"One is dearest to God who has no enemies among the living beings, who is nonviolent to all creatures."
"Non-injury, truthfulness, freedom from theft, lust, anger and greed, and an effort to do what is agreeable and beneficial to all creatures - this is the common duty of all castes. … To be non-violent to human beings and to be a killer or enemy of the poor animals is Satan's philosophy. In this age there is always enmity against poor animals and therefore the poor creatures are always anxious. The reaction of the poor animals is being forced on human society and therefore there is always the strain of cold or hot war between men, individually, collectively or nationally."
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.10.6 (Hindu Scriptures, oldest human sacred text c. 2500 - 3000 BC)
"Meat cannot be obtained without injury to animals, and the slaughter of animals obstructs the way to Heaven; let him therefore shun the use of meat. … He who injures harmless beings from a wish to give himself pleasure, never finds happiness, neither living nor dead. He who does not seek to cause the sufferings of bonds and death to living creatures, but desires the good of all, obtains endless bliss. He who does not injure any creature, obtains without an effort what he thinks of, what he undertakes, and what he fixes his mind on. He who does not eat meat becomes dear to men, and will not be tormented by diseases. He who permits the slaughter of an animal, he who kills it, he who cuts it up, he who buys or sells meat, he who cooks it, he who serves it up, and he who eats it, are all slayers. There is no greater sinner than that man who seeks to increase the bulk of his own flesh by the flesh of other beings. … Thus having well considered the disgusting origin of meat and the cruelty of fettering and slaying of corporeal beings, let him entirely abstain from eating flesh."
"The butcher does not relent at the bleating of the lamb; neither is the heart of the cruel moved with distress. But the tears of the compassionate are sweeter than dew-drops, falling from roses on the bosom of spring."
"The righteous one regards the life of his animal but the heart of the wicked is without mercy."
"I decided that God is testing us, to show us that we are no better than animals. After all, the same fate awaits man and animals alike. One dies just like the other. They are the same kind of creature. A human being is no better off than an animal … How can anyone be sure that a man's spirit goes upward while an animal's spirit goes down into the ground?"
"He who desires to augment his own flesh by eating the flesh of other creatures lives in misery in whatever species he may take his birth."
"Unless we live with non-violence and reverence for all living beings in our hearts, all our humaneness and acts of goodness, all our vows, virtues, and knowledge, all our practices to give up greed and acquisitiveness are meaningless and useless." "He who harms animals has not understood or renounced deeds of sin... Those whose minds are at peace and who are free from passions do not desire to live at the expense of others."
"Alas, what wickedness to swallow flesh into our own flesh, to fatten our greedy bodies by cramming in other bodies, to have one living creature fed by the death of another! In the midst of such wealth as earth, the best of mothers, provides, yet nothing satisfies you, but to behave like the Cyclopes, inflicting sorry wounds with cruel teeth! You cannot appease the hungry cravings of your wicked, gluttonous stomachs except by destroying some other life." "As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love." "Animals share with us the privilege of having a soul." "If men with fleshly mortals must be fed,/ And chew with bleeding teeth the breathing bread;/ What else is this but to devour our guests,/ And barbarously renew Cyclopean feasts?/ While Earth not only can your needs supply,/ But, lavish of her store, provides for luxury;/ A guiltless feast administers with ease,/And without blood is prodigal to please." "For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love."
Quotes from The Buddah (c. 560-480 BC):
To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.
The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion.
Because he has pity on every living creature, therefore is a man called "holy".
Let him not destroy, or cause to be destroyed, any life at all, nor sanction the acts of those who do so. Let him refrain from even hurting any creature, both those that are strong and those that tremble in the world.
For the sake of love of purity, the Bodhisattva should refrain from eating flesh, which is born of semen, blood, etc. For fear of causing terror to living beings let the Bodhisattva, who is disciplining himself to attain compassion, refrain from eating flesh... It is not true that meat is proper food and permissible when the animal was not killed by himself, when he did not order others to kill it, when it was not specially meant for him. Again, there may be some people in the future who ... being under the influence of the taste for meat will string together in various ways sophistic arguments to defend meat eating. But... meat eating in any form, in any manner, and in any place is unconditionally and once for all prohibited... Meat eating I have not permitted to anyone, I do not permit, I will not permit.
"Non-injury to all living beings is the only religion." (first truth of Jainism) "In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self, and should therefore refrain from inflicting upon others such injury as would appear undesirable to us if inflicted upon ourselves." "This is the quintessence of wisdom; not to kill anything. All breathing, existing, living sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away. This is the pure unchangeable Law. Therefore, cease to injure living things." "All living things love their life, desire pleasure and do not like pain; they dislike any injury to themselves; everybody is desirous of life and to every being, his life is very dear."
"Socrates: Would this habit of eating animals not require that we slaughter animals that we knew as individuals, and in whose eyes we could gaze and see ourselves reflected, only a few hours before our meal? Glaucon: This habit would require that of us. Socrates: Wouldn't this [knowledge of our role in turning a being into a thing] hinder us in achieving happiness? Glaucon: It could so hinder us in our quest for happiness. Socrates: And, if we pursue this way of living, will we not have need to visit the doctor more often? Glaucon: We would have such need. Socrates: If we pursue our habit of eating animals, and if our neighbor follows a similar path, will we not have need to go to war against our neighbor to secure greater pasturage, because ours will not be enough to sustain us, and our neighbor will have a similar need to wage war on us for the same reason? Glaucon: We would be so compelled. Socrates: Would not these facts prevent us from achieving happiness, and therefore the conditions necessary to the building of a just society, if we pursue a desire to eat animals? Glaucon: Yes, they would so prevent us."
