Animal Rights – Plant Rights – Human Rights

Animal Rights – Plant Rights – Human Rights

Around 3 billion years ago a wondrous thing happened. The Earth had been cooling for a couple of billion years and conditions conspired to create something incredible. The first simple life-form was produced.


The chances of that happening are so slight that it is possible that out of all the planets circling the 400 billion stars in our own galaxy this is the only instance where life has spontaneously formed. It could be that we are the only life in any of the two trillion galaxies that we know of.

Life is something special.

From that one single cell of life the whole spectrum of life on this planet has evolved – from the simplest to the most complex.

What we have all around us comes from that first cell. We are all its children.


No plant or animal is more evolved than any other. We have all been around for exactly the same time.

Only humans would apply a value system to life. We try to create a hierarchy of importance.

We place plants at the bottom of the scale, then bacteria, then we work our way up through worms, slugs, insects to fish, then through amphibian, reptiles and birds to mammals – through mammals to monkeys then apes and finally us – human beings – the crown of creation. Some people don’t even accept that we are animals and related to everything else. Somehow we were uniquely created by a deity. We are not part of this at all.

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Except this is nonsense. Nothing is more important than anything else. We humans are just animals. We have merely organised living things according to their similarity to ourselves. In a biological sense plants are the highest form of life. Their cellular complexities is hundreds of times more complex than that of any human cell. We place a premium on intelligence. Consciousness and intelligence are merely survival characteristics evolved by organisms – nothing more.

I don’t mean to belittle the wonder of consciousness and intelligence – they are phenomenal. I merely point out that they are one of many equally fabulous wonders that life possesses. They are no more special.

Likewise we cannot know the level of consciousness of other creatures or even plants. We can only surmise.

Personally I believe we will soon discover that plants have a consciousness that is quite as good as ours. We will see.

The argument that I am making is that life is too fabulous to treat with the disdain that we have been treating it. We should be worshipping all of it for the wonder it is and protecting it with all our might.

I am a big advocate of human rights – but I am a bigger advocate of the rights of the rest of the spectrum of life. I think it is foolish to make distinction.

The message I would send is – protect nature, protect the plants and animals around us, conserve the wilderness and diversity. They all have as much importance and rights as we do.

This is what I have to say about the destruction we are doing to nature and a way forward.

9 thoughts on “Animal Rights – Plant Rights – Human Rights

  1. I think your info here just might be a little bit out of date. Have you watched the recent series of discovery programmes on BBC4? Scientific research recreated the conditions of planet formation with bacteria and the bacteria survived such intense heat. The hypothesis for the need for planet cooling to produce lifeforms is now redundant.

  2. Good post, though I do see things a bit differently. First I do not believe anything has any more consciousness than they need, therefore if the plant has it, it’s probably marginal. I understand pain, fear and suffering as something evolved to protect us, not to hurt us. Plants in general cannot flee or directly defend themselves, so these kinds of feelings would do nothing but hurt them. This does not mean that we should not respect plants, but hurting an animal and cutting a plant are two very different things.
    Another thing I want to point out is that from my point of view it’s not the value, but the needs of every living thing that is important. You can cut a branch from a tree without doing serious enjury to the organism as a whole. Cutting off limbs from an animal is a lot more devastating. What’s more, animals need a lot more space not to suffer, as they actually move around. Humans need freedom of speech 😉
    A philosophy that might interest you, (closer to your views than to mine) is Arne Næss and his “deep ecology”, inspired by amoungst others Mahatma Gandhi and Spinoza. Very interesting combination pf western and oriental thoughts. Næss (or Naess) was a pioneer in ecologic philosophy. Thanks!

    1. Some great points there. I don’t necessarily equate consciousness with pain though. It seems quite possible for me that a plant might be conscious without feeling pain or suffering because of a loss of part of it. As you point out – they are not as specialised as animals and thus able to suffer quite major damage without dying.
      Ha – I like the need for freedom of speech.
      I’ll certainly look into Naess. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. I think you need to revise your research Opher, as a few statements made above didn’t ring true to what I’ve been reading recently.
    You haven’t given consideration to the facts that organic molecules have been found in the solar system and ever further out in interstellar space.
    Neither has consideration been granted to Abiogenesis, Panspermia hypothosis, or the Miller-Urey experiment.
    Until very recently the oldest signs of life were 3.5 billion years old – Precambrian Stromatolites.
    However, very recent discovery in May 2017, suggests that the earliest known life on land are found in Geyserite mineral deposits that were found in the Pilbara Craton in Western Australia, at 3.48 billion years old.
    Also research into microfossils found within Hydrothermal Vent Precipitates dated 3.77 to 4.28 billion years found in Quebec, could be the oldest (as yet) record of life on earth.
    Research suggests that there could have been an almost instantaneous creation of life after ocean formation 4.4 billion years ago. Which further suggests that if life formed quickly on Earth, then potentially it could be common in the universe.

    I’m also not too sure how you square the theory that all plants and animals are no more evolved than any other and have all been around for the same length of time?

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