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Animal Rights Quotes
Key words: Philosophy and Morality
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year, (BC), birth, est.

death (BC)


We are fighting until every cage is empty, not until every cage is comfortable. Brady, Danny ALF email      
"Animals see and hear and love and fear and suffer. They use their organs far more faithfully than many human beings use theirs. They manifest sympathy and tenderness toward their companions in suffering. Many animals show an affection for those who have charge of them, far superior to the affection shown by some of the human race. They form attachments for man which are not broken without great suffering to them."

White, Ellen

from "Minsitry of Healing"




A column of ants began to follow me onto the tennis court. Because I would not step on them, I lost the match. But I won with God.

Burwash, Peter

Canadian tennis star, wrote Vegetarian Primer




All creation has the same right to life.

Bear, Sun and Jaya Bear





Animal life, somber mystery. All nature protests against the barbarity of man, who misapprehends, who humiliates, who tortures his inferior brethren.

Michelet, Jules

French historian, populist revolutionary



Chair of History and Ethics at the Collège de France

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

Gassendi, Pierre

French physicist, philosopher




At Ramana's ashram, he established the rule that 1st would be fed the animals, then the beggars, next the visitors, succeeded by the ashram residents. Finally when all else had eaten, Ramana took food.

Maharshi, Ramana





Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they're only animals.

Adorno, Theodor

German Jewish philosopher



forced into exile by the Nazis

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.

Ryder, Richard D.

English scientist, author




Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character; and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.

Schopenhauer, Arthur

German philosopher, from On the Basis of Morality




Cruelty to animals can become violence to humans.

McGraw, Ali

US actress




Cruelty to animals is one of the most significant vices of a low and ignoble people.

Humboldt, Alexander von

German naturalist, diplomat




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.

Jones, Rev. William

Anglican priest, theologian, musical composer, contributor to the Oxford Movement




Do we, as humans, having an ability to reason and to communicate abstract ideas verbally and in writing, and to form ethical and moral judgments using the accumulated knowledge of the ages, have the right to take the lives of other sentient organisms, particularly when we are not forced to do so by hunger or dietary need, but rather do so for the somewhat frivolous reason that we like the taste of meat? In essence, shouldn't we know better?

Cheeke, Peter





Feminists work to free women from domination, violence, and neglect but women must also no longer dominate, violate and neglect female animals robbing them of their eggs and milk, caging them.

Salamone, Constantina

founded network of 15,000 ecofeminists



World Women for Animal Rights

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

Hartley, M. Frida





He that will not be merciful to his beast is a beast himself.

Fuller, Rev. Thomas

Anglican priest, historian




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.

Sutra Acharanga





How can you eat anything with eyes?

Kellogg, Will





I decided I needed to be consistent in my prolife stance so 13 years ago I became a vegetarian.

O'Steen, David

director of Right to Life




I eat everything that nature voluntarily gives:  fruits, vegetables, and the products of plants.  But I ask you to spare me what animals are forced to surrender:  meat, milk, and cheese.






I gave up meat when I was twelve. One day I was cutting up a chicken for my mom, and I hit a tumor with the knife. There was [pus] and blood all over the place. That was enough for me.

Harnett, Josh





I have been a vegetarian for 27 years and am a jogger. Recently I found that sugar in America is processed using charcoaled bones of animals... so for the last 3 months I have been off of sugar.

Wilson, D.





I have reached zero tolerance for the cruelty against our animal brothers. If we are to nuture our culture, let’s begin with the animals who have been nothing but our beasts of burden for so long.

Rockett, Ricki





I place spiders out of the house. I don't like to kill them.

Marshall, Bill





I spoke often in Congress against the war in Vietnam.. and commented on congresspersons hiding from the reality of war by saying 'many eat the meat but few go to the slaughterhouse'. I said it so often I became a vegetarian.

Jacobs, Andrew

former Repres. of Indianapolis




I think if you want to eat more meat you should kill it yourself and eat it raw so that you are not blinded by the hypocrisy of having it processed for you.

Clark, Margi

English actress




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.

Lecky, William E.H.

