People For the Ethical Treatment of Plants: 4 Reasons Why the “Plant Sentience” Argument Doesn’t Work

plants have feelings too, carrot, eating, plant sentience, pain, murder

Right… because cows don’t eat plants. [image credit: lerms]

Whether you’re a vegan who has been called a “plant murderer” by a non-vegan, a non-vegan who is trying (and failing) to be funny, or just someone with an affinity for plants, this is information you need to read.  The issue of plant sentience is being brought up more and more as a reason to justify the continued consumption and use of animal products.  There are, however, a few things wrong with this argument.  Here are four reasons the “plant sentience” argument doesn’t work:

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.

  • 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.


vegans are extreme, vegans are plant murderers, plant sentience, plants have feelings too

I don’t see the difference, do you?

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.

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151 thoughts on “People For the Ethical Treatment of Plants: 4 Reasons Why the “Plant Sentience” Argument Doesn’t Work

    • Thank you!!!!!!!! I was asked this question just last night at an animal activist event. Go some great answers now.

    • The flaw in your argument is your definition of sentience. Plants are alive on a level humans have barely begun to comprehend. I propose each of you “vegans” read a book called the secret life of plants. If you finish that book still feeling as though plants have no consciousness, then something may be wrong with you. Vegans should climb down off their high horses and realize we all consume sentient beings in one form or another, just because you can’t hear or see your food scream doesn’t mean it can’t.

      Even plants eat animals.

      • The fact still remains that whether or not plants are sentient, people still kill more of them by eating a diet containing animal products. You would know this if you would have taken the time to actually read my post before leaving a comment.

        • I’m not sure you can lay the consumption of vegetation by animals wholly at the door of those who consume animals.If people didnt eat those animals presumably you dont disagree with the fact that those animals would be consuming vegetation in any event (perhaps to a lesser degree)? The difference between the extra vegetation (if any) consumed by the animals because they are going to be eaten as compared to their normal consumption in the course of roaming free is what needs to be compared to those who are vegetarian/vegan. Then you will be in a better position to more accurately state whether carnivores do cause greater consumption of vegetation than vegetarians/vegans.

          I think the argument over what sentience is says a lot about our own state of spiritual enlightenment and scientific knowledge. Its something that ultimately transcends debates of vegans v carnivores and it is a shame that we have to be combative about this. Oh well.

          • Those animals wouldn’t exist if we didn’t breed them for human uses. “Roaming free” is not realistic. Domesticated pigs, as their species exists today, cannot live in the wild. They grow too large and their hooves begin to split under all their weight (from being artificially selected to grow larger, faster). Turkeys and chickens suffer reproductive medical issues and often need to have fluid drained from an inability to lay eggs properly. You can learn about these things and observe them for yourself at any farm animal sanctuary, who rescue domesticated livestock from places like farms that no longer have use for them.

            These animals were not bred for longevity. They were bred for one purpose: for humans to use. If humans stopped breeding them, they would all go extinct because they simply cannot survive on their own in the wild. And please do not attempt to argue for “conservation” of domesticated livestock, somehow trying to make a claim that because they would go extinct if we didn’t breed them that we are in any way doing them a favor by perpetuating their exploitation. They suffer needlessly and perpetuating that suffering does them no favors.

            Furthermore, livestock such as cattle do in fact consume more vegetation than humans do for the simple fact that a cow will consume food proportional to his or her size, just as humans do. Cows consume roughly 45 lbs. of food per day, whereas humans consume roughly 5 lbs. of food per day. A larger animal will require more food. It isn’t rocket science.

            There is no debate whether animals are sentient and can feel and understand pain and terror. It is an observable fact. This is why animal welfare regulations exist at all. This is the reason humans are able to decipher a dog’s cries and barks of joy, sorrow, and pain. This is why pain medication can be administered to humans and non-humans. There is as much of a debate about whether animals are sentient as there is a debate about whether evolution exists or whether gravity exists. We can call it a theory, but the evidence is all around us. Only the most stubborn, closed-minded people ignore facts they themselves can observe and choose to consider any of these an actual “debate.”

        • I actually did read your whole post, and I agree with Planeswalker. So perhaps you are – AGAIN – assuming things just because you in reality are bigoted.

          You have misunderstood the nature of the argument. It’s not about what *I* care about. It’s about what YOU CLAIM to care about.

          1) “it’s not animal sentience, so it doesn’t count”
          You do know they said that about animals, not so long ago, and still do? “Sure they feel pain, but they are not human so it doesn’t matter”.

          2) It’s not “if vegan can kill plants, then I have the right to kill animals”. “Plants are sentient” argument is showing the vegan’s selective moral grounds and bigotry. There are limits to what lifeforms a vegan eats, there are limits to what lifeforms I eat. I won’t eat primates, for example. A vegan draws the line in animalia, but has no problems eating fungi or plants or minerals, even though there is enough evidence of that there is more sense in plants than you are willing to admit.

          3) So…? It’s not ME who have problems with killing things just to feed me. It’s the vegans. So I’m not bothered the least of the fact that my food kills plants. I’m pointing out the fact that you too are killing to keep yourself alive. So you can just quit the goody-two-shoeing and stop believing you are morally higher than omnivores :-D

          BTW; Your reference to non-sustainability of animal agriculture is extremely limited to current industrial circumstances, and doesn’t consider any other forms of agriculture, which makes it practically invalid.

          4) Again, your problem, not mine. You keep arguing assuming that the things that are important to you are important to the people who are telling you “plants have feelings too”.

          Really, a sensible response would be, “yeah, I know, but eating meat causes more suffering to the lifeforms on this planet than eating veggies, that’s why I choose to limit my killing to plants and fungi”. But I suppose you want to feel morally superior and somehow compensated for your decision. “I may not eat bacon, but at least I have a clean conscience”.

          I have absolutely nothing against people’s diets, what ever they are, but I have a lot against people trying to prove others wrong simply because they have made different choices. It’s like you are really not OK for being a vegan, and must “spread the misery”, make more people share your suffering, to feel better about your own. Why can’t you just be a happy vegan and eat what you like and enjoy it, and spread that pleasure and joy and happiness?
          Why be a doomsday prophet and whine about what other people do?
          And why do it in a way that insults people who have a wider understanding of “sentient lifeforms” than you yourself do?



      • First, read the post before commenting with your ill-informed opinions.

        Second, Cleve Backster’s experiments have been disproved by the scientific community.So if you take science seriously, you’re telling me there’s something wrong with you?

        Third, no one really thinks that the act of eating a dog and a tomato is the same. If you do, you are crazy.

      • Consciousness is not the same as individual sentience. It could be argued that the entire planet – the entire universe even – is alive and has some sort of consciousness. But that isn’t the same as each blade of grass being aware of itself as an individual being. We KNOW that each animal IS aware of itself as an individual. It is illogical to continue to torture and kill animals – whom we KNOW are individually aware – just because plants have ‘some sort of consciousness.’ That makes no sense at all. Pick a few lettuce leaves and the plant makes more leaves. Cut the leg off a cow and she won’t grow another leg. That is a clue.

        • Pick a leg or an arm off a salamander and the salamander makes more limbs. Pull a potatoe out of the ground and that’s it, no more potatoes will grow.

          Great clue. Can you count to potatoe?

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  2. Excellent post! Very perceptive, well written and argued with great spirit. There’s one more Fallacy that I would highlight here and that is Fallacy 5: Those who argue that plants are sentient feel compassion for plants. They never do. They never will. They eat plants, just as they eat animals. If they’re genuinely moved by scattered scientific studies that say plants may react to certain stimuli or use subtle means to communicate, then why aren’t they moved by far more striking signs of life from the animals they eat? If their concern stems from real compassion, then let them figure out a way to survive without consuming either. Good luck with that one.

    • Thank you for pointing out that fallacy! True, when non-vegans use the plant sentience argument they are nearing the end of their rope (made obvious by using arguments which incriminate themselves). If they really did care about plants then a fruitarian diet would be as close as someone could get to causing the least amount of harm. That and sitting in one spot, never moving around.

      Sometimes, when I call non-vegans out on this, they say something along the lines of “but I’M not the one who cares about not killing living things — YOU (the vegan) are”. What would your response be in that situation?

        • Good one, CQ. From there we can go into how if we consider ourselves as humans as having higher cognitive abilities (like many non-vegans seem to be so intent on pointing out), then what is the argument against using those abilities to make ethical choices?

      • Thanks for the post Vegan Rabbit. One thing to note though. No one knows for certain whether or not plants can suffer and feel pain. But yes, if we know for sure fauna / animals suffer and feel pain, we should do the best we can to leave them off our plate. For these reasons, to lower my impact, I am on a fruitarian diet. Hopefully all things go well and I can continue living on this :)

  3. Great response, but there’s a few points I’ve used in this argument previously that you forgot to mention…..plants have evolved fruits & nuts specifically to be eaten, it is their entire reason for being & the only way they can reproduce, likewise grasses & many other plants do not die when consumed but grow back stronger & thicker than ever. Growing plants soaks up greenhouse gasses instead of creating them & eating plants is good for your health & helps cure diseases whereas eating meat & dairy is just bad for you & causes diabetes, cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis etc…..

      • We can live a healthy life without needing to kill animals for food. Animals are beings who are capable of feeling and experiencing pain and joy — we too, are animals. Meat itself isn’t healthy, just certain things like iron and magnesium are. But these are things that are readily available in plant foods. If we can live a healthy life and get our nutrition from plant-sources, minus the fat, cholesterol, and cruelty present in animal foods, what is the ethical and nutritional reason not to?

        • “Meat itself isn’t healthy, just certain things like iron and magnesium are.”

          seriously, read that sentence again. that’s similar to saying vegetables are not healthy, just their nutrients.

          you lose all your credibility when you blindly say “meat is not healthy”. fact is, they are, and it’s how you consume it that makes it unhealthy, just like potatoes are healthy unless your diet consists of nothing but french fries.

          if you choose to be a vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, or carnivore, that’s fine, it’s your choice, but don’t deny facts.

          also, us human beings as animals are omnivores and our body is designed to consume meat and veggies, and that’s a fact.

          • I am a vegetarian, but I completely agree that the human digestive system and our teeth are designed to digest both meat and vegetables. We can survive on only a plant-based diet (with the added b-12 vitamin), but humans cannot survive on a meat only diet.

            We have canines AND molars. Carnivores have sharp teeth in the front to bite and hold, and their ‘molars’, which are also very sharp, are used for slicing. Herbivores only have flat molars, since they don’t have to worry about their food escaping, they use their front teeth like pruning sheers and their back teeth for grinding. Omnivores have a combination of both types.

            Anyway, I am the kind of vegetarian that doesn’t mind people that go fishing and eat what they catch, and fish is ONLY healthy (there is nothing unhealthy about fish), nor am I against people consuming meat if it isn’t coming from the horrific farms.

            If I hated human beings that chose to have an omnivorous diet (which is truly how we are designed) I’d have to hate all other omnivorous creatures for eating animals instead of vegetables. Even if we can ‘decide’ and animals don’t know better, many humans choose to include meat in their diet for the same reason other omnivorous animals do. It isn’t against nature to consume animals. It IS, however, against nature to breed them, pump them full of hormones, torture them, give them unfit living conditions, etc all for the sake of consumption!!!

            Stop trying to fight an extreme one-sighted fight, and fight the people that are really in the wrong.

          • Human beings are most definitely not omnivores. I am a physiologist and have spent nearly 25 years in this area and the evidence is overwhelming that physiologically and anatomically (as well as historically) humans are not omnivores. We are herbivores/frugivores.
            Take a trip to your local library and get out some books on comparative anatomy and physiology and you will see that I am correct here. No need to believe me but just research it yourselves.

            • Interesting that I received two thumbs down but no one actually commented as to why they thought I was wrong. Maybe because they just did not like to be wrong?

      • Aaaaah, we arrive at the point – WE TOO ARE ANIMALS…therefore, the vegan position is a selfish one (at least the post akniwledges that it is totally arbitrary), because “it reminds us of us, so we shouldn’t harm it”…but, plants and fungi don’t look like us in any way, so it’s ok to kill them, right?

        The post does a great job of explaining that plants don’t have animal sentience, but that is not really a breakthrough, is it? I would expect that plants have what I would call a “plant sentience”…we can hardly envision it, but no doubt it exists…what makes a plant’s life less worthy then an animals life? Who can be the objective judge?

        Now, besides the philosophical, the practical aspect – all animals (including humans, of course) act to thrive as much as they can in accordance with their own nature…that being said, humans are omnivores who actually evolved to this level of advancement thanks to the shift in diet to the “more meat on the menu” lifestyle…it’s true those times have passed, but it is also true that not ALL people can be vegans…especially not their whole life…the vegans higher health quality doesn’t stem from their plant-only menu, but from their lifestyle…and certain people have spexific dietary needs which makes it essential for them to eat meat and dairy products in order to be healthy…

        Of course, I agree rhat animal cruelty is a real issue, but it will not be solved by strict veganism, and it would cause some serious problems to force everyone into plant eating only…

        • Humans are most definitely NOT omnivores. The anatomical and physiological evidence is overwhelming.
          All people CAN be vegans. Can you explain to my why they can not? There are no specific dietary needs that require meat and dairy at all. I have no idea where you get that information from. As I said before, I am a physiologist and nutritionist and can assure you that there is no necessity for anyone to eat meat or dairy.
          I am not a vegan by the way but I will correct errors made by meat eaters or vegans.
          As for your comment about humans evolved to this level of advancement thanks to the shift in diet to the more meat on the menu lifestyle then I assume you are talking about the Expensive Tissue Hypothesis which has not only been debunked but has been retracted by its proposers.
          I agree that it is not necessarily their diet that makes vegans healthier because their lifestyle is often much better than most other people. It may be also why vegans have higher IQ’s. However, it is a fact that vegans are healthier and many studies have actually pointed to the diet as being the reason for this.
          As for vegans being selfish this is absurd seeing as vegans are trying to stop pain and suffering to ALL creatures. How can that be selfish when they are caring for other animals rather than themselves. Also by being vegan you are ‘killing’ far fewer plants than if you eat meat. Also as plants and fungi have no pain receptors or central nervous system and have never been shown to have sentience then this too is an absurd argument to make. We have to eat to live as do all animals therefore we should eat what our bodies are designed to eat…. which is not meat. I see you do not complain about a cow eating grass or an elephant eating fruit yet you make a big issue about a vegan eating plants and fungi. Bizarre logic.

