View Full Version : Slaughterhouse vs. strawberry harvest: Can plants feel pain?

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Oct 10th, 2005, 08:25 AM
And I feel that when an animal is taken to the abattoir, (and there are billions each year) all the horror, helplessness, the sights and smells, quite apart from the chemicals that are injected etc, go into the flesh and are ingested by meat eaters day in day out. It is any wonder at the state of the world today?

Veritable Vegan
Oct 10th, 2005, 11:47 PM
This is an interesting thread as it is something I have been looking into for quite sometime. The debate on whether it is vegan to eat plants is well covered by 'gertvegan' - who has put the argument across most intlligently (and most elegantly).
Veganism means many things to many people and generally I think all vegans see it as relating to avoidence of animal and animal derived products. Whilst it is certainly understandable that vegan individuals may look further into the ethics of food consumption I do not see it as un-vegan to eat fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts etc. I think the avoidence of eating all food that could possibly suffer from consumption lies within a 'spiritual' realm and not within an ethical /compassionate arena. 'Jains' are an excellant example of total abstenance of all 'living' elements (including some plant based organisms) and yet they allow milk consumption! Therefore is it ethical to drink milk but not to eat potatoes? I don't think there is an absolute answer - especially when we look at cultural differences etc. It is very much down to the individual, their journey through life and their own interpretation of right and wrong.
What does every one else think about this? Are their any 'jains' on the forum?

Oct 11th, 2005, 01:10 AM
You could say that, yes, you kill plants. What's the alternative? Slow death by starvation or a quick suicide? You have to cause the death of plants to live. No one needs animal flesh or products to live. People who eat them do so because they choose to, even though they have an alternative. Then you could point out that plants aren't alive in the same sense as animals are alive. There are robots which can avoid certain things, like obstacles. They are not alive and they do not feel pain.

Oct 11th, 2005, 01:12 AM
Have you guys ever heard of an experiment called the Secret Life Of Plants And Trees? It was conducted in the 60's and it had plants connected to lie detector tests to see if they could produce emotion. When the plant was given water it reacted positively and it showed on graph it produced...same goes with other things, when a plant was burned it reacted negatively. Then they also found out that it could tell when humans were lying or telling the truth. It's very interesting, I suggest you guys heck it out.

I have that book, 'The Psychic Power Of Plants' by John Whitman.and 'The Secret Powers Of Plants'. by Brett L. Bolton. I don't believe the them. I heard of another experiment. I don't know if it was done by Cleve Backster, one of the plant experimenters, or someone else, but some human blood was wired up and gave similar responses. Now, I don't believe that my blood can feel pain or fear. The organism that it comes from - me - could, but not my blood. As I said, I don't believe that those experiments were real. If they were, they could have been influenced, telepathically or in some other way, by the experimenters. But, as I said, I don't believe in all this. Those experiments were conducted at the same time that Erik von Daniken was writing his strange books about visits of people from space being behind all ancient myths. There seemed to be something in the air in those days with one barmy idea following another.

Oct 11th, 2005, 01:15 AM
Were you being serious, On The Coast? I believe in some mad things, like telepathy and psychokinesis but I would say that the plants that reacted to what was happening to other plants were receiving chemical messages. I'm not sure how the abused plants managed to react, though.

Oct 23rd, 2005, 01:11 AM
After reading through this thread, I'd say the answer most of you have come to is the obvious - that killing a plant is a different ethical question to killing an animal.

Here's my argument.

When I wash, I kill whole societies of micro-organisms. MO can communicate, it can organize into societies, MO can even decide to kill off the weak for the better of the group. So the very idea of killing nothing is at best, completely impossible. I agree with what John said - even comparing killing a non-concious organism to killing a concious one is a worthless debate. Flies, most arachnids, etc can be said to have no conciousness and as such I have no problem when them being killed, its mammals, more intelligent aqua life, bird life and so forth that I object to killing in the modern methods.

I don't think I've ever said 'Meat Means Murder'. If you were stuck in a jungle among poor vegetation and managed to capture and kill a boar, I have no ethical issue with that. Its factory farming, animal cruelty that I'm against. When have plants ever been abused as animals have, and, without the same level of conciousness as a chicken or a pig, how is this even possible? I say again; its a futile argument.

