If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

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If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby the croc » Fri May 25, 2012 5:37 am

Imagine a being capable of processing, remembering and sharing information — a being with potentialities proper to it and inhabiting a world of its own. Given this brief description, most of us will think of a human person, some will associate it with an animal, and virtually no one’s imagination will conjure up a plant.

Since Nov. 2, however, one possible answer to the riddle is Pisum sativum, a species colloquially known as the common pea. On that day, a team of scientists from the Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Ben-Gurion University in Israel published the results of its peer-reviewed research, revealing that a pea plant subjected to drought conditions communicated its stress to other such plants, with which it shared its soil. In other words, through the roots, it relayed to its neighbors the biochemical message about the onset of drought, prompting them to react as though they, too, were in a similar predicament.

Curiously, having received the signal, plants not directly affected by this particular environmental stress factor were better able to withstand adverse conditions when they actually occurred. This means that the recipients of biochemical communication could draw on their “memories” — information stored at the cellular level — to activate appropriate defenses and adaptive responses when the need arose.


Leif Parsons
In 1973, the publication of “The Secret Life of Plants,” by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, which portrayed vegetal life as exquisitely sensitive, responsive and in some respects comparable to human life, was generally regarded as pseudoscience. The authors were not scientists, and clearly the results reported in that book, many of them outlandish, could not be reproduced. But today, new, hard scientific data appears to be buttressing the book’s fundamental idea that plants are more complex organisms than previously thought.

The research findings of the team at the Blaustein Institute form yet another building block in the growing fields of plant intelligence studies and neurobotany that, at the very least, ought to prompt us to rethink our relation to plants. Is it morally permissible to submit to total instrumentalization living beings that, though they do not have a central nervous system, are capable of basic learning and communication? Should their swift response to stress leave us coldly indifferent, while animal suffering provokes intense feelings of pity and compassion?

Evidently, empathy might not be the most appropriate ground for an ethics of vegetal life. But the novel indications concerning the responsiveness of plants, their interactions with the environment and with one another, are sufficient to undermine all simple, axiomatic solutions to eating in good conscience. When it comes to a plant, it turns out to be not only a what but also a who — an agent in its milieu, with its own intrinsic value or version of the good. Inquiring into justifications for consuming vegetal beings thus reconceived, we reach one of the final frontiers of dietary ethics.

Recent findings in cellular and molecular botany mean that eating preferences, too, must practically differentiate between vegetal what-ness and who-ness, while striving to keep the latter intact. The work of such differentiation is incredibly difficult because the subjectivity of plants is not centered in a single organ or function but is dispersed throughout their bodies, from the roots to the leaves and shoots. Nevertheless, this dispersion of vitality holds out a promise of its own: the plasticity of plants and their wondrous capacity for regeneration, their growth by increments, quantitative additions or reiterations of already existing parts does little to change the form of living beings that are neither parts nor wholes because they are not hierarchically structured organisms. 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. In other words, ethically inspired decisions cannot postulate the abstract conceptual unity of all plants; they must, rather, take into account the singularity of each species.

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The emphasis on the unique qualities of each species means that ethical worries will not go away after normative philosophers and bioethicists have delineated their sets of definitive guidelines for human conduct. More specifically, concerns regarding the treatment of plants will come up again and again, every time we deal with a distinct species or communities of plants.

In Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea,” the true identity of a princess is discovered after she spends a torturous night on top of 20 mattresses and 20 featherbeds, with a single pea lodged underneath this pile. The desire to eat ethically is, perhaps, akin to this royal sensitivity, as some would argue that it is a luxury of those who do have enough food to select, in a conscious manner, their dietary patterns. But there is a more charitable way to interpret the analogy.

Ethical concerns are never problems to be resolved once and for all; they make us uncomfortable and sometimes, when the sting of conscience is too strong, prevent us from sleeping. Being disconcerted by a single pea to the point of unrest is analogous to the ethical obsession, untranslatable into the language of moral axioms and principles of righteousness. Such ethics do not dictate how to treat the specimen of Pisum sativum, or any other plant, but they do urge us to respond, each time anew, to the question of how, in thinking and eating, to say “yes” to plants.


http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... -eat-them/
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby kettles » Fri May 25, 2012 8:55 pm

Didn't even read that wall but just posting to say FUCK I LOVE FRESH PEAS

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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby the croc » Sat May 26, 2012 3:45 am

Haha
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby dustbinflowers » Mon May 28, 2012 9:31 am

I'm not vegetarian because I love animals, but because I REALLY HATE VEGETABLES
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby akaxo » Mon May 28, 2012 9:49 am

i feel alright about it, you don't need to kill the plant to harvest the peas after all. cabbages on the other hand...
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby Fiction & Falsehood » Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:52 pm

so rip its babby from its woom is ok?
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby Whitey » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:47 pm

akaxo wrote:i feel alright about it, you don't need to kill the plant to harvest the peas after all. cabbages on the other hand...