  4. What about the fact it takes up to 17 times the plant material to feed an animal then it does to feed the vegan human animal directly? Cows and chickens don’t eat rocks and air, they eat copious amounts of PLANTS.

    • Animals don’t need to be treated better — they need to be treated with respect. Killing, oppressing and exploiting are not forms of showing respect.

      Please see my response to Aleksander Cerulean.

      • So you didn’t look at the links… cognitive bias in action?

        Plants have been shown to be able to recognize their siblings, feel pain (, anxiety and stress, can learn whom is a threat to them and whom is not, and are cognizant at least to some degree. While I wholeheartedly agree that animals need to be treated with respect (which is treating them better), one must also recognize and realize that all living creatures on this planet feel, and are cognizant to different degrees.

        Humankind as a whole only exists because of our past history of eating meat. You, me and everyone else would never have evolved to be able to type this on this computer if our ancestors did not eat meat. Research clearly shows that the only reason we as humans exist at all is because we ate meat…. now I understand wholly why one would choose to be vegetarian and/or vegan, as I once was myself, but to say that humans are not meant to eat meat is simply just not true. The preponderance of meat in the western diet is excessive, but some meat in the diet is natural, normal, and just the way the world works. One can treat animals with respect and dignity, as our native american ancestors did, and still eat meat. See the following articles:

        Eating Meat Made Us Human, Suggests New Skull Fossil:
        Fragments of a 1.5-million-year-old skull from a child recently found in Tanzania suggest early hominids weren’t just occasional carnivores but regular meat eaters, researchers say.

        The finding helps build the case that meat-eating helped the human lineage evolve large brains, scientists added.

        “I know this will sound awful to vegetarians, but meat made us human,” said researcher Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo, an archaeologist at Complutense University in Madrid.

        Meat, Cooked Foods Needed for Early Human Brain
        Vegetarian, vegan and raw diets can be healthy — likely far healthier than the typical American diet. But to continue to call these diets “natural” for humans, in terms of evolution, is a bit of a stretch, according to two recent, independent studies.

        Eating meat and cooking food made us human, the studies suggest, enabling the brains of our prehuman ancestors to grow dramatically over a period of a few million years.

        Food For Thought: Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter
        Our earliest ancestors ate their food raw — fruit, leaves, maybe some nuts. When they ventured down onto land, they added things like underground tubers, roots and berries.

        It wasn’t a very high-calorie diet, so to get the energy you needed, you had to eat a lot and have a big gut to digest it all. But having a big gut has its drawbacks.

        “You can’t have a large brain and big guts at the same time,” explains Leslie Aiello, an anthropologist and director of the Wenner-Gren Foundation in New York City, which funds research on evolution. Digestion, she says, was the energy-hog of our primate ancestor’s body. The brain was the poor stepsister who got the leftovers. Until, that is, we discovered meat.

        “What we think is that this dietary change around 2.3 million years ago was one of the major significant factors in the evolution of our own species,” Aiello says.

        • No one is denying that plants are complex living creatures…but to claim that reacting to stimuli is the same as consciously feeling pain is incredibly assumptive, not to mention scientifically unfounded. A basic understanding of biology reveals that plants lack a nervous system and the electrical impulses that give animals sensation and consciousness. Could plants possibly have some ‘similar’ experience via chemical exchanges rather than electrical impulses? Well, I won’t rule it out — but it’s unlikely, and any supposed scientist who concludes otherwise needs some more biology lessons.

          Evolutionarily speaking meat may very well have helped our brains grow and all that jazz — true, but it wasn’t really anything inherent to meat, it was actually just an increase of calorie and nutrient consumption. That such calorie and nutrient-dense food was partially in the form of meat for our ancestors says more about anthropology than nutrition, and is quite frankly entirely irrelevant to modern times.

        • And the reason and type of meat homids ate and the reasons they did it might surprise you. Jane Goodall documented chimpanzees killing and consuming. But who they killed, how they did, why they did it and the manner in which it was consumed reveals so much more than the assumption that “they do it so meat is necessary” glance.

          Chimpanzees trap and kill other primates – not other species generally. Their focus is other primates due to real or perceived incursions into a troupe’s territory. When this happens, the males gang up on the “offender” (and this can certain be another chimp) and trap that animal and kill him/her.

          What comes next is a grizzly reminder that humans took this act to the next level of malevolence and domination: they eat the dead primate in front of its family/troupe as a warning and a display of dominance. The group consumption is a ritual, not a need. What that means is that Homo sapiens “gathering ’round” a carcass of a non-human animal is really just a social display of dominance, something we certainly do not “need” biologically. We have institutionalized this form of dominance through systematically domesticating other species – including human females – to “serve” a desire.

          Up until the late 1700’s, peoples of the Marquesas Islands were known to capture other humans and sell them in “meat markets” for human consumption (and they report that human, when cooked, is similar to swine flesh). They mostly always ate males, as females were assimilated. They were feared by their neighbors, and rightfully so.

          Noticing the pattern yet?

          • I often wonder if chimpanzees sometimes chase, trap, kill and eat other primates because they observed and learned the behavior from human primates engaged in the increasing “bush meat” trade. Probably difficult, if not impossible, to find a population of chimpanzees not exposed to this activity. Just a thought.

          • Chimps kill and eat other animal sources – insects for instance. Of course, insects don’t matter as much to us because they are not as easy to empathize with as say other mammals because they are less like us. Plants, being even less like us, may not “feel” in the same manner that we do. However, this does not mean they do not experience pain or suffering. They just don’t from our understanding of pain and suffering. We are different from plants. In fact, in many ways we are much less evolved. I don’t think that means we should stop eating them. I also don’t think this argument means we should never eat any animal-based products. I think the key to this is really to respect all of nature and understand our needs. When we set up an “us against them” scenario like the vegan against non-vegan, we create problems involving judgment and animosity. This is no different from religious conflicts where people fight because their beliefs clash. It is good to put forth different perspectives to encourage people to learn and grow. But they have to be willing to do so. For one group to try to force its beliefs on another group is just setting the stage for conflict.

            • That’s interesting. To you, a vegan telling a non-vegan to contemplate the pain and suffering they’re causing by their lifestyle is “forcing your beliefs on others”. But somehow when people who have been raised their entire lives and everything in their in entire culture from media to family reinforces the belief that eating animals is “normal”, meanwhile these people actually KILL for these beliefs (can’t eat animals unless they’re killed, fyi), is somehow to you not pushing your beliefs on others? And explain to me please how that is not similar to religion?

        • “Meat made us human, meat made us smarter” – I don’t even want to argue here , you provide plenty of references however what it used to be does not necessarily mean it has to stay like that forever. Correct me if I am wrong but humans are omnivores. If everyone stop eating meat would the humans as a species become less smart? I doubt it. We are 7 billion and the number is growing. It is unethically, immorally, unhealthy and most of all environmental degrading for this planet to try feeding everyone on a meat/dairy diet. Most importantly the cavemen did not have a choice, and did not reason is it ethical or moral to kill to eat. Today we have this choice and it has never been easier to stick to plant diet.

          • Very true. We have removed ourselves from the food chain by building grocery stores, being able to farm crops, living in heated/cooled houses with flushing toilets. For those of us fortunate enough to live with these luxuries, there is no excuse to make the unethical choice to eat animal products.

            Another good point you made: just because things are the way they are doesn’t mean that is the way they have to be. Imagine if people from 1,000 years ago believed in maintaining the status quo. Heck, even 500 years ago, 100 years ago or even 50 years ago! Many of us wouldn’t have the rights we are so fortunate to have if it weren’t for free-thinkers and doers who went against the grain and fought for what they knew in their heart was right.

            As a woman, I must pay respect to those people who fought for the rights I enjoy today. Oppression has always been fought for by people who fear change, who fear giving up some of their power so that others may enjoy freedom, and who fear that they may be guilty of actions which are immoral. So instead, they fight to justify their actions “the end justifies the means” (which is a fallacy) and seek to distance themselves from the injustices they are complicit in, and worse, attempt to minimize and discount the suffering they are causing by their own selfish actions. This isn’t just true of animal rights — this is true of every rights issue throughout history — every issue where one group is oppressed by another simply for being different. The oppressed are regarded as objects and reduced to a number (ear tags, “X head of cattle”, etc.), a euphemism (“beef”, “pork”, “meat”, “dairy”, rather than cow, pig, dead animal flesh, cow/goat/sheep mammary secretions etc.), and a commodity to be bought and sold.

            • This perspective too often is left out of the conversation! Life (animal or human, etc) was intended to EVOLVE. “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” THOMAS JEFFERSON

          • “If everyone stop eating meat would the humans as a species become less smart?”

            true, but if we all stopped eating meat we all all would be sick and die quickly. humans cannot sustain on a vegan diet, that’s a fact.

            keep in mind that cavemen don’t have access to supplements so if they were to go vegan we won’t be here today.

            • I don’t mean any disrespect at all, sincerely… This is just plain ignorant (lacking information,not calling you stupid). Please do yourself a favor and do some research, not only focused on the articles you agree with but the opposing side, as well. Seek to understand and share your knowledge without being self-righteous (not saying you were being so here). Be as informed as you possibly can be!

        • Great points needarbell. Particularly like that you back up your claims with evidence. I find it quite entertaining that everyone thumbed you down, they hate it so much when someone posts an opinion that doesn’t reaffirm their beliefs. What exactly do they dislike about your post? That they hate the truth?

          • Did you actually read the post? Vegans kill fewer plants than non-vegans do by not filtering our nutrition through someone else’s digestive system. Furthermore, even if plants were hypothetically sentient, that wouldn’t somehow render animals non-sentient. You are guilty of using the tu quoque logical fallacy.

            I find it quite entertaining that everyone who disagrees with my post doesn’t seem to have read/understood it, they hate it so much when someone writes a post that doesn’t reaffirm their beliefs. What exactly do you dislike about my post? That you hate the truth?

        • Speaking of cognitive bias,

          It’s really nice how you only picked non-primary sources that back up the point of view you clearly hold so dear. If you were to actually look at the literature (not the pop culture mass media representations of it) you would know that the “eating meat made us human” idea has by no means been unequivocally accepted as truth at this point. As many researchers maintain it was the act of cooking that gave us the caloric density needed to increase brain size.

          So it seems your single biggest claim you’ve spent the majority of your address on, is not scientific fact, but speculation. At this point at least. Perhaps in the future the scientific community will reach a consensus on the topic but they are not there yet.

          Regarding plants responding to stimuli, this was addressed in the article. Yes, they respond to stimuli. The author isn’t arguing against that. Is that response indicative of sentience? That is the question and the current answer according to everything we know at this point, is no. Again, the entire argument you’ve proposed is based on what is currently speculation. Maybe in the future we’ll see that yes, eating a carrot is exactly the same as bludgeoning an infant cow in the head with a hammer. And then we’ll really have to think long and hard about what to do. But guess what? The answer won’t be to eat more animals. Simple math tells us that that would kill more of those thinking feeling plants, as covered in the article.

          I remember reading an article some years ago where scientists had shown they were able to magically replicate a molecule of DNA from one vial to another simply by applying some radiation to the first. Magical instant cloning. A very attractive idea indeed! But in case you haven’t noticed, it hasn’t since been included in what is considered legitimate science. “A study was done showing… ” in a popular science magazine does not equate to something being a legitimate scientific concept. There is a long line of questioning, reproducing, and validating before anything becomes accepted.

          So again, nice speculation, but based on what we currently know, animals are sentient, plants are not. You can criticize me for basing such a major personal decision on the current state of science, but for me it’s the logical thing to do. I’m not worrying about what the drywall feels when I knock down a wall, or crying for my bicycle tire when it gets a crack in it. Hey, maybe someday, but not today.

          • Thank you for your very logical and concise response. I loved this:

            “Maybe in the future we’ll see that yes, eating a carrot is exactly the same as bludgeoning an infant cow in the head with a hammer. And then we’ll really have to think long and hard about what to do. But guess what? The answer won’t be to eat more animals.”

            I looks like Nedarbeel went google-crazy and decided to copy and paste everything the internet has to offer about “plants have feelings too!” (and it conveniently fit in one tiny comment), which you have pointed out is based on speculation, not scientific fact.

        • I still cannot believe that anyone uses the 1.5 million year old skull finding as proof that we ate meat. It is true that the skull was 1.5 million years old. It is true that it was from a child. It is true that the child suffered from porotic hyperostosis. HOWEVER, any doctor or nutritionist will tell you that it is a HUGE leap from there to suggest that not eating meat caused the problem. To say that ‘suddenly stopping eating meat’ caused this problem is absurd. Many thousands of people who give up eating meat have no problem whatsoever yet we are to expected to believe that this happened? Also many other reasons exist as to why the child was malnourished. Illness, desertion from the rest of the group, stomach ulcer, genetic problem, etc etc.
          As to the meat made us smarter then I think you should look at the Expensive Tissue Hypothesis further. The proponents of the Hypothesis at no time said that eating meat made us smarter but that the increase of calories did and this was done through different ways. The proponents have now actually retracted their theory.

