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May 04, 2008

Tree Worshipers Take Switzerland; Lawnmowers To Be Outlawed as Weapons of Mass Destruction

Henceforth, humans must take care to protect the dignity of plant life and respect its independence. The plant community may not arbitrarily be deprived of life and scientific experimentation involving plants will be subject to rigorous ethical review. Individuals who fail to follow the law regarding the dignity of creation could face criminal charges.

No, really.

At the request of the Swiss government, an ethics panel has weighed in on the "dignity" of plants and opined that the arbitrary killing of flora is morally wrong. This is no hoax. The concept of what could be called "plant rights" is being seriously debated.

A few years ago the Swiss added to their national constitution a provision requiring "account to be taken of the dignity of creation when handling animals, plants and other organisms." No one knew exactly what it meant, so they asked the Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology to figure it out. The resulting report, "The Dignity of Living Beings with Regard to Plants," is enough to short circuit the brain.

A "clear majority" of the panel adopted what it called a "biocentric" moral view, meaning that "living organisms should be considered morally for their own sake because they are alive." Thus, the panel determined that we cannot claim "absolute ownership" over plants and, moreover, that "individual plants have an inherent worth." This means that "we may not use them just as we please, even if the plant community is not in danger, or if our actions do not endanger the species, or if we are not acting arbitrarily."

Ents, nymphs, and dryads can breath a sigh of relief as their long nightmare comes to an end.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 02:01 AM

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