Oct 29th, 2005, 08:00 AM
Personally, I believe that plants have souls; they're just a different brand of "creature" inside the "shell". That said, I don't believe they feel pain; their bodies aren't made for it. Nor do I believe that plants incarnate often into animals -- like I said, a different brand of creature altogether.

Martin, you believe in telepathy? PM me -- we may have similar experiences, or at least similar beliefs.

adam antichrist
Oct 30th, 2005, 01:19 PM
If you believe that animals have souls, why not plants? They are equally possible/ludicrous ideas

ETA: Doh! Stupid I, I misread your post to say you didn't believe plants have souls...

However it makes my post look even more cynical, so I like it better still :)

Oct 30th, 2005, 03:26 PM
Martin, you believe in telepathy? PM me -- we may have similar experiences, or at least similar beliefs.

You don't have the PM option enabled so I couldn't PM you. I have sent a telepathic message instead.

adam antichrist
Oct 30th, 2005, 05:06 PM
Send it again G, I think I got it instead...

...and don't be ridiculous, N*Sync have already done that song...

Oct 31st, 2005, 01:36 PM
N*Sync? Never heard of them. I'll bet their not as good as Freddie and The Dreamers.

Mar 24th, 2006, 07:42 PM
do you think they're conscious?

Mar 24th, 2006, 07:44 PM
Hi Cairidh:)

You might be interested in the book "The Secret Life of Plants";)

Mar 24th, 2006, 07:57 PM
No, I don't mind eating and killing plants, as they have no feelings and have no central nervous sytem and such.

Mar 24th, 2006, 11:38 PM
I keep reading articles about that book. Here's one of them:

The Secret Life of Plants

Cleve Backster was an American expert on lie detectors. In 1966, using a lie detector, he accidentally discovered that plants have high-level emotional activities that were similar to those of human beings. He then conducted a series of studies that amazed the world.

