One particular question has been on my mind for quite some time.
We see a lot of activism over the treatment of animals in Factory Farms. A systematic, controlled, breeding of animals for the sole purpose of being used either as food or for producing food products. This definition gives me the shivers. In my opinion it is slavery and torture, without any consideration for the rights of animals. Like us humans, they too are individuals, with a fully functional body, and they are never asked if they want to be treated in the way they are. I know that I would most definitely not want to be treated like this.
Now, does this not apply to plants as well?
Seeing Plants As An Individual
A plant is a fully functional living organism. It grows in size from a small sapling to a huge tree. It eats, mostly by creating its own food through photosynthesis, sometimes hunting insects for nutrients and sometimes by being a parasite to other plants.
It has feelings and responds to changes. You can view examples of this here and here. The Indian scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose was one of the pioneers in understanding the neural mechanism of plants.
Breeding is done with the help of various factors, mostly through nectar sucking animals like bees & butterflies. Distribution of progeny is done in various ways, e.g. through fruit eating animals and birds.
This makes me question the whole idea of Agriculture. As I understand, as factory farming is to animals, agriculture is to plants. Nobody asks them if they like to be treated the way that they are. Yes, seeds are used to grow the crops, but these seeds contain a life, which will grow into an individual, whose life is in the hands of a human who will harvest it for food when it has become ripe or healthy.
Agriculture, like factory farms, is a very easy -although taxing on the environment -method of gaining food. It also removes the free will of a plant. Like we cannot choose where we will be born, a plant cannot choose where it will grow. Beyond that though, does it have to grow in the cage-less confines of a farm? Its life becomes in control of its human masters, its time of death already declared. It is the offspring of another plant. How would parent trees feel about the conditions of their children?
Also, wherever agriculture is performed, that area loses its diversity, however small it may be. Instead of a random occurrence of plants and animals, there is an artificially grown patch of plants. This lies good for forests, marshes, deserts or grasslands, anywhere. Just because a place looks empty, does not mean it actually is. It may be home to a variety of small plants & animals, who have their own role to play in nature.
A Potential Ideal Way Of Life
If somebody asks me personally, my opinion on the best way of living was the hunting and gathering methods of old. It is not possible in the current situation, because we have come a long way, but it is the potential ideal form of living.
There is this idea, that with the start of agriculture, the imbalance of the planet started. By growing food, the human species removed the idea of being able to find food randomly in nature. Evolution occurs when a species is able to survive in the changing circumstances, being able to adapt itself to the resources available. With agriculture, we did two things. First, we stopped our evolution by ensuring the availability of resources at all times. Secondly, because of the above availability, we disrupted the population balance in our favour. As a species, we have proliferated, but in the natural community of plants and animals, we have been spreading like cancer. This, over the years, has led to the earth being what it is now.
There is an article that looks at the potential mistake of agriculture, which you can read here.
There is a strong argument that as Humans, we were provided with a powerful brain. The idea of agriculture would have arrived as a by-product of scarcity of food somewhere in the past.
However many also see agriculture as wrong if you consider Nature as a whole, with all animals and plants as brothers and sisters of a huge family. In a sense this is understandable because it leaves less for the others, because agriculture leads to the cutting of forests, leaving birds and animals homeless. Agriculture also quite clearly reduces diversity and randomness.
Agriculture is right, if you are concerned about the development of our species only. It is not wrong to be thinking in this manner, as it is important for survival.
The sole purpose of this article is to ask more questions, in a free minded manner, to free minded people, about a topic which may have been neglected.
Is this a diplomatic conclusion? No. Is it a sarcastic one? Again no.
I truly believe one thing, that nothing ever is wrong or right, because every thought comes from mother nature, as we are a part of her, and if she creates anyone, there would be a valid reason behind it. Every step anyone takes, or action anyone performs, takes us towards our ultimate destiny.