"I have enforced the law against killing certain animals and many others, but the greatest progress of righteousness among men comes from the exhortation in favour of non-injury to life and abstention from killing all living beings."
"For hundreds of thousands of years the stew in the pot has brewed hatred and resentment that is difficult to stop. If you wish to know why there are disasters of armies and weapons in the world, listen to the piteous cries from the slaughter house at midnight."
"[In Japan] there are no cattle, no horses, no tigers, no leopards, no goats and no magpies in that land. The climate is mild and people there eat only fresh vegetables both in summer and in winter … [but occasionally the] people catch fish and shellfish in the water."
"Take not away the life you cannot give; For all things have an equal right to live, Kill noxious creatures where 'tis sin to save; This only just prerogative we have; But nourish life with vegetable food, And shun the sacrilegious taste of blood. Forbear, O mortals, To spoil your bodies with such impious food! There is corn for you, apples, whose weight bears down The bending branches; there are grapes that swell On the vines, and pleasant herbs, and greens Made mellow and soft with cooking; there is milk And clover-honey. Earth is generous With her provision, and her sustenance Is very kind; she offers, for your tables, Food that requires no bloodshed and no slaughter." "Oh, Ox, how great are yours desserts! A being without deceit, harmless, simple, willing for work! Ungrateful and unworthy of the fruits of the earth, man kills his own farm helper with the axe, that toil-worn neck that had so often renewed for him the face of the hard earth; so many harvests given!"
"How long shall we weary heaven with petitions for superfluous luxuries, as though we had not at hand wherewithal to feed ourselves? How long shall we fill our plains with huge cities? How long shall the people slave for us unnecessarily? How long shall countless numbers of ships from every sea bring us provisions for the consumption of a single mouth? An ox is satisfied with the pasture of an acre or two; one wood suffices for several elephants. Man alone supports himself by the pillage of the whole earth and sea. What! Has Nature indeed given us so insatiable a stomach, while she has given us such insignificant bodies? No, it is not the hunger of our stomachs, but insatiable covetousness which costs so much. … In the simpler times there was no need of so large a supernumerary force of medical men, nor of so many surgical instruments or of so many boxes of drugs. Health was simple for a simple reason. Many dishes have induced many diseases. Note how vast a quantity of lives one stomach absorbs ... Insatiable, unfathomable, gluttony searches every land and every sea. Some animals it persecutes with snares and traps, with hunting nets, with hooks, sparing no sort of toil to obtain them . . . There is no peace allowed to any species of being . . . No wonder that with so discordant diet disease is ever varying. . . Count the cooks you will no longer wonder at the innumerable number of human maladies. … If these maxims are true, the Pythagorean principles as to abstaining from flesh foster innocence; if ill-founded they at least teach us frugality, and what loss have you in losing your cruelty? I merely deprive you of the food of lions and vultures ... We shall recover our sound reason only if we shall separate ourselves from the herd - the very fact of the approbation of the multitude is a proof of the unsoundness of the opinion or practice. Let us ask what is best, not what is customary. Let us love temperance - let us be just - let us refrain from bloodshed. None is so near the gods as he who shows kindness."
"Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of soul or mind the first man did so, touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, he who set forth tables of dead, stale bodies and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had a little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived. How could his eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with the sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds? … The obligations of law and equity reach only to mankind, but kindness and benevolence should be extended to the creatures of every species, and these will flow from the breast of a true man, in streams that issue from the living fountain. Man makes use of flesh not out of want and necessity, seeing that he has the liberty to make his choice of herbs and fruits, the plenty of which is inexhaustible; but out of luxury, and being cloyed with necessaries, he seeks after impure and inconvenient diet, purchased by the slaughter of living beasts; by showing himself more cruel than the most savage of wild beasts ... were it only to learn benevolence to human kind, we should be merciful to other creatures. … It is certainly not lions and wolves that we eat out of self-defense; on the contrary, we ignore these and slaughter harmless, tame creatures without stings or teeth to harm us, creatures that, I swear, Nature appears to have produced for the sake of their beauty and grace. But nothing abashed us, not the flower-like tinting of the flesh, not the persuasiveness of the harmonious voice, not the cleanliness of their habits or the unusual intelligence that may be found in the poor wretches. No, for the sake of a little flesh we deprive them of sun, of light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and being…Why do you belie the earth, as if it were unable to feed and nourish you? Does it not shame you to mingle murder and blood with her beneficent fruits? Other carnivores you call savage and ferocious - lions and tigers and serpents - while yourselves come behind them in no species of barbarity. And yet for them murder is the only means of sustenance! Whereas to you it is superfluous luxury and crime!"
"[The apostle St.] Peter said, ‘I live on olives and bread to which I rarely only add vegetables.’ … [For] the unnatural eating of meats is as polluting as the heathen worship of devils, with its sacrifices and its impure feasts, through participation in it a man becomes a fellow eater with devils."
"It is far better to be happy than to have your bodies act as graveyards for animals. Accordingly, the apostle [St.] Matthew partook of seeds, nuts and vegetables, without meat."
