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Animal Rights Quotes
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"If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of
abstinence is from injury to animals."
"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarian."
"The dissolution of commercial animal farming as we know it obviously
requires more than our individual commitment to vegetarianism. To refuse on principle to
buy products of the meat industry is to do what is right, but it is not to do enough. To
recognize the rights of animals is to recognize the related duty to defend them against
those who violate their rights, and to discharge this duty requires more than our
individual abstention. It requires acting to bring about those changes that are necessary
if the rights of these animals are not to be violated. Fundamentally, then, it requires a
revolution in our culture's thought about, and its accepted treatment of, farm animals...
But prejudices die hard, all the more so when they are insulated by widespread secular
customs and religious beliefs, sustained by large and powerful economic interests, and
protected by the common law. To overcome the collective entropy of those forces against
change will not be easy. The animal rights movement is not for the faint heart."
"An animal experiment cannot be justifiable unless the experiment is so
important that the use of a brain-damaged human would be justifiable."
"My dream is that people will come to view eating an animal as
"The day may come when the rest of animal creation may acquire those
rights which could never 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
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is
striking at the root."
--Henry David Thoreau
"The very people who shudder over the cruelty of the hunter are apt to
forget that slaughter, in the grimmest sense of the word, is a process they entrust daily
to the butcher; and that unlike the game of the forests, even the dumbest creatures of the
slaughterhouse know what is in store for them."
"Strange lot this, to be dropped down in a world of barbarians - men who
see clearly enough through the barbarity of all ages except their own."
"For the sake of some little mouthful of flesh, we deprive a soul of the
sun and light and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to
"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
"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"
--Isaac Bashevis Singer
"The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of
appearing ridiculous; it is indissolubly connected to the fate of men"
"Some will take refuge in the old clich?that humans are different from
other animals. But when did a difference justify a moral prejudice? When did those with
black hair have a right to mistreat those with red hair...or even those with blue or
purple hair...Surely the crucial similarity that men share with other animals is the
capacity to suffer? Regardless of the number of legs or the woolliness of our fur, we can
"Not having known anything better does not alleviate the suffering of
the animal. Its fundamental desires remain and it is the frustration of those desires that
is a great part of its suffering. There are so many examples: the dairy cow who is never
allowed to raise her young, the battery hen who can never walk or stretch her wings, the
sow who can never build a nest or root for food in the forest litter, etc. Eventually we
frustrate the animal's most fundamental desire of all - to live."
"In point of fact, I am the very opposite of an
don't hold animals superior or even equal to humans. The whole case for behaving decently
to animals rests on the fact that we are the superior species. We are the species uniquely
capable of imagination, rationality and moral choice - and that is precisely why we are
under an obligation to recognise and respect the rights of animals."
"The first time I ever entered a battery house I thought it was the
entrance to Hell"
"The church so hated these good people (the Albigenses - a
"heretical" sect of thirteenth century France) whose Christ-like compassion was
such a judgement on its own pagan and anti-Christian violence, that their vegetarian
habits were not only represented as signs of a diabolical heresy, but were also used as a
means to detect and convict them. For when prisoners were taken, sheep were led to them
and knives were provided for their butchery. Those who refused to kill the animals were
burnt at the stake, and the majority did refuse since to take sentient life violated the
very basis of their faith."
"I hope to make people realise how totally helpless a animals are, how
dependent on us, trusting as a child must be that we will be kind and take care of their
needs...[They] are an obligation put on us, a responsibility we have no right to neglect,
or violate by cruelty."
"I do not like eating meat because I have seen lambs and pigs killed. I
saw and felt their pain. They felt their 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."
"What is the importance of human lives? Is it their continuing alive for
so many years like animals in a menagerie? The value of a man cannot be judged by the
number of diseases from which he escapes. The value of a man is in his human qualities: in
his character, in his conscience, in the nobility and magnanimity, of his soul. Torturing
animals to prolong human life has separated science from the most important thing that
life has produced - the human conscience."
--John Cowper Powys
"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."