Plants Have Feelings!
One day, Backster connected a lie detector to the leaves of a dracaena, commonly known as a “dragon tree.” He wanted to see how long it would take for the leaves to react when he poured water on the plant’s roots. In theory, a plant will increase its conductivity and decrease its resistance after it absorbs water, and the curve recorded on graph paper should have gone upward. But in actuality, the line that was drawn curved downward. When a lie detector is connected to a human body, the pen records different curves according to the changes in the person’s mood. The reaction of the dragon tree was just like the undulation of human mood swings. It seemed that it was happy when it drank water.
Plants Have ESP
Backster wanted to see if the plant would have any other reactions. According to past experience, Backster knew that a good way to elicit a strong reaction from a person is to threaten that person. So Backster dunked the leaves of the plant into hot coffee. No reaction. Then he thought of something more terrifying: burn the leaves that were connected to the lie detector. With this thought, even before he went to get a match, a bullish curve rapidly appeared on the graph paper. When he came back with a match, he saw that another peak appeared on the curve. It was likely that when the plant saw he was determined to start burning, it got frightened again. If he showed hesitation or reluctance to burn the plant, the reactions recorded by the lie detector were not so acute. And when he merely pretended to take action to burn the leaves, the plant had almost no reactions. The plant was even able to distinguish true intentions from false ones. Backster nearly rushed out into the street to shout, “Plants can think! Plants can think!” With this astonishing discovery, his life was changed forever.
Later, when Backster and his colleagues did experiments around the country with different instruments and different plants, they observed similar results. They discovered that even if leaves were picked off from a plant and cut into pieces, the same reactions were recorded when these pieces were placed near the lie detector electrodes. When a dog or an unfriendly person suddenly came in, the plant reacted too.
Plants Are Experts at Detecting Lies
Generally for experiments involving lie detectors, electrodes are connected to a suspect and then the suspect is asked meticulously designed questions. Everyone has a clear-headed side, which is usually called “conscience.” Therefore, no matter how many reasons and excuses one gives, when lying or committing a bad deed, that person knows clearly that it is a lie, a bad deed. Hence, the body’s electric field changes, and this change is what is recorded by the equipment.
Backster did an experiment in which he connected the lie detector to a plant and then asked a person some questions. As a result, Backster discovered that the plant could tell if the person was lying or not. He asked the person what year he was born in, giving him seven choices and instructing him to answer “no” to all of them, including the correct one. When the person answered “no” to the correct year, the plant reacted and a peak was drawn on the graph paper.
Dr. Aristide Esser, the director of medical research at the Rockland State hospital in New York, repeated the experiment by asking a man to incorrectly answer questions in front of a plant the man had nurtured and cared for since it was a seedling. The plant did not cover up for its owner at all. Incorrect answers were reflected on the graph paper. Esser, who had not believed Backster, saw for himself that Backster’s theories were correct.
Plants Can Recognize People
In order to test how well a plant can recognize things, Backster called on six students, blindfolded them, and asked them to draw lots from a hat. One of the choices had instructions to uproot one of the two plants in the room and destroy it by stomping on it. The “murderer” had to do the deed alone, and no one else was to know the culprit’s identity, including Backster. In that way, the remaining plant could not sense who the “killer” was from other people’s thoughts. The experiment was set up so that the plant would be the exclusive witness.
When the remaining live plant was connected to a lie detector, every student was asked to pass by it. The plant had no reactions to five students. But when the student who had committed the crime walked by, the electronic pen started drawing frantically. This reaction indicated to Backster that plants are able to remember and identify the person or thing that causes them harm.
Remote Sensitivity
Plants have close ties with their owners. For example, when Backster returned to New York from New Jersey, he found from the records on the graph paper that all his plants had reactions. He wondered if the plants were indicating that they felt “relieved” or were “welcoming” him back. He noticed that the time of the plants’ reactions was the moment when he decided to return home from New York.
Sensitivity to Life on a Microscopic Level
Backster discovered that the same fixed curves would be drawn on the graph paper when plants seemed to sense the death of any living tissue, even on the cellular level. He noticed this by accident when he was mixed some jam into the yogurt he was going to eat. Apparently, the preservatives in the jam killed some of the lactobacilli in the yogurt, and the plants sensed this. Backster also found that the plants reacted when he ran hot water in the sink. It seemed they reacted to the death of bacteria in the drain. To test his theory, Backster did an experiment and found that when brine shrimp were put into boiling water via an automatic mechanism that did not require human intervention, the plants had very strong reactions.
The Heartbeat of an Egg
Again by accident, Backster noticed plant reactions one day when he cracked an egg. He decided to pursue this experiment and connected the egg to his equipment. After nine hours, the graph paper records indicated the heartbeats of an embryonic chick – 160 to 170 beats per minute – the same as a chick embryo that had stayed in an incubator for three or four days. However, the egg was an unfertilized egg that was bought from a store. There was no circulatory system inside it either. How could Backster explain the egg’s pulse? In experiments done at Yale University Medical School during the 1930s to 1940s, the late professor Harold Saxton Burr discovered that there were energy fields around plants, trees, human beings, and cells. Backster thought Burr’s experiments offered the only insight into his egg experiment. He decided to put his plant experiments aside for a time to explore the implications of the egg experiments and how his findings might relate to the issue regarding the beginning of life.

Mar 24th, 2006, 11:41 PM
I'm still going to eat plants. :p

Mar 24th, 2006, 11:49 PM
you savage you ;)

Mar 24th, 2006, 11:49 PM
*rips into a broccoli floret*

Mar 24th, 2006, 11:59 PM
actually aren't broccolli florets a flower? they're not the plant itself, so eating them doesn't kill the plant....?? :confused:

Mar 25th, 2006, 12:02 AM
Hey you know you doing some killing now ...just using the electricity for your computer

Cry on that.

Mar 25th, 2006, 12:26 AM
what does the electricity kill?

Mar 25th, 2006, 12:28 AM
How do you think it is generated?

Have you heard of pollution...global warming etc?

Mar 25th, 2006, 12:31 AM
Water powered energy also may kill fish and destroy ecosystems.

Mar 25th, 2006, 12:57 AM
I use eco electricity...I think it's from wind....I think the wind turbines kill birds.....I think I'll kill myself...no wait that would mean killing a living thing....:eek:

Mar 25th, 2006, 01:44 AM
Yeah, it's quite impossible to avoid everything in life.

Being vegan is about being the best you can possibly, realisticly be. It's not about purity.