"James, the brother of the Lord ... was holy from his mother’s womb; and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat meat."
"For to whom is it not manifest that justice is increased through abstinence? For he who abstains from everything living, though he may abstain from such animals as do not contribute to the benefit of society, will be much more careful not to injure those of his own species."
"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, Oh, God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, our brothers the animals to whom you gave the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to you in song, has been a groan of travail. May we realize that they live not for us alone but for themselves and for you and that they love the sweetness of life." "The body which is burdened with meat is afflicted with diseases. A moderate way of living makes the body healthier and stronger and cuts off the root of evil. The stream of meat darkens the light of the spirit. One can hardly have virtue if one enjoys meat and feasts."
"The eating of meat was unknown up to the big flood, but since the flood they have put the strings and stinking juices of animal meat into our mouths, just as they threw in front of the grumbling sensual people in the desert. Jesus Christ, who appeared when the time had been fulfilled, has again joined the end with the beginning, so that it is no longer allowed for us to eat animal meat."
"The saints are exceedingly loving and gentle to mankind, and even to brute beasts ... Surely we ought to show them [animals] great kindness and gentleness for many reasons, but, above all, because they are of the same origin as ourselves."
"The Torah teaches a lesson in moral conduct, that man shall not eat meat unless he has a special craving for it...and shall eat it only occasionally and sparingly." "Adam was not permitted meat for purposes of eating."
"Good men extend their pity, even unto the most despicable animals. The moon does not withhold the light, even from the cottage of a Chandala [outcast]. … Those who have forsaken the killing of all; those who are helpmates to all; those who are a sanctuary to all; those men are in the way of heaven. … Not to kill is a supreme duty … What is religion? Compassion for all things which have life."
"A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being."
From 676 to 737 A.D., under the Japanese emperor Tenmu, the eating of all meat, including fish, was outlawed in Japan. From 737 A.D. until the late 19th century the eating of all meat other than seafood was not permitted. But even then, fish was generally only eaten by most people on special occasions. Dogen, the founder of the Soto Zen school of Buddhism, the main sect of Zen Buddhism, in the 12th century, instituted the requirements of a vegan diet for all his students, and that practice is still followed by observant Zen practitioners.
From the earliest times through the 13th century the typical English diet for the vast majority of the population was oatmeal porridge with vegetables, thick-crusted whole-grain bread, honey ale, and an occasional boiled egg. Only on feasts or special occasions, probably less than a dozen times a year, would there be some cottage cheese, a bit of salted beef or roast chicken or goose, and warm milk to drink.
"It should not be believed that all beings exist for the sake of the existence of man. On the contrary, all the other beings too have been intended for their own sakes and not for the sake of anything else." "[Regarding animals and their offspring], there is no difference between the pain of humans and the pain of other living beings, since the love and tenderness of the mother for the young are not produced by reasoning, but by feeling, and this faculty exists not only in humans but in most living beings."
"All things of creation are children of the Father and thus brothers of man. ... God wants us to help animals, if they need help. Every creature in distress has the same right to be protected." "Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission - to be of service to them wherever they require it." "If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who deal likewise with their fellow men."
"Living creatures possess a moving soul and a certain spiritual superiority which in this respect make them similar to those who possess intellect (people) and they have the power of affecting their welfare and their food and they flee from pain and death."
"You, who are innocent, what have you done worthy of death!" (On seeing animals being killed for food)
"The creatures of the sense world signify the invisible attributes of God, partly because God is the origin, exemplar and end of every creature, and every effect is a sign of its cause, the exemplification of the exemplar and the path to the end, to which it leads. ... For every creature is by its nature a kind of effigy and likeness of the eternal Wisdom. Therefore, open your eyes, alert the ears of your spirit, open your lips and apply your heart so that in all creatures you may see, hear, praise, love and worship, glorify and honor your God lest the whole world rise against you."
"Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things. Every single creature is full of God and is a book about God. Every creature is a word of God."
"And if your heart is straight with God, then every creature shall be to you a mirror of life and a book of holy doctrine, for there is no creature so little or so vile, that he does not represent the goodness of God."
"In the killing of animals there is cruelty, rage, and the accustoming of oneself to the bad habit of shedding innocent blood."
In the 15th century students at Oxford and Cambridge were served only vegetarian meals because it was believed to clear the mind and reduce lethargy.
"Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places." "Certain infidels called Guzzarati [Hindus] do not feed upon anything that contains blood, nor do they permit among them any injury be done to any living thing, like our Leonardo da Vinci."
"The Utopians feel that slaughtering our fellow creatures gradually destroys the sense of compassion, which is the finest sentiment of which our human nature is capable."
"What was the necessity for the entire procedure of ritual slaughter? For the sake of self-discipline. It is far more appropriate for man not to eat meat; only if he has a strong desire for meat does the Torah permit it, and even this only after the trouble and inconvenience necessary to satisfy his desire. Perhaps because of the bother and annoyance of the whole procedure, he will be restrained from such a strong and uncontrollable desire for meat."
"Men dig their graves with their own teeth and die by those fated instruments more than the weapons of their enemies."
"It is forbidden, according to the law of the Torah, to inflict pain upon any living creature. On the contrary, it is our duty to relieve the pain of any creature, even if it is ownerless or belongs to a non-Jew."
