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Quotations about Animal Rights

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 okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is: "Because the animals are not like us." Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.
   ~ Charles R. Magel

God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages.
   ~ Jacques Deval, Afin de vivre bel et bien

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.
   ~ William Ralph Inge, Outspoken Essays, 1922

From beasts we scorn as soulless,
In forest, field and den,
The cry goes up to witness
The soullessness of men.
    ~ M. Frida Hartley

The question is not, "Can they reason?" nor, "Can they talk?" but rather, "Can they suffer?"
    ~ Jeremy Bentham

I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.
    ~ Abraham Lincoln

Personally, I would not give a fig for any man's religion whose horse, cat and dog do not feel its benefits.  Life in any form is our perpetual responsibility.
    ~ S. Parkes Cadman

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No one in the world needs a mink coat but a mink.
    ~ Author Unknown

Never wear anything that panics the cat.
    ~ P.J. O'Rourke

Cruelty is one fashion statement we can all do without.
    ~ Rue McClanahan

Ever occur to you why some of us can be this much concerned with animals suffering?  Because government is not. Why not? Animals don't vote.
    ~ Paul Harvey

Support your right to arm bears.
    ~ Cleveland Amory  (Thank you, Leslie.)

Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?
    ~ Pierre Troubetzkoy

Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.
    ~ Albert Schweitzer

Hunting is not a sport.  In a sport, both sides should know they're in the game.
    ~ Paul Rodriguez

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Man is the only creature that consumes without producing.  He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits.  Yet he is lord of all the animals.
     ~ George Orwell, Animal Farm

Cockfighting was illegal in Oklahoma until 1963, when a judge ruled that chickens are not animals and therefore unprotected by anticruelty laws.
     ~ U.S. News & World Report, 6 December 1999

Animals give me more pleasure through the viewfinder of a camera than they ever did in the crosshairs of a gunsight. And after I've finished "shooting," my unharmed victims are still around for others to enjoy. I have developed a deep respect for animals. I consider them fellow living creatures with certain rights that should not be violated any more than those of humans.
    ~ Jimmy Stewart

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.
    ~ C.S. Lewis

Michael W. Fox, vice-president of the Humane Society, said that, "to call an animal with whom you share your life a 'pet,' is reminiscent of men's magazines where you (a figure of speech, don't take it personally) have the Pet of the Month." It is supposed that the continued use of the word "pet" to designate dogs or cats threatens to reduce their level of respect to the current status of twentieth century North American women.  Now that's radical.
    ~ The McGill Red Herring

People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it's safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs.
    ~ Author Unknown

Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, the frogs do not die in sport, but in earnest.
    ~ Bion, "Water and Land Animals," Plutarch

The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.
    ~ Henry David Thoreau

Drinking without being thirsty and making love at any time, Madame, are the only things that distinguish us from other animals.
    ~ Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, The Marriage of Figaro, 1784, translated

I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it's such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.
    ~ Ellen DeGeneres

When a man wantonly destroys one of the works of man we call him a vandal.  When he destroys one of the works of god we call him a sportsman.
    ~ Joseph Wood Krutch

The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of a gun.
    ~ P.G. Wodehouse

If you love animals called pets, why do you eat animals called dinner?
    ~ As seen on a shirt

The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creatures that cannot.
    ~ Mark Twain, What Is Man, 1906

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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.
    ~ James Anthony Froude, Oceana, 1886

The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.
    ~ Alice Walker

As often as Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought: in their behavior toward creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right.
    ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer

Life is life - whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man's own advantage.
    ~ Sri Aurobindo

When I was twelve, I went hunting with my father and we shot a bird.  He was laying there and something struck me. Why do we call this fun to kill this creature [who] was as happy as I was when I woke up this morning.
    ~ Marv Levy

Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals "love" them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more.
    ~ Edwin Way Teale, Circle of the Seasons, 1953

It is just like man's vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.
    ~ Mark Twain

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The woods were made for the hunters of dreams,
The brooks for the fishers of song;
To the hunters who hunt for the gunless game
The streams and the woods belong.
   ~ Sam Walter Foss

Animals can communicate quite well. And they do. And generally speaking, they are ignored.
    ~ Alice Walker

