An ethics panel commissioned by the Swiss government has determined that the arbitrary killing of plants is morally wrong. From The Weekly Standard
A "clear majority" of the panel adopted what it called a "biocentric" moral view, meaning that "living organisms should be considered morally for their own sake because they are alive." Thus, the panel determined that we cannot claim "absolute ownership" over plants and, moreover, that "individual plants have an inherent worth." This means that "we may not use them just as we please, even if the plant community is not in danger, or if our actions do not endanger the species, or if we are not acting arbitrarily."
The committee offered this illustration: A farmer mows his field (apparently an acceptable action, perhaps because the hay is intended to feed the farmer's herd--the report doesn't say). But then, while walking home, he casually "decapitates" some wildflowers with his scythe. The panel decries this act as immoral, though its members can't agree why.
The author of the Weekly Standard article appears to have some kind of conservative agenda. (He's a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, which makes him suspect in my book.) However, the basic facts about the Swiss ethics panel appear to be correct. The text of the panel's report, titled The Dignity of Living Beings with Regard to Plants, can be downloaded as a pdf file
From my point of view, what makes this interesting is that it represents the fulfillment of a satirical prophecy. Back in 2004
I posted about the spoof Society for the Protection of Plants
. It only took four years for the satire to become true.