"The cruel experimenter cannot be allowed to have it both ways. He
cannot, in the same breath, defend the scientific validity of vivisection on the grounds
of the physical similarities between man and the other animals, and then defend the
morality of vivisection on the grounds that men and animals are physically different. The
only logical alternatives for him are to admit he is either pre-Darwinian or
"There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher animals
in their mental faculties... The lower animals, like man, manifestly feel pleasure and
pain, happiness, and misery."
"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 in a population that is all
educated and at about the same level of physical refinement, it is practically impossible
to find anyone who will hew a dead ox or pig. We never settled the hygienic aspect of
meat-eating at all. This other aspect decided us. I can still remember as a boy the
rejoicings over the closing of the last slaughterhouse."
"Suppose that tomorrow a group of beings from another planet were to
land on earth, beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to
be to other animals. Would they have the right to treat you as you treat the animals you
breed, keep and kill for food?"
"...there is something so very dreadful, so satanic in tormenting those
who have never harmed us, and who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power,
who have weapons neither of offence nor defence, that none but very hardened persons can
endure the thought of it"
"Family organisation is broken and young animals are increasingly being denied a
mother to turn to for comfort and for grooming. One of the saddest and most pathetic of
farm practices - inevitable at the present time for the supply of dairy produce - is the
separation of the calf from the cow at birth or soon after."
"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
"Awareness is bad for the meat business.
Conscience is bad for the meat business.
Sensitivity to life is bad for the meat business.
DENIAL, however, the meat business finds indispensable."
--John Robbins, Diet for a New America
"If you could see or feel the suffering you wouldn't think twice. Give back life.
Don't eat meat."
"If an animal does something we call it instinct; if we do the same
thing for the same reason we call it intelligence"
-- Will Cuppie
"I am not basically a conservationist. When the last great whale is
slaughtered, as it surely will be, the whales' suffering will be over. This is not the
whales' loss, but man's. I am not concerned about the wiping out of a species - this is
man's folly - I have only one concern, the suffering which we deliberately inflict upon
animals whilst they live."
"Very few people question that it is an act of kindness to put an animal
painlessly to death if it is injured beyond possibility of a pain-free future; or that it
is better to neuter pets than to allow thousands of unwanted litters to be born. But
mention it might be better for a breeding sow in a farrowing crate if she had never been
born, and you will be met with chants of "Any life is better than no life".
Humans have an odd way of finding pleasure in activities that bring them pleasure, or
profit, or both."
-- Bronwen Humphries
"True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the
fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test
(which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at
its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a
debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it."
-- Milan Kundera
"In a lunch session at the slaughterhouse, a lamb jumped out of its pen
and came unnoticed up to some slaughtermen who were sitting in a circle eating some
sandwiches; the lamb approached and nibbled a small piece of lettuce that a man was
holding in his hand. The men gave the lamb some more lettuce and when the lunch period was
over they were so affected by the action of the lamb that not one of them was prepared to
kill this creature, and it had to be sent away elsewhere - showing that within each human
soul there is an element of pity, compassion and love in varying degrees. It is our duty
to encourage the higher qualities to bloom and blossom wherever possible in each
-- Gordon Latto
"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."
-- Professor Charles Magel
"Man is not the pedestalled creature pictured by his imagination - a
being glittering with prerogatives, and towering apart from and above all other beings. He
is a pain-shunning, pleasure-seeking, death-dreading organism, differing in particulars,
but not in kind, from the pain-shunning, pleasure-seeking, death-dreading organisms below
and around him."
-- Howard Moore
Where is the movement now?
"All great movements, it is written, go through three stages:
ridicule, discussion, adoption. It is the realisation of this third stage, adoption, that
requires our passion and our discipline, our hearts and our heads. The fate of animals is
in our hands."
"Hunting...the least honorable form of war on the weak."
-- Paul Richard
"Because one species is more clever than another, does it give it the
right to imprison or torture the less clever species? Does one exceptionally clever
individual have a right to exploit the less clever individuals of his own species? To say
that he does is to say with the Fascists that the strong have a right to abuse and exploit
the weak - might is right, and the strong and ruthless shall inherit the earth."
-- Richard Ryder
"Every particle of factual evidence supports the factual contention that
the higher mammalian vertebrates experience pain sensations at least as acute as our own.
