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Sikhism: If we should not eat meat then why do we eat plants while both have life?
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Q: If we should not eat meat then why do we eat plants while both have life?

A: Guru Granth Sahib Ji does not recommend eating meat as a part of your diet. However, Guru Ji does not object about eating plants. This is because plants and animals are very different from each other. Even science places plants and animals in different categories of life. Following are the five forms or kingdoms of life by science:

  1. Monera: Unicellular and colonial--including the true bacteria
  2. Protista: Unicellular protozoans
  3. Fungi: Haploid and dikaryotic (binucleate) cells such as mushrooms
  4. Plantae: Plants such as spinach, tomato etc.
  5. Animalia: Multicellular animals such as cow, chicken and fish. This group includes Amphibians, Birds, Fish, Insects, Mammals, and Reptiles.

Following are number of reason why cutting plants is not as bad as killing animals:

  1. Animals have a strong nervous system and feel a lot of pain, unlike fungi and plants which have a weak or no nervous system.
  2. Animals have relations, mothers care for their young's just like humans.
  3. Animals are aware of death. They react if there is a threat to their life.
  4. Animals have emotions and feelings.
  5. Most importantly, eating meat is a hindrance in meditation.

Plants are very different from the animals regarding how they live. Most of the plants have a great seed dispersal mechanism. Plants create apples, oranges, bell peppers and other fruits and vegetables for dispersal of their seeds. The seed is in the middle of the fruits and vegetables so that when animals eat them, the seeds will be dispersed at great distances.

The fruits and vegetables are meant to be eaten while animals run for their life when someone wants to cut their throat. On one hand, both plant and animal benefit from the seed dispersal process. Animals get a meal to eat while plants get their seeds dispersed for the newer generation to grow. On the other hand, killing an animal is not for the mutual benefit, as animals do not receive anything in return, rather they loose their life.

Animals have strong emotional connections and have been seen to defend their young when a threat is present. Cows protect their calves to death. Elephants have been seen mourning and crying when they loose one of their own. Geese mate for life and if danger is present to one, the mate put itself in front to protect its significant other. Killing one animal not only causes great deal of pain to the animal itself but also affects other animals.

Note: The above information does not contain verses from Guru Granth Sahib Ji, it is derived from logical understanding of animal and plant behavior.

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