Plants are actively intelligent: What does this mean for vegetarians?

Saturday, February 20, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: plant intelligence, vegetarianism, health news

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(NaturalNews) Most vegetarians believe that by not eating animals, they are preserving life. Everyone knows that plants are alive but they are not viewed with the same level of intelligence as animals are. As science continues to uncover the complex nature of plants, it is becoming more apparent that plants are actively intelligent life that pursue their continued existence in similar ways as do animals.

Research on the subject naturally flies in the face of strict vegetarianism which often insists that eating animals is murder but eating plants is just fine. Yet the facts illustrate that the characteristics of animals used to argue that eating them is murder also apply to plants. In other words, in order for strict vegetarians to be consistent in their beliefs, they would also have to stop eating fruits and vegetables.

Plants are very sensitive to environmental changes and they have many built-in mechanisms to ward off attackers. They strive to find the best resources and have been observed to actually anticipate hurdles to survival and work to overcome them in advance.

According to Monika Hilker from the Institute of Biology at the Free University of Berlin, plants are intelligent life that communicate through chemical signals. They are capable of listening, talking, seeing, and feeling, all senses for which most people think only animals have the capability.

Linda Walling from the University of California agrees, noting that animals actively ward off predators in order to survive. Many plants release chemicals or other deterrents when a bug nips at their leaves or stems, similar to how the immune system releases antibodies to ward off infection or disease. Plants are also able to identify nearby plant competitors and alter their growth patterns away from other plants.

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University analyzed plant responses to predators and found that in less than 20 minutes, a plant being eaten by a caterpillar was able to convert carbon from the air into a chemical compound designed to deter the caterpillar from continuing. It appeared to perform this task entirely from scratch.

Plants also send signals that are the equivalent of a cry for help, often attracting predators of their predators who snatch up the attackers and eat them. This is just one of many ways in which plants communicate with the living world around them in order to survive.

Rather than serve as a point of contention, the facts about intelligent plant life merely call into question the alleged ethics of eating only plants rather than animals. Both are intelligent creatures designed to maintain survival. Humans are even more intelligent creatures, choosing to survive by eating plants, animals, or both.

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