(Image Via Roger Meissen)
Many vegetarians/vegans feel that raising animals for food is an inhumane and barbaric practice, yet they gladly chomp down on fresh fruits and vegetables without a care in the world for what those plants are feeling:
Okay, so maybe saying a plant has feelings is a bit of an overstatement, but a new report from the University of Missouri-Columbia has revealed that plants respond to the sound of a caterpillar chewing on them by going into combat mode and releasing chemical agents meant to protect them from harm:
In the study, the researchers put caterpillars on Arabidopsis, a small, cabbage-like plant, and pointed a laser at a reflective section of the plant's surface. That way, they were able to measure the different ways the plant moved in response to a chewing caterpillar. Then, the scientists removed the caterpillar from the equation entirely and only played back recordings they'd made of the crunching caterpillar's vibrations. For another plant, they played back only silence.
After placing live caterpillars back on both sets of plants, the researchers found that the set that had been exposed to the caterpillar's feeding sounds produced more mustard oil, a chemical that's meant to fend off hungry critters.
These findings suggest that plants exhibit self preservation instincts, considered one of the basic instincts found in humans and animals that suggests they "feel" themselves being consumed by a caterpillar.
Will these new findings challenge the vegan argument that meat consumption is bad because "They can all feel pain, fear and happiness", or will they stop eating plants when we discover that plants have feelings too?