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Animal Rights Quotes
Key words: Philosophy from Literature and Celebrities
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Author

Source

year, (BC), birth, est.

death (BC)

notes

"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.

Tolstoy, Leo

Russian author, War and Peace

1828

1910

 

[The day should come when] all of the forms of life...will stand before the court -- the pileated woodpecker as well as the coyote and bear, the lemmings as well as the trout in the streams.

Douglas, William O.

US Supreme Court Justice

1898

1980

 

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.

Pythagoras

Greek mathematician

(569)

(475)

 

Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends.

Shaw, George Bernard

playwright, Nobel prize 1925

1856

1950

vegetarian

Animals can't really voice their opinion. We feel as though we can be on of the spokespeople on their behalf.

Phoenix, River

 

 

 

 

Animals share with us the privilege of having a soul.

Pythagoras

Greek mathematician

(569)

(475)

 

As custodians of the planet it is our responsibility to deal with all species with kindness, love and compassion. That these animals suffer through human cruelty is beyond understanding. Please help to stop this madness.

Gere, Richard

American actor

1949

 

 

Being vegan helped me realize I can say and do what I believe is right. That's powerful.

Silverstone, Alicia

American actress

1997

 

 

Compassion is the foundation of everything positive, everything good. If you carry the power of compassion to the marketplace and the dinner table, you can make your life really count.

McClanahan, Rue

US actress, Golden Girls

1985

 

 

Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.

Thoreau, Henry David

essayist and poet. Wrote "Civil Disobedience"

1817

1862

"Disobedience," influenced Gandhi & Martin Luther King Jr.

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.

Tenmu

Japanese emperor

676

737

frm Dr. Mitsuru Kakimoto (Professor at Osaka Shin-Ai College, Osaka, Japan)

Human dignity begins to assert itself only at the point where man is distinguishable from the beast by pity for it.

Wagner, Richard

German opera composer

1813

1883

 

I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.

Lincoln, Abraham

16th US President

1809

1865

 

I am the voice of the voiceless; Through me the dumb shall speak, Till the deaf world's ears be made to hear, The wrongs of the wordless weak. And I am my brothers keeper, And I will fight his fights; And speak the words for beast and bird, Till the world shall set things right.

Wilcox, Ella Wheeler

American poet and Journalist

1850

1919

 

I became a vegetarian in 1958 and it was very difficult in those days to really maintain that because there weren't many options. But, now, it's a growing trend because the economics are there. See, there's simply enough people demanding it that it's profitable to supply vegetarians with those products.

Weaver, Dennis

actor, Gunsmoke

1924

 

 

I could not have slept tonight if I had left that helpless little creature to perish on the ground." (Reply to friends who chided him for delaying them by stopping to return a fledgling to its nest.)

Lincoln, Abraham

16th US President

1809

1865

 

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.

Lama, Dalai, His Holiness

The XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet

1935

 

speaking at World Vegetarian Congress, 1967

I don't have any understanding of a human being who doesn't respect the beauty of life and that goes for all creatures that have thoughts, feelings and needs.

Silverstone, Alicia

American actress

1997

 

 

I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. It was my dog Boycott who led me to question to right of humans to eat other sentient beings.

Chavez, Cesar

pacifist head of the United Farm Workers

1927

1993

 

I have always felt that the way we treat animals is a pretty good indicator of the compassion we are capable of for the human race.

McGraw, Ali

US actress

1990

 

 

I have never yet happened upon a trace of evidence. . .to show that any one animal was ever made for another as much as it was made for itself.

Muir, John

Conservationist & Co-founder of Sierra Club

1838

1914

 

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, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came into contact with the more civilized. Walden, 1854

Thoreau, Henry David

essayist and poet. Wrote "Civil Disobedience"

1817

1862

"Disobedience," influenced Gandhi & Martin Luther King Jr.

I haven't bought any leather articles for a very long time. My ideal is to be able to avoid all animal products, in food as well as clothing.

Navratilova, Martina

Professional tennis player

 

 

 

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.

Herriot, James

English author, All Creatures Great and Small

1916

1995

 

I saw deep in the eyes of the animals the human soul look out upon me. I saw where it was born deep down under feathers and fur, or condemned for a while to roam four-footed among the brambles I caught the clinging mute glance of the prisoner and swore that I would be faithful.

