What about plants? They're alive, too.

True, but unlike animals, plants are not sentient. It's an important distinction because sentience brings with it the ability to suffer.

If I cut a cow with a knife, it will feel pain. It has nerves which sense and respond to the pain. If I cut a cucumber with a knife, it will feel nothing. It has no nerves.

Throughout the course of a day, a cucumber may do various things which seem analogous to the actions of a sentient creature (e.g.) moving, etc..., but it's a mistake to equate the two. A cow walks from A to B because it wants to. A cucumber moves from A to B as a response to stimuli. It doesn't move closer to the sun because it's cold or wants to get a suntan; it moves closer to the sun as a non-conscious response to its environment.

A cucumber (like all plants) is alive; however, unlike a cow, it isn't sentient. It can't see, hear, taste, smell, or feel anything. It has no spine. It has no central nervous system. There is absolutely no scientific reason to believe that any kind of plant is capable of suffering.

Number of animals killed in the world by the meat, dairy and egg industries, since you opened this webpage. This does not include the billions of fish and other aquatic animals killed annually.

Based on 2007 statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' Global Livestock Production and Health Atlas.

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