Is It Unethical To Kill Plants?

February 6, 2010 - JulieOur green, leafy friends lack faces and voices, but below the surface, they possess a surprising sensitivity and a desperate will to remain alive and unharmed. The New York Times questions the ethics of vegetarianism:

Surely, I’d thought, science can defend the obvious, that slaughterhouse carnage is wrong in a way that harvesting a field of lettuces or, say, mowing the lawn is not. But instead, it began to seem that formulating a truly rational rationale for not eating animals, at least while consuming all sorts of other organisms, was difficult, maybe even impossible.

The differences that do seem to matter are things like the fact that plants don’t have nerves or brains. They cannot, we therefore conclude, feel pain. In other words, the differences that matter are those that prove that plants do not suffer as we do. Here the lack of a face on plants becomes important, too, faces being requisite to humans as proof not only that one is dealing with an actual individual being, but that it is an individual capable of suffering.

Unlike a lowing, running cow, a plant’s reactions to attack are much harder for us to detect. But just like a chicken running around without its head, the body of a corn plant torn from the soil or sliced into pieces struggles to save itself, just as vigorously and just as uselessly, if much less obviously to the human ear and eye.

When a plant is wounded, its body immediately kicks into protection mode. It releases a bouquet of volatile chemicals, which in some cases have been shown to induce neighboring plants to pre-emptively step up their own chemical defenses and in other cases to lure in predators of the beasts that may be causing the damage to the plants. Inside the plant, repair systems are engaged and defenses are mounted, the molecular details of which scientists are still working out, but which involve signaling molecules coursing through the body to rally the cellular troops, even the enlisting of the genome itself, which begins churning out defense-related proteins.

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149 Responses to Is It Unethical To Kill Plants?

  1. Rex Vestri March 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    That was the dumbest thing I’ve read in a long time!

    • Voidthought March 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

      I think it’s pretty damn interesting. Besides the whole ethical or moral issue with eating plants, the fact that plants actually respond to outside influence in this way is pretty astounding. I think maybe you consider changing your choice of words from “dumbest” to “uninteresting to me”. Trees and plants are stationary organisms and it’s been proposed(Terrence McKenna for one; I’m sure there are others) that our consciousness was helped along by these various mushrooms and other plant matter(DMT, Marijuana, Peyote, Jimson Weed, Salvia) so they could “live out” their life through another organism; exactly like a symbiotic relationship. So if this is all so profoundly “DUMB” to you, just skip leaving a comment and save your breath.

  2. Rex Vestri March 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    That was the dumbest thing I’ve read in a long time!

  3. JoiquimCouteau March 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Fruit is the optimal food for humans. Consuming fruit does not harm the plant, as it makes fruits explicitly for the purpose of consumption by animals (typically primates). Thus, while plants can be consumed in a manner that does not harm them, animals cannot.

    • MoralDrift March 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

      Responsible dairy farming?

      • ButcherGEIN March 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

        You’re killing bacteria still!

        All you vegan vegetarians need to face facts. Life is an engine for death and suffering. Life consumes other life. There is no moral obligation to your meal. The only reasons for a vegetarian diet would be pure preference or allergy based. Just because you don’t enjoy a wonderful veal parmesan sandwich, doesn’t afford you the moral high ground.

        • Heathen Ledger March 23, 2011 at 12:22 am #

          Mr. Gein stick to your delusional fantasies that led your namesake to mass butchering. NO veg*n would deny a plant as a lifeform much less one that merits respect and gratitude for burning in the furnace of our bellies. That being said, there is a HUGE difference between eating something with eyes, that smiles and has a penis/vagina between its legs. This is not to say a plant should be eaten because its so far removed on an evolutionary scale from humans (well meat eating is considered cannibalism in some veg*n circles). And Mr. Gein, it’s not about making people feel worse about eating meat from their “moral high ground.” Look in the mirror… but take off the skin mask first. Jainism has long recognized the need to avoid killing plant life and will not eat tubers as a result. Consider this, a vegan diet reverse heart disease… so perhaps if we are murdering/sacrificing plants, its a sacrifice that is beneficial and can be respectful (waiting for someone to involve Native Americans even though they (the commenter) themselves eat shitty fast food

    • Trevor Parsons March 23, 2011 at 5:23 am #

      Plants make fruits explicitly to spread their seed and perpetuate the species, NOT to act as a free-range market of nearby animals. By picking a ripened piece of fruit or removing a fallen piece from the ground, you are preventing the organism from, well, spreading its seed.

  4. Lgolos March 22, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    Fruit is the optimal food for humans. Consuming fruit does not harm the plant, as it makes fruits explicitly for the purpose of consumption by animals (typically primates). Thus, while plants can be consumed in a manner that does not harm them, animals cannot.

  5. Voidthought March 22, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    I think it’s pretty damn interesting. Besides the whole ethical or moral issue with eating plants, the fact that plants actually respond to outside influence in this way is pretty astounding. I think maybe you consider changing your choice of words from “dumbest” to “uninteresting to me”. Trees and plants are stationary organisms and it’s been proposed(Terrence McKenna for one; I’m sure there are others) that our consciousness was helped along by these various mushrooms and other plant matter(DMT, Marijuana, Peyote, Jimson Weed, Salvia) so they could “live out” their life through another organism; exactly like a symbiotic relationship. So if this is all so profoundly “DUMB” to you, just skip leaving a comment and save your breath.

  6. Miketomlison March 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Okay so the Human race needs to die and then the world can be a better place… until then I’m going to continue to eat meat and plants as I please.

  7. Miketomlison March 22, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    Okay so the Human race needs to die and then the world can be a better place… until then I’m going to continue to eat meat and plants as I please.

  8. Valinora March 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    As I’ve been telling my children for years:

    If you don’t intend on eating it, don’t pick/kill it.

    • justagirl March 23, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

      EXACTLY! or if it’s a disgusting fly, spray it with water and drop it into the nearest spider web. (ants aren’t so disgusting, but, the spiders like them, too).

  9. Valinora March 22, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    As I’ve been telling my children for years:

    If you don’t intend on eating it, don’t pick/kill it.

  10. justagirl March 22, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    jesus woman! you may as well eat it now and end it’s suffering!

  11. justagirl March 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    jesus woman! you may as well eat it now and end it’s suffering!

  12. Anonymous March 22, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    Responsible dairy farming?

  13. MrPINKi March 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    Im starting PETP People for the Ethical Treament of Plants. Just let the plants grow on their own, plant ownership should be outlawed! Join NOW!

    • DeepCough March 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

      Well, it’s illegal to own cannabis plants, so we’re half way there already.

    • Other Mr. T March 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

      I am ready to join PETP MrPinki!
      All of us will soon be eating soylent green with radioactive-waste sauce, anyway.

  14. MrPINKi March 22, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

    Im starting PETP People for the Ethical Treament of Plants. Just let the plants grow on their own, plant ownership should be outlawed! Join NOW!

  15. DeepCough March 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Even vegans think this is retarded: because, as far as I know, vegans still feel the need to eat, y’know, things like everyone else.

    • hucksawyer March 22, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

      Exactly! We have to eat. The question of ethics comes when we choose what to eat. It’s fair to say that plants, unlike cows and pigs, lack consciousness. The real question, then, is: should we, now that we have the opportunity to do so, choose not to murder and consume conscious entities? At least in regard to mammals, which are biologically, and dare I say spiritually, similar to us humans?

      One thing I’ll always marvel at is people’s ability to keep castrated, jailed cats and dogs as pets, scream at anyone who ever dares harm a cat or a dog (in a way that doesn’t involve removing the creature’s balls, I suppose), scorn the barbaric eaters of cats and dogs, and at the same time share beefsteaks and porkchops with their pets, neighbors, and neighbors’ pets. Try and explain this amazing phenomenon.
      I mean, how are dogs better than cows? Cows give us milk and have a kindly philosophical bovine disposition. Since herding has fallen out of style, most dogs are useless. They bark and shit, that’s the extent of their repertoire. Yeah sure, cows smell a bit, but so dogs. What gives?