"As for flesh, true, indeed, is it that man is sustained on flesh. But how many things, let me ask, does man do every day which are contrary to, or beside, his nature? So great, and so general, is the perversion of his mode of life, which has, as it were, eaten into his flesh by a sort of deadly contagion, that he appears to have put on another disposition. Hence, the whole care and concern of philosophy and moral instruction ought to consist in leading men back to the paths of Nature. Man lives very well upon flesh, you say, but, if he thinks this food to be natural to him, why does he not use it as it is, as furnished to him by Nature? But, in fact, he shrinks in horror from seizing and rending living or even raw flesh with his teeth, and lights a fire to change its natural and proper condition . . . What is clearer than that man is not furnished for hunting, much less for eating, other animals? In one word, we seem to be admirably admonished by Cicero that man was destined for other things than for seizing and cutting the throats of other animals. If you answer, "that may be said to be an industry ordered by Nature, by which such weapons are invented," then, behold, it is by the very same artificial instrument that men make weapons for mutual slaughter. Do they this at the instigation of Nature? Can a use so noxious be called natural? Faculty is given by Nature, but it is our own fault that we make a perverse use of it."
"He that will not be merciful to his beast is a beast himself."
"There is no doubt, that man is not built to be a carnivorous animal. … What a sweet, pleasing and innocent sight is the spectacle of a table served that way and what a difference to a make up of fuming animal meat, slaughtered and dead! Man in no way has the constitution of a carnivorous being. Hunt and voracity are unnatural to him. Man has neither the sharp pointed teeth or claws to slaughter his prey. On the contrary his hands are made to pick fruits, berries and vegetables and teeth appropriate to chew them. … Everything we need to feed ourselves and to restore and please us is abundantly provided in the inexhaustible store of Nature. … In short our orchards offer all the delights imaginable while the slaughter houses and butchers are full of congealed blood and abominable stench."
"Refrain at all times from such foods as cannot be procured without violence and oppression. For know that all the inferior creatures when hurt do cry and send forth the complaints to their Maker or grand Fountain whence they proceeded. Be not insensible that every creature does bear the Image of the great Creator according to the Nature of each, and that He is the Vital Power in all things. Therefore let none take pleasure to offer violence to that life, lest he awaken the fierce wrath and bring danger to his own soul." "The inferior creatures groan under your cruelties. You hunt them for your pleasure, and overwork them for your covetousness, and kill them for your gluttony, and set them to fight one with another till they die, and count it a sport and a pleasure to behold them worry one another."
"To see the convulsions, agonies and tortures of a poor fellow-creature, whom they cannot restore nor recompense, dying to gratify luxury and tickle callous and rank organs, must require a rocky heart, and a great degree of cruelty and ferocity. I cannot find any great difference between feeding on human flesh and feeding on animal flesh, except custom and practice."
"True benevolence, or compassion, extends itself through the whole of existence and sympathizes with the distress of every creature capable of sensation."
"People must have renounced, it seems to me, all natural intelligence to dare to advance that animals are but animated machines . . . It appears to me, besides, that [such people] can never have observed with attention the character of animals, not to have distinguished among them the different voices of need, of suffering, of joy, of pain, of love, of anger, and of all their affections. It would be very strange that they should express so well what they could not feel." "How pitiful, and what poverty of mind, to have said that the animals are machines deprived of understanding and feeling. … Judge (in the same way as you would judge your own) the behaviour of a dog who has lost his master, who has searched for him in the road barking miserably, who has come back to the house restless and anxious, who has run upstairs and down, from room to room, and who has found the beloved master at last in his study, and then shown his joy by barks, bounds and caresses. There are some barbarians who will take this dog, that so greatly excels man in capacity for friendship, who will nail him to a table, and dissect him alive, in order to show you his veins and nerves. And what you then discover in him are all the same organs of sensation that you have in yourself. Answer me, mechanist, has Nature arranged all the springs of feeling in this animal to the end that he might not feel? Has he nerves that he may be incapable of suffering?"
"I believe in my heart that faith in Jesus Christ can and will lead us beyond an exclusive concern for the well-being of other human beings to the broader concern for the well-being of the birds in our backyards, the fish in our rivers, and every living creature on the face of the earth."
"When about 16 Years of Age, I happen'd to meet with a Book written by one Tryon, recommending a Vegetable Diet. I determined to go into it. My Brother being yet unmarried, did not keep House, but boarded himself & his Apprentices in another family. My refusing to eat Flesh occasioned an Inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my singularity. I made my self acquainted with Tryon's Manner of preparing some of his Dishes, such as Boiling Potatoes, or Rice, making Hasty Pudding, & a few others, and then propos'd to my Brother, that if he would give me Weekly half the Money he paid for my Board, I would board my self. He instantly agreed to it, and I presently found that I could save half what he paid me. This was an additional Fund for buying Books! But I had another Advantage in it. My Brother and the rest going from the Printing House to their Meals, I remain'd there alone, and dispatching presently my light Repast, (which often was no more than a Bisket or a Slice of Bread, a Handful of Raisins or a Tart from the Pastry Cook's, and a Glass of Water) had the rest of the Time till their Return, for Study, in which I made the greater Progress from that greater Clearness of Head & quicker Apprehension which usually attend Temperance in Eating & Drinking." (Franklin’s personal journal) "Flesh eating is unprovoked murder."
