Experts have claimed plants have feelings and killing them for food could be cruel.
The revelation is a bitter blow to vegans who have long claimed meat eaters are cruel animals.
It is now thought plants have feelings, can communicate with each other, even in different dialects, and it may therefore be wrong to harm and eat them.
While plants don’t have brains or nerve receptors they can detect information from the world around them in a variety of ways, it is now believed.
Prof Richard Karban, a plant expert from University of California-Davis, said: “We’ve come to realize that plants are very perceptive about what’s going on in their environments. Plants can perceive electrical signals, they can respond to vibrations, for instance feeding caterpillars that are walking across their hairs.
“And we are now learning that plants are very responsive to chemicals in their environment. These chemicals provide them information about sources of nutrition for plants and provide information about potential risks that the plants might experience from diseases and from insects.”
A committee on ethics in Switzerland has even said plants should have rights.
The Association of Swiss Ethics Committees, which reports on ethical matters, recently recommended that the dignity of plants should be respected and they should be protected against undue harm.
And Michael Marder, a research professor in philosophy at the University of the Basque Country in Spain added: “It’s not wrong to eat plants but we have to do so while keeping in mind the context in which way we are doing it.
“Soon, plant owners might have to demonstrate that whatever harm plants are subjected to is justified by human reliance. That would imply not going into a field and simply plucking flowers and throwing them away.”
A study conducted by Prof. Ariel Novoplansky at Ben-Curio University of the Negev in Israel also shows that plants not only have senses but that they can also communicate.
Prof. Novoplansky said: “We have shown for the first time that plants pass information not only to immediate neighbor but that it can be re-laid like a domino effect to more and more neighbors.
“Plants have regional dialects. Southerners can’t understand their Northern cousins as well as they can each other.”