News Science Swiss Government Issues Bill of Rights for Plants By Lloyd Alter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Lloyd Alter Published May 09, 2008 Updated October 11, 2018 11:54AM EDT Migrated Image Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices Store Wars! Revolution is in the air, as the Swiss Government's Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology concludes that plants have rights, and we have to treat them appropriately. A majority of the panel concluded that "living organisms should be considered morally for their own sake because they are alive." The Weekly Standard, which is appalled, gives an example of how a farmer mowing his field is OK, but if he carelessly decapitates flowers while walking home, that is immoral. It suggests that "The animal rights movement grew out of the same poisonous soil." Patrick Metzger at Green Daily suggests that "this concept is a little extreme even for the most committed treehugger." Having scanned the report, I am not so sure that it is that far off base. It isn't just Julia Butterfly Hill who has fought for the rights of trees, and there are many who fall in love with their garden and protect their tomatoes like their pets, and give them the proper reverence when they are eaten. They don't pick them and throw them against the wall. Millions of Jains refuse any food obtained with unnecessary cruelty, and many will not eat root vegetables because it kills the plant; it is not like this is a new idea. They are not, like the Weekly Standard suggests, writing a vegetable Bill of Rights, they are only saying that all living things should be treated with respect. How can one argue with that? Download the PDF report here.