"Plants have feelings though" and other such fairy tales some meat-eaters tell themselves... I've seen this argument too often, so let's just end it now.
Everyone knows there is a difference between mowing the lawn, and mowing over 50 kittens. Everyone knows the difference between picking some apples, and from throwing live male chicks into grinders (as is common-place in the egg industry).
Plants are different to animals. Plants aren't sentient - they have no brain, no nerves, no central nervous system, and they have no ability to feel 'pain' or react in a conscious way.
Plants can react to vibrations and chemical stimulus, but this isn't a conscious act, it's autonomic. However, we do know that birds, mammals and fish have well-developed nervous systems and pain receptors. Like us, they show pleasure and pain and they present comparable evidence of fear and well-being. Animals cry out in pain, they nurse wounded body parts, and they seek to avoid those who have hurt them in the past.
Veganism is about doing the least harm. it's a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, all forms of exploitation to animals.
And if you do genuinely care about plants, realise that it still takes around 4lbs to 16lbs of plants to make just 1lb of meat, so vegans still consume less plants overall anyway.
Go to the source, don't get your nutrients second-hand after they've been filtered through an animal.
Producing a single pound of beef, for instance, requires sixteen pounds of grain. One pound of pork requires six pounds of grain and for every sixteen ounces of edible chicken flesh that is produced, at least five pounds of innocent plants must lose their lives.
In the United States alone, fifty-six million acres of arable land are dedicated to growing hay for livestock production, whereas only four million acres are used to grow fruits and vegetables for people. Thirty percent of the Earth’s land surface, which is equivalent to seventy percent of all agricultural land on the planet, is devoted to growing crops for and raising farm animals. And according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the amount of grain fed to livestock in the U.S. alone could feed about 840 million people, roughly eleven times the number of people who die of starvation every year.
The misery and suffering of the tens of billions of animals raised and slaughtered for food every year are multiplied by hundreds of orders of magnitude if one accepts the claim that plants, as well as animals, possess consciousness and therefore suffer when they are harvested.
So if you genuinely believe plants suffer, a vegan-diet actually saves billions of plants. (And as a bonus, saves plenty of animals too!)
It's time we end the “Plants have feelings, though!” argument and recognise it for what it really is: a weak attempt to undermine the ethical basis of veganism with bad logic and pseudo-science.
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