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Is being vegetarian really that noble ? Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by siddiqua, India Jul 18, 2009
Environment   Opinions


A few years ago, I read an article where a co-founder of Greenpeace condemned meat eaters as 'necrophiles'. Recently, we have seen animal rights and animal rights activists on the forefront in the news - ranging from blaming cattle for the increment in global warming to PETA's castigation of President Barack Obama for swatting a fly during a White House briefing. The July 2009 edition on TIG's Panorama Zine also featured Animal Rights as its theme. Time and again we have seen a radicalisation of the vegan movement, where meat eaters are severely criticised for eating "live" animals.

While I am all for animals rights and preventing cruelty to animals, the question I would like to pose to vegetarians here is whether they can justify their actions and their commitment to eating only greens as a superior or noble cause ? Why do I beg to differ ? Why do I feel that vegetarians should be as much in the dock for cruelty as they blame meat eaters for cruelty ?

My reasons are based on the the very real fact that plants are as much alive as animals and us humans. When a vegetarian consumes plants, does he not realize that the grains he is eating are alive and capable of giving rise to new life. Plants are cruelly cut, uprooted from their resting place, their seeds and fruit separated from the parent plant. Just because they are unable to speak, unable to express their pain in cries, are we justified in inflicting so much damage on them ? Because they cannot move, do we remain insensitive and cut them ? It's like ignoring the deaf, dumb, blind, physically handicapped in our societies.

Every plant is a marvelous living being, evolved over millions of years, capable of reproduction - sexual as well as asexual, there are female and male plants, the act of dispersing pollen in nothing short of miraculous. Is an inanimate thing able to do the same? No.

Plants have immune systems that rush to their aid when a plant is injured, just like our immune systems, they have vascular systems that uptake food and water, they bleed sap when they're cut, they adapt themselves to climatic conditions and to potential predators, much like animals in various geographic regions of the world have adapted over the years. If a porcupine can release its quills on contact, there are plants that do the same. Given the right conditions they are able to develop symbiotic relationships with other plants or other species like fungi, bacteria, including animal species. They respond to light and dark, to yearly and monthly cycles.

Plants have totipotent cells that can give rise to the entire organism, much like stem cells. They are able to process complex information, possess electrical signaling and communication, and as JC Bose famously said, 'plants have consciousness'. Much has to be studied about their neurobiological function and behavioral responses. Plants are not merely passive entities subject to environmental stress and factors, but are complex living beings, as complex as any animal species.

Vegetarians do not give a second thought while consuming plants because they don't realize that the very thing they are eating was alive. So it has no voice, so you are insensitive and ignore the fact that it was alive and growing. Isn't that as cruel as killing animals for food ?

When crops are grown, pesticides, fungicides and other sprays are used to kill insects like beetles and locusts that devour and destroy entire crops, to kill microscopic organisms that cause rust and leaf spots and wilting of entire crops, to kill rodents and other burrowing animals that eat root crops. So harvesting crops is at the expense and lives of very many living beings. Even bacteria and fungi have sexual reproduction. They are as alive as you or I.

So I wonder how anyone can justify that being vegetarian is superior or less cruel. There is a line in the Quran which says, 'do not destroy life that is sacred except for just cause'. This is applicable not only to species that move and have voices but to all living beings, plant and animal.

I feel that vegetarians aren't doing the world a favour, nor are they being noble in their deeds. When you realize that everything on Earth is living, that the Earth herself is a living entity, then you find that we're all in the same boat, whether you choose to consume species from the plant or animal kingdoms.



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Is being vegetarian really that noble?
Henry Ekwuruke | Jul 20th, 2009
To say that we meet at a time of unprecedented global challenges is to say the obvious. More than at any other time in history, we are living through a very testy period that underscores how the world has truly been shrunk into that metaphorical global village, how truly interconnected we have become, and how events originating from one part of this global village can have such a profound impact on all. We have always been aware of our shared humanity; now, after decades of complacency, we are forcefully reminded of the soft underbelly of our shared vulnerabilities.

Is being vegetarian really that noble?
George | Aug 5th, 2009
before the great floods man was purely a vegetarian and after the floods they started eating flesh, cause they had no other choice (including the forefathers of all the veg eaters of today) the book of Revelation says that after the day of Judgment even the wild animals like tiger, lion etc would eat grass along with the cows (good news for the vegetarians) - no exception all human beings will have to eat only idly vada and sambar no more biriyani

asma siddiqua sayed | Aug 6th, 2009
If even carnivores in the animal kingdom started eating plants, I believe you wouldn't even get to eat idli-vada and sambar. I'm sure tigers and lions would be eating the urad dal plants, and how about rice grasses too, after 'grazing' on forest land.

katie | Aug 5th, 2010
people are destroying forests to raise cows for meat when they could be growing a lot more plants and produce a lot more food for people but I have been asked why do you eat plants theyre living too and I simply say I eat what the plant produces not the plant itself I eat the apple that comes off the tree I dont eat the tree besides that there is a lot of advantages for vegetarians. Its healthy for you, its good news for the animals and better for the enviroment. Plus vegetarians tend to live 10-15 years longer then those who eat meat.

Eating meat isn't the only cause
asma siddiqua sayed | Aug 5th, 2010
Forests are also being cut down for agriculture, monoculture. In India, forests are being cleared for cattle. but in India, the majority of the population is vegetarian. And the cow is a sacred animal, so in many states across the country cow meat is banned. Yet this hasn't solved the problem of man-animal conflict when it comes to managing forests. If the largest portion of plants grown are cattle feed, then isn't it logical that you do something about the cattle population ? How would you solve the problem of overpopulation of cows? By culling ? I am really talking about India because I don't know about the cattle industry in the West. And I am referring to cows because you brought it up. You eat the apple, but then an entire rice plant is uprooted for the grain. So even if you eat what the plant produces, you are also destroying the entire plant in the case of the major cereal crops of the world. Are you sure you can subsist only on apples all your life ? People cut down trees for many other reasons like making tissue paper for toilet use. Its a major destroyer of forest land and uses up much precious water. Being vegetarian cannot save the world. Its just being moderate in your consumption , whether its meat or vegetables , that will give us a good chance of a better environment.

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