13 comments on “Debunking Excuses for Animal Exploitation

  1. Please cite, with relevant evidence, the peer-reviewed studies, and experiments which demonstrate that perception is possible in the absence of a brain, nervous system, nocireceptive neurons and a sensory cortex. Long debunked “studies” using polygraphs which were performed once and couldn’t ever be repeated do not count as evidence. Peer-reviewed, journal-published work does. Please cite some.

  2. 1. Plants are not truly sentient
    Though certain scientific studies have shown that plants can react to stimuli, these reactions do not point to sentience because they lack three basic qualifications for requiring sentience:
    Sensory organs
    — Plants don’t have organs which enable them to see, hear, taste, etc. like animals do.
    Variability of response
    — Animals have a conscious perception which acts as an intermediary between their environment and their many different behavioral responses to it. Plants lack this variability in that they will react in the same manner regardless of different scenarios (ex.: growing toward the sun).
    Appetite and locomotion
    — Nature has enabled animals to be sentient because they have the ability to move around. As I discussed briefly in my post about “ethical meat”, pain exists to teach sentient creatures what stimuli to avoid in the same way that pleasure exists to teach sentient creatures what stimuli to seek.
    Plants do not feel pain the way animals do because they have no reason for it. If a plant had the means to get up and walk away from an area that was too dry, wet or cold, it would make sense for nature to enable the plant to feel pain. Enabling a living organism to feel pain without the ability for that organism to alleviate that pain is not something done by nature unless by some sort of mutation (i.e.: a creature being born without limbs or with mental or physical disabilities).
    For more information on the science and philosophy explaining why plants are not sentient, click here and here.
    2. Logical fallacy: Tu Quoque
    A person who uses the “plants have feelings too” argument is guilty of using the Tu Quoque (You Yourself Do It) logical fallacy. This fallacy has to do with accusing your critic of being guilty of doing the same thing they accuse you of, even though the two situations being compared are not identical. For example:
    “If a vegan can kill plants, then I have the right to kill to animals.”
    As I have illustrated above, plants are not sentient and comparing plant’s reactions to stimuli and animal’s proven sentience is not the same, and this renders your argument fallacious.
    Taking the above into consideration, for the sake of argument I will ignore the fact that there are clear biological and ethical differences between killing a plant and killing an animal. Even if there was hypothetically no difference between the two, it still would not change the fact that two wrongs don’t make a right. For example, if I were to rob a convenience store would that somehow make it okay for you to steal someone’s car?
    3. Non-vegans kill more plants than vegans do
    Living a lifestyle which includes animal products kills more plants than living a vegan lifestyle because the animals used in these industries are almost exclusively herbivorous (plant-eaters), with many consuming huge amounts of grains, grasses and seeds to be converted into a much smaller amount of meat, dairy and eggs. Because of this, a non-vegan consumes more plants indirectly than a vegan does directly. In other words, vegans don’t filter their nutrients through someone else’s digestive system.
    Furthermore, animal agriculture is not sustainable and is one of the leading causes of environmental damage, resource depletion, and ecological imbalance, which threatens all plant life, not just the ones consumed by humans.
    70% of the crops grown in the US are grown to feed animals on feedlots [Plants, Genes, and Agriculture by Jones and Bartlet]
    7 football fields worth of forest land is bulldozed every 60 seconds to create more room for farmed animals and the crops that feed them [The Smithsonian Institution]
    80% of all agricultural land in the US is used to raise animals for food and grow grain to feed them — that’s almost 50% of the total land mass of the continental US [Major Uses of Land in the United States by Marlow Vesterby and Kenneth S. Krupa]
    If you really care about plants, you should go vegan.
    4. The possibility of plant sentience does not minimize the reality of animal sentience
    The improbable and unproven sentience of plants has no influence on the proven and blatantly obvious sentience of animals. Regardless of whether you believe that someone mowing the lawn is decapitating thousands of blades of grass, it doesn’t change the fact that animals suffer so long as you continue to consume them.
    As discussed above, unlike plants, animals do have reasons to be sentient.
    Sensory organs, to feel and perceive the world around them (ex.: ears to listen for lurking predators, eyes to spy on prey, etc.)
    Variability of response, to respond differently in different situations (ex.: a wildebeest will have different reactions depending on whether a wildebeest or a lion is approaching the herd)
    Appetite and locomotion, to seek food through foraging or hunting, which requires the ability to move around. In order for animals to learn what to move toward and what to move away from, they require the ability to perceive pain and pleasure in relation to the objects around them.
    In conclusion, because all living creatures must eat to survive, we must choose foods which cause the least amount of harm possible. Eating animal products causes an extreme amount of harm for not only animals, but for slaughterhouse workers, our planet, and our very own bodies. And while eating plants can certainly contribute to the harm of laborers, field mice, and the plants themselves, we must remember that this harm happens on a far larger scale in the production of animal products.
    Most importantly, we can’t forget that because animals are sentient and because they have the ability to suffer, we mustn’t deny them their basic right to own their own life — to be free from the unnecessary harm that is inherent in all industries which exploit animals. We must respect the rights of animals if we are indeed the ethical creatures we claim to be.

