Sap and Blood: Other Lives, Other Deaths

Placing animal life on the same level as vegetable life is one of the excuses used by omnivores–carnivores to downplay the suffering and slaughtering of animals for food, in a sort of resignation to a damage that according to them is unavoidable in a human being doomed to the “natural” food chain.

Their arguments are as follows:

  1. Plants feel and suffer.
  2. In order to eat them, they have to be killed.

An ethic standing that regards any form of life as sentient would lead to infer the need of becoming, for example, a frugivore, a conclusion unlikely for them to reach. Apparently, they do not care about being the source of pain of others, or they are not aware about the latter option (eating fruits, seeds, etc.), or they simply regard the death of others for survival as an engraved divine command.

Which seems beyond reasonable understanding is how anyone can criticize the more from the less. That is, how can those who contribute to animal and vegetable suffering by killing animals and vegetables dismiss and criticize veganism.

A cat plays with a potato, and nobody would really believe that killing the cat is the same as making mash potatoes with the potato. However, this does not imply denying the quality of the living being –not a suffering being– and the inner dynamism of every that lives. This kind of argument is brought up on defensive terms, on account of the fact that the best defense is a good offense. The carnivores feel uncomfortable whenever vegetarians remind them that the meat in their plate is an animal wishing to live.

A cat is not the same as a potato, mainly because in a vegetable none of the following exists:

Skin recipients capable of producing the alert neurochemical impulse that will become the sensation of pain when reaching the brain.

Brain that can process such impulse and form the “self-consciousness” developed by animals, for something is to perceive such pain.

Endorphins, which are chemical substances produced by the organism of animals in order to reduce the suffering of very strong pains.

However, the previous information does not rule out the fact that vegetables may have energetic and chemical responses for defense and survival.

A cat is not the same as a potato because animals have a nervous system similar to ours, they have emotions, family relationships and, above all, basic interests similar to those of non–human animals. Therefore, entering into a farm of intensive livestock farming or into a slaughterhouse will record bitter memories and nightmares in a hardly sensitive memory. This is a type of situation that does not apply, for example, to thousands of tomatoes gleaming in a factory of hydroponic farming like those that exist in Japan.

In conclusion:

A cat is not the same as a potato because a living being is not the same as a sentient being. The only food chains that continue to exist nowadays are those of supermarkets, as a result, it is impossible to understand why anyone would resort to “natural” when humans live in such an unnatural world that they built by themselves. As a final point, it would be useful to remember that a human being is declared dead when going into comma, a state also named “vegetative life.”

Por Ana María Aboglio. Traducción: E. Tajalli.
Published in the magazine Alternative for Animal Liberation (Alternativa para la liberación animal). Spain. Winter of 2001.

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