        • I still cannot believe that anyone uses the 1.5 million year old skull finding as proof that we ate meat. It is true that the skull was 1.5 million years old. It is true that it was from a child. It is true that the child suffered from porotic hyperostosis. HOWEVER, any doctor or nutritionist will tell you that it is a HUGE leap from there to suggest that not eating meat caused the problem. To say that ‘suddenly stopping eating meat’ caused this problem is absurd. Many thousands of people who give up eating meat have no problem whatsoever yet we are to expected to believe that this happened? Also many other reasons exist as to why the child was malnourished. Illness, desertion from the rest of the group, stomach ulcer, genetic problem, etc etc.
          As to the meat made us smarter then I think you should look at the Expensive Tissue Hypothesis further. The proponents of the Hypothesis at no time said that eating meat made us smarter but that the increase of calories did and this was done through different ways. The proponents have now actually retracted their theory.

      • I’ll go one step further: non-human animals deserve liberation from enslavement by humans, just as other humans in the past needed liberation from the humans who enslaved them. We must stop conceptualizing anything we see or encounter as “abuseable” just because we ourselves aren’t the ones being victimized. In short, if you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to others – and that means other animals as well.

      • Hi, I was curious as to why vegans believe it’s o.k. to kill one living thing over another, and have read many comments, and it does seem as if it’s a group of crazy people talking. I’m not trying to be mean or anything, but if it was just a simple answer of I like to eat plants more that would be understandable, but it’s not, All I see is people talking about it’s o.k. cuz plants don’t feel or don’t have higher consciousness, then I found this comment, and let’s be honest. Not very long ago People thought of black people as a lower being, less than a dog, and were killed, oppressed and exploited, and definitely not shown respect. Now not trying to turn this into a race debate at all, I’m just saying that a lot of people have grown since those times, and learned, and new info has come about. Now, why is it so hard for vegans to admit that they don’t have the answers to the universe, and they don’t know everything. can you really say that plants aren’t conscious unless you have advanced the understanding of human knowledge. It’s so hard to get past a belief. Like religion people are so rooted in it they don’t wanna ever hear anything against it, and are afraid to think of the outcome. If you like killing and eating plants and it makes you feel better because it can’t move or scream, or express feeling in a way anyone can understand, then just be happy in that fact and say it as such. If tomorrow you found out that plants could feel and care, and such and it was 100% proven fact would that change you or what you eat? No because lets be honest you have to kill something to live just like people that eat meat. From what I have come across on posts like these Vegans like to make these post and defend them so that they feel better about their decision. they like to group up and try and make people feel bad about eating meat, and if you notice most of the post are usually just a bunch of like minded people agreeing with each other, if you really wanted to feel good, you’d get out there and do real science yourself, learn as much as possible, and become a more enlightened being. We as humans do have choice, and that’s a great thing. I love meat, I also love veggies. and I want both to be treated with respect, and hate cruelty. Oh and also someone said all animals were self aware, that’s incorrect if you also go by what science says at this current point in knowledge there are factors that need to be met to be self aware, and there are few animals that are self aware. So bottom line is as a human we get to decided everything for everything on the planet, and until so other species becomes smart than us we are the authority of everything, we are the most powerful, but hey 1 million years or so of evolution and that may not be the case. I’m not trying to make anyone change what they think I am just trying to make everyone think that we don’t know everything and to just be proud enough to say I eat they way I eat because it’s what I choose and not try and put a righteous degree to it.

        • I see what you’re saying, but consuming animals still kills a larger amount of plants, so if it were true that all life, plant, animal, etc experiences some sort of pain, veganism would still be the way to cause the least amount of it (as clearly stated in my post).

        • Certain bacteria, when faced with a catastrophe of sorts such as chemicals in the water that cannot be escaped, will emit a battle cry, which is chemical signaling; this results in the bacterial population to coalesce into a tight ball formation. When the chemicals hit, the bacteria on the outer layers will die but hopefully by the time that chemicals disappear from the water, the bacteria protected in the inside of the ball will be able to multiply again. Similarly in flagellated algae such as Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, they use flagella to swim on the surface of water. If there are negative environmental stimuli, they will exhibit negative chemitaxis, i.e, they will swim away from it. If they cannot escape, they will self-excise their flagella and float to the bottom of the pond; they focus on regrowing their flagella and then swim back up to the cell surface where hopefully, the negative stimuli (acidic pH, chemicals etc) have largely disappeared.

          The problem is that the definition of sentience is not the same for everyone. As you can see, even unicellular organisms like bacteria (in which flagellated members also exhibit chemotaxis) and algae avoid harmful situations. Gary Francione’s litmus test for sentience is “can they suffer?” Suffering as a word implies an awareness of the organism to harm being visited upon it. In the past, suffering/pain was traditionally thought to happen only in humans because it was thought that the awareness (consciousness) of pain required an advanced neocortex, which is also needed for consciousness. Now, prominent neuroscientists have declared that animals without advanced cortices have achieved consciousness states similar to humans, but these animals still all have nervous systems. Plants have never been shown to have a nervous system, and there is no proof that a chemical system can fully replicate the autonomic, enteric, and parasympathetic nervous systems of higher organisms.

          In short, there is no evidence that plants exhibit qualities that imply an awareness of suffering.

          If you hate cruelty then why do you still eat meat? Have you no idea about what happens to farmed animals during their lifetimes and especially during their last moments alive?

  5. May I also add that the reason fruits and other plants have spread all over the world, is because of their ingenious way of propagating by leaving seed, hence they are meant to be eaten to spread themselves and grow. (this is my weird way of looking at it anyway)

    • Exactly, Marty. Plants develop fruits that surround a seed in the hopes that a passing animal or even large insect will carry, ingest, and “drop” that seed and aid in propagation. They plant doesn’t die and isn’t harmed in the process, and it’s why they’ve evolved the fruit to begin with!

  6. Hej Vegan Rabbit. I am wondering if you have watched this documentary ” The secret life of plants” . The plants lack nervous system, can’t feel pain etc…but they have conscious or at least some sort of awareness according to the movie. Personally I find this amazing.

    • Thank you for sharing. It’s a very interesting film. The thing is, unless we plan on eating rocks or becoming breatharians, we’re going to have to eat something to survive. Our bodies are suited toward a plant-based diet. While eating a diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes, our bodies thrive. (Also, as Andrew Stone and Marty Heazelwood pointed out, certain plants, such as fruits, are supposed to be eaten, so that their seeds can travel and take root farther than if they had just fallen from the tree, which helps grow the population of that species of tree.)

      If we were lions, our bodies would thrive on meat. Heart disease wouldn’t be a leading cause of death, as excess cholesterol and saturated fats wouldn’t be a problem. It may sound strange to hear a vegan say that we can’t fault lions for eating animals. They are simply doing what comes natural to them.

      But just the same, we can’t fault humans for eating plants, as eating plants comes natural to us. We can, however, fault humans for eating animals because:

      1) Our bodies do not require meat to survive or thrive (I, and all vegans are evidence of this)

      2) We, as humans pride ourselves on our higher cognitive ability and must therefore hold ourselves to a higher standard by subjecting our choices to the influence of morality and ethics. This is why we have laws which state not to kill or be violent toward one another — because we recognize that violence is immoral. Animals have no such laws because they don’t base their choices on ethics as humans do.

      Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, we must accept the fact that we don’t live in a perfect world. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our best to make it as close to perfect as we can. After all, just because we can’t help end violence everywhere, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to help end violence in our own lives to the best of our ability.

      If you believe that plants feel anything that can be described as “pain”, then your first step to eliminating your involvement in causing it is to stop eating animals because as I pointed out in this post, the animals consumed by humans eat more plants than humans do.

      • no hate, please. but this comment “It may sound strange to hear a vegan say that we can’t fault lions for eating animals. They are simply doing what comes natural to them.”. why would it be strange to hear a vegan say this? i think it is the ONLY thing possible of saying about lions. they’re carnivores, they can’t be vegans, they do not have a choice so we can’t blame the lion for eating animals. it would be so stupid to do so. and if there are vegans that blame lions for eating animals… my gosh, i am so sorry for those people, because they’re very VERY ignorant.

        other than that… great post. i agree completely and will use your arguments to refute what some stupid people say to me like: “you should be eating rocks because you’re slaughtering plants” etc.

        • I agree with you. I said that because non-vegans are often confused about certain things vegans say and do. For instance, when I tell non-vegans how much I used to love eating meat and cheese, how I ate it every day and LOVED it, they are shocked to hear those words coming out of a vegan’s mouth.

          Of course, I am telling non-vegans this because I want them to understand that despite my love of the flavor of animal products, I still made the ethical choice to go vegan because I recognized that contributing to the exploitation of animals is absolutely fundamentally wrong. I tell them this to show them that if I can do it, anyone can, and that most vegans started out exactly where they are, as meat eaters.

          This is why I have to say “it might sound strange to you”, because to many non-vegans, hearing a vegan say “we can’t fault lions for killing animals” does sound strange, simply because it’s coming from a vegan and often don’t understand the ethical and biological differences between a lion eating animals and a human eating animals.

        • Also, with lions tigers, leopards, and cats in general, they need a certain protein that can only be found in meat. Of course, this isn’t the same for humans. What many non-vegans don’t understand is the obvious fact that that carnivorous animals hunt and kill to SURVIVE, and humans hunt and kill for PLEASURE. I’m sorry I don’t have textual evidence for this; I had just read it and I’ve now forgotten the source. But I do agree with your comment!

  7. I might be viewed as a utilitarian in this aspect but my reasoning is that even *if* plants were sentient (but I don’t believe there’s enough evidence to say they are) no ideology would be taken seriously if in it’s practice it would cause human extinction. No “healthy” diet would lead to the annihilation of a species. Humans MUST eat plants in order to live. The same certainly can’t be said about animal flesh.

    A quick way to tell the difference between plants and animals? Invite some of your neighbors over for a day of trimming hedges and bushes. Ask another group to come witness a pig’s death before he’s put on the spit. My guess is you’re going to have a top-notched manicured landscape! ;)

    Great piece Vegan Rabbit – You laid out the important points just right!

      • I find it rather ironic that your link is to a web page that is supposedly about “reason, nature, free thought, liberty and respect” when your unimaginatively moronic comment is hardly a reflection on any of those things. Would you mind explaining this inconsistency for us?

        • Meat eaters are by and large unable to engage in a genuine conversation about eating animals. For if they tried, they would have no real points to make other than, “I like the taste”. It’s a valid point to be sure, but of course doesn’t hold up against the points against eating animals that a vegan would typically bring up. Such lack of ability for real discussion is the reasoning behind these comments. This is the conclusion I’ve come to at least.

          I will say that I’m still perplexed as to how to respond. I have at one point been questioned about my lack of response to a “funny” facebook comment and all I could think of was, “What type of response exactly were you hoping for?” Maybe they’re baiting and hoping to get the “angry vegan” to come out? Or they’re “trying to be funny”, but of course they have to know that as a vegan, you wouldn’t find that funny. So I guess it comes down to trying to get a laugh out of others at your expense? I’ve left asinine comments like that up on facebook posts (had considered deleting them, but didn’t) and have had a couple that ended up being deleted by the posters. I have to believe they eventually thought it through and felt embarrassed by their own actions. Since the above was probably posted by a stranger, I doubt they’ll feel embarrassed. In my case they were family and close friends. I had gone through several snarky and clever responses in my mind, but when I really reflected on it I had settled on the most honest response being “This hurt my feelings.” Of course I’m never going to post that on facebook! But it’s the truth. If I had posted something about Michael Vick, or about the military rape issue, or any number of other issues that involve the suffering of sentient beings, would they have made an analogous comment? Would my own family and friends have made fun of me? Because of course they’re not trying to start a genuine dialog about animals, it’s simply them trying to make fun of me. It unfortunately comes out sounding really self-pitying, but it’s just the conclusion I come to when I try to look at the situation objectively.

          • It’s all about image. It harkens back to grade-school… kids playing in the yard picking on the kid who is just a little different than the rest. The other kids side with the bullies so they won’t be next in line to be ostracized and seen as “un-cool”. This is why when people see a Facebook post about Michael Vick they say “He’s evil! How could he do those things to those poor dogs?!”. They know that this is the general consensus on the subject and would hate to make themselves look like a calloused ass by saying anything nice in his defense. (Carnism plays a role here as well.) So when they see someone posting something on Facebook about veganism or animal rights, they are quick to jump on that person because it is currently not the belief held by the majority than all animals are deserving of fair treatment, just like dogs, cats and humans.

            I think the deepest root of the reason why people lash out at vegans for simply speaking the truth is because the truth makes the person lashing out feel uncomfortable and ashamed. Who goes around wanting to knowingly inflict pain and suffering on other beings, other than serial killers and psychopaths? So they try to make us feel uncomfortable and ashamed so they won’t have to. It’s rule No.1 in the Bully Handbook. It states “If you hate yourself, make someone else hate themselves and you’ll be happy”. What a sad and childish way to live a life.

            Furthermore, as a feminist, I can’t ignore the obvious sexism involved in the bullying of vegans by non-vegans. Emotion, sensitivity and compassion are viewed as “feminine” traits by society. In contrast, toughness, anger and violence are viewed as “masculine” traits by society (“machismo”). Because we live in a patriarchal society, “feminine” traits are considered weak and inferior to “masculine” traits. Veganism is based on traits considered “feminine” and is therefore considered weak and inferior to meat-eating, which is considered “masculine”.

            This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

            “The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

            • It is so untrue that you can’t engage meat eaters in conversation. Meat eaters are in fact more open than we give them credit for. And by the way, weren’t we all meat eaters once? I have had great conversation with meat eaters during vegan outreach. It’s all a matter of communication. If you don’t communicate properly, of course they may not listen. I need to organize a vegan communication Bootcamp lol.

