QuotationsTom Regan
Quotations Archive From all-creatures.org

This Quotations Archive contains words from famous and some not so famous people who have expressed a sense of love, compassion, and respect for all of God's creation: for people, for animals, and for the environment. They speak of our teaching methods and philosophy. They speak of a lifestyle of non-violence. They seek to eliminate cruelty and suffering. They seek to wake us up. They seek to give us hope.

Weeds by Mary T. Hoffman

Tom Regan, Tom Regan Rights & Writes
Animal rights activist, philosopher in animal rights theory, author of The Case for Animal Rights and Empty Cages
(1938 - )

"To be 'for animals' is not to be 'against humanity.' To require others to treat animals justly, as their rights require, is not to ask for anything more nor less in their case than in the case of any human to whom just treatment is due. The animal rights movement is a part of, not opposed to, the human rights movement. Attempts to dismiss it as anti human are mere rhetoric."

"When an injustice is absolute, one must oppose it absolutely. It was not 'reformed' slavery that justice demanded, not 'reformed' child labor, not 'reformed' subjugation of women. In each of these case, abolition was the only moral answer. Merely to reform absolute injustice is to prolong injustice. Animal rights demands this same answer: abolition."

"All of us engaged in the struggle for animal rights have a tendency to forget who we once were. Most of us once ate meat, for example, or unblinkingly dissected nonhuman animals in the lab during high school or college biology courses. Probably we went to a zoo or an aquarium and had a good time. Some of us hunted or fished and enjoyed that, too. The plain fact is, it is not just society that needs changing. The struggle for animal rights is also a struggle with self. What we are trying to do is transform the moral zombie society would like us to be into the morally advanced being we are capable of becoming. All liberation movements have this common theme. That's only one of the ways our Movement resembles other rights movements of the past."

On the hog industry...
"Turning pigs into commodities, the deliberate reduction of them into mere things, characterizes the mindset of the industry. ‘The breeding sow should be thought of, and treated as, a valuable piece of machinery,’ advises a corporate manager of Wall’s Meat Company, ‘whose function is to pump out baby pigs like a sausage machine.’ Say what you will, the hog industry is mighty good at this." (Empty Cages, p. 96).

On “ranched” mink...
"According to Fur Commission USA, mink raised on fur ‘ranches’] are treated ‘humanely,’ meaning with compassion, kindness, and mercy. In fact, they are ‘the best cared-for livestock’ in the world, a statement that, tragically, just might be true. Compared with veal calves, hogs, and chickens raised in confinement, those lucky mink who spend their waking hours pacing back and forth, jumping up the sides of cages, and rotating their heads, are leading a country club existence. May God forgive us." (Empty Cages, p. 110).

On cat and dog fur...
"Beginning in 1987, Americans were outraged when the Humane Society of the United States exposed the international trade in cat and dog fur, especially when they learned that garments in American stores were trimmed or lined with fur from these animals . . . Cats and dogs should not have their fur stolen from them, Americans protested. It’s their fur; it belongs to them, not to us. Animal Rights Advocates could not agree more. To kill cats and dogs for their fur is both uncivilized and unethical. Animal Rights Advocates could not agree more. It’s just that we think the same is true when the fur is stolen from any animal." (Empty Cages, p. 118)

On the Canadian seal hunt...
"Despite official assurances to the contrary, many seals are skinned while still alive. It would be a relief to learn that this happens rarely, though of course it should not happen at all. The bad news is, it happens a lot. An independent scientific study, conducted in 2001 by a team of veterinarians, concluded that 42 percent of the seals were skinned alive. That works out to approximately 130,000." (Empty Cages, p. 115)

On Animal Rights Advocates...
"With rare exceptions, Animal Rights Advocates are for love of family and country, for human rights and justice, for human freedom and equality, for compassion and mercy, for peace and tolerance, for special concern for those with special needs (children, the enfeebled, the elderly, among others), for a clean, sustainable environment, for the rights of our children’s children’s children—our future generations. In a word, the vast majority are Norman Rockwell Americans, straight off his famous Thanksgiving cover for the old Saturday Evening Post, only with this noteworthy difference. We’ll pass on the turkey, thank you. We don’t eat our friends." (Empty Cages, p. 19)

On calf roping ...
"In rodeos, calves can reach speeds up to thirty miles an hour before they are lassoed (‘clotheslined’); often they are jerked over backward and slammed to the ground ... The faster they are running at the time, the harder they are pulled backward. And the harder they are pulled backward, the more their necks are wrenched and the greater the force with which they hit the ground. Some calves do not do encores. It’s one performance and out ... So here we have today’s brave cowboy, bending over and tying up a frightened, dazed, disoriented baby (the animals are all of four or five months old), with neck and back injuries, bruises, broken bones, and internal hemorrhages. Are those who are working to abolish rodeo in general, calf roping in particular, just overwrought, emotionally unbalanced calf huggers?" (Empty Cages, p. 152)

