Saturday, March 10, 2007

Is killing a vegetable the same as killing an animal?

Flesh eaters often say, "If you eat only vegetables, you are also taking life. What then is the difference between taking the life of, say, a pig and that of a vegetable?" Answer: All the difference in the world. Does a potato cry out when it is taken from the earth the way a calf does when it is taken from its mother? Does a stick of celery scream in pain and terror when it is picked the way a pig does when it is being led to slaughter and is having its throat cut? And how sad, lonely, and frightened can a head of a lettuce feel?

We don't need a polygraph to demonstrate that plants have consciousness of a sort, but this consciousness is obviously of a rudimentary kind, far different from that of mammals with well-developed nervous systems. Nor do we need tests to prove that cows and pigs and sheep experience pain to the same degree as human beings, for it is common observation that animals wince, howl, wail, and show terror when abused or injured and make every effort to avoid pain...
(excerpt taken from e-book: "To Cherish All Life" by Roshi Philip Kapleau)

The e-book also contains other interesting topics such as Hitler and vegetarianism; killing of animals while "loving" them etc.

You can download the free e-book here
(Please note that the e-book contain some Buddhist religious content)

4 comments:

Edanator said...

Actually, the experiment which showed that plants can feel pain, could never be repeated and the researcher became a disgrace in the scientific community.

Besides, the amount of plants eaten by a meat eater is much larger than that of a vegan - the animals consume a lot plants to produce that meat.

Next time someone tries to nail you with the "plants suffer too" argument:
1. Point out that plant have a much simpler nervous system than animals and are not capable of feeling pain.
2. Ask them what their meat animals are eating. Then ask them how much of this they consume. Make THEM realize THEMSELVES how absurd this argument is. I find that this works a lot better than preaching to them.

dreamy said...

Oh I didn't knew that expt can't repeated! Good points! I like the 2nd one especially. Any suggestions what to say if they say "I don't care about their suffering"?

Edanator said...

"I don't care about their suffering"

That's a tricky one, but one that I, personally, haven't encountered a lot. I still don't know how to respond to this. People not caring about suffering seem inhuman and it's tempting to dismiss them as idiots or start complaining, but I think both those responses are mistakes. First, I don't honestly believe their are sincere in their statement. Very few people, if any, have NO sentiments for animals. Second, if you want to convince someone you will NEVER succeed if you end up as polar opposites.

The best way is to try to find some common ground and then argue from there. Perhaps you could try asking if there really are NO animals they care about or think are cool - Cats, birds, fish, dogs, tame, wild, zoo, etc, it doesn't matter. as soon as you get a positive response that's your wedge. Ask them why they like that particular animal. Riding on the answers, keep asking new questions, but the important thing is to keep them talking/thinking (and you control the direction of the conversation). Once they have opened up, you start with the tougher questions. The key is to make them realize the absurdity and inconsistency of their attitude towards animals. Try not to be too aggressive and go too far in your questions. As soon as you feel you have planted a seed of doubt withdraw, withdraw, withdraw. You will never be able to convert someone in a single discussion and ending the conversation in a positive spirit is the key.

Of course this also depends on the person you're talking to. My non-confrontational approach works much better against rabid meat-eaters. To my surprise I have converted two stubborn meat-eating friends to vegetarianism without even trying, just by having this approach. My third convert is near now. From having had a 100% negative view on everything vegetarian, and being very open about it, he is now defending vegetarian views in public. He's still not a vegetarian, but he argues better for our cause then anyone I know.

dreamy said...

You converted 2 people, thats cool! I influenced someone to eat less, but no converts yet, better learn some of your tactics :)

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