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Better to be a pig dissatisfied than a plant satisfied

Terrill, E. C. and Veit, W. ORCID: (2024) Better to be a pig dissatisfied than a plant satisfied. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. ISSN 1573-322X (In Press)

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In the last two decades, there has been a blossoming literature aiming to counter the neglect of plant capacities. In their recent paper, Miguel Segundo-Ortin and Paco Calvo begin by providing an overview of the literature to then question the mistaken assumptions that led to plants being immediately rejected as candidates for sentience. However, it appears that many responses to their arguments are based on the implicit conviction that because animals have far more sophisticated cognition and agency than plants, and that plants should not have the same moral status as animals, plants should not have any moral status. Put in simpler terms: it is not as bad to eat plants than to eat, say, pigs. While there are still uncertainties around comparative moral and policy implications between animals and plants, given a gradualist account of quasi-sentience and partial moral status, both of which we claim are a matter of degree, we may not have to abolish our convictions by declaring that plants have no sentience or moral status at all. Indeed, we can hold two things at the same time: that animals and plants have moral status, but animals have prima facie more moral status than plants.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Philosophy
ID Code:115243

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