People who prefer carnivores diet often poke fun at vegans that plants cry and feel pain, yet vegans eat them anyway. Some vegans also believe plants have feelings. So, do plants feel pain? Do they cry?
Some people say plants grow better when you talk to them and believe this proves plants have feelings. This actually happens for one simple reason, which is plants feed on carbon dioxide, and talking close to them gives them more carbon dioxide. It was also noticed indoor plants have different reactions for different types of music. This also has nothing to do with them having feelings. Instead, it is a basic chemical reaction they have that responds to vibrations in the air.
Some indoor plants develop tear-like drops on their leaves and this gave the belief that they can cry. According to researchers at the Institute for Applied Physics at the University of Bonn in Germany, plants make a sound when cut down or hurt. They discovered it by using a laser-powered microphone. They found that cucumbers scream when they are sick, and flowers whine when their leaves are cut. Excited about new findings they released several articles and even made documentaries about this discovery, which immediately put the beginning to the myth that plants cry and have feelings.
In reality, plants release gases that are the equivalent of crying out in pain. There is also evidence that plants can send signals to other leaves and branches about something bad happening to them. It is a chemical reaction which helps them survive. One scientist injected four trees with radioactive carbon and saw that within a few days the carbon had been sent from tree to tree until every tree in the 30-meter-square area (about 60 yards) was connected. The scientist learned that the mature trees "communicated" to the network to share nutrients through their root systems to feed nearby seedlings until they were tall enough to take in light for themselves. Clearly, plants can communicate. But does that mean they can feel pain?
The short answer is, no. Plants have no brain or central nervous system, which means they cannot feel anything. Biologists know that nervous systems like ours and of animals (yes, fish included) are one way to process information - but not the only way. Even though plants do not have nervous systems, they can respond to harm. It's important to note that responding to damage does not mean the plant is in pain. Unlike us and other animals, plants do not have nociceptors, the specific types of receptors that are programmed to respond to pain. They also, of course, do not have brains, so they lack the machinery necessary to turn those stimulants into an actual experience. This is why plants are incapable of feeling pain.
The tear-like drops on indoor plants (it occurs rarely but sometimes you can see it on some plants) is just transpiration as water moves through the plant and evaporates from its leaves, stem, and flowers. Leaves dripping water is a natural occurrence, just like people sweating. It is exactly the same process as dew outside on outdoor plants and happens most of the time when the air in your house is too humid. So, no, plants do not cry and do not feel pain.
But you know who does feel pain? Cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, fish, lobsters, and all the other living, breathing, and feeling animals humans eat. That is right, humans and many other animals, especially mammals all developed similar central nervous system features. This means that not only do animals feel pain, but all farmed animals killed for food feel it in similar ways as we do, and they feel when death is coming. Some even cry when death is impending.
To make this all the more heartbreaking, animals raised and killed for food suffer miserably at factory farms. Egg-laying hens are crammed by the thousands into tiny wire cages and given less floor space each than the size of an iPad to live out their entire lives. Mother pigs are kept in gestation crates - cages barely larger than their own bodies - and calves raised for veal are ripped away from their mothers within hours of birth and chained in barren crates where they are immobilized. There are many stories just as awful for how animals are treated, or more like tortured. If you need more proof then watch the documentary called, Earthlings.
Many animals harvested for food never see the sun, feel the grass, or breathe fresh air. Instead they are imprisoned in windowless, filthy sheds until the day they are loaded onto transport trucks destined for the slaughterhouse where they will meet a violent, bloody death.
So, should we worry if plants cry and feel pain? I would say that is the wrong worry to have. Instead worry about the realities and torturous pains animals suffer at human hands for your meals.