The Magazine

The Silent Scream of the Asparagus

Get ready for 'plant rights.'

May 12, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 33 • By WESLEY J. SMITH
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The [Swiss] committee has .  .  . come up with few concrete examples of what type of experiment might be considered an unacceptable insult to plant dignity. The committee does not consider that genetic engineering of plants automatically falls into this category, but its majority view holds that it would if the genetic modification caused plants to "lose their independence"--for example by interfering with their capacity to reproduce.

One Swiss scientist quoted in the editorial worried that "plant dignity" provides "another tool for opponents to argue against any form of plant biotechnology" despite the hope it offers to improve crop yields and plant nutrition.

What folly. We live in a time of cornucopian abundance and plenty, yet countless human beings are malnourished, even starving. In the face of this cruel paradox, worry about the purported rights of plants is the true immorality.

Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the
Discovery Institute, an attorney for the
International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, and a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture.