It’s so often heard that those who try to expose and end animal cruelty and killing all know it well.
It’s the “plants, tho” phrase.
It’s a common response to an attempt at real communication about why if you love animals you might want to ask yourself why you still eat them.
Animals are sentient and we know they suffer emotionally and physically when stressed and harmed.
Plants aren’t sentient.
Without a brain and a central nervous system, plants cannot feel pain associated with that system.
Though certain scientific studies have shown that plants can react to stimuli, these reactions do not point to sentience because they lack the basic qualifications for requiring sentience: sensory organs — plants don’t have organs which enable them to see, hear, taste, touch, physically feel, etc., like animals do.
Sentient creatures detect the sensations of pain, which evolved for creatures to be able to escape the source of that pain.
Plants cannot escape pain by running away, so there was no reason for this perception to develop in the evolution process.
If in the future we discover that somehow plants are able to suffer in ways that we cannot yet perceive, then obviously it’ll be a valid ethical study.
Right now we know without question that animals can and do suffer pain but plants do not from what we understand about the physiology of plants and animals.
Also, if you think about the plant foods regularly consumed, you’ll notice that most plant foods don’t require harm or death to the “mother” plant or tree.
Think pears, apples, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers (I could go on here). The plant or tree “offers” them for food to spread their seed.
We also know that our lawn grass being cut doesn’t kill it, and I think we can all agree that the blades aren’t screaming in agony. 😛
The running joke is that vegans are silly to care about animals when they kill vegetables all the time.
The argument, of course, veiled as a joke, is invalid.
“Can you imagine ever using such a rationalization for violence against a human being? That it’s OK to stab another human being because tomatoes don’t want to be stabbed either? Wow! Or if it was used to rationalize stabbing a dog? Yet we use it to rationalize stabbing equally vulnerable sensitive beings with fully developed nervous systems who are the subjects of their lives, as we are. For example, if someone were to be charged with animal cruelty for stabbing his neighbor’s dog, and was testifying in court as to why he did this, if he were to say that to him, stabbing a dog and stabbing a tomato are really the same, I think it’s likely such a person would not just be sent to jail, but probably sent to an institution for the criminally insane.”
~Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet
Usually the idea is to shut down any arguments for showing mercy to animals and unfortunately it often works, destroying any genuine attempt to have a real conversation about the unnecessary suffering humans cause sentient animals each and every day.