"The design of my appearing in public, at this time, is to say a few things in favor of a certain class of beings whose rights have seldom been advocated, either from the pulpit, from the stage, or from the press. I mean the inferior animals.
The cruelty and injustice with which this class of beings has been treated by their boasted superiors of the human race is too notorious to need a particular recital. In general, their welfare and happiness has been looked upon as a matter of very little importance in the system, and in our treatment of them, hardly to be regarded....
That they are sensible beings and capable of happiness, none can doubt: That their sensibility of corporeal pleasure and pain is less than ours, none can prove: And that there is any kind of reason why they should not be regarded with proportionable tenderness, we cannot conceive.
But lest this mode of reasoning should be thought too nice, let us call into view a rule of judging, instituted by a divine Philanthropist and oracle of wisdom in the days of Julius (Tiberius) Caesar. "That we do to others as we would have them do unto us."...
Whereas there is no such consciousness of guilt when one of
the inferior animals only has been the subject of human cruelty,...let a person
be taught from his earliest years that it is criminal to torment and
unnecessarily to destroy these innocent animals, and he will feel a guilty
~ Herman Daggett, The Rights of Animals, An Oration, 1791 in Rhode Island