"An infallible characteristic of meanness is cruelty. Men who have practiced tortures on animals without pity, relating them without shame, how can they still hold their heads among human beings?"
"Every animal (of the higher species) has ideas, since he has senses. He even combines his ideas up to a certain point, and man differs, in this respect, only in the more or less. Some philosophic writers have even advanced that there is more difference between this man and that man, than between this man and that (non-human) animal. It is not, therefore, intelligence so much as his quality of being a free agent which makes the difference." "The animals you eat are not those who devour others; you do not eat the carnivorous beasts, you take them as your pattern. You only hunger for the sweet and gentle creatures which harm no one, which follow you, serve you, and are devoured by you as the reward of their service. … One of the proofs that the taste of flesh is not natural to man is the indifference which children exhibit for that sort of meat, and the preference they all give to vegetable foods, such as milk-porridge, pastry, fruits, etc. It is of the last importance not to de-naturalize them of this primitive taste and not to render them carnivorous, if not for health reasons, at least for the sake of their character. For, however the experience may be explained, it is certain that great eaters of flesh are, in general, more cruel and ferocious than other men. This observation is true of all places and of all times. English coarseness is well known. The Gaures, on the contrary, are the gentlest of men. All savages are cruel, and it is not their morals that urge them to be so; this cruelty proceeds from their food. They go to war as to the chase, and treat men as they do bears. Even in England the butchers are not received as legal witnesses any more than surgeons. And great criminals harden themselves to murder by drinking [animal] blood."
"I believe that where the true spirit of government is watchfully attended to, a tenderness toward all creatures will be experienced, and a care felt in us that we do not lessen that sweetness of life in the animal creation which the Great Creator intends for them under our government."
"If [man] is not to stifle his human feelings, he must practice kindness towards animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals."
"Cruelty to dumb animals is one of the distinguishing vices of low and base minds. Wherever it is found, it is a certain mark of ignorance and meanness; a mark which all the external advantages of wealth, splendour, and nobility, cannot obliterate. It is consistent neither with learning nor true civility."
"Pain is pain, whether it is inflicted on man or on beast; and the creature that suffers it, whether man or beast, being sensible of the misery of it whilst it lasts, suffers Evil..." "We may pretend to what religion we please, but cruelty is atheism. We may boast of Christianity; but cruelty is infidelity. We may trust our orthodoxy; but cruelty is the worst of heresies."
"The moral duty of man consists of imitating the moral goodness and beneficence of God manifested in the creation towards all his creatures. Everything of persecution and revenge between man and man, and everything of cruelty to animals is a violation of moral duty."
"SIR,--Your letter of February the 18th came to hand on the 1st instant; and the request of the history of my physical habits would have puzzled me not a little, had it not been for the model with which you accompanied it, of Doctor Rush's answer to a similar inquiry. I live so much like other people, that I might refer to ordinary life as a history of my own. Like my friend the Doctor, I have lived temperately, eating very little animal food, and that not as an aliment, so much as a condiment for the vegetables, which constitute my principle diet."
"The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withheld from them but by the hand of tyranny. . . a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week or even a month old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, can they reason? Nor can they talk? But, can they suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being? The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes..."
"The habit of shedding blood, or even of seeing it shed, corrupts all sentiment of humanity."
"That the use of animal food disposes man to cruel and ferocious action is a fact to which the experience of ages gives ample testimony . . . The barbarous and unfeeling "sports" (as they are called) of the English - their horse-racing, hunting, shooting, bull and bear baiting, cock-fighting, prize fighting, and the like, all proceed from their immoderate addiction to animal food. Their natural temper is thereby corrupted, and they are in the habitual and hourly commission of crimes against nature, justice, and humanity, from which a feeling and reflective mind, unaccustomed to such a diet, would revolt, but in which they profess to take delight."
"Cruelty to animals is one of the most significant vices of a low and ignoble people."
"So long as men are compassionate to such a degree that they cannot hear a fly struggling in a spider's web without emotion it can never be reasonably maintained that it is their natural impulse to wound and kill the dumb animals, or to butcher one another in what is called the field of honour."
"The brute animals have all the same sensations of pain as human beings, and consequently endure as much pain when their body is hurt; but in their case the cruelty of torment is greater, because they have no mind to bear them up against their sufferings, and no hope to look forward to when enduring the last extreme pain."
"Feeling unbearable compassion for all animals in the world who are killed for food, I went back before the Jowo Rinpoche [a great statue of the Buddha in Lhasa], prostrated myself, and made this vow: 'From today on, I give up the negative act that is eating the flesh of beings . . ."
"For all we know that English people are/ Fed upon beef - I won't say much of beer/ Because 'tis liquor only, and being far/ From this my subject, has no business here;/ We know too, they are very fond of war,/ A pleasure - like all pleasures - rather dear;/ So were the Cretans - from which I infer/ That beef and battle both were owing her" "[t]he art of angling [is] the cruelest, the coldest, and the stupidest of the pretended sports."
"The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western cruelty and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality."
