Sorry, but the above represent the #dumbest set of excuses I’ve ever heard as to why some people claim eating animals is morally equivalent to eating plants. Tellingly, these people’s concern for plant feelings has not reared its head over eating a baked potato with steak, or seeing capers in chicken piccata. No, it’s arisen because the conversation has turned to cruelty toward the animals we eat, something that’s difficult to swallow. If you’re one of those plant feelings people, it’s time we had a chat.
Remember elementary school biology? Even a cursory review tells us that plants and animals are different. Significantly different. For example: Plants have neither brains nor nervous systems with which to feel pain. Does this mean that we can say with absolute certainty that plants cannot have a consciousness or feel pain? I suppose we can never be 100 percent certain... but here’s what we do know — for sure — the animals we eat are conscious. And they do most certainly feel pain. And loneliness. And fear. Just like your dog. Your cat. And you. Also, when you trim a tree or a hedge, the plant regenerates. And what about all those leaves changing color and falling off in autumn? Are we to believe that inside, while wintering, the trees are screaming in pain and horror?
These points don’t matter to the plants-have-feelings crowd. To them, plants and animals are the same by the simple virtue that they’re both alive... a statement they exclaim with the gusto of adherents to a new, all-absolving religion. But if that most basic similarity were truly the only moral arbiter, there’d be no difference between picking a flower and cold-blooded murder; between genocide and mowing your lawn. You’re just killing something that’s alive, right?
However, pointing out the fatal flaws of the argument isn’t the end here. Oh, no. The vehement plant-defender now turns to the horrible environmental devastation caused by growing plants for food. And while that’s not an irrelevant issue, using it here fails again. Because what do you think the animals you are eating were eating — air? In fact, animal agriculture uses far more.