The argument goes that if vegans are REALLY concerned with reducing pain and suffering, what about all the innocent plants losing their lives to feed vegans? Do plants feel pain?
As a vegan, I get some really interesting comebacks and arguments against a vegan lifestyle. When someone’s trying to point out the fallacies of a vegan lifestyle, they almost always come to the argument that plants suffer and die to feed the vegans of the world, and that if we are so worried about reducing suffering, what about all of the helpless plants that we kill?
In the video above, I’ve prepared some harrowing footage to show you the reality of the suffering of plants in our society. I want to warn you—the footage may be upsetting to some viewers, and viewer discretion is advised.
As you watch the footage, I want you to really observe the natural “fight or flight” instinct inherent in these plants. It’s important that we face the truth about the pain that we are inflicting upon the plants of this world.
Okay, okay—this has been a bit tongue-in-cheek. If I were actually honestly decrying the “horrors” of what we put plants through in this world, the very same people who brought up the topic of plants having feelings would say that I was crazy.
Let’s look at the basic science: plants do not have a central nervous system. Unlike animals, plants are insentient beings. Have you ever seen a character have a startle response? Have you seen tomatoes flee from their captors? How about a banana trying to bite the hand that plucked it?
And if plants do have feelings, why are people not up in arms when their neighbors mow the lawn or trim their bushes? For many plants, pruning or cutting off parts of them actually helps them to thrive. But would you start chopping off the appendages of your child or your pet just to see if it invigorates them? Everybody knows the difference between trimming a bush and slicing the throat of a living creature. I’ve seen even the most staunch dairy egg and meat eaters cringe while watching slaughterhouse videos. How many people turn away in horror at the slicing of a melon? Whose stomach turns when at potato is boiled?
Now suppose that the argument that plants are sentient beings is accurate, veganism would still cause the least amount of suffering. In America, up to 80% of our crops are fed to our livestock. and globally, up to 65% of all of the world’s crops are fed to the 60 billion land animals that are slaughtered every year.
Vegans actually consume one-tenth of the plant matter consumed either direct or indirectly by meat dairy and egg eaters. So even if you are all about protecting the plants of the world, being vegan is still the best way to reduce suffering.
— Emily Moran Barwick