Posts Tagged ‘plant rights’

The dignity of plants

October 25, 2008

I posted on Switzerland’s all encompassing animal/plants rights legislation back in May, but a more recent article gives an indication of how all this came about and some of the initial impacts.

A law protecting the dignity of plants?  Laugh if you will.  I’m down on my knees in respect and awe.  At last the Western World is realizing the dire importance of taking other species into account.

Recently, the Swiss Parliament asked a panel of philosophers, lawyers, geneticists and theologians to determine the meaning of dignity when it pertains to plants.

Lo and Behold, the team published a treatise on “the moral consideration of plants for their own sake.” The treatise established that vegetation has innate value and that it is morally wrong to partake in activities such as the “decapitation of wildflowers at the roadside without rational reason.”

Over a decade ago, an amendment was added to the Swiss constitution in order to defend the dignity of all creatures — including vegetation — against unwanted repercussions of genetic engineering. The amendment was turned into law and is known as the Gene Technology Act. However the law itself didn’t say anything specific about plants, until recently, when the law was amended to include them.

I presume that a “rational reason” for “decapitating” a flower might be the process of mowing a roadside area or something similar. But are you guilty of a crime against plants if you murder some dandelions because you don’t want them in your lawn?  Or if you clear a grove of trees in order to plant a field of corn? I can see the argument for an environmental issue, but one of morality?

I would be interested in seeing how the legislation presumes to enforce any perceived infractions. Or who decides in their infinite wisdom exactly what is an infraction. I suspect that like too many laws that are drafted by the bureaucracy the answers to specific questions are not addressed. Instead they write the laws and then wait for the courts to sort out the details.

Amazingly the author of the article professes to agree with the legislation, but then wonders just where it all ends.

And even though I think it’s a great law, where does it stop?  How humiliated is a boiled potato?  A peeled carrot?  Corn turned into a lowly, tortilla chip meant for dipping?

A damned fine question. Where is the dignity in turning a fine cob of corn into a processed tortilla chip?

The dubious conclusions drawn by this confusion of philosophers, lawyers, geneticists and theologians seems comparative to the ancient philosophers debating the serious question of how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.

Concern over the “dignity” of wheat? This is stupidity on so many levels.


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