              • You’re right, I should have been more specific. The meat-eaters that leave or speak comments such as the one above are incapable of having a rational discussion. Though unfortunately, in my experience, it often feels like these types of people are the majority. Of course we have to take into account that often the people that are jerks are the loudest.

                There is an automatic defensiveness that arises often when someone even realizes you’re vegan. Recently I had someone else say to someone else that “She’s vegan” (I didn’t bring it up) and had to endure an hour long rant about how idiotic veganism is. One thing he “explained” to me was how, point of fact, yes, simply being vegan is offensive. It doesn’t matter if I mention it or say anything about it. If they happen to notice what I’m *not eating*, *I* am being offensive.That was eye-opening to say the least. Of course the perhaps polite, logical meat eaters in the room wouldn’t have been able to get a word in during this rant. But thank you for the reminder of this phenomenon. It’s important not to close ourselves off and judge others, just as we wish others to do for us.

                • Here’s another approach we might try. I noticed before I became vegan that I was the one in my family most likely to tease my vegetarian nephew about his food choices. Maybe we can point out to the people making “humorous” comments that they are likely to become vegans soon, because they are obviously thinking a lot about it! (Who knows – it might even be true!!)

              • Veronique, I think Kate is referring to the meat-eating trolls who have absolutely no desire to have an intelligent conversation (family and friends can become trolls too, btw). I know you have encountered these types of people in your activism, as anyone who has done enough outreach has. Just because someone meets a person like this doesn’t mean they are not an effective communicator. I think Kate has shown herself to be very articulate.

                Of course, even trolls can be receptive (though they may not intend to be). Through discussions with vegans they can get information that makes them think, even while shouting/posting comments like “BACON!” and “CANINES!” repeatedly. But then you get those people who don’t seem to listen/read what you’re saying and are only paying attention to what they’re going to say next. :/

                • Yup, those retracted comments (along the lines of “mmmm _______” insert whatever animal was in the photo) give me a bit of hope.

                  I always feel torn: do I “stand up” for my beliefs? Am I betraying the voiceless by not responding to this? But I always struggle with how to respond without feeding that hostility. Without saying anything that could be construed as snarky and giving them a reason to be snarky back. And of course leaving me to be seen as the humorless and aggressive vegan.

                  I think my lack of response might give them the silence needed to really reflect on what I posted and how they responded, perhaps the reason they responded the way they did.

                  This thread has however reminded me of the incredible patience and thoughtfulness we must very mindfully practice when faced with these situations. If this is the person’s first time interacting with a vegan, that is an incredible responsibility on our parts to try to do it right. Whatever that means :)

                • I think you should respond, depending on the situation. If it’s someone you know personally, it might be worthwhile to discuss your concern with them. Say something informative and honest. For example, you post a picture of a piglet saying “Love animals, don’t eat them” and someone writes “mmmmm bacon!”. A good response would be something like “I wonder why you felt the inclination to make such a calloused remark on a photo of an innocent creature who has done nothing to you. You are aware that I am vegan and that this kind of remark is neither cute nor funny to me? Are your intentions malicious or did you just make an honest mistake in judgement in posting that comment? I was under the impression that we were friends. Was I wrong?”.

            • Re: the sexism issue, yes. I’ve never thought it through myself that articulately, but yes.

              Now personally, I’ll admit I’ve often thought myself, my gosh, is there anything sexier than a vegan man? A man who is “comfortable enough with his own masculinity” as the phrase goes, to truly think for himself, to truly think about and take responsibility for the consequences of his own actions, and live according to his own morals, despite overwhelming pressure from society? Lol, I’ll admit I have found myself attracted to men that I previously had no interest in, upon finding out they were vegan :)

              I have often reflected on what you say in your second paragraph. And this is what gives me hope. Everyone IS vegan! They just don’t realize it. All it takes is honesty with oneself. As you say, who really hates animals? That’s what they always say about serial killers 1) they wet the bed, and 2) they tortured animals. Of course there are all sorts of mental gymnastics people go through to decide that torturing certain animals is okay, but that’s what it takes, mental gymnastics- that frankly, can’t be defended. The overall pattern is one we’ve seen so many times in history, and I have confidence that the truth will eventually be exposed.

  8. I am vegetarian myself, soon to become vegan and by posting the link to the movie I just wanted to point out what scientists have been researching on when it comes to plants. I am far from having a guilty conscious for eating plants. It would be great if one day we all become breatharians or sun gazers but until then I am relying on a plant diet :)
    As for those who eat meat and say we are plant murderers, you have written enough of arguments in our defense.

    • Let us know when you make the leap from “v” to “V” and we’ll celebrate with you, Aleksander.

      As long as your motive is your heart for animals and not simply your heart health, you’ll experience the most marvelous feeling of joy, freedom, and even dominion (over false traits like self-justification, apathy, appetite, pride, and so on).

      In fact, you’ll wonder what took you so long!

      Believe me, you’ll have zero regrets, thanks to Tofurky and Tofutti and all the other amazing processed-food producers (not to mention the original Producer of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, grains, herbs and other gifts found in the ground).

  9. no hate, please. but this comment “It may sound strange to hear a vegan say that we can’t fault lions for eating animals. They are simply doing what comes natural to them.”. why would it be strange to hear a vegan say this? i think it is the ONLY thing possible of saying about lions. they’re carnivores, they can’t be vegans, they do not have a choice so we can’t blame the lion for eating animals. it would be so stupid to do so. and if there are vegans that blame lions for eating animals… my gosh, i am so sorry for those people, because they’re very VERY ignorant.

    other than that… great post. i agree completely and will use your arguments to refute what some stupid people say to me like: “you should be eating rocks because you’re slaughtering plants” etc.

  10. Pingback: Being Vegan Is Lame Now, I Quit | Vegan Rabbit

  11. Pingback: People For the Ethical Treatment of Plants: 4 Reasons Why the “Plant Sentience” Argument Doesn’t Work | Animals Deserve to Live

  12. Pingback: People For the Ethical Treatment of Plants: 4 Reasons Why the “Plant Sentience” Argument Doesn’t Work | mynaturalway

  13. Kara’s brilliant essay inspired my own dubbing the “plants feel pain” argument as a logical fallacy: “ad plantarum” literally “to plants”. When a meat eater supposes that eating a soybean is the same as throwing a puppy into a wood mulcher, he has automatically lost the argument. Game Over. Thanks For Playing.

    My essay exposes the lie meat eaters tell themselves and others — that they have no other choice but to eat meat. Yeah, sorry, not buying. Denial of animal sentience does not make animals less sentient, nor does it mean plants suddenly have muscle memory (they don’t) or pain receptors. I think I speak for both Kara and myself when I say I have had enough lies. People who eat animals have officially run out of rocks to hide under — you cannot defend the indefensible.

  14. Pingback: The Plant Murder vs. Animal Murder Experiment | Vegan Rabbit

  15. Pingback: 4 Reasons Why the “Plant Sentience” Argument Doesn’t Work | Our Compass

  16. Brilliant !! One of the best articles ever read, I accept ro be “judged” by fruitarians, the others can’t. Shared and twitted, I hope everybody reads


  18. I don’t find this article convincing because of the very fact that presumption that “Plants are not truly sentient” is dubious. The remaining three points are not convincing arguments in this debate and are not central to the debate so can be dismissed.

    The way you define sentience is open to a lot of debate. And if you are worried about animals feeling pain and plants cannot can be sorted out with a simple shot of anaesthetic.

    • I think you should re-read the above post because it seems like you missed a few things. If you fully comprehended the post you wouldn’t be making some of the points you attempted to make.

      First of all, regardless of whether you believe plants are sentient on some level, vegans are responsible for fewer plant deaths than non-vegans are simply because we are eating lower on the food chain (cows eat plants — lots of plants — about 45 pounds of plants per day, whereas an average human eats around 5 pounds of food).

      Second of all, even if plants were sentient (entertaining this idea purely for conversational purposes), it still wouldn’t have any bearing on the sentience of animals. Animals are still sentient regardless of the existence or nonexistence of plant sentience.

      Short of killing ourselves and thus not contributing to any death whatsoever other than our own, the lifestyle which does the least harm to animals and plants combined is the lifestyle of a vegan.

      Lastly anesthetic doesn’t stop an animal from being slaughtered. Pain and slaughter of animals are unnecessary. I and every other vegan on this earth are living proof of this fact.

  19. Anything that grows has a conscious. Plants, fungi, moss all feel, breathe, communicate and react to their environments. this is scinetific fact. The are living organisms that are way more sophisticated than what modern science implies and has up to date.The argument that “we as humans are not suited for animal consumption” is an arguement that is not productive in selling me on become a vegan. Going to the bathroom for instance modern man uses toilets but early Human beings were meant to sit down monkey style straight onto the ground with our knees level with our chest to allow smooth er and better depositing of waste (feces). We are meant to be crapping straight on the floor or dugged holes… but I bet your not going to run and throw your toilet out now are you? Choosing to consume only plants is more of a personal choice like religion can be. thats great you feel passion about it and the suffering of the animals but if you think replacing the death and suffering of animals by transferring that energy onto plants its the wrong answer. the problem isnt necessarily the diet and eating habits. The problem is the structure of society economically, legislatively, industrially, commercially, and socially. You can make a real difference if you promoted a community garden than to hate on and make fun of meaters. instead of buying a $20+ Rib roast it would be economically effecient to purchase some zucchinis, beans, & and maybe a sweet potatoes and I’m sure you wont go over $20. I would like to see vegans use arguements like this and also be a bit more understanding when being passionate about the issue. I understand its inhumane but I also recognize the trends of industry are inhumane when the ysell us products as they cater to patrons specifically in food comsumption.Im worried about corporations gripping the vegan industry and Im sure its got its finger wrapped around already.

    • Either you didn’t read the post or your reading comprehension needs some fine tuning because I have already refuted much of what you have said in my post. You’re welcome.

  20. All I got from this; you’re trying to put down those that have different viewpoints than you and to assert your “dominance” through guilting others into believing you’re better than them or “more superior” because you choose to eat “non-sentient” beings over animals. Have you yourself personally done the research, tests, and studies to determine this as fact? No, you read something someone else wrote. Keep your opinions to yourself when they’re in regard to others, because frankly you’re only exacerbating the problem by causing others to feel lesser than you (aka hurting their feelings). We’re all equal regardless of what we eat. Respect the planet.

  21. “In conclusion, because all living creatures must eat to survive, we must choose foods which cause the least amount of harm possible.” That is the perfect definition of Ahimsa.It doesn’t necessarily equate to Non-violence but treading on the path which causes the least amount of damage or harm.

  22. Pingback: Master List Of Vegan Info | The Legacy Of Pythagoras

  23. The PETP argument is simply highlighting the craziness of the vegetarian belief that animals are better then plants. You seem to take for granted that Animals have sentience and are thus better, but you have no logic to support that sentience is superior in any way. Vegetarians are simply selectively killing based one what they see as most similar to them. Disproportionately and intentionally killing plants because they seem “unequal.”
    This article also rests on the definition of murder, claiming that “non-vegans kill more plants than vegans do.” The difference between vegan and non-vegan killing of plants is intention. By not making a conscious decision about my food sources and simply fulfilling my role as a member of an ecosystem to eat whatever is easiest for me to obtain, I am not committing murder as I would as a conscious vegan. Even if more plant deaths are caused by my eating habits, vegan killing is a conscious decision to kill plants because they are not animals.Obviously, that is a hate crime and murder.

  24. You know what both sides of this debate can Just shut the hell up. Seriously, do what you wish to do. If you believe eating meat is wrong, fine I couldn’t care less. Same thing the other way. But I swear if I have to wait to eat my bacon cheeseburger with extra bacon because I know that the vegan/PETA/anti-agricultural lobbyist group giving a presentation on their crap. I will eat loudly and in the most obnoxious way possible because I don’t give a flying fadoodle. And I will deliberately offend you just to see your jimmies rustled. AND I’M GONNA LAUGH. Same thing vice versa if I were vegan of course. Just both of you stop shoving this crap down each Other’s throats. Eat what you want to eat. End of coment

  25. 1A: The fact that the sensory organs of plants are different than the sensory organs of animals is irrelevant. This is like saying the fact that some animals breathe through gills and others breathe through lungs means that those with gills don’t really breathe.

    1B: The same plant will react differently to different threats. It will release different scents to attract different predators depending on what herbivore is threatening the plant.

    1C: The ability to feel pain is irrelevant to sentience. There are rare human medical conditions that prevent the person from feeling pain. This does not mean those people are not sentient.

    2: The author has no idea what a Tu Quoque fallacy even means. However the argument is silly and nobody should use such a ridiculous argument in defense of meat-eating because meat-eating doesn’t need defending.

    3: How many plants are killed is irrelevant except to anyone making this silly argument. Few even seriously make this argument and the entire article is just one huge straw man to avoid the real arguments that exist.

    4: Restating nonsense doesn’t change the fact that it’s nonsense.

  26. Trying to say that one can live a healthy and productive life based entirely on the consumption of plants is, of course, valid because we are omnivores. We CAN eat whatever we want, but that doesn’t mean we HAVE to eat everything that’s edible. So I have no issue with Vegans or Vegetarians trying to promote their way of food intake based on the obvious unethical treatment of product producing animals and the drastic expense of maintaining that lifestyle. However, saying that because we currently mistreat animals or that animals experience fear is a reason to stop eating meat is going too far to an extreme. That’s like saying because robots are taking over people’s jobs and increasing the unemployment rate; we should disassemble all the machines and re-institute humans back to their previous jobs. As all things in the universe seeks to be balanced, companies are training people to run and fix those machines, so should we find a middle ground between reducing the heavy toll of the meat and dairy industry, but still retaining the ability to buy meat at a supermarket.

