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Plant rights are rights that plants may be entitled to. Such issues are often raised in connection with discussions about animal rights or biocentrism.

On the question of whether animal rights can be extended to plants, philosopher Tom Regan argues that animals acquire rights due to being aware, what he calls "subjects-of-a-life". He argues that this does not apply to plants, and that even if plants did have rights, abstaining from eating meat would still be moral due to the use of plants to rear animals.[1] Philosopher Paul Taylor holds that all life has inherent worth and argues for respect for plants, but does not assign them rights.[2] Christopher D. Stone proposed in a 1972 paper titled "Should Trees Have Standing?" that if corporations are assigned rights, so should natural objects such as trees.[3][4]

Whilst not appealing directly to "rights", Matthew Hall has argued that plants should be included within the realm of human moral consideration. His "Plants as Persons: A Philosophical Botany" discusses the moral background of plants in western philosophy and contrasts this with other traditions, including indigenous cultures, which recognise plants as persons – active, intelligent beings that are appropriate recipients of respect and care.[5] Hall backs up his call for the ethical consideration of plants with evidence from the emerging scientific field of plant neurobiology, which has demonstrated that plants are autonomous, perceptive organisms capable of complex, adaptive behaviours, including the recognition of self/non-self.

When challenged by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to become vegetarian, Timothy McVeigh argued that "plants are alive too, they react to stimuli (including pain); have circulation systems, etc."[6][7] The Animal Liberation Front argues that there is no evidence that plants can experience pain, and that to the extent they respond to stimuli, it is like a device such as a thermostat responding to sensors.[8]


Justice William O. Douglas, author of a noted dissent about the legal standing of plantsIn his dissent to the 1972 Sierra Club v. Morton decision by the United States Supreme Court, William O. Douglas wrote about whether plants might have legal standing:

“ Inanimate objects are sometimes parties in litigation. A ship has a legal personality, a fiction found useful for maritime purposes... So it should be as respects valleys, alpine meadows, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life... The voice of the inanimate object, therefore, should not be stilled. ”

Samuel Butler's Erewhon contains a chapter, "The Views of an Erewhonian Philosopher Concerning the Rights of Vegetables".[9] The Swiss Constitution contains a provision requiring "account to be taken of the dignity of creation when handling animals, plants and other organisms," and the Swiss government has conducted ethical studies pertaining to how the dignity of plants is to be protected.[10] The single-issue Party for Plants entered candidates in the 2010 parliamentary election in The Netherlands.[11] Such concerns have been criticized as evidence that modern culture is "causing us to lose the ability to think critically and distinguish serious from frivolous ethical concerns."[12]

[edit] References1.^ Regan, Tom (2003). Animal rights, human wrongs: an introduction to moral philosophy. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 101. ISBN 0742533549. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=AmBksH1k2RMC&pg=PA101.
2.^ Vesilind, P. Aarne; Gunn, Alastair S. (1998). Engineering, ethics, and the environment. Cambridge University Press. p. 94. ISBN 0521589185. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=aFaNf3XdJjIC&pg=PA94.
3.^ Stone, Christopher D. (2010). Should Trees Have Standing? Law, Morality, and the Environment (Third ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199736073.
4.^ Stone, Christopher D. (1972). "Should Trees Have Standing--Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects". Southern California Law Review 45: 450–87.
5.^ Hall, Matthew (2011). Plants as Persons: A Philosophical Botany. SUNY Press. ISBN 1438434286.
6.^ McVeigh to PeTA: "Where Do You Draw the Line?", Fur Commission, May 7, 2001, http://www.furcommission.com/news/newsF02x.htm
7.^ Grove, Lloyd (April 17, 2001). "The Reliable Source". The Washington Post. p. C3. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost/access/71380695.html?dids=71380695:71380695&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Apr+17%2C+2001&author=Lloyd+Grove+Washington+Post+Staff+Writer&pub=The+Washington+Post&desc=The+Reliable+Source&pqatl=google. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
8.^ "Isn't it hypocritical to kill and eat plants?", FAQs Insects, Plants, Animal Liberation Front, http://www.animalliberationfront.com/Philosophy/Morality/Biology/InsectAR.htm#faq42
9.^ Butler, Samuel, "The Views of an Erewhonian Philosopher Concerning the Rights of Vegetables", Erewhon, http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-ButErew-ButErew-c27.html
10.^ Florianne Koechlin (2009 January), The dignity of plants, 4, Plant Signal Behav., pp. 78–79, PMC 2634081
11.^ Berkowitz, Ben (March 29, 2010). "Plant rights party to contest next Dutch election". Reuters. http://in.reuters.com/article/idINTRE62S2HA20100329. Retrieved August 7, 2010.
12.^ Smith, Wesley J. (May 12, 2008), The Silent Scream of the Asparagus, 13, Weekly Standard, http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/065njdoe.asp
Related Links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_rights
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Joostvandeputte
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by Andres, on April 19 2012:

“ Inanimate objects are sometimes parties in litigation. A ship has a legal personality, a fiction found useful for maritime purposes... So it should be as respects valleys, alpine meadows, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life... The voice of the inanimate object, therefore, should not be stilled. ”


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