      • DeliciousDogsDotCom March 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

        God, now I wanna eat a dog and see what cat tastes like…

        • DeepCough March 23, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

          Head on down to your local Chinese restaurant.

  16. DeepCough March 22, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Even vegans think this is retarded: because, as far as I know, vegans still feel the need to eat, y’know, things like everyone else.

  17. DeepCough March 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    Well, it’s illegal to own cannabis plants, so we’re half way there already.

  18. Shoogie March 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    Bacteria respond to the outside environment but can they internalize their suffering like an animal can, like say a chicken which is a social animal which feels actual emotions?

  19. Shoogie March 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    Bacteria respond to the outside environment but can they internalize their suffering like an animal can, like say a chicken which is a social animal which feels actual emotions?

  20. Solarflare March 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    try watching the plants episode of the BBC series LIFE. Plants are indeed alive and move albeit slower

  21. Solarflare March 22, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    try watching the plants episode of the BBC series LIFE. Plants are indeed alive and move albeit slower

  22. Brian Dayhoff March 22, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    It is unethical to feel sorry for your food. In all of nature, which is generally accepted to be perfectly balanced, no other species pities what it eats. All life seeks to stay alive, and all life does so by consuming the remains of other life. I believe that both a cow and a blade of grass are equally sacred. But so am I, and it is my responsibility to perpetuate my own existence, just as it is the cows and the grass’s responsibility to tend their own. I do not believe that we have an unnatural advantage over our own food any more than I believe that a whale has an unnatural advantage over the krill it eats. In either case the devoured never had a chance. This is just the way of the world. Crying about it is unnatural.

    • Blah March 22, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

      Well said, but also connects to this new-found fear of the Earth we have obtained. There’s some guilt floating around…

      • GoodDoktorBad March 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

        No, just a fair amount of posturing and blindsided ignorance….

    • GoodDoktorBad March 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

      “Unethical”? Ethics are subjective to the people who adopt them. Check your word usage so you don’t sound so ignorant.

      Don’t get upset now, “Crying about it is unnatural”.

      • Brian Dayhoff March 22, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

        eth·i·cal
           [eth-i-kuhl] Show IPA
        –adjective
        1.
        pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct.
        2.
        being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession: It was not considered ethical for physicians to advertise.

        My statement stands. As I said, as in nature where no other species pities it’s food, it could be stated by that precedent that the right conduct (definition 1) is to eat your food and let your food worry about it’s own survival.

        Check your definitions before you retort so you don’t sound so ignorant.

        • GoodDoktorBad March 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

          I know the definition without looking it up, its obvious you didn’t comprehend very well what you cut and pasted.
          So, if I killed my favorite cow and ate it cause I was hungry, but felt bad about killing old Bessy -I’m being unethical? Sentimental perhaps, but unethical? I’m being immoral and not “in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession:”?

          The word simply does not apply here. Unless of course you personally think you can dictate what is moral for people to feel. Of course, THAT would be “unethical”.

          • Brian Dayhoff March 22, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

            In the context of life in general, yes you are being unethical. Why would you eat your favorite cow? If that was the only cow you had why would you let yourself develop an emotional attachment if you knew it was going to be your food?

            Giving false hope is unethical. As is killing something you care about for personal gain.

          • Heathen Ledger March 23, 2011 at 12:15 am #

            It’s ethical to feel sorry for an animal THAT WILL BECOME food but not in their objectified state as food. If you feel sorry for said animal and then continue to eat it in its geometrical displaced form on your plate… then you are practicing bad ethics and are an asshole. Again, ethics can be subjective but the rationality in pitying the displaced form vs. the actual creature is skewed as is continuing to eat it with residual guilt… in short… GO VEGAN!

          • GoodDoktorBad March 23, 2011 at 12:23 am #

            Hey dumbass, I don’t have a cow (lol -maybe I’m having one now), it’s hypothetical, get it?. Hypothetically, I’m starving and I have to eat the fucking cow to live or perhaps -feed my family. OK? For some reason, being human and all, I’ve grown an attachment to the cow over the years -as cows go -its a nice cow. I’m unethical for having mixed feelings about killing the cow? WTF?

            “Giving false hope is unethical.” Sure, I guess it is, but what the fuck are you talking about?
            If simple survival is what you consider “personal gain” in the context of this hypothetical scenario, then there is no further need to banter with your semi-rational self. Although it may be interesting to see other wacky shit you come with. Go on with yer bad self….

          • Brian Dayhoff March 23, 2011 at 2:23 am #

            So now you are insulting me because you failed to properly define your hypothetical situation? Now you are suddenly starving instead of just hungry and have apparently sprouted a family.

            Acting nice to an animal you intend to eventually butcher is giving it false hope. You are basically pretending to care about it so you can later kill it and eat it. This is somewhat similar to me acting like your buddy then kicking you in the nuts and taking your wallet. Trying to build a bond with an animal you will eventually kill is just going to increase it’s trauma and make you have emotional issues about what is on your plate. I thought you would have been smart enough to grasp that but apparently I have to spell it out for you.

            Coming from a family that has actually raised their own livestock for food, I can tell you pretty safely that you specifically do not form emotional attachment to livestock for that very reason. Livestock are livestock. Save your affection for your pet if you need an animal companion. You probably won’t be eating your cat or dog, so you don’t have to worry about the emotional conflict of killing and eating Fluffy or Rover. Livestock get about as much emotional investment as a shitty commuter car. When you get rid of it you probably think “yea that got me to work for a while, but meh.” That’s really about it. People that are disconnected with the actual process are the ones who get weepy about it. Animals have do have feelings. I’m sure they really don’t want to be shot, cut up and eaten, but any self respecting meat eater really doesn’t care about their food’s feelings. There are certain things you do to alleviate the animal’s suffering, such as killing it humanely and keeping it calm, but these are not for the animal’s comfort; they are because when the cow flips out it’s body releases endorphins that affect the quality of the meat. But apparently you have a history of raising cows, so you clearly knew this already. Oh wait, you don’t. Go figure.

            Again, yes, you are not only unethical for having mixed feelings about feeding your starving family, but you are also an inexperienced rancher. You are also still unethical for approaching your natural predatory instincts in the wrong light. Perhaps you can tack a few more qualifiers on to your next post to keep your silly prattle up? For some reason, being human and all, people often siderail an argument or throw insults when they are losing one.

          • WTF March 23, 2011 at 3:55 am #

            Wow, you really have too much time on your hands. Why not go do something that doesn’t involve having to be right on the internet?

          • Jules March 23, 2011 at 6:58 am #

            says the guy who wasted his time by reading all that. dumbass.

          • GoodDoktorBad March 23, 2011 at 9:31 am #

            I’m not insulting you, I would say, it’s simply “unethical” to lie…..Dumbass…

          • Micah March 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

            If eating a particular organism requires you to suppress emotion or desensitize yourself to its existence, the consumption of that organism would ultimately be detrimental to your health given the peripheral effects involved with such suppression.

          • Sorejack May 13, 2011 at 1:20 am #

             I have loved my animals, and eaten them. chickens are great fun, pigs too. you don’t have to be a lobotomized prick to eat well and have a clean heart. I loved them, cared for them, groomed them, and killed them. I tell you it really is easier for you and them if they are excited to see you when you come on That Day. I’ve been to farms where they are chasing down the poor things, scaring the bejesus out of them, and it breaks my heart. I would much rather someone was petting me,  then snapped my chicken neck. actually I’m kinda jealous of the animals I used to raise. not so much of the ones you describe. a life lived without love isn’t much a life at all. then snapped my chicken neck. actually I’m kinda jealous of the animals I used to raise. not so much of the ones you describe. a life lived without love isn’t much a life at all.

          • justagirl March 23, 2011 at 9:02 am #

            LOL!!! awesome.

          • Rog March 23, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

            The definite loser of an argument is the person who first resorts to insulting their opponent. When someone’s ideals are being threatened they go into defense mode and try to discredit the other person. However, use of harsh language on an academic platform is counterproductive and only serves to discredit the one using said language. Further more I’d like to point out that everyone wants to be right. We all think the sun shines out of our ass and we are all looking for the opportunity to prove it, I’m even doing it right now.

