Oh-oh! The patina has just come off the vegetarian glow of non-harming. If you’re an “ethical” vegetarian, i.e. you don’t eat meat because you don’t want to harm sentient life-forms, think again. New research out of the U of Alberta shows that plants are capable of decision-making.  While plants lack a sophisticated nervous system, they are capable of using their internal chemistry to communicate with each other as well as to make choices between different environmental options.

I was chatting with a friend about vegetarianism recently and made the point that the only one worth his ethical salt is the exclusive fruit/nut/seed eater, since these are the only things in nature meant to be eaten because they serve to disperse the seed from one location to another. The tasty fruit or nut covering attracts animals to eat it but the seed itself is indigestible so that the animal craps it out, usually at some distance from where he ate it. This allows the plant to spread its genetic material across large distances.

But my friend pointed out that unless you’re shitting in the woods, the seed isn’t being dispersed – it’s just going down the toilet and being recouped by the municipality and disposed of.

So unless you’re willing to go full-monty and crap in the woods, even just eating fruit, nuts and seeds isn’t an ethically correct alternative. I was a vegetarian for 14 months but eventually gave it up for these and other considerations.

Now, I just eat vegetarians.

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