Thoreau, Henry David

essayist and poet. Wrote "Civil Disobedience"

1817

1862

"Disobedience," influenced Gandhi & Martin Luther King Jr.

I think there's something odd about eating another living anything.

Twain, Shania

Canadian singer

 

 

 

I tremble for my species when I reflect that God is just.

Jefferson, Thomas

3rd U.S. President, chief draft of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution

1743

1826

 

I want to realize brotherhood or identity not merely with the beings called human, but I want to realize identity with all life, even with such things as crawl upon earth.

Gandhi, Mahatma

Indian statesman

1869

1948

 

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.

Kant, Immanuel

Prussian author

1724

1804

preeminent modern ethicist

If 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 you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?

Shaw, George Bernard

Irish playwright, Nobel prize 1925

1856

1950

vegetarian

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.

Tolstoy, Leo

Russian author, War and Peace

1828

1910

 

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.

Pythagoras

Greek mathematician

(569)

(475)

 

If you look at the course of western history you'll see that we're slowly granting basic rights to everyone. A long time ago only kings had rights. Then rights were extended to property-owning white men. Then all men. Then women. Then children. Then the mentally retarded. Now we're agonizing over the extension of basic rights to homosexuals and animals. We need to finally accept that all sentient creatures are deserving of basic rights. I define basic rights as this --the ability to pursue life without having someone else's will involuntarily forced upon you. Or, as the framers of the constitution put it, the ability to have "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". By what criteria can you justify denying basic rights to any living thing? Realize that by whatever criteria you employ someone could deny basic rights to you if they objected to your species, sexual preferences, color, religion, ideology etc. Would you eat your housecat, or force a mentally retarded child to ingest oven cleaner? If not, then why is it ok to eat cows and test products on sentient animals? I believe that to knowingly commit actions that cause or condone suffering is reprehensible in the extreme.I call upon you to be compassionate and treat others as you want to be treated. If you don't want to be beaten, imprisoned, mutilated, killed or tortured then you shouldn't condone such behavior towards anyone, be they human or not.

Moby

 

 

 

Musician

I'm a big health food freak and a vegetarian devotee.

Clinton, Chelsea

 

 

 

 

in a letter to his brother Theodore: Since visiting the abbatoirs of S. France I have stopped eating meat.

Van Gogh, Vincent

Dutch painter

1853

1890

 

In fact, let us call things what they are. When a man's love of finery clouds his moral judgment, that is vanity. When he lets a demanding palate make his moral choices, that is gluttony. When he ascribes the divine will to his own whims, that is pride. And when he gets angry at being reminded of animal suffering that his own daily choices might help avoid, that is moral cowardice.

Scully, Matthew

From the book, Dominion - The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the call to Mercy     He is a Republican and he was one of President George W. Bush's speech writers
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. 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.

Singer, Isaac Bashevis

Polish author, Nobel prize, 1978

1904

1991

 

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

Twain, Mark

wrote Tom Saywer & Huckleberry Finn

1835

1910

 

CAVETT: "Are you saying that you think the life of a mosquito has the same worth as the life of a man?"
SINGER: "I have seen no evidence to the contrary."

Singer, Isaac Bashevis

Polish author, Nobel prize, 1978

1904

1991

discussion on Dick Cavett Show

I've always been very bonded to animals -- more so than most people. (laughs) I don't think that they can defend themselves, so we have to help them.

Garth, Jennie

 

 

 

 

I've always felt somewhat out of place with other kids my own age, said River. I was constantly reminded by people's reaction to our names and our diet that we seemed weird to them.

Phoenix, River

 

 

 

 

I've always felt that animals are the purest spirits in the world. They don't fake or hide their feelings, and they are the most loyal creatures on Earth. And somehow we humans think we're smarter - what a joke.

Pink

musician

 

 

 

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!

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor

Russian novelist, philosopher

1821

1881

 

Man by violating his own feelings becomes cruel. And how deeply seated in the human heart is the injunction not to take life.

Tolstoy, Leo

Russian author, War and Peace

1828

1910

 

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

Forsythe, John

 

 

 

 

My respect and empathy towards animals includes sea dwellers too--from dolphins to fish to lobsters. So, of course, I wouldn't dream of eating them.