            I think what happened is you started to realize that you were not going to be able to prove your point and so you thought to end the debate (quite immaturely I might add) by calling him a poopy pants and running home crying to your mommy because you realized that you’re not as smart and special as she told you you were. It was a good healthy and educational debate until you involved the ignorance of name calling.

          • justagirl March 23, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

            DUDE!! were you in my speech class!?

          • GoodDoktorBad March 25, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

            Lighten up -Dumbass! LOL

            Did that word hurt your feelings? At least I’m not telling you its unethical to have feelings. Consider “running home crying to your mommy” next time you hear a harsh word.

    • grooveboss March 23, 2011 at 9:50 am #

      Its unethical to eat anything. If you had fucking super powers you would not need to eat as you would be made of energy. If we think is unethical to eat motherfucking steak we would not eat it as much of it and when we did we would have tasty naughty feeling one gets from porking someones nana. Sometimes ethics is for control and not complete denial of desire or perceived need. One always needs to leave room for miracles.

      • grooveboss March 23, 2011 at 9:57 am #

        actually the jewish people ate an algea that is full of nutrients while exile in the desert called manna but has to been found to be chlorella. It seems to have all the nutrients the body needs minus the psychological boost one gets from comfort food. Chlorella and or spirulina EAT IT!

    • chonus March 24, 2011 at 1:17 am #

      Obviously someone never seen the movie, “Alive.”

  23. Brian Dayhoff March 22, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    It is unethical to feel sorry for your food. In all of nature, which is generally accepted to be perfectly balanced, no other species pities what it eats. All life seeks to stay alive, and all life does so by consuming the remains of other life. I believe that both a cow and a blade of grass are equally sacred. But so am I, and it is my responsibility to perpetuate my own existence, just as it is the cows and the grass’s responsibility to tend their own. I do not believe that we have an unnatural advantage over our own food any more than I believe that a whale has an unnatural advantage over the krill it eats. In either case the devoured never had a chance. This is just the way of the world. Crying about it is unnatural.

  24. Blah March 22, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    Well said, but also connects to this new-found fear of the Earth we have obtained. There’s some guilt floating around…

  25. butcherGEIN March 22, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    You’re missing the point. We can’t use ease of empathy as a justification for limits of consumption. It simply is not a valid reason.

  26. ButcherGEIN March 22, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    You’re killing bacteria still!

    All you vegan vegetarians need to face facts. Life is an engine for death and suffering. Life consumes other life. There is no moral obligation to your meal. The only reasons for a vegetarian diet would be pure preference or allergy based. Just because you don’t enjoy a wonderful veal parmesan sandwich, doesn’t afford you the moral high ground.

  27. GoodDoktorBad March 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    Obviously we all need to eat and use the gifts the plant world has to offer. I think the real concern is wanton destruction of nature in general. With the industrial revolution came the rapid destruction of the natural world. Our tendency is to mow down or manipulate anything in our path.

    A serious adjustment to these attitudes is needed……

    • Brian Dayhoff March 22, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

      Nature is exceptionally more hardy than anyone seems to give it credit for. If it suvived say, getting hit by a comet large enough to fracture the moon off of the planet, there is little chance that we are going to “kill the planet” as so many enviromentalists often refer to our actions. Our little planet has also survived radiation levels far higher than we are capable of producing, global deep freezes for several millennia at a time, high levels of toxic gas in our atmosphere, floods, famines, earthquakes, glaciers carving up the crust of the planet (ever seen any mountain ranges? Yea, that), fractures in the crust, and pretty much any other sort of doomsday scenario you can think of.

      We are however in risk of damaging the planet’s ecology to the point where it no longer supports us. This is the real root of our efforts, despite the fact that no one really wants to face the vain undertones. We are like any other species concerned with our own survival. So we package our effort to maintain rulership of our little rock as “saving the planet”, when there is really nothing we are capable of that will ever either destroy the planet as a whole or choke out all life on it. Anything we are capable of doing has already happened at a magnitude far greater than we are capable of. Still the planet, and nature for that matter, have persevered.

      Our conservation efforts are also quite misplaced. We tend to put a great deal of effort into saving all the cute, iconic species, and pay little attention to the species we damage that have an actual effect on the ecosystem. Panda bears may be cute, but I guarantee there are at least a hundred species of flora, insects, or worms that are in danger of extinction which play a much more significant role in maintaining their environment in it’s present state of equilibrium. We have this warped view that we should for some reason not allow any species to die off even if it is no longer viable or even attempting to propagate itself. If pandas don’t want to breed, let them die off. Keeping them in cages to make sure they can be seen at zoos for several more generations is not helping nature in any way. This entire process stagnates nature’s efforts to reach a state of equilibrium again. Species have been dying off long before humans came around, and will be dying off long after we are gone.

      If you really want to stop the negative effects on our environment that humans have, you really only need to teach people to stop breeding so damn much. It really doesn’t help that the dumbest and least self-sufficient of us have the highest rate of reproduction also. You never see an ivy league grad pulling down six or seven figures who has sired 18 children. You do see parents of that many kids though who can barely tell their ass from their elbow, and most of them encourage their kids to go do the same damn thing. When we were still hunting our food with sharp sticks this may have been appropriate as at least 2/3 of those children would die of disease or starve, but in any developed country there is really no excuse for this. In doing so you are just putting a higher burden on both the environment through our need for resources to support these extra lives, as well as on your society because for the most part the families this large are never capable of supporting themselves without society stepping in.

  28. Anonymous March 22, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Obviously we all need to eat and use the gifts the plant world has to offer. I think the real concern is wanton destruction of nature in general. With the industrial revolution came the rapid destruction of the natural world. Our tendency is to mow down or manipulate anything in our path.

    A serious adjustment to these attitudes is needed……

  29. Anonymous March 22, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    “Unethical”? Ethics are subjective to the people who adopt them. Check your word usage so you don’t sound so ignorant.

    Don’t get upset now, “Crying about it is unnatural”.

  30. Anonymous March 22, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    No, just a fair amount of posturing and blindsided ignorance….

  31. Anonymous March 22, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    Exactly! We have to eat. The question of ethics comes when we choose what to eat. It’s fair to say that plants, unlike cows and pigs, lack consciousness. The real question, then, is: should we, now that we have the opportunity to do so, choose not to murder and consume conscious entities? At least in regard to mammals, which are biologically, and dare I say spiritually, similar to us humans?

    One thing I’ll always marvel at is people’s ability to keep castrated, jailed cats and dogs as pets, scream at anyone who ever dares harm a cat or a dog (in a way that doesn’t involve removing the creature’s balls, I suppose), scorn the barbaric eaters of cats and dogs, and at the same time share beefsteaks and porkchops with their pets, neighbors, and neighbors’ pets. Try and explain this amazing phenomenon.
    I mean, how are dogs better than cows? Cows give us milk and have a kindly philosophical bovine disposition. Since herding has fallen out of style, most dogs are useless. They bark and shit, that’s the extent of their repertoire. Yeah sure, cows smell a bit, but so dogs. What gives?

  32. Brian Dayhoff March 22, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    eth·i·cal
       [eth-i-kuhl] Show IPA
    –adjective
    1.
    pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct.
    2.
    being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession: It was not considered ethical for physicians to advertise.

    My statement stands. As I said, as in nature where no other species pities it’s food, it could be stated by that precedent that the right conduct (definition 1) is to eat your food and let your food worry about it’s own survival.

    Check your definitions before you retort so you don’t sound so ignorant.

  33. Brian Dayhoff March 23, 2011 at 12:07 am #

    Nature is exceptionally more hardy than anyone seems to give it credit for. If it suvived say, getting hit by a comet large enough to fracture the moon off of the planet, there is little chance that we are going to “kill the planet” as so many enviromentalists often refer to our actions. Our little planet has also survived radiation levels far higher than we are capable of producing, global deep freezes for several millennia at a time, high levels of toxic gas in our atmosphere, floods, famines, earthquakes, glaciers carving up the crust of the planet (ever seen any mountain ranges? Yea, that), fractures in the crust, and pretty much any other sort of doomsday scenario you can think of.

