Plants and insects are looking more and more like the food combination of the future.

You already know about plants, and vertical farming has been undergoing rapid growth the past few years.

But insects, too, require very little space, leave very little waste, and reproduce incredibly quickly with little care needed, while then providing a highly nutritious food source not just for people, but also for pets, aquaculture, and even livestock.

As the planet runs out of available farmland (an estimated 80% is already in use, most of that to raise cattle), food is going to need to come from urban areas.

And while vertical farming has shown strides in growing leafy vegetables like lettuce, we have a very long way to go before a wide spectrum of nutritious vegetables can be grown at mass scale indoors.

That’s not the case with insects.

I probably don’t need to convince you on the environmental damage done by cattle, or the ethics involved of commercial meat farms of all types.

But what about insects? What are the ethics involved in eating them, and how can I so brazenly suggest that it should be acceptable for vegans?

First of all, scientists nearly all agree that insects do not feel pain. And as we’ve learned from the discussion about climate change deniers, if scientists are nearly unanimous in their agreement of something, then anyone challenging that something is crazy and not rooted in reality.

So if insects don’t feel pain, that argument doesn’t work.

But they’re living things! Um, so are plants! And some plants can even move, just like animals, and studies have been shown that plants not only can feel pain, but they respond to music in ways that practically suggest some kind of emotional receptor, and some plants have also been shown to feel pain, along with responding positively or negatively to music, etc.

Based on the “living thing” and “feeling pain” science, then, it’s actually more ethical to eat insects than it is to eat plants. But it’s quite absurd to say we shouldn’t eat plants, I agree.

The point is simply that the philosophical stance of not eating insects as a vegan because they are “animals”, falls apart rather quickly upon a cursory examination of the facts.

I’m planning on doing a lot more research on this topic and writing about it here, so stay tuned!


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