On 3rd April 2023, the British activist Ed Winters, also known as Earthling Ed, posted on his YouTube Channel a video recorded during a live interview he had for the TV channel CBN. This is a debate triggered by some sensationalist articles published in the press regarding research from Israel that found tomatoes produce sounds like bubble wrap being popped when they are a pick from their stems, which the press erroneously reported as “screaming”. 

Earthlings Ed clarified this issue straight away, saying, “The thing is we kind of misrepresented the report a little bit. The word ‘scream’ isn’t cited in the report. Neither is the word pain or sentience or suffering. Really, all we discovered was that plants will release certain popping sounds due to what they believe is cavitation, which is basically the releasing of gas. So much like bacteria also emit frequencies, so do plants as well, but it doesn’t mean that they suffer pain.”

When asked if plants can feel things, Earthling Ed replied, “No, they don’t have subjective experience which is what sentience is, which is what you and I have, and indeed animals have as well. They’re intelligent, of course, but so are bacteria and viruses, they’re also intelligent, but what I always say to people is, if you’re genuinely concerned about plants, let’s say that you think, ‘hang on a minute, there’s some good evidence that plants suffer,’ the majority of the plants that we’re growing in the UK are being used as animal feed anyway, so even as a vegan myself I’m actually reducing animal and plant suffering by adopting a plant-based diet at the same time.” 

The debate continued with the presenter repeating vegandeniers’ clichés about loving meat, lack of proteins, baby nutrition, and avocados travelling long distances, to which Earthling Ed responded in his usual style. You can watch the video here:

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.