Words from the Wise
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Words from the Wise
By Bridget Diana Soeder
Vegetarian Editor, BellaOnline.com
November 2006

Although viewed by many as a recent trend, vegetarianism has a long history. Indeed, many famous historical figures throughout the ages espouse vegetarian diets and extol the virtues of adopting such a lifestyle.

From biblical writings and in the writings of such varied persons as Pythagoras, Gandhi, and Einstein, vegetarianism is not isolated to one culture, religion, or philosophy. Contemporary authors, artists, activists, and actors continue to eloquently express their wisdom on why choosing a meatless diet is a healthy, moral, and necessary decision.

Genesis 1:29 "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food."
-God

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
–Albert Einstein

“To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.”
-Buddha

"If man wants freedom why keep birds and animals in cages? Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places! I have since an early age abjured the use of meat."
-Leonardo Da Vinci

"As we talked of freedom and justice one day for all, we sat down to steaks. I am eating misery, I thought, as I took the first bite. And spit it out."
-Alice Walker

"The highest realms of thought are impossible to reach without first attaining an understanding of compassion."
-Socrates

"I am conscious that meat eating is not in accordance with the finer feelings, and I abstain from it whenever I can."
-Dr. Albert Schweitzer -1952 Nobel Peace Prize recipient

“If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you could do. It’s staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty.”
-Sir Paul McCartney

"There will never be any peace in the world as long as we eat animals."
-Isaac Bashevis Singer

“Many things made me become a vegetarian, among them, the higher food yield as a solution to world hunger.”
-John Denver

“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…”
-Henry David Thoreau

“Now I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you anymore.”
-Franz Kafka while looking at a fish.

“The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But, rather, can they suffer?
-Jeremy Bentham

"I have been a vegetarian for a few years. Fred Dryer of the Rams has been one for ten years. It shows you don't need meat to play football."
-Joe Namath, Legendary NFL Quarterback

“To consider yourself an environmentalist and still eat meat is like saying you're a philanthropist who doesn't give to charity”
-Howard Lyman, Ex-cattle rancher, and author of Mad Cowboy

"For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love."
-Pythagoras

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

"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian. We feel better about ourselves and better about the animals, knowing we're not contributing to their pain."
-Paul and Linda McCartney

"If you visit the killing floor of a slaughterhouse, it will brand your soul for life."
-Howard Lyman
, Ex-cattle rancher, feedlot operator, author of Mad Cowboy

"It has just stopped me cold from eating another hamburger."
-Oprah Winfrey, interviewing Howard Lyman

"I know, in my soul, that to eat a creature who is raised to be eaten, and who never has a chance to be a real being, is unhealthy. It's like...you're just eating misery. You're eating a bitter life."
-Alice Walker

"It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind."
-Albert Einstein

"Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission--to be of service to them whenever they require it... 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

"Recognize meat for what it really is: the antibiotic- and pesticide-laden corpse of a tortured animal."
-Ingrid Newkirk

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

"I took a trip to a stockyard in Pennsylvania and witnessed the beatings of older dairy cows and veal calves. A visual display like that forces one to confront the realities of the system. Being vegan is a matter of being able to look at myself in the mirror every day."
Dr. Michael Greger

"I exercise and eat healthy foods. I'll show you some of them. These are all soy foods. Soybeans--you need to boil those, cook them. You can put sauce over them, like a tomato sauce. There's vegetarian burgers. It's all vegetables, no meat in that at all. Of course, it's a soy food. These soybeans are already cooked. There's tofu. I eat a lot of tofu. You like it. These are all soy drinks. You can drink that right out of there, or this is like nonfat dry milk, except it's dry soymilk. You add water, and it tastes like milk. Here's something I know you'll like. I want to give you this. It's a pancake and waffle mix, but it's soy flour. You can make pancakes out of this and put oranges or berries on top. I like to keep trying to add new healthy foods all the time."
-Mr. Rogers (Mr. Roger’s neighborhood)

"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

"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

"I believe that all animals have that spark of life that infuses all of us. They can't write a sonnet or a book, but in fundamental aspects they are the same: they want to live as much as we do, and they fear as much as we do. Animals are a test of our character, because we have absolute power over them. We can choose the path of exploitation or the path of mercy and kindness. That last path is the only right one."
-Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO, The Humane Society of the United States

Learn about famous vegetarians throughout history: http://www.vegsoc.org/news/2000/21cv/ages.html
More famous quotes:
http://www.all-creatures.org/quote.html
http://www.all-creatures.org/aro/q.html 

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