A plant rights movement?

November 26, 2012

When you live in a region with a large deer population, read about one car-deer collision after another and see deer carcasses littering the sides of roads, it’s hard for us to understand the viewpoint of hard-core animal rights activists who believe herds should not be culled and animals should be allowed to roam – and reproduce – without restraint.

But those folks seem positively reasonable next to a small knot of believers who say that plants possess consciousness and, therefore, should be accorded rights.

Michael Marder, author of the book “Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life,” argued recently in The New York Times that those who wish to adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle should think twice before they munch on those chilli peppers. He stated, “the commendable desire to ameliorate the condition of animals ... does not justify strategic argumentation in favor of the indiscriminate consumption of plants.”

Marder goes on to suggest that “the struggles for the emancipation of all instrumentalized living beings should be fought on a common front.”

Opponents suggest – correctly in our view – that if we start protecting the rights of plants, what’s next? Bacteria rights? The emancipation of stink bugs and cockroaches?

Our suggestion: those who wish to debate whether or not plants are sentient should devote more energy to dealing with the needs and concerns of those who clearly possess consciousness.



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