Animal, Vegetable, Or Stupid!

Just when you think that Europe’s far Left is almost beyond parody, they somehow manage to kick it up yet another notch,

You just knew it was coming: At the request of the Swiss government, an ethics panel has weighed in on the “dignity” of plants and opined that the arbitrary killing of flora is morally wrong. This is no hoax. The concept of what could be called “plant rights” is being seriously debated.

A few years ago the Swiss added to their national constitution a provision requiring “account to be taken of the dignity of creation when handling animals, plants and other organisms.” No one knew exactly what it meant, so they asked the Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology to figure it out. The resulting report, “The Dignity of Living Beings with Regard to Plants,” is enough to short circuit the brain.

A “clear majority” of the panel adopted what it called a “biocentric” moral view, meaning that “living organisms should be considered morally for their own sake because they are alive.” Thus, the panel determined that we cannot claim “absolute ownership” over plants and, moreover, that “individual plants have an inherent worth.” This means that “we may not use them just as we please, even if the plant community is not in danger, or if our actions do not endanger the species, or if we are not acting arbitrarily.”

The committee offered this illustration: A farmer mows his field (apparently an acceptable action, perhaps because the hay is intended to feed the farmer’s herd–the report doesn’t say). But then, while walking home, he casually “decapitates” some wildflowers with his scythe. The panel
decries this act as immoral, though its members can’t agree why.

Plants have “dignity?” It’s immoral to “decapitate…” wildflowers? Plant rights?


…I know I should bust out some dazzling argument about plants and consciousness, but the word “seriously” is pretty much all I’ve got, folks. Some ideas are just so utterly and obviously ridiculous that you don’t even need to make any real counter-arguments. I mean, if these people were arguing that Barbie Dolls or rocks had to be treated with “dignity,” I wouldn’t see much of a need to take them seriously either.

PS #1: I skimmed the report and here are a few quotes from it that particularly caught my eye,

“The great majority of the ECNH members holds the opinion that prima facie we do not possess unrestricted power over plants. We may not use them just as we please, even if the plant community is not in danger, or if our actions do not endanger the species, or if we are not acting arbitrarily.”

The majority of the committee members at least do not rule out the possibility that plants are sentient, and that this is morally relevant.

The Committee members unanimously consider an arbitrary harm caused to plants to be morally impermissible. This kind of treatment would include, e.g. decapitation of wild flowers at the roadside without rational reason.

For the majority here too, plants — as a collective, as a species, or as individuals — are excluded for moral reasons from absolute ownership. By this interpretation no one may handle plants entirely according to his/her own desires. A minority concludes that no limits apply to handling plants insofar as they are property.

PS #2: The people who put this report together epitomize the sentiment behind the quote, “Some things are so foolish that only intellectuals will believe them.”

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin for the story.

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