Irish historian, D.Litt. from Oxford and Cambridge, member of British parliament




I was watching an HBO special on eating habits and different cultures, and they showed in China how people eat cats, and I'm really fond of cats, and I happened to be sitting on the couch with my cat, and once I saw that, it just put everything in perspective. If I wouldn't eat my cat what's the difference [between] eating a cat or a cow? If certain animals are considered lesser than, so are certain people and that's not really fair. And the root of that is to consider life on equal terms across the board.

Kenney, Ben





If an animal does something we call it instinct; if we do the same thing for the same reason we call it intelligence.

Cuppie, Will





If animal experimentation, animal dissection and any kind of animal exploitation all ended tomorrow, I don’t make a f-----’ dime!" I am for the animals, I couldn’t care less about your need to eat animals, wear them, shoot them or exploit them. Too bad if you consider it suffering to let all that self-centered and traditional bullshit stop you from having the will to help the animals..

Rockett, Ricki





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.

Singer, Peter

Australian professor, author "Animal Liberation"




In point of fact, I am the very opposite of an anthropomorphiser. I 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 recognize and respect the rights of animals.

Brophy, Brigid

English novelist, essayist




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.

Hugo, Victor

French novelist, author of Les Miserables




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.






Let your continual mercy, O Lord, kindle in your Church the never-failing gift of love, that, following the example of your servant William Wilberforce, we may have grace to defend the poor, and maintain the cause of those who have no helper; for the sake of him who gave his life for us, your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Wilberforce, William

co-founder of the RSPCA




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…

Aurobindo, Sri

Indian poet and philosopher




Live simply, that others may simply live





on T-shirt

Look deep into the eyes of any animal, and then for a moment, trade places, their life becomes as precious as yours and you become as vulnerable as them. Now smile if you believe all animals deserve our respect and our protection, for in a way, they are us, and we are them.

Ochoa, Philip

Board member, For All Animals




May those who oppose capital punishment for humans extend that protection to animals as well . May those who oppose germ and other biological warfare work to end the unconscious biological warfare unwittingly waged on those who eat animal products. Those who are prolife would logically become vegetarian. Those who are prochoice would not want to impose their wills upon the body of a cow, sheep or pig.

Burton, Craig

US novelist, "A Hatful of Pain"




Non-violence and kindness to living beings is kindness to oneself. For thereby one's own self is saved from various kinds of sins and resultant sufferings and is able to secure his own welfare.


enlightened Hindu teacher, founder of Jainism




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.

Newman, Cardinal John Henry

leader of the Anglican Oxford Movement, "Father of Vatican II"



Anglican priest who converted to Roman Catholicism

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!


Roman poet and scholar




One does not meet one's self until one catches the reflection from an eye other than human.

Eisley, Loren





One robin caged and Heaven's mad! But when to just that one you add vast flocks of battered battery birds and half starved calves in crated herds and multitudes of tethered sows in narrow stalls - these horrors rouse all Heaven to a rage so wild it's former rage seems a wonderous mild.

Allen, Patrick





Ostrasize hunters and trappers from your social life. Don't patronize stores and services owned by hunters and trappers.

Dolan, Edward F.





Our diet should be based on harmlessness.

Jetha, Akbarali




from "Reflections"

Recent research has revealed that birds are capable of complex cognition . . . it is now clear that birds have cognitive capacities equivalent to those of mammals, even primates . . . it should be realized that even vastly improved intensive systems are unlikely to meet the cognitive demands of the hitherto underestimated chicken brain. . . . With the increased knowledge of the behaviour and cognitive abilities of the chicken has come the realization that the chicken is not an inferior species to be treated merely as a food source.

Rogers, Lesley, Ph.D.

Professor of Physiology, University of New England



in her book The Development of Brain and Behavior in the Chicken

Some say vegetarianism is an alternative diet.. but it is the original diet, the plan designed by God.

Marcus, James





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.

Crosby, Ernest

American poet




Strange, that man should attribute cannibalism only to those, who eat the flesh of their own kind.

Jetha, Akbarali




from "Reflections"

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.


Roman poet and scholar




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

Millar, Bradley





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.

Beston, Henry

American novelist, naturalist



The Outermost House, 1928

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.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques

French philosopher



"philosophical father" of the American and French revolutions

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, Arthur

German philosopher, from On the Basis of Morality




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.

