A convicted cannibal reported that human flesh tasted similar to pork, but a little tougher. Eating animal flesh is one step removed from cannibalism and eating plants is much farther removed from that “dog-eat-dog” mentality. Pigs scream in slaughterhouses when they are about to meet their death. They look you in the eyes and wonder why you are doing this to them. I am pretty sure it is not the same horror for lettuce or carrots. Perhaps someday we will evolve to living without harming plants because they are a life form with many intricate processes. However, the first step is in the elimination of eating animals because they are sentient.
The nonhumans we exploit, as a species, are clearly conscious of sense perceptions. Sentient beings have minds; they have preferences and show a desire to live by running from those who would harm them or crying out in pain. Although plants respond to sunlight and other stimuli, they are not considered sentient; they don’t have a mind, they don’t think about or fear death, they are not aware and conscious. Plants do not have a nervous system, benzodiazepine (pain) receptors, or endogenous opiates such as endorphins that alleviate pain following major injury, which begs the questions of why an animal would have this function if they did not feel pain. Feeling pain is a part of sentience.
Vegetables and fruit are so vibrant with color; beautifully enticing us to eat them and spread their seeds. Many of the plant foods we eat don’t involve directly harming the plants, specifically fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, legumes and grains. If someone genuinely were concerned about plants having feelings, they could become a fruitarian. A rotting dead body is disgusting and it never ceases to amaze me that many people think of a carcass as food.
Also if people are so concerned about plants, they should know that those who eat animals are consuming more plants than those who eat plants directly. Cows, pigs, chickens and other farmed animals are fed large amounts of plants that are inefficiently converted into flesh, milk and other animal products. Also, we are clearing Amazonian rainforest (life-giving plants that are the lungs of our planet) for the farming of animals.
Anyone who thinks there is no difference in a plant’s suffering compared to an animal is being illogical and it’s disturbing that the response ‘don’t you care about plant suffering’ is a common come-back. Non-vegans will often try to prove that there is no difference between plants and animals as a rationalization so they can turn a sentient animal into a commodity - enslave, eat and use other animals without guilt. But there is no evidence of Truth to their position.