To say that they feel pain less because they are lower animals is an absurdity; it can
easily be shown that many of their senses are far more acute than ours - visual acuity in
certain birds, hearing in most wild animals, and touch in others; these animals depend
more than we do today on a the sharpest possible awareness of a hostile environment. Apart
from the complexity of the cerebral cortex (which does not directly perceive pain) their
nervous systems are almost identical to ours and their reaction to pain remarkably
similar, though lacking (so far as we know) the philosophical and moral overtones. The
emotional element is all too evident, mainly in the form of fear and anger."
"Animals of the word exist for their own reasons. They were not made for
humans any more than blacks were made for whites or women for men."
-- Alice Walker
"There will come a time...when civilised people will look back in horror
on our generation and the ones that preceded it: the idea that we should eat other living
things running around on four legs, that we should raise them just for the purpose of
killing them! The people of the future will say "meat-eaters!" in disgust and
regard us in the same way we regard cannibals and cannibalism"
-- Dennis Weaver
"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 after sweet and gentle
creatures who harm no one, which follow you, serve you, and are devoured by you as the
reward of their service"
-- John Jacques Rousseau
"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
-- Robert Louis Stephenson
"We recognise, I hope, our special responsibilities to the aged and
infirm, towards the sick, the mentally subnormal and the physically handicapped. We say
that such sentient creatures that are less able to care for themselves deserve our special
care and support. The same argument applies to children - and we as adults claim we
recognise special duties towards them. If this is so, then why do we not recognise our
special duties towards individuals from less clever species?"
-- Richard Ryder
"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"
-- John Baker, Bishop of Salisbury
"What is it but deliberate massacre when tens of thousands of tame,
hand-reared creatures are every year literally driven into the jaws of death and mown down
in a peculiarly brutal manner? A perfect roar of guns fills the air; louder tap and yell
the beaters, while above the din can be heard the heart-rending cries of wounded hares and
rabbits, some of which can be seen dragging themselves away, with legs broken, or turning
round and round in their agony before they die! And the pheasants! They are on every side,
some rising, some dropping; some lying dead, but the great majority fluttering on the
ground wounded; some with both wings broken and a leg; others merely winged, running to
hide; others mortally wounded, gasping out their last breath amidst the hellish uproar
which surrounds them. And this is called 'sport!'"
-- Florence Dixie
"Behind every beautiful fur, there is a story. It is a bloody, barbaric story."
-- Mary Tyler Moore
"To argue that we humans are capable of complex multifarious thought and
feeling, whereas the sheep's perception is probably limited by lowly sheepish perceptions,
is no more to the point than if I were to slaughter and eat you on the grounds that I am a
sophisticated personality able to enjoy Mozart, formal logic and cannibalism, whereas your
imaginative world seems confined to True Romances and tinned spaghetti."
-- Brigid Brophy
"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."
-- Arthur Conan Doyle
"The awful wrongs and sufferings forced upon the innocent, faithful
animal race, form the blackest chapter in the whole world's history."
-- Edward Augustus Freeman
"I have no doubt that it is part of the destiny of the human race in its
gradual development to leave off the eating of animals, as surely as the savage tribes
have left off eating each other when they came into contact with the more civilized."
-- Henry David Thoreau
"Of all the creatures ever made, Man is the most detestable. He is the
only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain."
-- Mark Twain
"There will come a time when the world will look back to modern
vivisection in the name of Science, as they do now to burning at the stake in the name of
-- Henry J. Bigelow
"If we are trespassing, so were the American Soldiers who broke
down the gates of Hitler's death camps; If we are thieves, so were the members of the
Underground Railroad who freed the slaves of the South; and if we are vandals, so were
those who destroyed forever the gas chambers of Buchenwald and Auschwitz."
-- Animal Liberation Front, author unknown
"Why is compassion not part of the established curriculum, an inherent
part of our education? Compassion, awe, wonder, curiosity, humility - these are the
foundation of any real civilisation, no longer the prerogatives, the preserves of any one
church, but belonging to everyone, every child in every home in every school."
Link to famous beef quotes