"No longer now/ He slays the lamb that looks him in the face,/ And horribly devours his mangled flesh;/ Which, still avenging nature's broken law,/ Kindled all putrid humours in his frame,/ All evil passions, and all vain belief,/ Hatred, despair, and loathing in his mind,/ The germs of misery, death, disease, and crime." "Never again may blood of bird or beast/ Stain with its venomous stream a human feast,/ To the pure skies in accusation steaming." "It is only by softening and disguising dead flesh by culinary preparation that it is rendered susceptible of mastication or digestion, and that the sight of its bloody juices and raw horror does not excite intolerable loathing and disgust." "I wish no living thing to suffer pain."
"What I build upon I shall be told is a folly that wise men are not guilty of: I own it; but whilst it proceeds from a real passion inherent in our nature, it is sufficient to demonstrate that we are born with a repugnancy to the killing, and consequently the eating of animals; for it is impossible that a natural appetite should ever prompt us to act, or desire others to do, what we have an aversion to, be it as foolish as it will."
"Animal life, somber mystery. All nature protests against the barbarity of man, who misapprehends, who humiliates, who tortures his inferior brethren."
"Cruelty to animals is as if man did not love God." "Now what is it moves our very heart and sickens us so much as cruelty shown to poor brutes? I suppose this: first, that they have done us no harm; next, that they have no power whatever of resistance; it is the cowardice and tyranny of which they are the victims which make their sufferings so especially touching. … There is something so dreadful, so Satanic, in tormenting those who have never harmed us, and who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power."
"In the relations of humans with the animals, with the flowers, with all the objects of creation, there is a whole great ethic scarcely seen as yet."
"...and we have so far improved upon the custom of Adam and Eve, that we generally furnish forth our feasts with a portion of some delicate calf or lamb, whose unspotted innocence entitles them to the happiness of becoming our sustenance."
"We crossed the Embarras River and encamped on a small branch of the same about one mile west. In pitching my tent we found three massasaugas or prairie rattlesnakes, which the brethren were about to kill, but I said, ‘Let them alone—don’t hurt them! How will the serpent ever lose his venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition and continue to make war upon it? Men must become harmless, before the brute creation; and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the sucking child can play with the serpent in safety.’"
"The reasons for legal intervention in favour of children apply not less strongly to the case of those unfortunate slaves and victims of the most brutal part of mankind - the animals." (In discussing the need for child labor laws)
"The sooner we recognize the fact that the mercy of the Almighty extends to every creature endowed with life, the better it will be for us as men and Christians."
"Here you are faced with G-d's teaching, which obliges you not only to refrain from inflicting unnecessary pain on any animal, but to help and, when you can, to lessen the pain whenever you see an animal suffering, even through no fault of yours. … As G-d is merciful, so you also be merciful. As he loves and cares for all His creatures and His children and are related to Him, because He is their Father, so you also love all His creatures as your brethren. Let their joys be your joys, and their sorrows yours. Love them and with every power which G-d gives you, work for their welfare and benefit, because they are the children of your G-d, because they are your brothers and sisters."
"I care not for a man's religion whose dog or cat are not better for it." "I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of the whole human being."
"The tzaddik (righteous person) acts according to the laws of justice; not only does he act according to these laws with human beings, but also with animals."
"We should remember in our dealings with animals that they are a sacred trust to us from our heavenly Father."
"Human dignity begins to assert itself only at the point where man is distinguishable from the beast by pity for it."
"It may be vain to ask why the imagination will not be reconciled to flesh and fat. I am satisfied that it is not. Is it not a reproach that man is a carnivorous animal? True, he can and does live, in a great measure, by preying on other animals; but this is a miserable way - as anyone who will go to snaring rabbits, or slaughtering lambs, may learn - and he will be regarded as a benefactor of his race who shall teach man to confine himself to a more innocent and wholesome diet. … I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals. … I believe that every man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or poetic faculties in the best condition has been particularly inclined to abstain from animal food, and from much food of any kind." "One farmer says to me, ‘You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make the bones with;’ and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying himself with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle."
"Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself."
"Love animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble their joy, don't harass them, don't deprive them of their happiness, don't work against God's intent. Man, do not pride yourself on superiority to animals; they are without sin, and you, with your greatness, defile the earth by your appearance on it, and leave the traces of your foulness after you - alas, it is true of almost every one of us!"
"The awful wrongs and sufferings forced upon the innocent, faithful animal race, form the blackest chapter in the whole world's history."
I am sometimes asked "Why do you spent so much of your time and money talking about kindness to animals when there is so much cruelty to men?" I answer: "I am working at the roots."
"God gave our first parents the food He designed that the race should eat. It was contrary to His plan to have the life of any creature taken. There was to be no death in Eden. The fruit of the trees in the garden was the food man's wants required." "The moral evils of a flesh diet are not less marked than are the physical ills. Flesh food is injurious to health, and whatever affects the body has a corresponding effect on the mind and the soul. Think of the cruelty to animals meat-eating involves, and its effect on those who inflict and those who behold it. How it destroys the tenderness with which we should regard those creatures of God! … Animals are often transported long distances and subjected to great suffering in reaching a market. Taken from the green pastures and traveling for weary miles over the hot, dusty roads, or crowded into filthy cars, feverish and exhausted, often for many hours deprived of food and water, the poor creatures are driven to their death, that human beings may feast on the carcasses."
"’Thou shalt not kill’ does not apply to murder of one’s own kind only, but to all living beings; and this Commandment was inscribed in the human breast long before it was proclaimed from Sinai." "If he be really and seriously seeking to live a good life, the first thing from which he will abstain will always be the use of animal food, because ...its use is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to the moral feeling -- killing." "As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields."
