The Viva Vine: vol #2, no #3: May / June 1993
It was a pleasure to make my contribution toward the success of your
[Adopt-A-McDonald's Campaign kick-off] RALLY at Fifth Avenue and 23rd St. on April 17, if only by
my presence in your audience. You are to be commended for the work you are doing to publicize the
vegetarian way of life. This comes to you from a youthful 93-year nonagenarian who has been a
complete vegetarian for 53 years, enjoying good health and who is still galavanting around ...
Pamela, you are the David fighting the Goliath, and yet, your "Beyond Beef" campaign, directed at
McDonald's, benefited the multi-million dollar corporate giant immeasurably by the advertising of
its name. Why not send them a nice letter explaining that you are actually helping them and that
your activity should be worthy of compensation by them. Ask them, "Would you then consider
sending us a check for a thousand dollars to help us defray the expense of conducting this
Sincerely, as always, Louis Warter
Have you encountered people who when urged to eat plants instead of animals
counter with the "fact" that plants are conscious and experience pain? The basis for this view
stems (excuse my pun) from the book "The Secret Life of Plants' which was based on work published
by Cleve Backster in 1968. Well, recently I came across the enclosed article from "The Skeptical
Inquirer" by John M. Kmetz (page 57-61 of the Spring/Summer, 1978 issue). Mr. Kmetz, it happens,
attempted to replicate Backster's results. He found no evidence of plant consciousness. Others
before Kmetz (R. Johnson and K.A. Horowitz, 1975), also, have attempted to replicate Backster's
results with negative outcomes. It appears that Backster's work claiming consciousness for plants
was flawed in its methodology and conclusion
- Mike Hudak,
(Ed. Note: Yes, Mike. I have been countered with the argument that plants have feelings many
times! It's just one more of those things that makes you want to scream for sanity. I have tried
my best to argue with people on the point. But, have never had any documentation before to back
me up. I usually just retreated from the argument by telling people that if they were concerned
about plants because they believed that they had feelings, then the mere fact that animals first
have to consume huge amounts of plant food before they are eaten gives inexorable power to the
argument for vegetarianism. So, Mike, the Kmetz essay you sent me is, at this point, absolutely
invaluable and if not esoteric, albeit, thankfully very short. I'd like to quote from the last
paragraph of it as it is most revealing.) ... Quoting from Mr. Kmetz' essay: "It is unfortunate
that the popular press has taken Backster's experiments and presented the results to the public
in such a way that many people now believe plants can do something that, in fact, they cannot.
The press, for the most part, never mentions that articles on the Backster effect are based on
observations of only seven plants. Perhaps they need to be reminded, again, that they are making
exaggerated claims from an experiment that no one, including Backster, by his own refusal to do
so, has been able to replicate."
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