    I’ll not argue that plants have, or have as much, sentience as a cow, but saying, “They don’t feel us killing (and yes, they’re alive so taking them away from their roots is an act of killing) or consuming them so it’s better” is just not a valid argument. Nor is trying to say that there is a distinct line between what is or can be sentient and what can’t. I mean, what of fish? A fish is pretty dull intelligence wise, an extremely old creature (by evolutionary standpoint) that is run purely on instincts. Or even an insect, which is much more primitive than a fish. Does a grasshopper feel pain and fear when it loses a leg? Is crushing a spider simply because it has built a web in my house an unethical thing to do? These are just creatures on the line between mammals and plants, but no creature is more on that line than a sea sponge. If I chose to be risky and decided to slice one up and make it into stew, am I being immoral?

    The biggest fallacy so many of us keeping making is assuming there is a clear cut difference between each living thing, and that killing of one type is more justifiable than killing another. The simple fact remains: There is a food chain and we are on top. Whether you want to eat from the bottom or a few rows down, it doesn’t matter, you’re still eating a living thing. If you want to feel remorse for the life of that thing, well then you’re probably anthropomorphizing it. The only food that’s off limits to us is each other.

    • We are most definitely NOT omnivores ATMAS and a trip to the library to get out some books on comparative anatomy and physiology will show you exactly why we are not. Also we are not top of the food chain. If you look up the scientific definition of food chain you will see that humans are way down the chain (about mid way). A recent scientific survey was done on the entire animal kingdom. –
      We do not need meat at all in our diet and at present the way we produce meat for the food market is horrendous for all the animals involved. There is no need for it at all. We could save suffering and pain, help the environment, produce more food and be healthier if we ate a plant based diet.
      Paul Hughes L.C.S.P. (Assoc)

  27. The fact that we can kill and eat anything we please with almost no threat to life (with a proper weapon in hand) means we are at the top. Nothing eats us naturally, but we can be eaten if we’re dumb enough to get into that situation. Yes, we are in fact omnivores because the definition of an omnivore is a creature that can obtain energy from multiple sources and not limited to one. A lion cannot survive off a plant based diet nor can a cow survive on a meat based diet. Yet we can eat both as much as we want (ANY ill effects from consuming meat can be mitigated by eating well cooked meat and plenty of exercising. None of the supposed health risks exist when you’re not sitting on your ass. Meat is, after all, a predators meal). As long as the source is organic (has life) then we can consume and digest it. This makes us omnivores. Like I said in original post, the WAY we obtain meat is not enough of a justification to stop eating it. Nor is “We don’t HAVE to, so why do it at all?”

    The fact that we will soon be eating printed meat (which comes from animal cells, but doesn’t require killing the animal) pretty much makes all these arguments moot. It can be modified to provide all the nutrients you’ll ever need, be mass-produced for relatively tiny cost, and a perfectly sustainable food source for our inevitable venture into space for a new home. We can’t engineer cows or apple trees to survive on another world, we have to go on without it.

    My last point is this: Attacking the opposing group in the same fashion that they do will lead you nowhere. It just becomes another internet argument for people to read and laugh at. If you present solid, tested, and undeniable evidence that meat is the bane of our existence and eating plants is the only way forward. Then perhaps Vegans and Vegetarians wouldn’t have such a bad reputation. It’s the same that we ask of Christians, show us proper evidence of your god or of the acts described in that book and we will have no choice but to accept. Right now, the only evidence I see is, “I think eating meat is disgusting, so you’re a disgusting person. I’m right, you’re wrong.” Typical Typical argument.

    • Your definition of an omnivore is completely incorrect. By your definition just about every animal is an omnivore and this is quite obviously incorrect. Our physiology is that of a herbivore. Or are you saying that physiology and anatomy has nothing to do with it?
      Top of the food chain has nothing to do with killing animals with weapons (did you not read the scientific study about how it is calculated?). When you say ‘nothing eats us naturally’ then you should do a bit of research on this and look back into our history.
      As for your comment – ANY ill effects from consuming meat can be mitigated by eating well cooked meat and plenty of exercising – can you please tell me where you got this ‘fact’ from. I work in this area and unless this is a the result of a new unpublished scientific study then it it total rubbish. Sorry to be so blunt but you are just inventing this.


    Counter every point of this article, or at the very least, point 1 and I will have no problem with Vegan. It’s just bullshit to say that we don’t need meat when the article I listed has shown that some of the important/key nutrients to human’s body are found only in meat(or some plants not commonly eaten by human being like algae). Yes, of course, we can get such nutrients from other sources like pills in today’s world thanks to the advancement of science but that is not “natural”. A truly natural diet has no need of pill because pill are ultimately, human’s creation. In a world without the aid of science, a world of nature at its finest, human being cannot sustain a true vegan lifestyle and still be healthy and so, the claim that we are herbivore by nature is false as we have no NATURAL METHOD to obtain some key nutrients from a pure vegan diet. Lions can get ALL its needed nutrients from meat while cows can get ALL its needed nutrients from grass. We, human, needs some from both sides. How in the world is that herbivore?

    FYI, I am mainly arguing about the “human are herbivore by nature” claim so if please focus on that and not other points.

    • I will also add that the B12 deficiency is discussed in many vegan boards as well, thus making it something that even Vegans themselves agree are lacking in their diet. Hence, vegan diet can be unhealthy in nature. Human are lucky today that they can go vegan without any negativity in health through aids like supplement but to say that human are herbivore by nature AFTER the acknowledgement that some nutrients are missing in a pure vegan diet is simply idiotic.

      Let’s throw three humans of similar capabilities to the wild, to the womb of mother nature. All three of them are equally capable, they are very good hunters, bla bla bla and the only thing that is different between them are their diet choice. Human A go 100% vegan, human B go 100% meat-based diet while human C goes omnivore, eating a mix of veges and meats. Who would last longer in this situation[assuming no accidents]? Definitely human C. Human A and B will die out of malnutrition because we human cannot get ALL the needed nutrients from solely veges OR solely meats. Hence, we are ultimately omnivore by nature. It doesn’t matter if we don’t have teeths like lions or whatever, it doesn’t matter if our colon length are leaning toward a more herbivore type of structure, the key factor is how can we get our needed nutrients naturally in the wild, the place we once were in before we get so advanced and without our ancestors eating omnivore diets to prevent us from extinction, we won’t even be here today. Hence, human are omnivore by nature, not herbivore.

      • We can get everything we need from a plant based diet. For you to say otherwise shows that you do not understand nutrition at all. Vegans do NOT need pills or supplements. Every major nutritional board in the world will tell you that a vegan diet can supply EVERYTHING we need at all stages of our life. I can give you links to each of these boards – US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK etc. These are not biased vegans but nutritional boards representing the entire country concerned. We can obtain EVERYTHING we need naturally.
        As I have said before – go to the library and get out some books on comparative anatomy and physiology and you will see without any doubt that humans are not omnivores.
        Your article is basically a pro Atkins diet article. Atkins has been discredited many times and has been shown to be one of the worst possible diets to undertake for many reasons. I can go into these if you want me to. Your article is actually a blog and has no science behind it. Please do some real research on this as I have done for over 20 years in my work as a physiologist and nutritionist. Pseudoscience has no place here.

        • Here is a list of national nutritional bodies that say a vegan diet supplies everything we need.

          By the way, I am not a vegan but I am someone qualified in this area.
          Your comment about us being an omnivore because we are ABLE to eat meat would therefore include just about every animal. Cows and sheep are routinely given meat in their feed so does this make them omnivores? Of course not. Please do some more research on this and I guarantee you will find that humans are NOT omnivores.

          • I am not saying we are omnivore because we are able to eat meat. I am saying that some nutrition are really lacking in vegetables, thus making vegan diets impossible to our ancestor and so we are by nature, impossible to be herbivore. Science has helps us overcome that barrier with things like supplement and fortified food. Yes, fortified food, they sure as hell don’t exist in 100 A.D.. Our ancestors would be dead from malfunction if they were to go vegan in their era. Again, science has make it possible today. You do realize you have to really plan a diet to get everything you want from a vegan diet? If this is our nature, why in the world do we have to plan so much then? Lions just eat whatever they caught and they will get ALL the nutrients they need. Vice versa for every freaking animal on the planet. Our ancestor eats what they get, they don’t have the luxury or the knowledge to construct a proper diet and I am sure as hell they are not going to survive on a vegan diet because of the lacking of multiple nutrients by nature. Again, by nature, no food fortification, no supplement and not even the luxury to have all the vegetables to choose from. By nature, human(and animals) eat whatever they have in the area, and it’s impossible to survive on that if they are eating pure vegan.

            As I said, science has make it possible and our knowledge of nutrition these days make it happen. They make us able to eat strictly vegan without any sort of health problem. Those are not available by nature. Again, those are not available by nature. We are not herbivore by nature.

            Let’s go through the list you given:

            “Individuals who follow a plant-based diet that includes no animal products may be vulnerable to B12 deficiency and need to supplement their diet with vitamin B12 or foods fortified with vitamin B12″ –

            You said no supplement yet the article given has indicated that the vegan NEEDS vitamin B12, a supplement, OR food fortified with vitamin B12. You don’t get Vitamin B12 and Fortified Food in nature, don’t you? If our ancestor isn’t eating meat, they will have a serious problem with the lack of vitamin B12 and we are probably extinct by now, thus eliminating the possibilities that we are herbivore. We need meat to survive in a true natural environment.

            “Calcium-fortified food, vitamin B12 and B2-fortified food, iron-fortified food” –

            Again, this shows that if a vegan doesn’t use supplement, they need a lot of nutritient-fortified food, which is not natural and the work of science. Thus further proving that vegan will have problem with those things if fortified food and supplement are not invented.

            Strict vegetarians and vegans are at greater risk than lacto-ovo vegetarians and nonvegetarians of developing vitamin B12 deficiency because natural food sources of vitamin B12 are limited to animal foods. –

            Oh wow, a link you showed me just said that “natural food sources of vitamin B12 are limited to animal foods. Well, I guess that means human being will not survive to this day if they are herbivores because we need vitamin B12, limited to animal foods.

            “B12 : Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in animal products, being originally derived from bacteria. Those following a vegan diet will need to ensure that they either consume foods fortified with vitamin B12 or take a vitamin B12 supplement” –

            Another site that says they have to consume fortified food or take supplement.


            As I have proven with your own links, human being cannot be herbivores because our ancestors, in an all natural Earth, have to eat more than vegetables to get all the nutrients needed and that means we, human being, are omnivore BY NATURE.

            You see, my essential point isn’t about vegan not getting all their nutrients in TODAY’S WORLD. I don’t even need 20 years of experience in that field to know that. Hell, in 50 years we probably can get all the nutrients through some sort of drink, it’s the power of science. However, your statement of “human being are herbivore” is just plain wrong because there’s no way human being(in the past. Again, IN THE PAST when science isn’t that great yet) can survive solely through a vegan diet. We have been eating like an omnivore through thousands of years to get to this time where we can not be a omnivore anymore, if someone wants to do that.

            • And you can continue to say that our anatomy and so on are not of an omnivore creature but we do need something that can’t be found naturally in plants eaten by us. If we are pure herbivores like cow and sheep, then we should be able to get everything we need from vegetables/plants in their natural state. That is not the case here. That is the main reason why I don’t think we are strictly herbivores by nature because we don’t share that trait of herbivores at all. They only need things from plants; we don’t. We can do that nowadays ONLY with clear plan and some help from science and that is not natural at all.

              • I would also add that things can change from our natural state, but that doesn’t mean we are like that by nature. For example, domestic chicken can’t fly, does that means “chicken can’t fly by nature?” Hell no. Wild chicken can fly like a boss, thus “chicken can fly, by nature”. Same goes for vegan diet, we can do them today, but are we naturally herbivore? In my view, hell no. In the wild(with no support of science), we need to eat both meats and vegetables to get the required nutrients.


                  Further reading has lead me to this site, with a research proving that human are not herbivores but omnivores by nature. Feel free to read the research. Again, I have no problem with people eating whatever they want today and human natural eating habit is not a reason to not go vegan at all, I am just having problem with inaccurate claim like we are herbivore by nature.

                • We are most definitely NOT omnivores. Our entire physiology and anatomy show that to be true. We CAN get everything our body needs without eating meat as the major nutritional bodies of every country has stated.
                  As I have said before – go to the library and get out some books on comparative anatomy and physiology written by experts in the field and you will see the OVERWHELMING evidence that we are herbivores/frugivores.
                  If you are taking vitamin B12 as evidence that we are not frugivores and cannot live without meat then you are making a huge error. Over 40% of meat eaters are B12 deficient. Modern farming practices mean that plants now no longer have B12 ON them and the food fed to farm animals produces B12 deficient meat. This is because of UN natural farming practices over the past 50 years or so. Very few vegans are actually B12 deficient oddly enough. This is partly due to supplements (from non animal sources) and also because recent studies suggest that vegans actually produce far more B12 in their bodies than non vegans. Studies are ongoing but it appears that the system of B12 production in our body is impeded when meat is eaten but works efficiently when meat is not eaten which gives even more evidence to the fact that we are not natural omnivores.
                  You need to come up with more evidence than just your own opinion and should do some real research from experts in this field.

