CAN PLANTS FEEL......PAIN??????

Sandra L Wegert sandraw at U.Arizona.EDU
Fri Dec 22 18:03:53 EST 1995


> I'm a dutch med-student at the University of Leuven in Belgium and I'm a
> bit confused. I know that plants got at least 5 major 'hormones', some
> of them being secreted when in a 'life' threatning situation. I do know
> plants lack any form of nervous system, but if you think of it: nerve cells
> are more or less like normal cells (they also got a membrane potential, 
> only they can't fire...action-potentials)...In short what do I say to
> somebody attacking my vegan life style with this???????

Greetings...

Cool question.  Plants certainly can respond to injury and they do transmit
impulses from one cell to the next, but this is not the same as feeling pain.
I think in order to "feel" pain, you have to have a brain, or some 
centralized area to process and integrate incoming info, which plants DO NOT
have.  I would even go so far as to say that in order to feel pain in any 
kind of emotional way, one needs a pretty fancy brain (like, with a 
cortex).  
This is why anesthetics can be used for surgery in humans.  During 
surgery, pain impulses are initiated and sent to the spinal cord, but the 
brain is "shut off" by the anesthetic, so no pain is felt.  Certainly 
animals feel pain, which is why a vegan lifestyle no doubt causes less 
pain than if you ate animals!  Hope this helps.  Maybe a botanist would 
know better?

Sandra


----------------------
sandraw at U.Arizona.EDU




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