Could apply the same idea to eggs?
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby arkie » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:22 pm

and milk.
and honey.

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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby akaxo » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:43 pm

Whitey wrote:
akaxo wrote:i feel alright about it, you don't need to kill the plant to harvest the peas after all. cabbages on the other hand...

Could apply the same idea to eggs?
well yeah and i eat heaps of eggs the chooks in the backyard leave me :D

but i don't have a goat yet and i'm not allowed a beehive :(
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby Fiction & Falsehood » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:52 pm

so cutting off a sharks fins and throwing it back is ok?
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby akaxo » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:29 am

i said i eat the chooks eggs, not cut their wings off while they're alive and leave them to fend for themselves.
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby dustbinflowers » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:43 am

cutting off a shark's fins is killing it. So no.
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby dustbinflowers » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:44 am

But bleeding your cow to make black pudding might be.
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby the croc » Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:46 am

Pretty damn impossible to fin a shark without killing it first.
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby dustbinflowers » Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:49 am

I was thinking that even if it is not dead when it goes back over the side definned, it will be soon after- not exactly sustainable harvest.
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby the croc » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:51 am

I don't know what the ratio is of pure fins to fins + trunks where the whole fish is gutted, trimmed and kept. Also species like Mako and Porbeagle must be finned by law under the quota system if they are dead. If they have a good chance of survival most vessels will try get rid of them over the side without finning them. I'm no fan of finning just that most people (including the Green Party) have a very poor understanding of what finning sharks in NZ actually entails.
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby dustbinflowers » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:51 pm

When I was a kid I remember seeing hundreds of baby hammerhead sharks washed up along Ohope beach, all gutted and tails cut off. Some of them still alive. It sucked.
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby the croc » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:41 pm

1986 was when the quota system came in so if it was before that there would have been very little regulation as well as a free for all for foreign vessels up to the 12nm mark.
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby dustbinflowers » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:12 pm

Yeah, would have been around then or a year or two earlier
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby Fiction & Falsehood » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:20 pm

if you work in ANY industry that involves animals, you no longer give a fuck, fact.

croc is a good example.
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby the croc » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:57 am

Yeah I agree with that. You get desensitised pretty quickly.
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby dustbinflowers » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:18 am

I used to work in pest control. I never stopped giving a fuck. Then again, I no longer work in pest control...
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby Fiction & Falsehood » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:22 pm

haha, i write out of it shit when im wasted, i think i killed a cat that day.

i still feel bad when the fuckers suffer, but then i have laughed at some pretty sad shit.
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby Rabooyah » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:28 pm

cool story
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby Fiction & Falsehood » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:30 am

im a pretty cool guy.
it sux killing kitties, having been brought up around them its kinda like killing a person.
i dont do it anymore, i let them go.
apparently they did an autopsy/survey on hundreds of wildcats in the ureweras, and only a tiny percentage had feathers in their guts, it was mostly rats, and rats are the biggest and worst plague in this country(after homo sapiens of course) so yeh, now kitty gets a knock on the head and then is left to wake up with a fucking splitting headache and run off on the crooks, and hopefully learn to avoid the smell of possum lure.
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby akaxo » Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:53 pm

oh that's interesting about the autopsy results, hadn't heard that before, maybe that they've been blamed for more damage than they've really been doing...
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby Fiction & Falsehood » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:19 pm

it depends a lot on the area, they have been responsible for huge amounts of damage in places like stewart island where they are still rare bird populations, but in most places theres not any kiwi or weka or other ground birds, sometimes you see where a cat has got a fantail, but thats about it.
the decline in bird populations is far more a result of the rats themselves than cats, they compete for food and eat the babies, some areas ive heard about like in the mamaku range near here, people have counted approx 40 rats in one rimu tree at night.
the other thing is hedgehogs, they compete with kiwi and are so damn common in some areas they fill every fuckin trap, you have to kill them anyway cos if you dont the dumb fucker will walk straight back into it.
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Re: If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?

Postby Fiction & Falsehood » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:24 pm

the croc wrote:I don't know what the ratio is of pure fins to fins + trunks where the whole fish is gutted, trimmed and kept. Also species like Mako and Porbeagle must be finned by law under the quota system if they are dead. If they have a good chance of survival most vessels will try get rid of them over the side without finning them. I'm no fan of finning just that most people (including the Green Party) have a very poor understanding of what finning sharks in NZ actually entails.

apparently finning is going to be heavily restricted, you wont be allowed to fin a shark until its on land, which means you have to take the trunk.
it will make finning much less viable and therefore hopefully stop it.
finning is reprehensible.
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