    We are however in risk of damaging the planet’s ecology to the point where it no longer supports us. This is the real root of our efforts, despite the fact that no one really wants to face the vain undertones. We are like any other species concerned with our own survival. So we package our effort to maintain rulership of our little rock as “saving the planet”, when there is really nothing we are capable of that will ever either destroy the planet as a whole or choke out all life on it. Anything we are capable of doing has already happened at a magnitude far greater than we are capable of. Still the planet, and nature for that matter, have persevered.

    Our conservation efforts are also quite misplaced. We tend to put a great deal of effort into saving all the cute, iconic species, and pay little attention to the species we damage that have an actual effect on the ecosystem. Panda bears may be cute, but I guarantee there are at least a hundred species of flora, insects, or worms that are in danger of extinction which play a much more significant role in maintaining their environment in it’s present state of equilibrium. We have this warped view that we should for some reason not allow any species to die off even if it is no longer viable or even attempting to propagate itself. If pandas don’t want to breed, let them die off. Keeping them in cages to make sure they can be seen at zoos for several more generations is not helping nature in any way. This entire process stagnates nature’s efforts to reach a state of equilibrium again. Species have been dying off long before humans came around, and will be dying off long after we are gone.

    If you really want to stop the negative effects on our environment that humans have, you really only need to teach people to stop breeding so damn much. It really doesn’t help that the dumbest and least self-sufficient of us have the highest rate of reproduction also. You never see an ivy league grad pulling down six or seven figures who has sired 18 children. You do see parents of that many kids though who can barely tell their ass from their elbow, and most of them encourage their kids to go do the same damn thing. When we were still hunting our food with sharp sticks this may have been appropriate as at least 2/3 of those children would die of disease or starve, but in any developed country there is really no excuse for this. In doing so you are just putting a higher burden on both the environment through our need for resources to support these extra lives, as well as on your society because for the most part the families this large are never capable of supporting themselves without society stepping in.

  34. Anonymous March 23, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    I know the definition without looking it up, its obvious you didn’t comprehend very well what you cut and pasted.
    So, if I killed my favorite cow and ate it cause I was hungry, but felt bad about killing old Bessy -I’m being unethical? Sentimental perhaps, but unethical? I’m being immoral and not “in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession:”?

    The word simply does not apply here. Unless of course you personally think you can dictate what is moral for people to feel. Of course, THAT would be “unethical”.

  35. andcrowd March 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    My one problem with this article is that it fails to make a connection between feeling pain and plants fighting for survival. I know many moral vegetarians who would say they don’t eat meat because the animals feel pain. Just because a plant tries to save itself does not mean that it feels pain, as this article makes clear. Survival instinct does not imply suffering.

  36. andcrowd March 23, 2011 at 12:58 am #

    My one problem with this article is that it fails to make a connection between feeling pain and plants fighting for survival. I know many moral vegetarians who would say they don’t eat meat because the animals feel pain. Just because a plant tries to save itself does not mean that it feels pain, as this article makes clear. Survival instinct does not imply suffering.

  37. Tuna Ghost March 22, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    “Our green, leafy friends lack faces and voices, but below the surface, they possess a surprising sensitivity and a desperate will to remain alive and unharmed.”

    It’s probably a mistake to apply “will” to self-defense features granted by millions and millions of years of evolution.

  38. Tuna Ghost March 23, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    “Our green, leafy friends lack faces and voices, but below the surface, they possess a surprising sensitivity and a desperate will to remain alive and unharmed.”

    It’s probably a mistake to apply “will” to self-defense features granted by millions and millions of years of evolution.

  39. Bhornbuckle75 March 22, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    This is why I only eat meat……At least a cow, or a pig, could conceivably kill a guy….or defend themselves or get away, however unlikely it may be. They still have a chance. With a plant, they have no fighting chance whatsoever. They are like retarded paraplegics just sitting there……how could kill and eat a retarded paraplegic?!?! Thats SICK!!!! I only eat meat because only meat could eat me. (giant mutant venus flytraps aside)

    • Robert Ledzep Plantkiller March 23, 2011 at 12:30 am #

      While funny in a sick way, no. It would be a fair fight if you had to kill the cow while her kids and bull-husband were their to rip you a new one (or five). That snide ‘tude would melt off. Oh, and I only eat plants because I hate them so much I want to eviscerate them with my teeth. The fact they can’t move brings out my sadistic side. I hate animals just as much but I just don’t want them anywhere near my gorgeous gut.

  40. Bhornbuckle75 March 23, 2011 at 2:09 am #

    This is why I only eat meat……At least a cow, or a pig, could conceivably kill a guy….or defend themselves or get away, however unlikely it may be. They still have a chance. With a plant, they have no fighting chance whatsoever. They are like retarded paraplegics just sitting there……how could kill and eat a retarded paraplegic?!?! Thats SICK!!!! I only eat meat because only meat could eat me. (giant mutant venus flytraps aside)

  41. Pivotboy March 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    Earth life, the ultimate circle jerk….

  42. Pivotboy March 23, 2011 at 2:17 am #

    Earth life, the ultimate circle jerk….

  43. Airgetarian March 22, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    So what the hell do you expect to eat now? Air??

  44. Josh Evolved March 22, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    I am a vegan, I am such because I choose not to eat things that have a life. Plants, while being alive, are not a life. However I don’t care if other people eat meat, that is their choice (even if I think it is a wrong one), and who I am to dictate what I choose for my life for other people.

    The reality is that people don’t NEED to eat meat (at least not the majority, though there are some diseases that require meat consumption). Our physiology is more akin to a herbivore than a carnivore, which leads one to the logical solution of no meat.

    My problem isn’t what people eat, but rather, how it is obtained. My view is that if you can’t kill it, you shouldn’t be eating it. Which is why I do have respect for hunters (not sport hunters, they’re just assholes), the majority of them just need food to eat.

    I believe that we need to fix our barbaric animal farming industry, and get people to consume far less meat. Primarily for our species physical health (and hey, it doesn’t hurt our mental health either). There are countless studies that link consumption of meat to increased risks of diabetes, heart disease, cancer,and strokes. With the amount of crap that is injected into American produced meat (hormones and antibiotics), that creates another slew of potential genetic mutations and maladies.

    I also try to fight the common misconceptions, such as the protein myth and the B12 myth. You can get the same proteins from plant sources that you can get in meat (just in different places, as opposed to higher concentration in meat) and B12 DOES NOT come from meat, B12 is actually a bacteria that grows in dirt (which is why scientists think Chimpanzees and Gorillas eat termites, even though the majority of their diets are herbivorous).

    If people had more respect for where their food comes from, ate less of it (we have devastated fish populations throughout the oceans), our species and the world would be better off for it. I dream of a day when mass-produced meat farming is over with and instead people operate communal/co-op farms where you tend to the food you eat (flora and fauna).

    @ Brian Dayhoff

    It is completely ethical to feel sorry for your food, especially with meat. A life was taken so yours can continue and we are a species that is highly cognizant and can fully understand the ramifications of our actions. I feel bad when I kill flies and deadly creatures, though it may be a necessity that doesn’t mean I can’t feel negative emotions from my actions.

    A lion kills to survive and I bet that they understand, on some level, the value of life. They may not -or may, how would I know- care in the way we can, but they don’t just wantonly kill for the sake of killing. In fact most of their hunts end in failure. We, however, breed species just to consume them, we kill them for fun, and take mementos of our actions. That to me is unethical and barbaric, but that is how I feel and I don’t expect anyone else to see it the way I do (though it would be nice if they did).

    Crying about killing isn’t unnatural, it’s called empathy and compassion; traits that helped our species flourish.