  3. WOWZERS: If all humans are omnivores why is it that human babies can’t eat meat (not even pureed meat) till they are 4 or 5 months old? The rest of your ‘facts’ are pure garbage.

    • The whole issue of omnivorous diet is a bit of a dodge; anatomically, we’re closer to a taxonomical classification of herbivores than anything else, but humans are specifically *excluded* from the herbivore/carnivore/omnivore taxonomy because we *don’t* fit neatly into any of the three.

      It also doesn’t have a thing to do with the ethical argument against eating animals. Humans are *capable* of all sorts of things that human *societies* nevertheless ban, because they’re not acceptable to do.

  4. FACT: Plants are living things too, whether animal wrongs lunatics like peta (note the lowercase letters) realize it or not.
    FACT: ALL humans are omnivores, even if some humans prefer to munch on nothing but vegetarian fare.
    FACT: Soy and vegan are mutually exclusive since soy is the plant world’s answer to dairy.
    FACT: Just because cruelty to animals shouldn’t be encouraged doesn’t mean treating plants like less than nothing is A-OK.
    FACT: Wild animals exploit each other all the time.
    FACT: Everything that grows dies sooner or later.
    FACT: The “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine” (aka the Preposterous Committee of Rowdy Maniacs) is a 95%-doctor-free front group for People Eating Tasty Animals (or Pathetic Egotistical Tyrants for Animals or People for Everything That’s Annoying or whatever you want to call them).
    FACT: Both peta (whose ulterior motive is total animal liberation) and the Animal Liberation Front are full of something that the former stands for which is Psychopathic Evil Thugs for Animals.
    FACT: Some alternatives to animal experimentation are more effective than others.
    FACT: NONE of these facts forces humans to exploit everything in sight, living or otherwise!

      • Medication IS in order… for anyone who thinks total animal liberation is the answer to animal cruelty!

    • GAWD your an idiot to say plants are being hurt! Plants don’t have a central nervous system or a brain. I can’t even barely relate to this level of stupidity. This uneducated backwards ignorance renders all you say past it useless. Please, drop out of this site like you dropped out of 5th grade.

      Really, wild animals exploit each other is all you have? Some animals eat their young, but we don’t do that either. Compassionate, civilized people make their decisions based on what’s good and right.

      Animals are exploited in every inch of our existence. Try being vegan and you’ll see how hard it is to avoid products with animal flesh and fluids in them.

      Trying to change the subject to some group is still changing the subject.

        • Sigh,I would like to say that’s just silly, but so many young people come here that I don’t want to hurt your feelings! Actually its a fact, pain and all emotions like fear are generated by neurotransmitters in brains and nervous systems. Here’s a video to watch. It’s humorous but makes a point http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ubOaIhlRX0

    • All Humans are omnivores?????? Where did you get that bit of information? Physiologically and anatomically we are overwhelmingly herbivores in the sub category of frugivores. As a physiologist who has specialised in this area for over 25 years I have yet to see anything that shows humans to be more than opportunistic omnivores. We are naturally herbivores and our ancestry shows this quite clearly.
      Please don’t post things with the prefix of FACT when it is blatantly not fact at all.
      I don’t have the time or the inclination to debunk your other ‘facts’. One at a time is fine.

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