            • Once again you are totally wrong. We have been eating meat for about 2.5 million years. Before this time dentition and fossil remains show that our diet contained no meat and we were completely herbivorous. This timespan is around 60 million years. Therefore we were perfectly able to live on a plant based diet.
              What nutrients did our ancestors lack on a herbivorous diet? I would be interested to hear your reply on that as I can assure you that if we survived for nearly 60 million years without meat then I am pretty sure that we received every vital nutrient.
              Once again I ask you to do some real research.
              You say, and I quote, ‘You don’t get Vitamin B12 and Fortified Food in nature’. Are you serious. Where on earth do you think vitamin B12 comes from? You really need to do some checking on your statements before you make them. Vitamin B12 most definitely occurs IN HUGE QUANTITIES in nature. It is in the soil and ON virtually every plant.
              It seems that your ENTIRE argument is based on vitamin B12 which shows how little you actually know about the subject. Every animal needs B12 for crucial functions in its body. How come herbivorous animals don’t take supplements? It is because B12 is readily available to them on the plants they eat. Unfortunately modern farming techniques and systems of cleaning now destroy a lot of the B12 on the plants thus leaving crops fed to humans and farm animals deficient in B12. This does not make us omnivore. It makes us herbivores who have more trouble getting B12 because of unnatural farming practices. You do not understand the basic physiology of humans.
              It is true that it is more difficult to get B12 from our diet because of the modern way of producing food but to use this as proof that we are omnivores is just plain silly.
              As I keep saying, and you keep ignoring, go and get some books out from the library about comparative anatomy and physiology then come back and try to tell me we are omnivores instead of just using one little bit of information on B12 (which is heavily skewed and only relevant for the past 50 years or so) to try and prove what you want to believe.

              Milton R. Mills, M.D. | 11/21/09
              Humans are most often described as “omnivores.” This classification is based on the “observation” that humans generally eat a wide variety of plant and animal foods. However, culture, custom and training are confounding variables when looking at human dietary practices. Thus, “observation” is not the best technique to use when trying to identify the most “natural” diet for humans. While most humans are clearly “behavioral” omnivores, the question still remains as to whether humans are anatomically suited for a diet that includes animal as well as plant foods.
              A better and more objective technique is to look at human anatomy and physiology. Mammals are anatomically and physiologically adapted to procure and consume particular kinds of diets. (It is common practice when examining fossils of extinct mammals to examine anatomical features to deduce the animal’s probable diet.) Therefore, we can look at mammalian carnivores, herbivores (plant-eaters) and omnivores to see which anatomical and physiological features are associated with each kind of diet. Then we can look at human anatomy and physiology to see in which group we belong.
              Oral Cavity
              Carnivores have a wide mouth opening in relation to their head size. This confers obvious advantages in developing the forces used in seizing, killing and dismembering prey. Facial musculature is reduced since these muscles would hinder a wide gape, and play no part in the animal’s preparation of food for swallowing. In all mammalian carnivores, the jaw joint is a simple hinge joint lying in the same plane as the teeth. This type of joint is extremely stable and acts as the pivot point for the “lever arms” formed by the upper and lower jaws. The primary muscle used for operating the jaw in carnivores is the temporalis muscle. This muscle is so massive in carnivores that it accounts for most of the bulk of the sides of the head (when you pet a dog, you are petting its temporalis muscles). The “angle” of the mandible (lower jaw) in carnivores is small. This is because the muscles (masseter and pterygoids) that attach there are of minor importance in these animals. The lower jaw of carnivores cannot move forward, and has very limited side-to-side motion. When the jaw of a carnivore closes, the blade-shaped cheek molars slide past each other to give a slicing motion that is very effective for shearing meat off bone.
              The teeth of a carnivore are discretely spaced so as not to trap stringy debris. The incisors are short, pointed and prong-like and are used for grasping and shredding. The canines are greatly elongated and dagger-like for stabbing, tearing and killing prey. The molars (carnassials) are flattened and triangular with jagged edges such that they function like serrated-edged blades. Because of the hinge-type joint, when a carnivore closes its jaw, the cheek teeth come together in a back-to-front fashion giving a smooth cutting motion like the blades on a pair of shears.
              The saliva of carnivorous animals does not contain digestive enzymes. When eating, a mammalian carnivore gorges itself rapidly and does not chew its food. Since proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes cannot be liberated in the mouth due to the danger of autodigestion (damaging the oral cavity), carnivores do not need to mix their food with saliva; they simply bite off huge chunks of meat and swallow them whole.
              According to evolutionary theory, the anatomical features consistent with an herbivorous diet represent a more recently derived condition than that of the carnivore. Herbivorous mammals have well-developed facial musculature, fleshy lips, a relatively small opening into the oral cavity and a thickened, muscular tongue. The lips aid in the movement of food into the mouth and, along with the facial (cheek) musculature and tongue, assist in the chewing of food. In herbivores, the jaw joint has moved to position above the plane of the teeth. Although this type of joint is less stable than the hinge-type joint of the carnivore, it is much more mobile and allows the complex jaw motions needed when chewing plant foods. Additionally, this type of jaw joint allows the upper and lower cheek teeth to come together along the length of the jaw more or less at once when the mouth is closed in order to form grinding platforms. (This type of joint is so important to a plant-eating animal, that it is believed to have evolved at least 15 different times in various plant-eating mammalian species.) The angle of the mandible has expanded to provide a broad area of attachment for the well-developed masseter and pterygoid muscles (these are the major muscles of chewing in plant-eating animals). The temporalis muscle is small and of minor importance. The masseter and pterygoid muscles hold the mandible in a sling-like arrangement and swing the jaw from side-to-side. Accordingly, the lower jaw of plant-eating mammals has a pronounced sideways motion when eating. This lateral movement is necessary for the grinding motion of chewing.
              The dentition of herbivores is quite varied depending on the kind of vegetation a particular species is adapted to eat. Although these animals differ in the types and numbers of teeth they posses, the various kinds of teeth when present, share common structural features. The incisors are broad, flattened and spade-like. Canines may be small as in horses, prominent as in hippos, pigs and some primates (these are thought to be used for defense) or absent altogether. The molars, in general, are squared and flattened on top to provide a grinding surface. The molars cannot vertically slide past one another in a shearing/slicing motion, but they do horizontally slide across one another to crush and grind. The surface features of the molars vary depending on the type of plant material the animal eats. The teeth of herbivorous animals are closely grouped so that the incisors form an efficient cropping/biting mechanism, and the upper and lower molars form extended platforms for crushing and grinding. The “walled-in” oral cavity has a lot of potential space that is realized during eating.
              These animals carefully and methodically chew their food, pushing the food back and forth into the grinding teeth with the tongue and cheek muscles. This thorough process is necessary to mechanically disrupt plant cell walls in order to release the digestible intracellular contents and ensure thorough mixing of this material with their saliva. This is important because the saliva of plant-eating mammals often contains carbohydrate-digesting enzymes which begin breaking down food molecules while the food is still in the mouth.
              Stomach and Small Intestine
              Striking differences between carnivores and herbivores are seen in these organs. Carnivores have a capacious simple (single-chambered) stomach. The stomach volume of a carnivore represents 60-70% of the total capacity of the digestive system. Because meat is relatively easily digested, their small intestines (where absorption of food molecules takes place) are short&151;about three to five or six times the body length. Since these animals average a kill only about once a week, a large stomach volume is advantageous because it allows the animals to quickly gorge themselves when eating, taking in as much meat as possible at one time which can then be digested later while resting. Additionally, the ability of the carnivore stomach to secrete hydrochloric acid is exceptional. Carnivores are able to keep their gastric pH down around 1-2 even with food present. This is necessary to facilitate protein breakdown and to kill the abundant dangerous bacteria often found in decaying flesh foods.
              Because of the relative difficulty with which various kinds of plant foods are broken down (due to large amounts of indigestible fibers), herbivores have significantly longer and in some cases, far more elaborate guts than carnivores. Herbivorous animals that consume plants containing a high proportion of cellulose must “ferment” (digest by bacterial enzyme action) their food to obtain the nutrient value. They are classified as either “ruminants” (foregut fermenters) or hindgut fermenters. The ruminants are the plant-eating animals with the celebrated multiple-chambered stomachs. Herbivorous animals that eat a diet of relatively soft vegetation do not need a multiple-chambered stomach. They typically have a simple stomach, and a long small intestine. These animals ferment the difficult-to-digest fibrous portions of their diets in their hindguts (colons). Many of these herbivores increase the sophistication and efficiency of their GI tracts by including carbohydrate-digesting enzymes in their saliva. A multiple-stomach fermentation process in an animal which consumed a diet of soft, pulpy vegetation would be energetically wasteful. Nutrients and calories would be consumed by the fermenting bacteria and protozoa before reaching the small intestine for absorption. The small intestine of plant-eating animals tends to be very long (greater than 10 times body length) to allow adequate time and space for absorption of the nutrients.
              The large intestine (colon) of carnivores is simple and very short, as its only purposes are to absorb salt and water. It is approximately the same diameter as the small intestine and, consequently, has a limited capacity to function as a reservoir. The colon is short and non-pouched. The muscle is distributed throughout the wall, giving the colon a smooth cylindrical appearance. Although a bacterial population is present in the colon of carnivores, its activities are essentially putrefactive.
              In herbivorous animals, the large intestine tends to be a highly specialized organ involved in water and electrolyte absorption, vitamin production and absorption, and/or fermentation of fibrous plant materials. The colons of herbivores are usually wider than their small intestine and are relatively long. In some plant-eating mammals, the colon has a pouched appearance due to the arrangement of the muscle fibers in the intestinal wall. Additionally, in some herbivores the cecum (the first section of the colon) is quite large and serves as the primary or accessory fermentation site.
              What About Omnivores?
              One would expect an omnivore to show anatomical features which equip it to eat both animal and plant foods. According to evolutionary theory, carnivore gut structure is more primitive than herbivorous adaptations. Thus, an omnivore might be expected to be a carnivore which shows some gastrointestinal tract adaptations to an herbivorous diet.
              This is exactly the situation we find in the Bear, Raccoon and certain members of the Canine families. (This discussion will be limited to bears because they are, in general, representative of the anatomical omnivores.) Bears are classified as carnivores but are classic anatomical omnivores. Although they eat some animal foods, bears are primarily herbivorous with 70-80% of their diet comprised of plant foods. (The one exception is the Polar bear which lives in the frozen, vegetation poor arctic and feeds primarily on seal blubber.) Bears cannot digest fibrous vegetation well, and therefore, are highly selective feeders. Their diet is dominated by primarily succulent lent herbage, tubers and berries. Many scientists believe the reason bears hibernate is because their chief food (succulent vegetation) not available in the cold northern winters. (Interestingly, Polar bears hibernate during the summer months when seals are unavailable.)
              In general, bears exhibit anatomical features consistent with a carnivorous diet. The jaw joint of bears is in the same plane as the molar teeth. The temporalis muscle is massive, and the angle of the mandible is small corresponding to the limited role the pterygoid and masseter muscles play in operating the jaw. The small intestine is short (less than five times body length) like that of the pure carnivores, and the colon is simple, smooth and short. The most prominent adaptation to an herbivorous diet in bears (and other “anatomical” omnivores) is the modification of their dentition. Bears retain the peg-like incisors, large canines and shearing premolars of a carnivore; but the molars have become squared with rounded cusps for crushing and grinding. Bears have not, however, adopted the flattened, blunt nails seen in most herbivores and retain the elongated, pointed claws of a carnivore.
              An animal which captures, kills and eats prey must have the physical equipment which makes predation practical and efficient. Since bears include significant amounts of meat in their diet, they must retain the anatomical features that permit them to capture and kill prey animals. Hence, bears have a jaw structure, musculature and dentition which enable them to develop and apply the forces necessary to kill and dismember prey even though the majority of their diet is comprised of plant foods. Although an herbivore-style jaw joint (above the plane of the teeth) is a far more efficient joint for crushing and grinding vegetation and would potentially allow bears to exploit a wider range of plant foods in their diet, it is a much weaker joint than the hinge-style carnivore joint. The herbivore-style jaw joint is relatively easily dislocated and would not hold up well under the stresses of subduing struggling prey and/or crushing bones (nor would it allow the wide gape carnivores need). In the wild, an animal with a dislocated jaw would either soon starve to death or be eaten by something else and would, therefore, be selected against. A given species cannot adopt the weaker but more mobile and efficient herbivore-style joint until it has committed to an essentially plant-food diet test it risk jaw dislocation, death and ultimately, extinction.
              What About Me?
              The human gastrointestinal tract features the anatomical modifications consistent with an herbivorous diet. Humans have muscular lips and a small opening into the oral cavity. Many of the so-called “muscles of expression” are actually the muscles used in chewing. The muscular and agile tongue essential for eating, has adapted to use in speech and other things. The mandibular joint is flattened by a cartilaginous plate and is located well above the plane of the teeth. The temporalis muscle is reduced. The characteristic “square jaw” of adult males reflects the expanded angular process of the mandible and the enlarged masseter/pterygoid muscle group. The human mandible can move forward to engage the incisors, and side-to-side to crush and grind.
              Human teeth are also similar to those found in other herbivores with the exception of the canines (the canines of some of the apes are elongated and are thought to be used for display and/or defense). Our teeth are rather large and usually abut against one another. The incisors are flat and spade-like, useful for peeling, snipping and biting relatively soft materials. The canines are neither serrated nor conical, but are flattened, blunt and small and function Like incisors. The premolars and molars are squarish, flattened and nodular, and used for crushing, grinding and pulping noncoarse foods.
              Human saliva contains the carbohydrate-digesting enzyme, salivary amylase. This enzyme is responsible for the majority of starch digestion. The esophagus is narrow and suited to small, soft balls of thoroughly chewed food. Eating quickly, attempting to swallow a large amount of food or swallowing fibrous and/or poorly chewed food (meat is the most frequent culprit) often results in choking in humans.
              Man’s stomach is single-chambered, but only moderately acidic. (Clinically, a person presenting with a gastric pH less than 4-5 when there is food in the stomach is cause for concern.) The stomach volume represents about 21-27% of the total volume of the human GI tract. The stomach serves as a mixing and storage chamber, mixing and liquefying ingested foodstuffs and regulating their entry into the small intestine. The human small intestine is long, averaging from 10 to 11 times the body length. (Our small intestine averages 22 to 30 feet in length. Human body size is measured from the top of the head to end of the spine and averages between two to three feet in length in normal-sized individuals.)
              The human colon demonstrates the pouched structure peculiar to herbivores. The distensible large intestine is larger in cross-section than the small intestine, and is relatively long. Man’s colon is responsible for water and electrolyte absorption and vitamin production and absorption. There is also extensive bacterial fermentation of fibrous plant materials, with the production and absorption of significant amounts of food energy (volatile short-chain fatty acids) depending upon the fiber content of the diet. The extent to which the fermentation and absorption of metabolites takes place in the human colon has only recently begun to be investigated.
              In conclusion, we see that human beings have the gastrointestinal tract structure of a “committed” herbivore. Humankind does not show the mixed structural features one expects and finds in anatomical omnivores such as bears and raccoons. Thus, from comparing the gastrointestinal tract of humans to that of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores we must conclude that humankind’s GI tract is designed for a purely plant-food diet.
              Facial Muscles
              Carnivore Reduced to allow wide mouth gape
              Herbivore Well-developed
              Omnivore Reduced
              Human Well-developed

