Animal Writes
6 Jun 1999 Issue

Animal Rights A Strong and Proud Tradition

Animals fill the world with beauty and mystery. Their diverse natures and abilities
have inspired the human imagination, and our greatest thinkers have taught us to
treat them with compassion. Throughout history, prominent individuals like
Mahatma Gandhi, Alice Walker, Albert Einstein, Albert Schweitzer and Leonardo
da Vinci, in addition to their great achievements in human rights, science,
philosophy and the arts, all had a deep concern for the rights and well-being of
animals. They urged others to view animals as viable individuals with feelings,
interests and needs of their own.

Yet today more than ever, human civilization inflicts great harm and suffering on
the world's creatures, and itself, through industries and attitudes that exploit
animals, destroy wildlife habitats and wreak havoc on the environment. The
response to this injustice is the crystallization of a movement -- the Animal
Rights Movement. It has become the vehicle for millions who seek justice and
compassion for animals. Animal rights is an affirmation of all life, an affirmation
of humanity's ability and need to nurture and protect the sanctity of life in all
species, human and non-human alike.

"Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to
embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." -- Albert

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

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its
animals are treated. ... I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more
entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man." -- Mahatma Gandhi

"In the relations of man with animals...there is a whole great ethic scarcely seen
as yet, but which will eventually break through into the light and be the corollary
and the complement to human ethics." -- Victor Hugo

"Perhaps the time has come to formulate a moral code which would govern our
relations with the great creatures of the sea as well as those on dry land. That
this will come to pass is our dearest wish." -- Jacques Cousteau

"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." -- St. Francis of Assisi

"If chimpanzees have consciousness, if they are capable of abstractions, do
they not have what until now has been described as 'human rights'? How smart
does a chimp have to be before killing him constitutes murder?" -- Carl Sagan

"It is a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the
best people have always done." -- Harriet Beecher Stowe

"If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from
injury to animals." -- Leo Tolstoy

"The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be
indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity." -- George Bernard Shaw

"The monstrous sophism that beasts are pure unfeeling machines, and do not
reason, scarcely requires a confutation." -- Percy Bysshe Shelley

"The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted
in tradition or surrounded by a halo...We need a boundless ethic which will
include the animal also." -- Dr. Albert Schweitzer

"The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as
now they look upon the murder of men." -- Leonardo da Vinci

"The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing
ridiculous; it is indissolubly connected with the fate of man." -- Emile Zola

"The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man."
-- Charles Darwin

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

"We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions, and
organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of fear
and pain." -- Robert Louis Stevenson

"I do not regard flesh food as necessary for us. I hold flesh food to be unsuited
to our species. 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." -- Mahatma Gandhi

"Animals and humans suffer and die alike. If you had to kill your own calf before
you ate it, most likely you would not be able to do it. To hear the calf scream,
to see the blood spill, to see the baby being taken away from its momma, and
to see the look of death in the animal's eye would turn your stomach. So you
get the man at the packing house to do the killing for you."
-- Dick Gregory, Longtime Peace Activist (The Shadow That Scares Me)

"Animals are my friends...and I don't eat my friends!" -- George Bernard Shaw

"A vegetarian diet is the acid test of humanitarianism." -- Tolstoy

"Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? I,
for my part, marvel at what sort of feeling, mind, or reason that man was
possessed who was the first to pollute his mouth with gore, and to allow his
lips to touch the flesh of the murdered beings; who spread his table with the
mangled forms of dead bodies, and claimed as his daily food what were but now
beings endowed with movement, with perception, and with voice. How could his
eyes endure the spectacle of the flayed and dismembered limbs? How was his
taste not sickened by contact with festering wounds, with the pollution of
corrupted blood and juices? 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 beings; by showing himself more cruel than the most savage
of wild beasts." -- Plutarch (Essay on Flesh Eating)

"Why should you call me to account for eating decently? If I battered on the
scorched corpses of animals, you might well ask me why I did that. While we
ourselves are the living graves of murdered animals, how can we expect any
ideal conditions on the earth??? ... We are the living graves of murdered beasts,
slaughtered to satisfy our appetites. We never pause to wonder at our feasts, if
animals, like men, can possibly have rights. We pray on Sundays that we have
light, to guide our footsteps on the path we tread. We're sick of war, we do not
want to fight -- the thought of it now fills our hearts with dread, and yet -- we
gorge ourselves upon the dead! Like carrion crows, we live and feed on meat,
regardless of the suffering and pain we cause by doing so. If thus we treat
defenseless animals for sport or gain, how can we hope in this world to attain
The PEACE we say we are so anxious for. We pray for it, o'er hecatombs of
slain, to God, while outraging the moral law, this cruelty begets its offspring --
WAR!" -- George Bernard Shaw

"I became a vegetarian not just for my own health...but for the health of the
chickens." -- Isaac Bashevis Singer (Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature)

"It seems to me of great importance to teach children respect for life. Towards
this end, experiments on living animals in classrooms should be stopped. To
encourage cruelty in the name of science can only destroy the finer emotions
of affection and sympathy, and breed an unfeeling callousness in the young
towards suffering in all living creatures." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

"Torturing animals to prolong human life, has separated science from the most
important thing that life has produced...the human conscience!"
-- John Cowper Powys

"I believe I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that
are profitable to the human race or doesn't. To know that the results are
profitable to the race would not remove my hostility to it. 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

"Atrocities are no less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and are called
'medical research." -- George Bernard Shaw

"It is difficult to entertain a warm feeling for a 'medical man' who straps dogs to
a table, cuts their vocal cords, and spends an interesting day or week slowly
vivisecting or dismembering them." -- Clare Booth Luce

"Humans call animals 'dumb'...after they robbed their entire own precious world.
They are intelligent beings, but after a millennia of slavery/forced to obey
selfish/callous humans we make them look dumb! If we were in their situations
we, too, would appear 'dumb.'" -- Unknown

"Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good persons to do
nothing." -- Edmund Burke

"Active hatred of cruelty, injustice and oppression is perhaps the main difference
between a good person and a bad one." -- John Morley

"And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor
political, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him that
it is right." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

submitted by: [email protected]


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