Fourth Ingrowing Toenail
The Need for a Plant Rights Movement
"Put your hand down and feel the ground," said the Tiger-lily. "then you'll know why."
Alice did so. "It's very hard," she said; "but i don't see what that has to do with it."
"In most gardens," the Tiger-lily said, "they make the beds too soft - so that the flowers are always asleep."
Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
|People have become aware of the plight of animals in the last few years, but consciousness of the plants' predicament barely exists. They are rarely seen or cherished as individuals but only as collectives. Rainforests must be preserved but what about the trees living in them? Acid rain endangers the forests in the developed countries, nobody notices the suffering of a single tree. Plants may have no central nervous system but suffer they do.|
Vegetarians and animal rights activists unfortunately don't improve the situation. One might expect people fighting for the rights of one part of creation not to call for the ruthless exploitation of another. But the cry for plant destruction comes loudest from those who don't eat meat. You may not kill baby seals to keep warm in their skins during the freezing days of winter, but baby plants may be murdered and turned into food.
Sometimes even the use of discarded or renewable animal parts such as sheep wool is frowned upon and the assassination of cotton plants advocated. It's not as if we just used plants that had died. We go out there with sickles, scythes, axes, chainsaws, harvesters and other instruments of destruction and cut, slash, saw and kill. We fell beautiful trees in their prime, we reap the seeds of plants, we dig up their roots.
Many people think plants don't suffer when they get hurt. We do not know whether they have feelings which we could recognize as such, but we do know that they try to defend themselves from getting hurt. Plants have ways for closing wounds inflicted upon them. A few try to refrain from being touched. Many use poisons to ward of marauders. Some species warn each other when they are attacked by insects. They sense light, smell, taste, touch maybe even sound: They are sentient beings.
Plants may be slow to react and are often helpless. But look at our reactions towards animals in distress and let us treat plants alike. We should respect their right to the pursuit of happiness which isn't less than our own.
Let us therefore heed the call for a complete moratorium on the use of all living things!
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