On dolphins trained to perform in marine parks...
"Free dolphins swim up to forty miles a day and can dive to depths of more than a quarter mile. In their natural environment, they live in extended social groups (pods) and find their way around in an ever-changing, challenging environment via echolocation. (They ‘see’ by hearing). Once in captivity, these animals are confined in concrete tanks (sometimes measuring as little as twenty-four feet long by twenty-four feet wide by six feet deep) or in small sea-cages. There are no pods here. Nothing changes in any significant way in this desolate world. No natural challenges are faced. Nothing naturally interesting is found because there is nothing naturally interesting to be found. To speak candidly, it is worse than disingenuous; it is shameful that anyone would stand before us and say, ‘We really and truly care about the welfare of our dolphins,’ animals who have nothing to locate, no family to be with, no place to dive, no miles to swim." Empty Cages, p. 137)

On sport hunting...
"When all the rhetorical dust settles, the real rush for the sport hunter comes from the kill. Any doubt about this, just look through any of the hunting magazines at the local newsstand. The hunters pictured in those pages, displaying their dead wares, smiling from ear to ear, could not be happier. If we asked them to pose with beanbag chairs, it just wouldn’t be the same." (Empty Cages, p. 149)

On animal experimentation... 
"On a daily basis, animals are drowned, suffocated and starved to death; they have their limbs severed and their organs crushed; they are burned, exposed to radiation, and used in experimental surgeries; they are shocked, raised in isolation, exposed to weapons of mass destruction, and rendered blind or paralyzed; they are the given heart attacks, ulcers, paralysis, and seizures; they are forced to inhale tobacco smoke, drink alcohol, and ingest various drugs, such as heroine and cocaine. And they say Animal Rights Advocates are violent? The violence done by Animal Rights Advocates (almost all of it taking the form of property destruction) is nothing compared to the violence done by the world’s vivisectors, a raindrop compared to an ocean. Just because a profession is legal, perhaps even (as in the case of vivisection) prestigious does not mean it is nonviolent. On a day-to-day basis, the greatest amount of violence in the world occurs because of what humans do to other animals. That the violence is legally protected only serves to make matters worse." (Empty Cages, p. 189)

On lions and tigers trained to perform in circuses...
"An opportunity to expand animal consciousness presents itself if we look behind the eyes of wild animals trained to perform in circuses. In the wild, the home range for African lions and Indian male tigers varies from 8 to 156 square miles; for Siberian male tigers, up to 400 square miles. For the sake of comparison, consider that San Francisco and Boston occupy 47 and 48 square miles, respectively; Chicago, 227; New York City, including all five boroughs, 309 square miles. No sensible person can believe that circuses provide lions and tigers with a caged environment of ‘sufficient space,’ one that offers the animals ‘adequate freedom of movement.’" (Empty Cages, p. 127)

On Greyhound Racing...
"Day-to-day life for racing greyhounds is characterized by chronic deprivation. Dogs are confined in small crates, some measuring three feet by three feet. On days when they are not racing, the animals can be crated for up to twenty-two hours, sometimes stacked in tiers. Except when eating, they are muzzled . . . As for why they are muzzled, the explanation is an expression of the industry’s commitment to humane treatment. After all, if their muzzles were removed, the dogs could injure their mouth, teeth, or gums when they gnaw on their wire cage. In other words, the industry’s remedy for one kind of deprivation (keeping the dogs caged) is to impose another kind of deprivation (keeping them muzzled), the better to treat them more humanely." Empty Cages, p. 156)

On ‘Humane’ Slaughter...
"Symbolic of the ‘humane’ treatment animals receive at slaughterhouses is the plight of so-called downers. These are animals who are so sick or so badly injured that they cannot stand up or walk. Depending on conditions at the plant, downers can lay on the ground for a day or more, without water, food, or veterinary care. Whether dead or alive, eventually they are pulled inside the slaughterhouse by chains or hoisted by a forklift. A Zogby poll found that 79 percent of the adults interviewed opposed the slaughter of downers. Not the dairy industry, which lobbied vigorously to delete legislation before the Congress in 2001 that aspired to ban the sale of downers. Why would the dairy industry oppose such minimal legislation? Because most downed animals are dairy cows who can be slaughtered for their meat after they no longer can produce milk." (Empty Cages, pp. 100-101)

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