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International Animal Rights ConferenceInternational Animal Rights Conference

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Sunday, 13.09.2015   10:30-11:20   Room B
What if plants were sentient?
Alain De Coessemaeker

Most animal rights activists and vegans are using sentience as criterion of moral consideration in order to protect our animals.

We use the term "speciesist" for people who disregard the values of non-human species... But aren`t we using a speciesist argument ourselves if we disregard plants and trees as "non-sentient" species?

In the past decade, the emerging field of plant neurobiology shows that not only animals but also plants have perception and cognition. In this presentation, we discuss the implications of those scientific findings for animal rights ethics.

Is the distinction between sentient animals and "non-sentient" plants a false dichotomy? Which axiological criteria should we follow instead as criteria for moral consideration? How does a vegan (or even better a fruitarian) diet respects the intrinsic right to live not only for animal species, but also for plants and trees?

In this presentation I will give some examples of scientific research that prove that plants have senses, even if their perceptions are partially different from the perceptions of animals. If every being is sentient, don`t we have to handle with care and respect as much as we can every being and by this way reduce our ecological footprint as much as possible?













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