              Jaw Type
              Carnivore Angle not expanded
              Herbivore Expanded angle
              Omnivore Angle not expanded
              Human Expanded angle

              Jaw Joint Location
              Carnivore On same plane as molar teeth
              Herbivore Above the plane of the molars
              Omnivore On same plane as molar teeth
              Human Above the plane of the molars

              Jaw Motion
              Carnivore Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion
              Herbivore No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back
              Omnivore Shearing; minimal side-to-side
              Human No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back

              Major Jaw Muscles
              Carnivore Temporalis
              Herbivore Masseter and pterygoids
              Omnivore Temporalis
              Human Masseter and pterygoids

              Mouth Opening vs. Head Size
              Carnivore Large
              Herbivore Small
              Omnivore Large
              Human Small

              Teeth (Incisors)
              Carnivore Short and pointed
              Herbivore Broad, flattened and spade shaped
              Omnivore Short and pointed
              Human Broad, flattened and spade shaped

              Teeth (Canines)
              Carnivore Long, sharp and curved
              Herbivore Dull and short or long (for defense), or none
              Omnivore Long, sharp and curved
              Human Short and blunted

              Teeth (Molars)
              Carnivore Sharp, jagged and blade shaped
              Herbivore Flattened with cusps vs complex surface
              Omnivore Sharp blades and/or flattened
              Human Flattened with nodular cusps

              Carnivore None; swallows food whole
              Herbivore Extensive chewing necessary
              Omnivore Swallows food whole and/or simple crushing
              Human Extensive chewing necessary

              Carnivore No digestive enzymes
              Herbivore Carbohydrate digesting enzymes
              Omnivore No digestive enzymes
              Human Carbohydrate digesting enzymes

              Stomach Type
              Carnivore Simple
              Herbivore Simple or multiple chambers
              Omnivore Simple
              Human Simple

              Stomach Acidity
              Carnivore Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach
              Herbivore pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach
              Omnivore Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach
              Human pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach

              Stomach Capacity
              Carnivore 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract
              Herbivore Less than 30% of total volume of digestive tract
              Omnivore 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract
              Human 21% to 27% of total volume of digestive tract

              Length of Small Intestine
              Carnivore 3 to 6 times body length
              Herbivore 10 to more than 12 times body length
              Omnivore 4 to 6 times body length
              Human 10 to 11 times body length

              Carnivore Simple, short and smooth
              Herbivore Long, complex; may be sacculated
              Omnivore Simple, short and smooth
              Human Long, sacculated

              Carnivore Can detoxify vitamin A
              Herbivore Cannot detoxify vitamin A
              Omnivore Can detoxify vitamin A
              Human Cannot detoxify vitamin A

              Carnivore Extremely concentrated urine
              Herbivore Moderately concentrated urine
              Omnivore Extremely concentrated urine
              Human Moderately concentrated urine

              Carnivore Sharp claws
              Herbivore Flattened nails or blunt hooves
              Omnivore Sharp claws
              Human Flattened nails

  29. Clearly if humans were meant to eat meat we wouldn’t have so many crucial ingestive/digestive similarities with animals that are herbivores.

    Lets take a deeper look at the anatomical and physiological features of humans, and animals. Starting with the teeth, omnivores and carnivores teeth are spaced, and all are sharply pointed. Omnivores teeth are adapted to tearing through fur…, bones, muscles, organs, and flesh. Vision of omnivores and carnivores is mainly color-less. Herbivores and frugivores can see the full scale of color. Mammary glands of omnivores and carnivores have multiple teats for litters. Herbivores and frugivores only have one baby, and very rarely multiples (without med’s). The placenta of omnivores and carnivores are zonary shape, and herbivores and frugivores are discoid-shape. Humans spend about 8 hours sleeping or less, same as herbivores and frugivores. Omnivores and carnivores spend about 18-20 hours per day. Herbivores don’t have claws, and neither does frugivores. Omnivores and carnivores have tails, claws, and paws. Omnivores have very tiny salivary glands, whereas humans have well-developed salivary glands. Humans have alkaline saliva ranging about pH of 7.4. Herbivores is 7.0-7.5 pH. Omnivores and carnivores have an acidic pH. Omnivores and carnivores stomach pH is 1-2(and can be 1,000x stronger than humans). Humans stomach pH is 4-5. Herbivores is 4-5. Carnivores and omnivores secrete uricase to metabolize uric acid in flesh. Herbivores do not, and frugivores do not. Humans do not secrete uricase. Humans, herbivores, and frugivores all have salivary digestive enzymes and very little lysosomes in the mouth. Carnivores and omnivores do not have salivary digestive enzymes and they do have a large amount of lysosomes in the mouth.
    This is where humans differ from herbivores and are more related to frugivores. Some herbivores have 3-4 stomach compartments, with a GI tract 20 times longer than the body length. Frugivores have a GI tract about 12 times longer than body length. Omnivores and carnivores have a GI tract 3 times longer. Frugivores have a convoluted colon. Herbivores have an intestinal canal both smooth and convoluted. Omnivores and carnivores have a smooth colon, short. Herbivores and frugivores can convert ALA–> DHA & EPA. Men convert mainly in their reproductive organs and brain tissue. Women convert in all of their tissues. Any studies stating otherwise failed to sample specific tissues such as the reproductive tissue and brain tissue. Herbivores and frugivores also can convert SCFA’s to LCFA’s. However, omnivores and carnivores are not capable of doing this. Herbivores live mainly on grass and plants, humans live on vegetables and fruits. Actually, we aren’t even capable of digesting meat but at a rate of 40%. Meaning, 60% is wasted, to sit in our GI tracts for 3 days. Carnivores and omnivores will defecate within several hours after consuming an animal. Humans it takes on average 3 days. This is why gastrointestinal cancers, and colon cancers occur! Herbivores and frugivores brain and B12 are fueled by glycogen (stored glucose). Carnivores and omnivores brains are fueled by fats and proteins.

    If you were to compare humans to a certain species, I would say they are most similar to frugivores. Besides, after every single meal, what do you crave the most? Sweets, right? Well, fruit is the most sweetest food naturally grown, thus, in the wild we would be munching on fruit.

  30. Science Verifies That Humans’ Ancestors Were Frugivores

    The human digestive system has been adapted to a diet of fruits and vegetables for more than 60 million years of development. A few thousand years of aberrant eating will not change our dietary requirements for optimum health.

  31. file:///D:/e%20drive%20copy/SaveData%20(E)/Veggie%20facts/veggie%20stuff/Evolutionary%20Nutrition%20%20The%20Scientific%20and%20Theoretical%20Validation%20of%20Veganism%20-%20N.%20Atiba%20Amen-Ra%20-%20Google%20Livros.htm

  32. 1. You keep ask me to do things like going to the library and bla bla bla, yet you don’t seem to do them yourselves. You ask me to read things from experts, I did, and I have posted some links which you have no reply from. Which means either you don’t read it because you think you are so right and whatever I posted are crap or you can’t make any form of come back after reading it.

    2. I do read your stuff, and I sure as hell posted the B12 argument ALL FROM THE LINKS YOU GAVE ME. Basically you are slapping yourself in the face because you posted links that you said are proof that we can get all the nutrients we need from vegetables yet those sites YOU POSTED YOUSELF have shown that vegans are having difficulty on some nutrients. “Very few vegans are actually B12 deficient”, yeah right, do you actually read the links you gave me and/or the links I gave you? Most, if not all of them, stated that vegans are more likely to be B12 deficient. One site evens state that 92% of vegans are B12 deficient. Yet, you said “very few vegans are actually B12 deficient” with no links or whatever. How is your own statement going to be believable against like 7-8 links combined from me and YOU(yes, you) that shows otherwise? I even pulled all the B12 segment of all the links you showed me above so you can see them clearly without going to the sites you showed me.

    3. And of course, I can based my points on B12(but not solely either) as even vegans themselves are discussing about it among themselves in forum and various vegan boards. You know a point is strong when even vegans themselves have problem coming up with counter points.

    4. I do read expert’s research and have posted various links. You ability to “ignore what you don’t want to read” and then tell me that I am basing everything on my personal opinion is splendid to say the least. I have posted replies on your link, yet the only link you have said something about is the pro Atkin diet. Aside from that you give me no feedback and continue to keep wrap everything around the anatomy like it’s the Holy Grail of statement. How am I going to believe you when you don’t reply on my thing?

    5. BTW, I have been to the local library and all the books they have said we are omnivores leaning toward the herbivores side but not (100%) herbivores by design. Now what? You are going to say the library of my place sucks(To be fair, they are; reading isn’t a huge deal in my country)?

    6. Now, I will reply on your links once again because I am unlike you:

    No offense but I don’t really trust that Scribd link, it’s as “made up” as a blog to me.

    As for The Comparative Anatomy of Eating, well, I have found some papers on us being omnivores and some like yours, states that we are frugivores. So, no conclusion. Plenty of links have state that human are not completely herbivores.

    Okay, assumign your statements on our ancestors have been eating fruits for 60 millions years are right, that still doesn’t take away from the fact that we have been eating meats for 2.5 millions years and are still a living species on Earth. I am pretty sure pure herbivores like cows are unlikely to survive if they eat things they ratio we do. One trait of omnivore is their adaptability to their environment and we sure are. Cows would probably die in desert because of their lack of flexibility but humans survived in desert or just any other environment because of such flexibilities. Omnivores always prefer one class of food, the one they are leaning toward, like squirrels always take nuts and seeds but they are eating eggs and nestlings when the environment has made them. If we are strictly herbivores, then why are we suddenly going for meats then? You don’t see cows suddenly go “Ah, I am going to eat fruit” one day. They eat grass throughout their entire existence as a species. Omnivores like human, bears and squirrels are much more flexible. Going from the “they eat whatever they can find but generally prefer one types of food”, human are omnivores.

    7. There are also argument that the species closest to us are apes(no shit) and people keep saying that apes are herbivores. I beg to defer: am sure as hell this is an expert’s research). Going back to the list of content, you will find “Timeline of dietary shifts in the human line of evolution”. Granted, it really proves you are right about us being herbivorous(but before that, we are insectivores and that’s on the carnivore side) in the veyr early stage, it also shows that our diets are constantly changing and we have been eating omnivorous diet since we are “true human”. Aside from that, the timeline also shows that we are eating various things in various time, probably because we are forced to. This really shows that we are omnivore by nature because we roll with the environment. You won’t see this type of timeline on a pure herbivores, they are going to eat the same kind of food ALL THE TIME, that’s what make them herbivores.

    • Speaking of frugivore, are there any readings on people in the current days following a fruit-based diet? I am curious to see how that work in today because to me, it just doesn’t work easily in today’s world?

      • I actually did go to the library on many occasions and got out a lot of books on comparative anatomy and physiology and I know that our bodies are nowhere near the bodies of an omnivore. Can you discredit any of the information I gave regarding our physiology compared to that of an omnivore? I know you cannot.
        Apes are in fact vegetarians. If you look at what they actually eat you will see that a tiny percentage is meat and often that is done not for nutrition but for territorial purposes and it is only the males that do it. If you refer to the world’s foremost expert on apes, Jane Goodall, you will see that they are in fact vegetarian.
        Meat eaters are actually more likely to have a B12 deficiency than vegans

        You have conveniently ignored the fact that the reason both meat eaters and vegans/vegetarians may have problems with B12 is not because of our natural diet being lacking but because of modern farming techniques. Please take the whole story rather than trying to nit pick with something that is patently incorrect.
        Yes, we have been eating meat for 2.5 million years but our physiology and anatomy have not changed. It is still that of a herbivore/frugivore. Can you show me how our anatomy is that of an omnivore? I have gone into depth as to our physiological and anatomical traits that show we are not omnivores. Please show me a list of reasons why our bodies are omnivorous.
        As for the links I posted saying that we have trouble getting all the nutrients we need from a plant based diet. I think you have not read them. Every national nutritional board has stated that we can get EVERYTHING we need at ALL stages of life from a plant based diet. We cannot get this from a total meat diet. This in itself shows that we are not omnivores as an omnivore can live completely on either plants or meat. We cannot do that. The races with the highest intake of meat have also the highest incidences of illnesses and diseases.
        With regards your library I am certain that you did not look for books on comparative anatomy and physiology as every single one of them show that we are not omnivores. I would be interested in the titles of the books you actually did look at. I have seen scores of books on the subject and not one single book, dealing with COMPARATIVE anatomy and physiology, says that we are omnivores

        • 1. I have make my replies numerical as to make them easier to reply to(so you can give reply to each argument) yet you have not really replied much of them. You keep ask me if I can discredit your information, yet you doesn’t attempt to discredit my information either, thus making it a tie at best. All you keep saying is anatomy and physiology, which granted, is a strong argument, but you have no said anything new. It will be more convincible if you can discredit me instantly.