    Also many plant and animal species have evolved to prevent being eaten. Most plants on this planet are poisonous to us, many animals secrete toxins, just not all species evolved those protections and found other ways to even the fight (gazelles travel in herds and can out maneuver many a cheetah). Then there are the many species that have found ways to live in symbiosis with predators, like feeder fish on sharks, or ants farming and protecting aphids.

    • Brian Dayhoff March 23, 2011 at 3:19 am #

      I see no reason to kill for sport or for no apparent reason. I think it is wise to take what you need and refrain from killing otherwise. I did not say there is no reason to be sad about killing. What I said was that there is no reason to be sad about providing food for yourself. I hold all life in the same regard, plant animal or otherwise. I have no qualms killing food for myself, killing pests that make my life difficult or spoil my home (i.e. mosquitos, ants, bees, or other infestations), killing infections, viruses, bacteria and the like, or killing someone or something threatening my life or the life of someone I am defending. Killing for sport or pleasure is stupid. Killing for profit is also stupid, but necessary as there are many who cannot produce their own food so this is an inevitable result of that. People that life on the 53rd floor of a human filing cabinet in some major city are not capable of producing their own food, but they still need to eat, so someone else has to produce that for them.

      I have to disagree with you on the plant matter though. Plants are also capable of sensing their environments. If you have a plant in the window and you put it in the shade it will grow toward the sunlight. There is some mechanism there that causes it to seek out reprieve from it’s discomfort just as there is with animal life. It may be more simplified but it is still there. As far as I am concerned life is life, and death is part of life. The defining quality of life is that it seeks to keep living. There really is no reason to complicate it further. You may take that I hold my lawn in the same esteem as animal life to be that I care too much about plants or not enough about animals. To each their own. I personally do not feel sorry for either of them.

      • Josh Evolved March 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

        I was talking about my ideal world. I know that people in skyscrapers and tenements don’t have a very viable means of producing their own food, at least not in substantive quantities. Couldn’t Central Park though be turned into a community farm? That’s what I was thinking. I know it’s idealist, flighty, and not-likely, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream. I hold no delusions that this could be a reality, I just think it would be better for people to do things like that. The problem though is that they eat too much of a bad thing, and usually poor people don’t have access to quality food, so they get calorie-dense, nutrient lacking, foods. It’s one of the reasons America is getting so fat.

        A slime mold will grow where it’s food is, much in the same way fire would follow a path of gasoline. Life is about surviving, and those innate drives are in all of us. Unlike dolphins, we can’t just stop breathing, if you try your body will begin thrashing trying to force you to breathe. That is the same as a chlorophyll based plant growing in the direction of it’s food source, it doesn’t want to suffocate.

        I too hold plants and animals in the same regard, though our level is different (not that that’s a bad thing). I never said I feel sorry for them, though I do feel sorry for calf’s that are treated abysmally just for tender meat, or chickens who have their beaks cut off at factory farms. I feel sorry for the dairy cows that are forced into labor and then attached to a machine never able to feed, or be with, their calves. I don’t feel sorry for wild animals, in some regards we ourselves are “wild” animals.

        Death is a part of life, it’s the cost of living. That, however, doesn’t mean that the animals we breed for our consumption deserve to be tortured and mistreated. They should at least be given a semblance of a normal life, even if in some way that is torture (like a bird in a cage).

        I don’t judge meat eaters, to each his own. I judge the systems in place and the barbaric way we do things. I actually have a bigger problem with vegetarians that are so for animal reasons, they are dolts. Egg and dairy farming is just as bad as the slaughterhouse industry. At least you understand the value of life, and the value of what is on your plate. That is all that matters to me, respect what died so you could live.

        And as I said I don’t think that people who can’t kill their own food shouldn’t eat meat. That’s one of the reasons I don’t. If your comfortable with it, fine, as long as there is some respect there.

    • Dancesinpuddles March 23, 2011 at 4:54 am #

      Someone help, I’m being attacked by a 60ft deadly creature killer fly. Aaargh!!! Wtf are you doing killing flies for?

      • Josh Evolved March 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

        I always try to catch and release flies from my home, but they are fragile creatures and occasionally I crush one. That’s more of what I meant.

        • justagirl March 23, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

          D: what the fuck!??

    • L3V March 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

      “I’m a Level Three Vegan…I don’t eat anything that casts a shadow.”

    • Uriah Zebadiah March 24, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

      Your lion example is profoundly flawed. Haven’t you ever seen your cat playing with a dead mouse or bird? Predators ENJOY the hunt, and not just for the food reward at the end. That includes humans. There is something innately and naturally pleasurable about killing. It just so happens that we train our remarkably adaptable brains to not only not enjoy it, but to find it repulsive, and culturally, we are well-civilized in that way. But that doesn’t mean our natural state isn’t to get pleasure from hunting and killing whatever we need or want to kill, and to be dispassionate about killing even creatures that don’t put up a fight or have meaningful defenses, like eggs taken from a nest or slaughtering livestock. Let boys run around unsupervised, and it’s Lord of the Flies within hours. Humans are remarkably efficient and effective predators, and like any predator, we are naturally inclined to enjoy everything about it. Need more proof? Look at the popularity of violence in restricted forms where the ethical boundaries imposed by society are removed or relaxed– video games, martial arts, shooting sports, hunting. There can be no doubt that violence is the natural state of mankind, and ethics are merely something we develop socially, as a means of making it possible for different tribes to work and live together and build successful civilizations.

      That said, suggesting that it’s somehow unethical to feel empathy for your food is profoundly fucking stupid. It may be totally natural to not feel empathy for food, and it may even be ethical to take another life in a surprisingly wide variety of circumstances, but that doesn’t mean the opposite is wrong. What is natural and what is ethical are not the same. Ethics are a socially relative phenomenon. It just so happens that very similar systems of ethics can be arrived at independently as a result of understanding our natural psychological and social responses to different stimuli, that our biology itself can consistently lead to a natural ethical system, but the process of arriving at that system can only be the result of the civilizing of humanity. What’s more, its widespread adoption to the point that we start questioning the ethics of eating lettuce instead of zucchini depends on the nearly universal adoption of a system of ethics and/or a caste system whereby the rule of the unethical can go unchallenged.

      When it comes right down to it, ethics are largely irrelevant when it comes to issues of survival. Taking a life so that yours will not only continue, but leaves you healthy and happy, doesn’t have to be either ethical or unethical. Ethics are simply irrelevant except as they pertain to the success of the social organism.

      Now, in that respect, vegetarianism and veganism are quite a bit more ethical, inasmuch as they have a far smaller environmental impact, and are more likely to enable society’s continued success.

  45. Airgetarian March 23, 2011 at 2:45 am #

    So what the hell do you expect to eat now? Air??

  46. Josh Evolved March 23, 2011 at 2:45 am #

    I am a vegan, I am such because I choose not to eat things that have a life. Plants, while being alive, are not a life. However I don’t care if other people eat meat, that is their choice (even if I think it is a wrong one), and who I am to dictate what I choose for my life for other people.

    The reality is that people don’t NEED to eat meat (at least not the majority, though there are some diseases that require meat consumption). Our physiology is more akin to a herbivore than a carnivore, which leads one to the logical solution of no meat.

    My problem isn’t what people eat, but rather, how it is obtained. My view is that if you can’t kill it, you shouldn’t be eating it. Which is why I do have respect for hunters (not sport hunters, they’re just assholes), the majority of them just need food to eat.

    I believe that we need to fix our barbaric animal farming industry, and get people to consume far less meat. Primarily for our species physical health (and hey, it doesn’t hurt our mental health either). There are countless studies that link consumption of meat to increased risks of diabetes, heart disease, cancer,and strokes. With the amount of crap that is injected into American produced meat (hormones and antibiotics), that creates another slew of potential genetic mutations and maladies.

    I also try to fight the common misconceptions, such as the protein myth and the B12 myth. You can get the same proteins from plant sources that you can get in meat (just in different places, as opposed to higher concentration in meat) and B12 DOES NOT come from meat, B12 is actually a bacteria that grows in dirt (which is why scientists think Chimpanzees and Gorillas eat termites, even though the majority of their diets are herbivorous).

