaign on facebook

"Plant feels pain too..." | "You eat plants, it's no different to eating animals..." | "Killing animals is the same as killing plants..."
Stop, please! We've heard it all before and NO, they are NOT the same.
Yes, plants are living things but they are not sentient, nor do they possess a central nervous system and therefore pulling a carrot from the ground or picking an apple from a tree does not have the same moral implications as confining, torturing and finally slitting a sentient animal's throat. This argument is used by those who wish to justify their meat consumption by claiming that because both plants and animals feel pain, there is no ethical difference between killing plants for food and killing animals for food.
The truth is that plants, when stressed, release a chemical called ethylene. This chemical indicates that the plant needs to increase cell growth or take other measures against the perceived stressor. Scientists measured levels of ethylene released from stressed plants by “listening” to them using lasers until a certain frequency was measured. While this research shows that plants might have a stress-avoidance response, it is quite a stretch to refer to this as "pain". It is even more erroneous to equate this response with the pain suffered by animals and human beings. Plants lack nerve endings, brains, hormones, and other structures that would allow them to experience pain. They also lack the ability to move away from sources of stress, an evolutionary trait linked with the ability to feel pain.
The argument that plants feel pain and suffer and that killing them is as bad as killing animals is weak and illogical. Even if someone was concerned that plants were being "killed" and exploited in the same way as animals then by eating meat they would be causing harm twice because the animals they eat would have already eaten plants before being slaughtered (for example, it takes several pounds of plants to produce just one pound of beef).
Eating a vegan diet is not about a quest for personal purity, veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation and cruelty to the animal kingdom, as far as is possible. Plants feeling pain is a topic that is open to debate, we KNOW for sure however that animals experience terrible pain and suffering. This should be motivation enough to treat other beings that we know have the capacity to suffer with as much compassion and consideration as we can. Furthermore the difference is that in general we cannot live without using plants, we can on the other hand live perfectly well without causing deliberate suffering (and death) to billions of farmed animals. As Edgar's Mission Sanctuary says :"If we could live happy and healthy lives without hurting others, why wouldn't we?"

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