Sehopenhauer, Arthur

German philosopher




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.

Stevens, Christine

Founder of Animal Welfare Institute, 1951



"Mother of the Animal Protection Movement"

The creatures man uses and, so often abuses, are voiceless and helpless. We are not. We have pens with which to write to politicians and retailers, voices with which to speak out, shopping choices which can have a major impact on the outcome of the debate, organisations to join, even, on appropriate occasions, banners to carry.

Llewellin, Rt Rev. Richard

Bishop at Lambeth




The diet can reveal much of a man's personality.

Jetha, Akbarali




from "Reflections"

The emancipation of men from cruelty and injustice will bring with it in due course the emancipation of animals also. The two reforms are inseparably connected, and neither can be fully realized alone.

Salt, Henry S.

wrote Animals' Rights in 1892




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.

Montague, Dr. Ashley

Chair of Anthropology, Rutgers Univ.



wrote The Elephant Man

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.

Tryon, Thomas

British author, pacifist, abolitionist, feminist




The last thing my father told me before he was taken to his death... was to love all creation.

Hershaft, Alex

concentration camp survivor




The life spark in my eyes is in no way different than the life spark in the eyes of any other sentient being.

Stepaniak, Michael

Vegan Sourcebook, 1998




The person who is afraid to alter his living habits,and especially his eating and drinking habits, because he is afraid that other persons may regard him as queer, eccentric, or fanatic forgets that the ownership of his body, the responsibility for its well-being, belongs to him, not them.

Brunton, Dr. Paul





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.

Babylonian Talmud





The welfare of animal citizens is as much our concern as is that of other humans. Surely if we are all God’s creatures, if all animal species are capable of feeling, if we are all evolutionary relatives, if all animals are on the same biological continuum, then also we should all be on the same moral continuum—and if it is wrong to inflict suffering upon an innocent and unwilling human, then it is wrong to so treat another species.

Ryder, Richard D.

English scientist, author




This is the sum of duty: do naught to others which if done to thee, would cause thee pain.






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.

Brophy, Brigid

English novelist, essayist




True benevolence, or compassion, extends itself through the whole of existence and sympathizes with the distress of every creature capable of sensation.

Addison, Joseph

British poet, playwright, member of Parliament




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.

Kundera, Milan

Czech author




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.

Peli, Rabbi Pinchas

Prof. of Jewish Thought, Ben-Gurian Univ., Israel




We know from the truths of evolution and ecology that we are all related and interdependent. Anthropomorphism (crediting animals with human emotions and traits) is, however, outdated. Rather we know that we are like animals.

Fox, Michael W.

head of US Humane Society




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.

Hahn, The Venerable Thich Nhat

Vietnamese Zen master



from Touching Peace: Practicing the Art of Mindful Living

We recognize, 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 recognize special duties towards them. If this is so, then why do we not recognize our special duties towards individuals from less clever species?

Ryder, Richard D.

English scientist, author




What higher honour can God bestow upon us, than to create amongst us such harmless creatures as ants.

Jetha, Akbarali




from "Reflections"

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.

Graham, Rev. Sylvester

Presbyterian minister, founder of the American Vegetarian Society in 1847, inventor of the Graham Cracker




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.

Powys, John Cowper

Engish novelist



"Moral Evolution"

When I was 17.. many years ago.. I was high on marijuana. My thought processes were slowed down. I was eating chicken at the time and suddenly realized I was gnawing on the leg of a chicken. I have not eaten meat or fish or used marijuana since. I did not need them.

Wilson, D.





Whenever we cause suffering or death to any other being, we cause suffering to the Great Life Force.

Chich, Shik Po





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.

Menuhin, Yehudi

American conductor, violinist




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?

Troubetzkoy, Pierre

Italian-American painter




Would you kill your pet dog or cat to eat it?  How about an animal you're not emotionally attached to?  Is the thought of slaughtering a cow or chicken or pig with your own hands too much to handle?  Instead, would hiring a hit-man to do the job give you enough distance from the emotional discomfort?  What animal did you put a contract out on for your supper last night?  Did you at least make sure that none went to waste and to take a moment to be grateful for its sacrifice?