    If people had more respect for where their food comes from, ate less of it (we have devastated fish populations throughout the oceans), our species and the world would be better off for it. I dream of a day when mass-produced meat farming is over with and instead people operate communal/co-op farms where you tend to the food you eat (flora and fauna).

    @ Brian Dayhoff

    It is completely ethical to feel sorry for your food, especially with meat. A life was taken so yours can continue and we are a species that is highly cognizant and can fully understand the ramifications of our actions. I feel bad when I kill flies and deadly creatures, though it may be a necessity that doesn’t mean I can’t feel negative emotions from my actions.

    A lion kills to survive and I bet that they understand, on some level, the value of life. They may not -or may, how would I know- care in the way we can, but they don’t just wantonly kill for the sake of killing. In fact most of their hunts end in failure. We, however, breed species just to consume them, we kill them for fun, and take mementos of our actions. That to me is unethical and barbaric, but that is how I feel and I don’t expect anyone else to see it the way I do (though it would be nice if they did).

    Crying about killing isn’t unnatural, it’s called empathy and compassion; traits that helped our species flourish.

    Also many plant and animal species have evolved to prevent being eaten. Most plants on this planet are poisonous to us, many animals secrete toxins, just not all species evolved those protections and found other ways to even the fight (gazelles travel in herds and can out maneuver many a cheetah). Then there are the many species that have found ways to live in symbiosis with predators, like feeder fish on sharks, or ants farming and protecting aphids.

  47. Brian Dayhoff March 23, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    In the context of life in general, yes you are being unethical. Why would you eat your favorite cow? If that was the only cow you had why would you let yourself develop an emotional attachment if you knew it was going to be your food?

    Giving false hope is unethical. As is killing something you care about for personal gain.

  48. Heathen Ledger March 23, 2011 at 4:15 am #

    It’s ethical to feel sorry for an animal THAT WILL BECOME food but not in their objectified state as food. If you feel sorry for said animal and then continue to eat it in its geometrical displaced form on your plate… then you are practicing bad ethics and are an asshole. Again, ethics can be subjective but the rationality in pitying the displaced form vs. the actual creature is skewed as is continuing to eat it with residual guilt… in short… GO VEGAN!

  49. Heathen Ledger March 23, 2011 at 4:15 am #

    It’s ethical to feel sorry for an animal THAT WILL BECOME food but not in their objectified state as food. If you feel sorry for said animal and then continue to eat it in its geometrical displaced form on your plate… then you are practicing bad ethics and are an asshole. Again, ethics can be subjective but the rationality in pitying the displaced form vs. the actual creature is skewed as is continuing to eat it with residual guilt… in short… GO VEGAN!

  50. Heathen Ledger March 23, 2011 at 4:22 am #

    Mr. Gein stick to your delusional fantasies that led your namesake to mass butchering. NO veg*n would deny a plant as a lifeform much less one that merits respect and gratitude for burning in the furnace of our bellies. That being said, there is a HUGE difference between eating something with eyes, that smiles and has a penis/vagina between its legs. This is not to say a plant should be eaten because its so far removed on an evolutionary scale from humans (well meat eating is considered cannibalism in some veg*n circles). And Mr. Gein, it’s not about making people feel worse about eating meat from their “moral high ground.” Look in the mirror… but take off the skin mask first. Jainism has long recognized the need to avoid killing plant life and will not eat tubers as a result. Consider this, a vegan diet reverse heart disease… so perhaps if we are murdering/sacrificing plants, its a sacrifice that is beneficial and can be respectful (waiting for someone to involve Native Americans even though they (the commenter) themselves eat shitty fast food

  51. Anonymous March 23, 2011 at 4:23 am #

    Hey dumbass, I don’t have a cow (lol -maybe I’m having one now), it’s hypothetical, get it?. Hypothetically, I’m starving and I have to eat the fucking cow to live or perhaps -feed my family. OK? For some reason, being human and all, I’ve grown an attachment to the cow over the years -as cows go -its a nice cow. I’m unethical for having mixed feelings about killing the cow? WTF?

    “Giving false hope is unethical.” Sure, I guess it is, but what the fuck are you talking about?
    If simple survival is what you consider “personal gain” in the context of this hypothetical scenario, then there is no further need to banter with your semi-rational self. Although it may be interesting to see other wacky shit you come with. Go on with yer bad self….

  52. Robert Ledzep Plantkiller March 23, 2011 at 4:30 am #

    While funny in a sick way, no. It would be a fair fight if you had to kill the cow while her kids and bull-husband were their to rip you a new one (or five). That snide ‘tude would melt off. Oh, and I only eat plants because I hate them so much I want to eviscerate them with my teeth. The fact they can’t move brings out my sadistic side. I hate animals just as much but I just don’t want them anywhere near my gorgeous gut.

  53. Brian Dayhoff March 23, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    So now you are insulting me because you failed to properly define your hypothetical situation? Now you are suddenly starving instead of just hungry and have apparently sprouted a family. Fail troll is fail.

    Acting nice to an animal you intend to eventually butcher is giving it false hope. You are basically pretending to care about it so you can later kill it and eat it. Coming from a family that has actually raised their own livestock for food, I can tell you pretty safely that you specifically do not form emotional attachment to livestock for that very reason. Livestock are livestock. Save your affection for your pet if you need an animal companion. You probably won’t be eating your cat, so you don’t have to worry about the emotional conflict of killing and eating fluffy. Livestock get about as much emotional investment as a shitty commuter car. When you get rid of it you probably think “yea that got me to work for a while, but meh.” That’s really about it. People that are disconnected with the actual process are the ones who get weepy about it. But apparently you have a history of raising cows, so you clearly knew this already. Oh wait, you don’t. Go figure.

  54. The Bison March 23, 2011 at 6:44 am #

    Shit, now we can’t eat anything.

    Say, do rocks feel pain?

  55. The Bison March 23, 2011 at 2:44 am #

    Shit, now we can’t eat anything.

    Say, do rocks feel pain?

    • justagirl March 23, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

      i don’t think you’ll get much nutrition out of a rock. how about pasta?

  56. Brian Dayhoff March 23, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    I see no reason to kill for sport or for no apparent reason. I think it is wise to take what you need and refrain from killing otherwise. I did not say there is no reason to be sad about killing. What I said was that there is no reason to be sad about providing food for yourself. I hold all life in the same regard, plant animal or otherwise. I have no qualms killing food for myself, killing pests that make my life difficult or spoil my home (i.e. mosquitos, ants, bees, or other infestations), killing infections, viruses, bacteria and the like, or killing someone or something threatening my life or the life of someone I am defending. Killing for sport or pleasure is stupid. Killing for profit is also stupid, but necessary as there are many who cannot produce their own food so this is an inevitable result of that. People that life on the 53rd floor of a human filing cabinet in some major city are not capable of producing their own food, but they still need to eat, so someone else has to produce that for them.

    I have to disagree with you on the plant matter though. Plants are also capable of sensing their environments. If you have a plant in the window and you put it in the shade it will grow toward the sunlight. There is some mechanism there that causes it to seek out reprieve from it’s discomfort just as there is with animal life. It may be more simplified but it is still there. As far as I am concerned life is life, and death is part of life. The defining quality of life is that it seeks to keep living. There really is no reason to complicate it further. You may take that I hold my lawn in the same esteem as animal life to be that I care too much about plants or not enough about animals. To each their own. I personally do not feel sorry for either of them.

  57. WTF March 23, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    Wow, you really have too much time on your hands. Why not go do something that doesn’t involve having to be right on the internet?

  58. Dancesinpuddles March 23, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    Someone help, I’m being attacked by a 60ft deadly creature killer fly. Aaargh!!! Wtf are you doing killing flies for?

  59. Trevor Parsons March 23, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    Plants make fruits explicitly to spread their seed and perpetuate the species, NOT to act as a free-range market of nearby animals. By picking a ripened piece of fruit or removing a fallen piece from the ground, you are preventing the organism from, well, spreading its seed.

