This isn’t so much about how there aren’t any restaurants that have decent options for vegetarians or that burgers are so damn good that they’d have no choice but eat them. No, this is down to the very nature that plants operate.
Andrew Smith, the Assistant Professor of English and Philosophy at Drexel University goes into the issue in his book “A Critique of the Moral Defense of Vegetarianism“.
“Plants acquire nutrients from the soil, which is composed, among other things, of decayed plant and animal remains. So even those who assume they subsist solely on a plant-based diet actually eat animal remains as well. This is why it’s impossible to be a vegetarian,” Andrew points out.
Many vegetarians cite the sentience of animals as a reason to abstain from eating them. But there’s good reason to believe that plants are sentient, too.
“For the record, I’ve been a ‘vegetarian’ for about 20 years and nearly ‘vegan’ for six. I’m not opposed to these eating practices. That isn’t my point. But I do think that many ‘vegetarians’ and ‘vegans’ could stand to pay closer attention to the experiences of the beings who we make our food. For example, many vegetarians cite the sentience of animals as a reason to abstain from eating them. But there’s good reason to believe that plants are sentient, too. In other words, they’re acutely aware of and responsive to their surroundings, and they respond, in kind, to both pleasant and unpleasant experiences,” Andrew writes.
Fortunately I’ve never worried about any moral conundrums of eating food, but it’s still an interesting debate to annoy your vegan friends with.