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Reducing animals' suffering would also benefit plant life

As co-president of the Animal Rights Forum, I applaud Daniel A. Gilbert's sudden realization that humans are not the only living beings who deserve rights ["Humans must recognize that plants are people too," April 28]. I would also like to take this opportunity to clarify the position of the ARF.

It is true that the ARF believes that although some animal research may someday benefit humans, we do not have the right to perform experiments on animals. The end does not justify the means. However, we believe this because it is known that animals are sentient -- they are capable of pain and suffering -- and this is the characteristic which separates plants from animals.

Nevertheless, I can definitely empathize with Gilbert's cause, and I offer him these hints for his new, non-violent lifestyle.

O+ Consider fruitarianism. The fruitarian diet consists only of plant matter whose source was not killed to provide the food. This includes foods like nuts, seeds, squash, and tomatoes, along with traditional fruits. If this seems too drastic. . .

O+ Consider vegetarianism. It takes 16 pounds of soybeans to produce one pound of feedlot beef. Imagine all the soy plants you could save from the combine if you ate the beans directly! Also, because of the amount of land it takes to grow this huge amount of farm animal feed, by becoming a total vegetarian (no meat, fowl, fish, eggs, or dairy), you will save one acre of land per year from deforestation.

O+ Buy only cruelty-free products. Many cosmetics and household products are tested on animals. Needless to say, an absurd number of helpless wheat plants are senselessly slaughtered each year to produce the rabbits used in these tests. A list of companies which do not test their products on animals is available from the ARF.

If Gilbert wishes to further pursue his interests in a non-violent lifestyle, the ARF would be glad to provide him with more information on any of the above points. On the other hand, if, by any chance, his letter was intended to sarcastically show that the ARF's work to protect animals is going too far, I ask him to please let us know what he considers to be a proper amount of caring about the well-being of others. I am sure that our knowing of his exemplary, though non-excessive, activism for the lessening of human, animal, and plant abuse would be much more persuasive than his sarcasm.

Doris Lin '89->

Animal Rights Forum->