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Swiss experts say plants have rights too

Plants need protection from maltreatment and pollution, government experts said on Monday.

A report by the government-appointed Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH) described interfering with plants without a valid reason as "morally inadmissible".

The committee looked at ethical views held on plants and issues of how their use could be justified.

It said that from a wider perspective, "all action involving plants for the preservation of the human race was morally justified".

A majority of the committee found that genetic modification of a plant did not contradict the idea of its "dignity" if it did not harm its adaptive or reproductive capacities, adding that the patented use of plants was acceptable.

The ECNH was appointed to give an ethical perspective on the field of non-human biotechnology and gene technology and develop proposals on the principle of the dignity of creatures.