  60. Anonymous March 23, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    All life has value. Just as your own value system places a value upon your own life as the most basic value of all, you can never deny the value of the rest of life. A life balance is inherent, a balance between what you take and what you contribute, a balance that must be paid, once your turn at making life choices is over.
    Of course everything counts in contribution, the support of others trying to survive, friendship, community all contributions count. Of course all that you take counts, the lies for gain, killing to survive, selfish greed where you demand an excess even when it means other around suffer.
    First rule of life: Have as much fun as possible whilst causing the least amount of harm possible.
    Second rule of life: Annoy those that break the first rule. Apparently it’s necessary, but don’t forget to have fun whilst doing it.

  61. rtb61 March 23, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    All life has value. Just as your own value system places a value upon your own life as the most basic value of all, you can never deny the value of the rest of life. A life balance is inherent, a balance between what you take and what you contribute, a balance that must be paid, once your turn at making life choices is over.
    Of course everything counts in contribution, the support of others trying to survive, friendship, community all contributions count. Of course all that you take counts, the lies for gain, killing to survive, selfish greed where you demand an excess even when it means other around suffer.
    First rule of life: Have as much fun as possible whilst causing the least amount of harm possible.
    Second rule of life: Annoy those that break the first rule. Apparently it’s necessary, but don’t forget to have fun whilst doing it.

  62. Jules March 23, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    says the guy who wasted his time by reading all that. dumbass.

  63. Cathysana March 23, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Plants produce a fruit to spread their seeds, and their fruit is meant to be eaten, to entice animals to carry the seeds away from the parent to plant them. I have toyed with the idea of become a fruitivar (if that is a word), as that seems to be the most ethical food for us, in my humble opinion. I like the way it makes me feel, as well. And when I say fruit, I mean the fruiting bodies of plants – many are vegetables. This causes no pain or harm to anything, and helps the plant and the planet. I would love to see a group of folks try this.

  64. Cathysana March 23, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    Plants produce a fruit to spread their seeds, and their fruit is meant to be eaten, to entice animals to carry the seeds away from the parent to plant them. I have toyed with the idea of become a fruitivar (if that is a word), as that seems to be the most ethical food for us, in my humble opinion. I like the way it makes me feel, as well. And when I say fruit, I mean the fruiting bodies of plants – many are vegetables. This causes no pain or harm to anything, and helps the plant and the planet. I would love to see a group of folks try this.

    • Sierios March 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

      no it is not, when an animal eats fruit, the seed and all genetic material are destroyed. fruit doesn’t spread through feces. sorry to burst your bubble, but fruit exists for bacteria to decompose it, to help the seeds growth, not us.

  65. Brentskinner5 March 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    Sorry, guys, but to me, this article is simply another piece of evidence reflecting tree huggers’ apparent self-loathing. Please, someone, explain to me how we’ll survive now that we may not eat plants, either. Bryan makes lots of sense and he has managed to shine the light on a major hypocrisy of the vegan/vegetarian ethos: No other creature on this planet — a planet whose ecosystem, in the absence of human beings, is generally deemed balanced by vegans/vegetarians — feels pity for its food; no other creature on this planets refrains from eating another for this or any other reason other than lack of hunger. Does this mean we as humans haven’t any reason to rethink our eating habits? Of course not. But ethical concerns for animals or plants have nothing to do with the myriad reasons to greatly curtail meat or vegetation consumption. Attempting to convince others to become vegans or vegetarians for this reason is simply conscious or unconscious tactic the vegan or vegetarian uses toward an end that has nothing to do with pity, a tightly focused instance of ethical thinking directed at the potential food.

  66. Brentskinner5 March 23, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    Sorry, guys, but to me, this article is simply another piece of evidence reflecting tree huggers’ apparent self-loathing. Please, someone, explain to me how we’ll survive now that we may not eat plants, either. Bryan makes lots of sense and he has managed to shine the light on a major hypocrisy of the vegan/vegetarian ethos: No other creature on this planet — a planet whose ecosystem, in the absence of human beings, is generally deemed balanced by vegans/vegetarians — feels pity for its food; no other creature on this planets refrains from eating another for this or any other reason other than lack of hunger. Does this mean we as humans haven’t any reason to rethink our eating habits? Of course not. But ethical concerns for animals or plants have nothing to do with the myriad reasons to greatly curtail meat or vegetation consumption. Attempting to convince others to become vegans or vegetarians for this reason is simply conscious or unconscious tactic the vegan or vegetarian uses toward an end that has nothing to do with pity, a tightly focused instance of ethical thinking directed at the potential food.

  67. justagirl March 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    LOL!!! awesome.

  68. Anonymous March 23, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    I’m not insulting you, I would say, it’s simply “unethical” to lie…..Dumbass…

  69. grooveboss March 23, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    Its unethical to eat anything. If you had fucking super powers you would not need to eat as you would be made of energy. If we think is unethical to eat motherfucking steak we would not eat it as much of it and when we did we would have tasty naughty feeling one gets from porking someones nana. Sometimes ethics is for control and not complete denial of desire or perceived need. One always needs to leave room for miracles.

  70. grooveboss March 23, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    actually the jewish people ate an algea that is full of nutrients while exile in the desert called manna but has to been found to be chlorella. It seems to have all the nutrients the body needs minus the psychological boost one gets from comfort food. Chlorella and or spirulina EAT IT!

  71. L3V March 23, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    “I’m a Level Three Vegan…I don’t eat anything that casts a shadow.”

  72. DeliciousDogsDotCom March 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    God, now I wanna eat a dog and see what cat tastes like…

  73. Rog March 23, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    The definite loser of an argument is the person who first resorts to insulting their opponent. When someone’s ideals are being threatened they go into defense mode and try to discredit the other person. However, use of harsh language on an academic platform is counterproductive and only serves to discredit the one using said language. Further more I’d like to point out that everyone wants to be right. We all think the sun shines out of our ass and we are all looking for the opportunity to prove it, I’m even doing it right now.

    I think what happened is you started to realize that you were not going to be able to prove your point and so you thought to end the debate (quite immaturely I might add) by calling him a poopy pants and running home crying to your mommy because you realized that you’re not as smart and special as she told you you were. It was a good healthy and educational debate until you involved the ignorance of name calling.

  74. Micah March 23, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    If eating a particular organism requires you to suppress emotion or desensitize yourself to its existence, the consumption of that organism would ultimately be detrimental to your health given the peripheral effects involved with such suppression.

  75. Other Mr. T March 23, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    I am ready to join PETP MrPinki!
    All of us will soon be eating soylent green with radioactive-waste sauce, anyway.

  76. Sierios March 23, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    no it is not, when an animal eats fruit, the seed and all genetic material are destroyed. fruit doesn’t spread through feces. sorry to burst your bubble, but fruit exists for bacteria to decompose it, to help the seeds growth, not us.

  77. Josh Evolved March 23, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    I always try to catch and release flies from my home, but they are fragile creatures and occasionally I crush one. That’s more of what I meant.

  78. Josh Evolved March 23, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    I was talking about my ideal world. I know that people in skyscrapers and tenements don’t have a very viable means of producing their own food, at least not in substantive quantities. Couldn’t Central Park though be turned into a community farm? That’s what I was thinking. I know it’s idealist, flighty, and not-likely, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream. I hold no delusions that this could be a reality, I just think it would be better for people to do things like that. The problem though is that they eat too much of a bad thing, and usually poor people don’t have access to quality food, so they get calorie-dense, nutrient lacking, foods. It’s one of the reasons America is getting so fat.

    A slime mold will grow where it’s food is, much in the same way fire would follow a path of gasoline. Life is about surviving, and those innate drives are in all of us. Unlike dolphins, we can’t just stop breathing, if you try your body will begin thrashing trying to force you to breathe. That is the same as a chlorophyll based plant growing in the direction of it’s food source, it doesn’t want to suffocate.

    I too hold plants and animals in the same regard, though our level is different (not that that’s a bad thing). I never said I feel sorry for them, though I do feel sorry for calf’s that are treated abysmally just for tender meat, or chickens who have their beaks cut off at factory farms. I feel sorry for the dairy cows that are forced into labor and then attached to a machine never able to feed, or be with, their calves. I don’t feel sorry for wild animals, in some regards we ourselves are “wild” animals.