Paul, Alexandra

celebrity

 

 

 

My situation is a solemn one.  Life is offered to me on condition of eating beefsteaks.  But death is better than cannibalism.  My will contains directions for my funeral, which will be followed not by mourning coaches, but by oxen, sheep, flocks of poultry, and a small traveling aquarium of live fish, all wearing white scarves in honor of the man who perished rather than eat his fellow creatures.

Shaw, George Bernard

Irish playwright, Nobel prize 1925

1856

1950

vegetarian

No humane being, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, should wantonly murder any creature which holds its life by the same tenure that he does.

Thoreau, Henry David

essayist and poet

1817

1862

 

No lepidopterist's collection in the entire world...full if iridescent wings, is worth the life of a single butterfly.

Singer, Isaac Bashevis

Polish author, Nobel prize, 1978

1904

1991

 

Not that I say,"Oh, I'm not going to associate with certain people," but I have my world, and I only want to be around people who I feel stimulated by. I have to be honest I do have a new quest: I want to meet more vegetarians, people who are more like minded. There's something real neat about that feeling. It makes you feel so settled to know there's somebody else sitting right there, being so passionate about what I'm passionate about. I don't want to be around selfish people. I try to keep myself surrounded by deep people who will move me.

Silverstone, Alicia

American actress

1997

 

 

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.

Jefferson, Thomas

3rd U.S. President, chief draft of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution

1743

1826

 

subject of the book Terry by her father: I go out of my way to avoid stepping on ants.

McGovern, Terry

daughter of Senator George McGovern,

1960

 

 

That even in its sharpest pangs of pain a dog can still caress its master we have learnt from the studies of vivisectors.

Wagner, Richard

German opera composer

1813

1883

 

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. What Is Man?, 1906

Twain, Mark

wrote Tom Saywer & Huckleberry Finn

1835

1910

 

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Gandhi, Mahatma

Indian statesman

1869

1948

Moral Basis of Vegetarianism, London Vegetarian Society, 1931

The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.

Darwin, Charles

English scientist

1809

1882

 

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.

Paine, Thomas

American patriot and philosopher

1737

1809

from Age of Reason

The more helpless the creature, the more that it is entitled to protection by man from the cruelty of man.

Gandhi, Mahatma

Indian statesman

1869

1948

 

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.

Plutarch

Greek biographer and moralist

46

120

 

The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different.

Hippocrates

philosopher

(460)

(377)

 

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them, that's the essence of inhumanity.

Shaw, George Bernard

playwright, Nobel prize 1925

1856

1950

vegetarian

There will come a time...when civilized 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.

Weaver, Dennis

actor, Gunsmoke

1924

 

 

To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body.

Gandhi, Mahatma

Indian statesman

1869

1948

 

Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs. We live by the death of others: We are burial places!

Da Vinci, Leonardo

artist, scientist

1452

1519

fervent vegetarian that was known for purchasing live birds from market to set them free

We all love animals.  Why do we call some "pets" and others "dinner?"

Lang, K.D.

singer

1990

 

 

We should live in harmony with Earth not conquer it.. or the animals. The other members of the National Football League say I'm in the minority.. but they are. A majority of the world is vegetarian.

Scolnick, Glenn

NY Giant & Pittsburgh Steeler Football Player

1990

 

 

We should remember in our dealings with animals that they are a sacred trust to us from our heavenly Father. They are dumb and cannot speak for themselves.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher

teacher, abolitionist, author

1811

1896

wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin

When a man wants to murder a tiger it is called a sport, when the tiger wants to murder him it is called ferocity.

Shaw, George Bernard

playwright, Nobel prize 1925

1856

1950

vegetarian

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 .... Flesh eating is unprovoked murder.

Franklin, Benjamin

U.S. statesman

1706

1790

From Franklin's personal journal

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!

Plutarch

Greek biographer and moralist

46

120

 

Wilbur burst into tears. "I dont want to die," he moaned. "I want to stay alive, right here in my comfortable manure pile with all my friends. I want to breathe the beautiful air and lie in the beautiful sun."

White, E.B.

US author, Charlotte's Web

1899

1985