In an earlier stage of our development most human groups held to a tribal ethic. Members of the tribe were protected, but people of other tribes could be robbed or killed as one pleased.  Gradually the circle of protection expanded, but as recently as 150 years ago we did not include blacks. So African human beings could be captured, shipped to America and sold. In Australia white settlers regarded Aborigines as a pest and hunted them down, much as kangaroos are hunted down today. Just as we have progressed beyond the blatantly racist ethic of the era of slavery and colonialism, so we must now progress beyond the speciesist ethic of the era of factory farming, of the use of animals as mere research tools, of whaling, seal hunting, kangaroo slaughter and the destruction of wilderness. We must take the final step in expanding the circle of ethics.
    ~ Pete Singer

Get a feel for fur:  Slam your fingers in a car door.
    ~ Anonymous, on the use of steel traps to capture fur-bearing animals, cited in Audubon, November 1990

Dogs are getting bigger, according to a leading dog manufacturer.
    ~ Leo Rosten

Whether hunting is right or wrong, a spiritual experience, or an outlet for the killer instinct, one thing it is not is a sport.  Sport is when individuals or teams compete against each other under equal circumstances to determine who is better at a given game or endeavor.  Hunting will be a sport when deer, elk, bears, and ducks are... given 12-gauge shotguns.  Bet we'd see a lot fewer drunk yahoos (live ones, anyway) in the woods if that happened.
    ~ R. Lerner, letter, Sierra, March-April 1991

Heaven is by favor; if it were by merit your dog would go in and you would stay out.  Of all the creatures ever made [man] is the most detestable.  Of the entire brood, he is the only one... that possesses malice.  He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain.
    ~ Mark Twain

Evolutionary biology is now uttering and seeking those forces that link us with all those that have being.  If we can discover the meaning in the trilling of a frog, perhaps we may understand why it is for us not merely noise but a song of poetry and emotion.
    ~ Adrian Forsyth, A Natural History of Sex, 1986

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Vivisection is a social evil because if it advances human knowledge, it does so at the expense of human character.
    ~ George Bernard Shaw

I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't.... The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.
    ~ Mark Twain

The basis of all animal rights should be the Golden Rule:  we should treat them as we would wish them to treat us, were any other species in our dominant position.
    ~ Christine Stevens

When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when the tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity.
    ~ George Bernard Shaw

The animal shall not be measured by man.  In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with 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 splendor and travail of the earth.
    ~ Henry Beston, The Outermost House, 1928

I abhor vivisection with my whole soul.  All the scientific discoveries stained with innocent blood I count as of no consequence.
    ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I abhor vivisection.  It should at least be curbed.  Better, it should be abolished.  I know of no achievement through vivisection, no scientific discovery, that could not have been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty.  The whole thing is evil.
    ~ Charles Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic

I had bought two male chimps from a primate colony in Holland.  They lived next to each other in separate cages for several months before I used one as a [heart] donor.  When we put him to sleep in his cage in preparation for the operation, he chattered and cried incessantly.  We attached no significance to this, but it must have made a great impression on his companion, for when we removed the body to the operating room, the other chimp wept bitterly and was inconsolable for days.  The incident made a deep impression on me.  I vowed never again to experiment with such sensitive creatures.
    ~ Christian Barnard, surgeon

Terms like that, "Humane Society," are devised with people like me in mind, who don't care to dwell on what happens to the innocent.
    ~ Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

I think animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
    ~ Author Unknown

Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.
    ~ Bradley Millar

A Robin Redbreast in a cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
    ~ William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

If a ferret bites you it is nearly always your own fault.
    ~ Phil Drabble

The human spirit is not dead.  It lives on in secret.... It has come to believe that compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.
    ~ Albert Schweitzer, Novel Peace Prize address, "The Problem of Peace in the World Today"

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Hunt each other - leave the animals alone.
    ~ As seen on a shirt

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.
    ~ Voltaire, Trate sur la tolerance

Zoos are becoming facsimiles - or perhaps caricatures - of how animals once were in their natural habitat.  If the right policies toward nature were pursued, we would need no zoos at all.
    ~ Michael Fox, Sierra, November-December 1990