    Death is a part of life, it’s the cost of living. That, however, doesn’t mean that the animals we breed for our consumption deserve to be tortured and mistreated. They should at least be given a semblance of a normal life, even if in some way that is torture (like a bird in a cage).

    I don’t judge meat eaters, to each his own. I judge the systems in place and the barbaric way we do things. I actually have a bigger problem with vegetarians that are so for animal reasons, they are dolts. Egg and dairy farming is just as bad as the slaughterhouse industry. At least you understand the value of life, and the value of what is on your plate. That is all that matters to me, respect what died so you could live.

    And as I said I don’t think that people who can’t kill their own food shouldn’t eat meat. That’s one of the reasons I don’t. If your comfortable with it, fine, as long as there is some respect there.

  79. Bwmmiller March 23, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    What Americans don’t understand is that it is unethical to destroy good farmland.

  80. Bwmmiller March 23, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    What Americans don’t understand is that it is unethical to destroy good farmland.

  81. justagirl March 23, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    D: what the fuck!??

  82. justagirl March 23, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    EXACTLY! or if it’s a disgusting fly, spray it with water and drop it into the nearest spider web. (ants aren’t so disgusting, but, the spiders like them, too).

  83. justagirl March 23, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    i don’t think you’ll get much nutrition out of a rock. how about pasta?

  84. justagirl March 24, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    DUDE!! were you in my speech class!?

  85. DeepCough March 24, 2011 at 3:21 am #

    Head on down to your local Chinese restaurant.

  86. Anonymous March 24, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    Obviously someone never seen the movie, “Alive.”

  87. Dun Zain March 24, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    Almost all sun energy animals consumes comes directly or indirectly from plants. What can we do about it? Make chlorophyll cell implants on our back and stand in the sun? Wait, that might be an idea..

  88. Dun Zain March 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Almost all sun energy animals consumes comes directly or indirectly from plants. What can we do about it? Make chlorophyll cell implants on our back and stand in the sun? Wait, that might be an idea..

  89. Anonymous March 24, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    Even if we assume that plants feel pain, it takes a lot of plant food to raise livestock. You could make five meals out of the plants it takes to raise the meat for one steak.

    I’m still an omnivore, but I’m not under any illusions about the suffering that results from my choices.

  90. Anonymous March 24, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    Even if we assume that plants feel pain, it takes a lot of plant food to raise livestock. You could make five meals out of the plants it takes to raise the meat for one steak.

    I’m still an omnivore, but I’m not under any illusions about the suffering that results from my choices.

  91. razzlebathbone March 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Even if we assume that plants feel pain, it takes a lot of plant food to raise livestock. You could make five meals out of the plants it takes to raise the meat for one steak.

    I’m still an omnivore, but I’m not under any illusions about the suffering that results from my choices.

  92. Uriah Zebadiah March 24, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    Your lion example is profoundly flawed. Haven’t you ever seen your cat playing with a dead mouse or bird? Predators ENJOY the hunt, and not just for the food reward at the end. That includes humans. There is something innately and naturally pleasurable about killing. It just so happens that we train our remarkably adaptable brains to not only not enjoy it, but to find it repulsive, and culturally, we are well-civilized in that way. But that doesn’t mean our natural state isn’t to get pleasure from hunting and killing whatever we need or want to kill, and to be dispassionate about killing even creatures that don’t put up a fight or have meaningful defenses, like eggs taken from a nest or slaughtering livestock. Let boys run around unsupervised, and it’s Lord of the Flies within hours. Humans are remarkably efficient and effective predators, and like any predator, we are naturally inclined to enjoy everything about it. Need more proof? Look at the popularity of violence in restricted forms where the ethical boundaries imposed by society are removed or relaxed– video games, martial arts, shooting sports, hunting. There can be no doubt that violence is the natural state of mankind, and ethics are merely something we develop socially, as a means of making it possible for different tribes to work and live together and build successful civilizations.

    That said, suggesting that it’s somehow unethical to feel empathy for your food is profoundly fucking stupid. It may be totally natural to not feel empathy for food, and it may even be ethical to take another life in a surprisingly wide variety of circumstances, but that doesn’t mean the opposite is wrong. What is natural and what is ethical are not the same. Ethics are a socially relative phenomenon. It just so happens that very similar systems of ethics can be arrived at independently as a result of understanding our natural psychological and social responses to different stimuli, that our biology itself can consistently lead to a natural ethical system, but the process of arriving at that system can only be the result of the civilizing of humanity. What’s more, its widespread adoption to the point that we start questioning the ethics of eating lettuce instead of zucchini depends on the nearly universal adoption of a system of ethics and/or a caste system whereby the rule of the unethical can go unchallenged.

    When it comes right down to it, ethics are largely irrelevant when it comes to issues of survival. Taking a life so that yours will not only continue, but leaves you healthy and happy, doesn’t have to be either ethical or unethical. Ethics are simply irrelevant except as they pertain to the success of the social organism.

    Now, in that respect, vegetarianism and veganism are quite a bit more ethical, inasmuch as they have a far smaller environmental impact, and are more likely to enable society’s continued success.

  93. Imagine-Solutions March 25, 2011 at 6:43 am #

    One thing missing from this interesting discussion is the possibility that scientific research into food production can lead to the synthetic creation of food that is chemically identical to that produced by nature. One day we may eat this nutritious food and have it taste like any food we choose. That could eliminate this ethical conundrum.

  94. Robert Nolan March 25, 2011 at 2:43 am #

    One thing missing from this interesting discussion is the possibility that scientific research into food production can lead to the synthetic creation of food that is chemically identical to that produced by nature. One day we may eat this nutritious food and have it taste like any food we choose. That could eliminate this ethical conundrum.

    • Bethy Williams March 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

      Yeah, but you still need resources for food production, synthetic or no. Wouldn’t they likely come from plants anyway?

  95. Anonymous March 25, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    Lighten up -Dumbass! LOL

    Did that word hurt your feelings? At least I’m not telling you its unethical to have feelings. Consider “running home crying to your mommy” next time you hear a harsh word.

  96. Bethy Williams March 27, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    For crying out loud. Every six months or so someone somewhere trots out this exact same essay in some form or another, with all the exact same attendant arguments, and acts like it’s the revelation of the century. It pops up on vegan/vegetarian message boards just about every week. It wasn’t clever or scholarly any of those times and it isn’t now. Why did the New York Times even bother publishing this?

  97. Bethy Williams March 27, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    For crying out loud. Every six months or so someone somewhere trots out this exact same essay in some form or another, with all the exact same attendant arguments, and acts like it’s the revelation of the century. It pops up on vegan/vegetarian message boards just about every week. It wasn’t clever or scholarly any of those times and it isn’t now. Why did the New York Times even bother publishing this?

  98. Bethy Williams March 27, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    Yeah, but you still need resources for food production, synthetic or no. Wouldn’t they likely come from plants anyway?

  99. Sorejack May 13, 2011 at 5:20 am #

     I have loved my animals, and eaten them. chickens are great fun, pigs too. you don’t have to be a lobotomized prick to eat well and have a clean heart. I loved them, cared for them, groomed them, and killed them. I tell you it really is easier for you and them if they are excited to see you when you come on That Day. I’ve been to farms where they are chasing down the poor things, scaring the bejesus out of them, and it breaks my heart. I would much rather someone was petting me,  then snapped my chicken neck. actually I’m kinda jealous of the animals I used to raise. not so much of the ones you describe. a life lived without love isn’t much a life at all. then snapped my chicken neck. actually I’m kinda jealous of the animals I used to raise. not so much of the ones you describe. a life lived without love isn’t much a life at all.

  100. Mark Siragusa June 20, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    Do you want to eat? Yes? Unless you’re a vegetarian, you’re going to have to kill some plants

  101. Mark Siragusa June 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    Do you want to eat? Yes? Unless you’re a vegetarian, you’re going to have to kill some plants

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