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Lely Chow lelyc at u.washington.edu
Thu Jan 4 01:16:04 EST 1996

> Greetings...
> Cool question.  Plants certainly can respond to injury and they do transmit
> impulses from one cell to the next, but this is not the same as feeling pain.
> I think in order to "feel" pain, you have to have a brain, or some 
> centralized area to process and integrate incoming info, which plants DO NOT
> have.  I would even go so far as to say that in order to feel pain in any 
> kind of emotional way, one needs a pretty fancy brain (like, with a 
> cortex).  

Interestingly, there aren't any "pain neurons" in the somatosensory 
cortex. It is a puzzle as to how exactly pain is perceived at the 
concious level.

> This is why anesthetics can be used for surgery in humans.  During 
> surgery, pain impulses are initiated and sent to the spinal cord, but the 
> brain is "shut off" by the anesthetic, so no pain is felt.  Certainly 
> animals feel pain, which is why a vegan lifestyle no doubt causes less 
> pain than if you ate animals!  Hope this helps.  Maybe a botanist would 
> know better?
> Sandra
> ----------------------
> sandraw at U.Arizona.EDU

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