Vegans tend to get asked a lot of questions about their cruelty-free lifestyle. One of those is what is the difference between killing an animal and killing a plant – killing is killing, right?
There is an awful lot of scientific evidence out there about the fundamental biological and physiological differences between animals and plants, things like central nervous systems and conscious awareness, or in contrast, the absence of those. The physical and interactive differences are so apparent as to make comparisons between killing plants and killing animals of night and day difference.
Even from the position of a non-scientist, the differences are very apparent. Animals are vastly more complex entities than plants. Animals have the ability to see, hear, feel, communicate (albeit in a rudimentary fashion) and to express pleasure and pain. A cat purring or a dog wagging its tail speak volumes. Like-wise an animal that is under threat or in pain will express itself to let it be known or take action to make fight or flight. Clearly plants do not have this myriad of animal characteristics.
Also, the biological “end-game” of animal life is way more to similar to the passing away of a human than it is to the “passing away” of a fruit or vegetable.
There is the morality angle to factor into this equation too.It is difficult to argue that there is a moral equivalency between hitting a dog and hitting, say, a pineapple. The overwhelming majority of humans have an inbuilt moral predisposition for recognizing pain and suffering in others, and that includes animals. A sense of outrage is simply never going to be apparent when one sees someone mowing their lawn as opposed to witnessing the misery of a bull-fight or the inside of an animal slaughter-house.