"The awful cruelty and terror to which tens of thousands of animals killed for human food are subjected in traveling long distances by ship and rail and road to the slaughterhouses of the world. God disapproves of all cruelty… whether to man or beast. The occupation of slaughtering animals is brutalizing to those who are required to do the work. ... I believe this matter is well worthy of the serious consideration of Christian leaders."
"I venture to maintain that there are multitudes to whom the necessity of discharging the duties of a butcher would be so inexpressibly painful and revolting, that if they could obtain a flesh diet on no other condition, they would relinquish it forever."
"The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous; it is indissolubly connected with the fate of men."
"Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages."
"We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions and organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of pain and fear." "Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, yet we make the same impression on Buddhists and vegetarians, for we feed on babies, though not our own."
"A dead cow or sheep lying in the pasture is recognized as carrion. The same sort of carcass dressed and hung up in a butchers stall passes as food."
"Atrocities are not less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and are called medical research." "Animals are my friends - and I don't eat my friends." "While we are the living graves of murdered beasts, slaughtered to satisfy our appetites, how can we expect ideal conditions on this earth." "The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That is the essence of inhumanity." "A mind of the caliber of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows."
"At the moment our human world is based on the suffering and destruction of millions of non-humans. To perceive this and to do something to change it in personal and public ways is to undergo a change of perception akin to a religious conversion. Nothing can ever be seen in quite the same way again because once you have admitted the terror and pain of other species you will, unless you resist conversion, be always aware of the endless permutations of suffering that support our society."
"We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form."
"We manage to swallow flesh only because we do not think of the cruel and sinful thing that we do. Cruelty... is a fundamental sin, and admits of no arguments or nice distinctions. If only we do not allow our heart to grow callous, it protests against cruelty, is always clearly heard; and yet we go on perpetrating cruelties easily, merrily, all of us - in fact, anyone who does not join in is dubbed a crank."
"The progress of dynamic ideals will not be eternally blocked. Through general, moral and intellectual advancement... shall the latent aspiration of justice for the animal kingdom come out into the open, when the time is ripe."
"Kindness to all God's creatures is an absolute rock-bottom necessity if peace and righteousness are to prevail."
"To one whose mind is free, there is something even more intolerable in the suffering of animals than in the sufferings of humans. For with the latter, it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the person who causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If any person were to refer to it, they would be thought ridiculous. And that is the unpardonable crime. That alone is the justification of all that humans may suffer. It cries vengeance upon all the human race. If God exists and tolerates it, it cries vengeance upon God."
"Once admit that we have the right to inflict unnecessary suffering and you destroy the very basis of human society."
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be measured by the way its animals are treated." "I do not regard flesh-food as necessary for us at any stage and under any clime in which it is possible for human beings ordinarily to live. I hold flesh-food to be unsuited to our species. We err in copying the lower animal world - if we are superior to it." "… man was not born a carnivorous animal, but born to live on the fruits and herbs that the earth grows. I know we must all err. I would give up milk if I could, but I cannot. I have made that experiment times without number. I could not, after a serious illness, regain my strength, unless I went back to milk. That has been the tragedy of my life. But the basis of my vegetarianism is not physical, but moral. If anybody said that I should die if I did not take beef tea or mutton, even on medical advice, I would prefer death. That is the basis of my vegetarianism."
"Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace." "Let no one regard as light the burden of his responsibility. While so much ill-treatment of animals goes on, while the moans of thirsty animals in railway trucks sound unheard, while so much brutality prevails in our slaughterhouses ... we all bear guilt. Everything that lives has value as a living thing, as one of the manifestations of the mystery that is life." "It is the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed. It was once considered foolish to suppose that black men were really human beings and ought to be treated as such. What was once foolish has now become a recognized truth. Today it is considered as exaggeration to proclaim constant respect for every form of life as being the serious demand of a rational ethic. But the time is coming when people will be amazed that the human race existed so long before it recognized that thoughtless injury to life is incompatible with real ethics. Ethics is in its unqualified form extended responsibility to everything that has life." "The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another, even the lowliest creature; to do so is to renounce our manhood and shoulder a guilt which nothing justifies."
"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind." "A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the 'Universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."
"You are permitted to use the animals and employ them for work, have dominion over them in order to utilize their services for your subsistence, but must not hold their life cheap nor slaughter them for food. Your natural diet is vegetarian… Apparently the Torah was in principle opposed to the eating of meat. When Noah and his descendants were permitted to eat meat this was a concession conditional on the prohibition of the blood. This prohibition implied respect for the principle of life (‘for the blood is the life’) and an allusion to the fact that in reality all meat should have been prohibited. This partial prohibition was designed to call to mind the previously total one."
"In all the round world of Utopia there is no meat. There used to be, but now we cannot stand the thought of slaughterhouses. And it is impossible to find anyone who will hew a dead ox or pig. I can still remember as a boy the rejoicings over the closing of the last slaughterhouse."
"I do not like eating meat because I have seen lambs and pigs killed. I saw and felt their pain. They felt the approaching death. I could not bear it. I cried like a child. I ran up a hill and could not breathe. I felt that I was choking. I felt the death of the lamb."
"We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees there by a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth."
"If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons."
