We often point out that animal rights activists are misanthropic. Some make no bones about it: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals founder Ingrid Newkirk has compared humanity to a “cancer,” to use just one example. But though animal rights activists shun animal products in their diets, at least the veganism they preach allows them to survive. But what would vegans do if plants too were classified as “food with a face”?
One writer over at The New York Times thinks that peas might soon join pork in that classification. Apparently, research suggests that pea plants can send chemical signals to other pea plants indicating drought. Based on this plus some philosophical contortions, the writer suggests that it’s okay to eat perennial plants, but possibly not annuals (plants that last one growing season):
The “renewable” aspects of perennial plants may be accepted by humans as a gift of vegetal being and integrated into their diets. But it would be harder to justify the cultivation of peas and other annual plants, the entire being of which humans devote to externally imposed ends.
Of course, if one can’t justify that, mustn’t one cut from human consumption essentially all corn, wheat, and rice? Or in other words, mustn’t one abstain from foods which are the staple foods of a majority of humankind? (The writer retreats from this seemingly obvious logical chasm and makes no absolute claims.)
Animal rights activists have always been a few steps removed from reality when it comes to promoting a “kind” diet, in the words of masticator extraordinaire Alicia Silverstone. As a Yale University graduate student notes, the “production of vegetables is as brutal as any feedlot” as wild animals and pesky insects are killed by the millions and billions to prevent crop harm. There’s even some evidence that an omnivorous diet based on beef kills fewer animals than a vegetarian one.
This may seem like esoteric silliness, but consider that elevating humans above animals (in other words, acknowledging reality) is called “speciesism” by animal rights activists in the hopes that eating jellyfish or insect-derived red food dye will be equated with genocide. For now, radical authors may be content to say that “Vegan Is Love” and that merely abstaining from meat, fish, and dairy is good. But by vegans’ own logic, how far behind can “Starvation Is Love” be?