Do Plants Feel Pain?Some Muslims have been misled by Internet discussions indicating that plants feel pain. This argument is used by those who wish to justify their meat consumption by claiming that because both plants and animals feel pain, there is no ethical or religious difference between killing plants for food and killing animals for food.
Not Taking “Life”
One argument begins by explaining that plants have “life,” presumably just the same as animals and humans, and thus, this argument claims that one cannot avoid taking life simply by consuming plant foods. The concept of life used in this argument is nebulous and general, and the argument does not make a moral or religious distinction between the life possessed by plants and that possessed by animals.
One author claims that if it were possible to eat a diet that did not involve taking life, he would adopt that diet immediately, but since, according to the author, a vegetarian diet also takes “life,” he states that he may as well carry on eating meat. In addition to the lack of clarification about the concept of life and the lack of distinction between animal life and plant life, the author failed to note that a diet that meets his criteria does exist. Many people follow a “fruitarian” diet, meaning that they eat fruits, some vegetables that have seeds, and nuts. Fruitarian diets do not require the taking of “life,” as plants produce fruits, seeds, and nuts so that they can be eaten. The plants neither suffer nor die to provide these foods. While we do not recommend this diet, it does meet this author’s criteria, and if the taking of “life” really is so important, this is the diet for him.
Supporters of this view of “life” also claim that since both plants and animals have life, it is better to take the life of one animal, who might feed 100 people, than to take the life of 100 or more plants to feed the same number of people. The fallacy of this argument will be investigated in more detail below.
Plants’ Inability to Feel Pain
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