          2. Speaking of discredit, I have posted links of expert’s research to counter your argument that your apes argument on the previous post’s point 7. You will have to do more than saying “apes are in fact vegetarians” to counter that, I would like to see some expert’s research on your side, like Jane Goodall’s research paper for example. Until then I can only take your words for it, which in itself isn’t really convincing since it’s the internet.

          3. I have no doubt that meat eaters have B12 deficiency as well. I never say meat eater have perfect record of no B12 deficiency at all. Yet, all the links you and me given so far has showed that vegeterians nowadays have more problem with B12 deficiency. Backed up by so many statistic, it’s hard to see otherwise.

          4. I am still interested if you could find anything about a pure fruit diet in today’s world.

        • 5. As for the library point, whether you believe or not, I live in a rather rural state of a developing country and the traffic here is a problem especially when you don’t have a car, which I don’t have. So as much as I would like to go to the library again, it’s hard to do so because of the distance and the lack of public traffic that go there from where I live.

  33. Humans are omnivores as a product of evolution. The ability to eat plants or animals is one of the primary factors that has allowed us to survive for millions of years. While we have a choice of whether we wish to eat plants as opposed to animals, a portion of the population may not actually be able to enforce this choice without a survival predicament. This is because the human consciousness (as incredibly complex as it is) is theorized to be innately based off of past generations when it comes to survival.
    I love your arguments above and i think its fantastic that you’ve managed to rationalize your views with evidence and logic! but ALWAYS remember that different people think and see the world in very different ways, making not every argument one sided.

    • Unfortunately our evolution has not changed our bodies in ANY significant way from herbivores/frugivores towards omnivores. In fact, if anything, evolution has actually made us herbivorous and not the other way round. This is easily shown by looking at our anatomy and physiology. If you look through the above links in the thread you will see that we are without doubt NATURAL herbivores. The ability to eat meat does not make an animal an omnivore. If it did then just about every single animal would be classed as an omnivore. This is a mistake that is frequently made when calling humans omnivores.

  34. Pingback: I Hope This Makes You Uncomfortable | VeganRabbit

  35. Unfortunately, as scientific proof about plants develops during this recent important round of testing they are doing since the 60’s and 70’s, the cruelty-free eating argument is falling apart. Now we have even more confirmations about plants feeling pain, knowing that we eat them, communicating to other plants when they are in danger, and having a complex underground internet like web to connect each other. I am sure that there is more about to come, and this is truly a fascinating, mind opening, consciousness widening discovery. It is revolutionary, indeed.

    We have to be in peace with the truth: eating plants is as cruel as eating animals. We have to do as the Native Americans do: to bless the living being –animal or plant- to ask for forgiveness, and to be grateful. We have to tone down our selves, being humble as we realize and reflect upon the limitation we have of not being able to survive without eating another living being.

    The only cruelty-free way to survive that we know at this moment of history is brethariasnism. There is another second way, and it is man-made: the new 3-D printed food, taken directly from nutritious matter from the soil – the mineral kingdom. Still, we are assuming that Earth is inert – but if it is true that Earth – the mineral kingdom – is alive, as few scientist are arguing now, the 3-D printed food will also be cruelty based.

    The argument that by not eating meat we are sponsoring excessive breeding of animals, and the animal industry, it is as saying that by eating plants we are not sponsoring the industry of plant based food. Simply not true.
    The only way we do not sponsor excessiveness, is by eating local and organic from family based businesses, or doing it yourself. The same way that eating local and organic from family based agricultural small business, can be applied to the family based meat and eggs small businesses that sell organic pasture fed animals. Just the same: Both grow and kill with the least possible cruelty.

    The ONLY problems vegans have to compromise with, from now on, is simply the ego-based argument. That is all. This is what it is all about and it is being always about. This is not about telling vegans they can eat meat – please don’t. This is about telling vegans that the ego-based/ superiority-based arguments are over. The 40+ years of bullying and attacks to omnivores are over. The pamphletarian part, the doctrine part is over. All that ego-based part is over.
    Science is documenting and publishing more testing that show that eating plants is as cruel as eating animals. It is that simple. Vegans have no other problem than this. Just accepting the mistake – not by practicing veganism, but the being intolerant and claiming superiority part. It is only the ego-based part that was wrong.

    The NEW higher consciousness eating habit is called: TOLERANCE TO DIFFERENCES, BEING HUMBLE AND GRATEFUL.
    (just as tolerant we must be with race, gender, etc)

    Vegans and omnivores can together now fight food industry, and corporatocracy, which are the real threat to all living things and Mother Earth.

    • If you believe that that eating plants is as cruel as eating animals, you should go fruitarian or at the very least, vegan. As I stated in my post (which you clearly didn’t bother to read), vegans don’t filter nutrition through someone else’s digestive system. Vegans consume and “murder” fewer plants than non-vegans because we are not contributing to an industry which feeds livestock animals far greater amounts of plants than vegans could ever consume directly.

  36. ‘Unfortunately, as scientific proof about plants develops during this recent important round of testing they are doing since the 60’s and 70’s, the cruelty-free eating argument is falling apart. ‘
    Really????? I work in this field and I have seen no new evidence that shows this whatsoever.

    Certain bacteria, when faced with a catastrophe of sorts such as chemicals in the water that cannot be escaped, will emit a battle cry, which is chemical signaling; this results in the bacterial population to coalesce into a tight ball formation. When the chemicals hit, the bacteria on the outer layers will die but hopefully by the time that chemicals disappear from the water, the bacteria protected in the inside of the ball will be able to multiply again. Similarly in flagellated algae such as Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, they use flagella to swim on the surface of water. If there are negative environmental stimuli, they will exhibit negative chemitaxis, i.e, they will swim away from it. If they cannot escape, they will self-excise their flagella and float to the bottom of the pond; they focus on regrowing their flagella and then swim back up to the cell surface where hopefully, the negative stimuli (acidic pH, chemicals etc) have largely disappeared.

    The problem is that the definition of sentience is not the same for everyone. As you can see, even unicellular organisms like bacteria (in which flagellated members also exhibit chemotaxis) and algae avoid harmful situations. Gary Francione’s litmus test for sentience is “can they suffer?” Suffering as a word implies an awareness of the organism to harm being visited upon it. In the past, suffering/pain was traditionally thought to happen only in humans because it was thought that the awareness (consciousness) of pain required an advanced neocortex, which is also needed for consciousness. Now, prominent neuroscientists have declared that animals without advanced cortices have achieved consciousness states similar to humans, but these animals still all have nervous systems. Plants have never been shown to have a nervous system, and there is no proof that a chemical system can fully replicate the autonomic, enteric, and parasympathetic nervous systems of higher organisms.

    Even if plants do feel pain then being vegan is helping more plants to live, helping the environment, saving the lives and the torture of billions of animals. Not difficult to grasp that really is it? Also, as we MUST eat to live then we should eat what is natural and what our bodies are designed for and that is most definitely NOT meat.
    How on earth do you imagine that vegans can work with omnivores with regards food? It will never happen. The two are diametrically opposed.

    • “How on earth do you imagine that vegans can work with omnivores with regards food? It will never happen. The two are diametrically opposed. ”

      The same way Whites, Blacks, Asians and Latinos work together against racism.

      The same way Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Shamans, work together for peace, understanding, and spiritual solutions to the world.

      The same way heterosexuals and the LGBT community work together for gender equality.

      The same way men and feminists work together to stop abuse on women and girls.

      The same way I see in my local organic farmers’ market people of the stand of all plants products and people of the stands of organic meat products sharing together the same space in peace, tolerance, and harmony.

      Why not?
      Why separation?
      Why fundamentalism?
      Why going backwards, when the world is pushing forward in consciousness?
      Why exclusion, right when we are entering into an era when people of the world are finally realizing we are all one?
      Why not choosing humbleness and realizing we kill living beings to live, embrace the limitation we have, and work together to stop the corporate food industry – by making food with the least possible cruelty for the living thing we are eating?

      • I will try to make it as simple as possible. Vegans are completely against killing of animals especially for food. Omnivores are pro killing of animals for food. The two cannot mix. A vegan cannot support an omnivore to try and stop cruelty to animals when the animals are still being killed for food. Pretty simple to me but as an omnivore you are never going to understand that are you?
        Your analogies are not even close to the example I gave. Blacks whites etc have a common ground against racism. Different religions have a common ground towards peace. There is NO common ground with omnivores and vegans. One wants to kill and eat animals and the other wants to stop eating and killing animals.
        You really do not understand this do you?

        • Thank you so much for your intelligent and cohesive explanations. If anyone doesn’t understand the points you are making, they are more than likely simply trying to waste your time and energy.

          Too many of the opposing side’s arguments remind me of the old Big Lebowski argument of “yeah well, that’s just like, your opinion… man…” The fact is, it takes far less time to make a stupid argument than it does to refute one, even when you’ve got logic, science, and facts on your side.

        • Hey Paul. I believe a possible common ground is animal welfare. If we seek to lower animal suffering no matter in which form, we need incremental change. Let us face the fact that we vegetarians represent a very small fraction of the world. For the other 95% of the world, we need to minimize the suffering of farm animals. This means stopping CAFO’s, ending gestation crates, improving living conditions of factory farmed animals, and general animal welfare issues. I believe that animal activist organizations can (and they do) cause great help to animals by partnering with small time farmers and omnivores, who may share a common ground of improving animal welfare, to help remove some of the suffering. Thanks for the bacteria info, that was very inciteful :)

  37. Im a omnivore, I eat both plants and animals,and I was always taught to respect animals especially those that were killed for food.

    I’m just going to say this I knew a lady who lived to be 103 and ate meat and vegetables, One of my great aunts lived to be 97 and ate meat. Heck even my grandmother lived till 91 and she also ate meat. My family has eaten meat since the Great Depression, and before during the Potato Famine. There is nothing wrong with eating meat, as long as it comes from a better place And I also agree that plants don’t have a central nervous system and fruits and nuts are picked for us to eat

    I’m all for vegetarians and vegans for their opinion but I can’t survive without meat with just plants I get sick pretty much, My body needs both plants and animals to thrive, If I live to be a hundred It be pretty awesome.

    • Anoyomous. You are NOT an omnivore despite you saying it. There are always cases of people living to great ages despite eating meat or drinking heavily or smoking heavily etc. There are also meat eaters who die young so your examples really do not mean anything.
      As for you saying you cannot survive without meat and if you eat only plants you get sick then as a nutritionist I can say that you must have a pretty poor diet if that happens as it has been shown many times that a non meat diet is actually much healthier than one with meat in it providing you eat the correct foods.
      When you say there is nothing wrong with eating meat then perhaps you should tell the animals that live in poor conditions and have horrible painful deaths just for you to have a meal that your body does not need.
      How can you respect an animal that you have killed for food? That does not make sense.

      • I just meant that you can have your diet and I can have mine, and who said I was unhealthy, My doctor said I’m as fit as a horse and in great shape. I also meant the vegan/ vegetarian diet isn’t for everyone. I probably am one of the most healthiest people in my class. I eat McDonalds once in a while like once out of every six months and I walk, I swim and I play soccer and I have a big number of pets 3 cats, three hamsters, a turtle, a dog, aquarium with goldfish 55 gallons, a ten gallon beta fish tank and 4 hermit crabs in a 20 gallon. I take excellent care of my pets. They are all rescues Oh P.S. If god isn’t want us eating animals he wouldn’t have made them out of meat. If I do live to be one hundred I’d be thrilled

        Oh yeah “How can you respect an animal that you have killed as food” I thank god everyday for whatever life was taken don’t start the whole bs that plants have no pain from what I believe every living thing can feel pain. I fish my own food and pick plants and berries. God made everything for a purpose plants animals etc. I never said I was anti vegan either, can’t you just respect me eating meat even though you nice people feel it is wrong

        • No we cannot respect you for eating meat because you have caused pain and suffering to the animals. Our bodies are not designed for eating meat. We are not omnivores. We have no need for meat at all.
          As for plants having feelings then I find that very interesting as no scientific research has ever found this to be true. Plants have no central nervous system and no pain sensors.
          If you say God made animals out of meat for us to eat then why don’t you eat humans, or toads, or spiders or monkeys or lions or snakes?
          I never said you were not healthy, what I said was that a non meat diet is HEALTHIER.
          Your comment about ‘you can have your diet and I can have mine’. How would you react if a child molester said ‘you can have your morals and I can have mine’?
          A vegan cannot respect someone who pays for animals to suffer, and live a horrible life before dying a horrible painful death. Why on earth would we respect someone like that? You just don’t get it at all do you?
          You sound as if you are still in school. Forgive me if I am incorrect on that. An awful lot of illnesses caused by bad diet takes years to manifest themselves and even though you may be healthy now then there is no guarantee that will last for ever. Meat causes the body to become acidic and most illnesses flourish in an acidic environment, such as cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis etc. You are playing a game of percentages that unfortunately are not in your favour.
          You also say a vegan/vegetarian diet isn’t for everyone yet EVERY SINGLE national nutritional board around the world says that a vegan or vegetarian diet is suitable for ALL PEOPLE OF ALL AGES.
          The ONLY reason a non meat diet is not for you is because you like the taste of meat.
          Just think that every time you eat chicken that if it came from a battery farm it has lived a horrendous painful life. Also chicken is female as male chicks are no use to the industry so they are ground up ALIVE as waste. You are contributing to that.
          Don’t even get me started on ecological problems caused by animal rearing for food.
          If you don’t care about your health then try caring about the health of the rest of the world and the life of our planet.

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