posted on Dec, 28 2009 @ 09:05 PM
Sorry, Vegans: Brussels Sprouts Like to Live, Too
“Plants are not static or silly,” said Monika Hilker of the Institute of Biology at the Free University of Berlin. “They respond to tactile
cues, they recognize different wavelengths of light, they listen to chemical signals, they can even talk” through chemical signals. Touch, sight,
hearing, speech. “These are sensory modalities and abilities we normally think of as only being in animals,” Dr. Hilker said.
Plants can’t run away from a threat but they can stand their ground. “They are very good at avoiding getting eaten,” said Linda Walling of the
University of California, Riverside. “It’s an unusual situation where insects can overcome those defenses.” At the smallest nip to its leaves,
specialized cells on the plant’s surface release chemicals to irritate the predator or sticky goo to entrap it. Genes in the plant’s DNA are
activated to wage systemwide chemical warfare, the plant’s version of an immune response. We need terpenes, alkaloids, phenolics — let’s
Now, if you're a political vegetarian--based on the belief that widespread practice of a vegetarian diet would produce a sustainable agriculture and
social justice--then this thread really isn't for you, though feel free to contribute to the topic at hand.
If you're a nutritional vegetarian--based on the belief that a vegetarian diet produces better health than an omnivorous diet--then this thread
really isn't for you either, though feel free to contribute to the topic at hand.
But, if you're a moral vegetarian--based on the belief that a vegetarian diet reduces bloodshed-then this thread is definitely for you and the
article provided will lay the foundations for the topic at hand:
Plants are alive too!
Dr. Hilker and her colleagues, as well as other research teams, have found that certain plants can sense when insect eggs have been deposited on
their leaves and will act immediately to rid themselves of the incubating menace. They may sprout carpets of tumorlike neoplasms to knock the eggs
off, or secrete ovicides to kill them, or sound the S O S. Reporting in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Hilker and her
coworkers determined that when a female cabbage butterfly lays her eggs on a brussels sprout plant and attaches her treasures to the leaves with tiny
dabs of glue, the vigilant vegetable detects the presence of a simple additive in the glue, benzyl cyanide. Cued by the additive, the plant swiftly
alters the chemistry of its leaf surface to beckon female parasitic wasps. Spying the anchored bounty, the female wasps in turn inject their eggs
inside, the gestating wasps feed on the gestating butterflies, and the plant’s problem is solved.
Here’s the lurid Edgar Allan Poetry of it: that benzyl cyanide tip-off had been donated to the female butterfly by the male during mating. “It’s
an anti-aphrodisiac pheromone, so that the female wouldn’t mate anymore,” Dr. Hilker said. “The male is trying to ensure his paternity, but he
ends up endangering his own offspring.”
Fascinating, isn't it?
I know how protective many vegetarians and vegans are of their ideologies (and some omnivores to a lesser extent) and how, eventually, this thread
just may turn into a mindless battle of vegetarians vs. omnivores; however, I'd like to focus this discussion on the article provided and its
Furthermore, I'd also like to deter from nutritional and political "vegan vs. omnivore" views and arguments, as this discussion should focus solely
on the morality
of consuming animals in its comparison to the consumption of plants, as well as the science and legitimacy of "just how alive
So, my question is: What's the difference between consuming animals and consuming plants?
I really do hope this can be a civil discussion.
Edit to add: I was cooking burssels sprouts while writing this thread.
[edit on 28-12-2009 by DevolutionEvolvd]
[edit on 29-12-2009 by DevolutionEvolvd]