In fact, we now know that if we were really concerned about plants, we'd be vegans anyway because we kill more plants by eating animals.
There's a common argument that's often used in an attempt to belittle vegans by making them seem inconsistent in their ethics. It's the idea that plants have feelings too. Surprisingly, the New York Times recently published an article entitled, "Sorry, Vegans: Brussels Sprouts Like to Live, Too." It's surprising because with just a dose of critical thinking, we can easily come to understand that this argument is irrelevant, irrational, and frankly nonsensical.
We can logically debunk this contention in several ways, but there are three articles of reason that immediately dispel it.
1. You kill more plants by eating animals than by eating plants directly.
Let's just pretend that plants and animals respond to stimuli equally, which would give one a valid concern for consuming plants. In order to reduce the most amount of plant suffering, you would need to become a vegan because you inevitably kill more plants by eating animals. This is simple to understand, because we know that the animals we eat ultimately derive their energy from plants.
Think about how many pounds of plant foods a cow must eat before it's ready to be slaughtered or milked. By the time you're enjoying that hamburger, the cow that provided it had eaten hundreds, maybe even thousands of pounds of plant food. Now you're killing plants to make the cow, you're killing the cow, and you're probably killing more plants with those fries you're enjoying. Imagine how many plants we would save if we cut out the middle-cow and went straight to the source- plants.
2. Plants lack a central nervous system.
Unlike animals, plants do not have a central nervous system. Our central nervous system is what allows us to almost immediately respond to stimuli. The animals we eat have central nervous systems just like us, which makes it conceivable that they feel pain as we do.
Plants do not have a central nervous system, so they respond much more slowly to stimuli than we do. There may be some interesting studies that conclude that plants are more complex than we once thought, but there's no evidence that plants are on an equal level with animals in their response to stimuli. Think about it this way; do you feel the same way about kicking a dog as you do about stomping on a patch of grass?
3. We need to consume plants to survive.
Vegans can survive and thrive healthfully without eating animals, because humans have no biological need to consume animal products. Science has indicated that we do not need animal products to develop and live normally. What we do know is that we need to eat plants to survive.
We know that we don't need to kill animals to live and we know that animals are more like us than plants because we are animals too. If we had to pick and choose, it's incredibly obvious that animals suffer immensely more from negative stimuli than plants. Even if plants were feeling something, we need to eat them to survive. The same cannot be said for the consumption of animals.
In conclusion, we can see that the position that plants suffer too still does not justify the consumption of animals. In fact, we now know that if we were really concerned about plants, we'd be vegans anyway because we kill more plants by eating animals.
Do a bit of research for yourself and consider the many other ways in which this claim can be disproved. You will discover that this argument is only ever used in the context of supporting the consumption of animals and is never used in sincere regard to the feelings of plants.