"When a human being kills an animal for food, he is neglecting his own hunger for justice. Man prays for mercy, but is unwilling to extend it to others. Why then should man expect mercy from God? It is unfair to expect something that you are not willing to give." "As often as Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought: in their behaviour toward creatures, all men were Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they're the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought." "People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times." "There will be no justice as long as man will stand with a knife or with a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is."
"The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil first because it results in the great suffering of animals, and second because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of the human spirit."
"Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is--whether its victim is human or animal--we cannot expect things to be much better in this world... We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity."
"We cannot treat any living thing callously, and we are responsible for what happens to other beings, human or animal, even if we do not personally come into contact with them."
"I don't understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open and put them on cholesterol-lowering drugs for the rest of their lives."
"There’s no reason to drink cow’s milk at any time in your life. It was designed for calves, not humans, and we should all stop drinking it today."
"When we kill the animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings."
"If you step back and look at the data, the optimum amount of red meat you eat should be zero."
"[W]hat we have come to consider as "normal" illnesses of aging are really not normal. In fact, these findings indicate that the vast majority, perhaps 80 to 90%of all cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and other forms of degenerative illness can be prevented, at least until very old age, simply by adopting a plant-based diet." "In the next 10 to 15 years, one of the things you’re bound to hear is that animal protein ... is one of the most toxic nutrients of all that can be considered. Risk for disease goes up dramatically when even a little animal protein is added to the diet." "We are basically a vegetarian species and should be eating a wide variety of plant food and minimizing our intake of animal foods." "In every respect, vegans appear to enjoy equal or better health in comparison to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians."
"The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined."
"I don't eat chicken anymore. I won't eat it. I won't allow it in my house."
"Based on my experience in Los Angeles, my advice to the public is not to eat meat."
"Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘Because the animals are like us.’ Ask the experimenters why it is morally OK to experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘Because the animals are not like us.’ Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction."
"It is in the battery shed that we find the parallel with Auschwitz....To shut your mind, heart and imagination from the sufferings of others is to begin slowly, but inexorably, to die. Those Christians who close their minds and hearts to the cause of animal welfare, and the evils it seeks to combat, are ignoring the Fundamental spiritual teachings of Christ himself." "Yet saddest of all fates, surely, is to have lost that sense of the holiness of life altogether; that we commit the blasphemy of bringing thousands of lives to a cruel and terrifying death or of making those lives a living death -- and feel nothing."
"Animals are God's creatures, not human property, nor utilities, nor resources, nor commodities, but precious beings in God's sight.... Christians whose eyes are fixed on the awfulness of crucifixion are in a special position to understand the awfulness of innocent suffering. The Cross of Christ is God's absolute identification with the weak, the powerless, and the vulnerable, but most of all with unprotected, undefended, innocent suffering." "Christian theology provides some of the best arguments for respecting animal life and for taking seriously animals as partners with us within God's creation. It may be ironical that this tradition, once thought of as the bastion of human moral exclusivity, should now be seen as the seed-bed for a creative understanding of animal liberation."
"God intends our care of the creation to reflect our love for the Creator."
"The current treatment of animals in the livestock trade definitely renders the consumption of meat as halachically unacceptable as the product of illegitimate means. … As it is halachically prohibited to harm oneself and as healthy, nutritious vegetarian alternatives are easily available, meat consumption has become halachically unjustifiable."
"The Bible's emphasis is on the good treatment of animals, and not just the forbidding of cruel treatment."
"I do not see any reason why animals should be slaughtered to serve as human diet when there are so many substitutes. After all, man can live without meat. It is only some carnivorous animals that have to subsist on flesh. Killing animals for sport, for pleasure, for adventures, and for hides and furs is a phenomenon which is at once disgusting and distressing. There is no justification in indulging in such acts of brutality. In our approach to life, be it pragmatic or otherwise, the ultimate truth that confronts us squarely and unmistakably is the desire for peace, security and happiness. Different forms of life in different aspects of existence make up the teeming denizens of this earth of ours. And, no matter whether they belong to the higher group as human beings or to the lower group, the animals, all beings primarily seek peace, comfort and security. Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to a man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not to die, so do other creatures."
"Whenever I visit a market and see the chickens crowded together in tiny cages that give them no room to move around and spread their wings and the fish slowly drowning in the air, my heart goes out to them. People have to learn to think about animals in a different way, as sentient beings who love life and fear death. I urge everyone who can to adopt a compassionate vegetarian diet."
"In order to satisfy one human stomach, so many lives are taken away. We must promote vegetarianism. It is extremely important."
"Most of us are able to obtain an abundance of nonflesh foods that can keep us robustly healthy our whole lives. With such a variety of nonanimal foods available, who would choose to support the slaughter mills and foster the misery involved in factory farming by continuing to eat flesh? . . . It is sad to see how many American Buddhists are managing to find a self-satisfying accommodation to eating meat . . . [In the first Bodhisattva vow of Mahayana Buddhism] we commit our compassion to all beings, not just humans. Eschewing meat is one way to express that commitment to the welfare of other creatures."
"In every country in the world, killing human beings is condemned. The Buddhist precept of non-killing extends even further, to include all living beings."
"We must look deeply. When we buy something or consume something, we may be participating in an act of killing. This precept [non-killing] reflects our determination not to kill, either directly or indirectly, and also to prevent others from killing."