Myth Number Two
Plants are alive too.
This statement is an attempt to make ethical vegans appear to be hypocritical by claiming that eating plants is as no more ethical than eating meat. It asserts that, since plants respond to stimuli, then they possess intelligence and are thus conscious, living beings just like animals.
Plants do not possess intelligence.
Intelligence: The ability to learn, understand and form judgments based on reason.
When a plant responds to stimuli, it does so because of a natural biological reaction which was acquired through evolution for its species to survive. The response is not learned. When a deciduous tree drop its leaves in the fall it does so because of a natural process called abscission. Not because it learned it from other trees. A sunflowers tracks the sun because of heliotropism, not because it learned it from its friends. There is no intelligence involved in these responses.
Plants are not conscious.
Conscious: Awake and able to understand what is happening around you.
Having intelligence does not equate to being conscious. A computer can be highly intelligent but it is not conscious. A conscience is nonphysical psychic material that is not understood by science. However, there is a definite connection between the brain and the conscience. Science understands how mind-altering drugs affect the brain but it can not explain what the mind is. All we know is that there is a connection between the mind and the brain. This creates a big problem for people who believe that plants are conscious because plants do not have a central nervous system. There is nothing in their physical structure that could fulfill the requirements for having a conscience. There are even animals such as sponges, corals, anemones and hydras which do no possess a central nervous system that are also considered non-sentient.
Being conscious would be a curse.
It is understandable why many people would want to believe that plants are sentient because it is kind of nice to think that plants are grateful when we take care of them. Some people also feel the same way about dolls, cars, motorcycles and ships. However, realize that if something has the ability to feel joy and happiness, it also has the ability to feel pain and suffering. Pain is a defense mechanism that informs us of danger so we can try to eliminate or avoid it. What would be the purpose for something to feel pain when it is fixed to the earth and is entirely defenseless? What we consider a gift would be a nightmare in this situation. There is simply no reason for plants or for that matter rocks, rivers, clouds, dirt, windows or telephone poles to possess a conscience.
A vegan diet requires less plants.
Animals need to eat and farm animals eat a lot! In fact, are you aware that the vast majority of the crops grown in the U.S. are actually used to feed animals, not humans. Beef cows are generally slaughtered at the young age of one or two years and during that time, they are fed a staggering amount of food in order to get them as fat as possible. For example, tit takes abound 2,800 pounds of corn to raise a cow to a weight of 1250 to 1350 pounds. This equates to 2.07 to 2.24 pounds of corn per pound of finished animal. Although the entire animal is utilized but not all for food. The hide and many of the alternative meats such as liver, intestines, etc. are used other purposes. The actual carcasses only weigh about 800 pounds. Some of that carcass is fat that is not consumed and some is bone (15% or so). The edible meat cuts and ground beef may be 600 pounds. That equates to 4.67 pounds of corn required for one pound of edible beef. The red meat yield from this is as high as 20 pounds of feed per pound of meat. A plant-based food actually requires a fraction of the plants needed produce animal-based food.
In short, plants do not possess intelligence and they are not sentient and even if they were, it requires exponentially more plants to produce animal-based food than is does to produce plant-based food. If you were truly concerned about the killing of plants, you would definitely want to be a vegan.
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