The sort of man who likes to spend his time watching a cage of monkeys chase one another, or a lion gnaw its tail, or a lizard catch flies, is precisely the sort of man whose mental weakness should be combated at the public expense, and not fostered.
    ~ H.L. Mencken, quoted in New York Evening Mail, 2 February 1918

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 crudity and barbarity.  Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.
    ~ Schopenhauer

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.
    ~ Thomas A. Edison

To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man.  For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal.  But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse.  If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous.  And that is the unpardonable crime.
    ~ Romain Rolland, Nobel Prize 1915

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When it comes to having a central nervous system, and the ability to feel pain, hunger, and thirst, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.
    ~ Ingrid Newkirk

Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct.  Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit.  The roots of cruelty, therefore, are not so much strong as widespread.  But the time must come when inhumanity protected by custom and thoughtlessness will succumb before humanity championed by thought.  Let us work that this time may come.
    ~ Albert Schweitzer

Deer hunting would be fine sport, if only the deer had guns.
    ~ William S. Gilbert

There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties.... The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind.  The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.  We have seen that the senses and intuitions, the various emotions and faculties, such as love, memory, attention and curiosity, imitation, reason, etc., of which man boasts, may be found in an incipient, or even sometimes a well-developed condition, in the lower animals.
    ~ Charles Darwin

Because the heart beats under a covering of hair, of fur, feathers, or wings, it is, for that reason, to be of no account?
    ~ Jean Paul Richter

God made all the creatures and gave them our love and our fear,
To give sign, we and they are His children, one family here.
    ~ Robert Browning

Deliberate cruelty to our defenseless and beautiful little cousins is surely one of the meanest and most detestable vices of which a human being can be guilty.
    ~ William Ralph Inge

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The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil first because it results in great suffering in animals, and second because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of the human spirit.  All education should be directed toward the refinement of the individual's sensibilities in relation not only to one's fellow humans everywhere, but to all things whatsoever.  In the societies of the Western world compassionate intelligence is encouraged in girls - in boys it is taboo.  The taboo on tenderness in which boys are conditioned, the emphasis on "manliness," "machismo," plays havoc with the male's capacity for compassionate intelligence.  Tenderness is considered to be feminine, and that is sufficient to remove it from the repertoire of masculine behavior.  Indeed, things have reached such a pass in the Western world that many men seem to have lost all understanding of its meaning.  The masculine world would substitute for it the idea of "justice."  The difficulty with that is that there is not much compassion in their justice, and justice without compassion is not justice at all.
    ~ Ashley Montague

Wear your own skin.
    ~ As seen on a shirt

They are slaves who fear to speak
For the helpless and the weak.
    ~ James Russell Lowell

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.
    ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer

Every year tens of thousands of animals suffer and die in laboratory tests of cosmetics and household products... despite the fact that the test results do not help prevent or treat accidental or purposeful misuse of the products.  Please join me in using your voice for those whose cries are forever sealed behind the laboratory doors.
    ~ Woody Harrelson

Man is not the lord of all the world's animals.  He is the protector.
    ~ John Forsythe

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The life spark in my eyes is in no way different than the life spark in the eyes of any other sentient being.
    ~ Michael Stepaniak, quoted in Joanne Stepaniak, The Vegan Sourcebook, 1998

This tendency [to cruelty] should be watched in them [children], and if they incline to any such cruelty, they should be taught the contrary usage.  For the custom of tormenting and killing other animals will, by degrees, harden their hearts even towards men....  And they, who delight in the suffering and destruction of inferior creatures, will not be apt to be very compassionate or benign to those of their own kind.  Children should from the beginning be brought up in an abhorrence of killing or tormenting living beings....  And indeed, I think people from their cradles should be tender to all sensible creatures....  All the entertainment and talk of History is of nothing but fighting and killing; and the honour and renown that is bestowed on conquerors, who, for the most part, are but the great butchers of mankind, further mislead youth.
    ~ John Locke

Beyond domestic animals and our response to their fealty and affection, we have a peculiar charge concerning the wild animals which supply our clothes, food and adornments.
    ~ S. Parkes Cadman

We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals.  Animals suffer as much as we do.  True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them.  It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it.  Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.
    ~ Albert Schweitzer, The Philosophy of Civilization

If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
    ~ St. Francis of Assisi

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