Let’s Not Eat Too Ethically 

Being eaten really is an ancestral nightmare

Botanist Stefano Mancuso studies what might be called the consciousness of plants. In a recent interview, he gave a forthright pair of answers that really cracked me up.

As we learn more about the sophistication and sensitivity of plants, should we think twice about eating them?

It’s an interesting question. Many vegan people have written to me asking this. First, I think it’s ethical to eat plants because we are animals, and as animals we can only survive by eating other living organisms – this is a law that we cannot break. Second, it’s much more ethical to eat a plant than, for example, beef, because to produce a kilo of beef, you need to kill one tonne of plants, so it’s much better to eat directly a kilo of plants. The third point is that it’s very difficult for us to imagine being a plant, because for us being eaten is an ancestral nightmare, whereas plants evolved to be eaten, it’s part of the cycle. A fruit is an organ that is produced to be eaten by an animal.

So fruit is probably the most ethical thing you can eat, more so than, say, kale?

Maybe fruit is the most ethical, but you need to defecate on the ground afterwards, because otherwise you are breaking the cycle.

I’m all for ethical eating, but I say we continue to break that cycle.