Plant Sentience and the Impossible Burger

What is consciousness? It is awareness of self, others and our surroundings. What is sentience? It is the ability to perceive, experience and feel things.

The concept of sentience is a key part of animal rights. This is because it is necessary for animals to be sentient in order to experience pain and distress and the reason why reasonable people oppose animal cruelty. It is also part of the concept of the sanctity of life.

Scientific research shows that plants possess these same attributes. Plants are conscious, sentient beings.

In 1973, The Secret Life of Plants, by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird documented experiments that showed plant sentience. The book gave many examples of plant responses to human care, their ability to communicate, their reactions to music, their lie-detection abilities and their ability to recognize and to predict. It was a best seller. However, despite quoting from a range of research, it was met with skepticism by many scientists and academics.

Since then, thousands of published studies present a body of evidence that plants are conscious, sentient beings.