QuotationsAnimal Rights Advocacy by Clergy
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

Animal Rights Advocacy by Clergy
Compiled by John Gilheany, The Fellowship of Life

"Their life appears just as precious to them as is ours to us...the gift of life carries with it the gift of the right of life, in the sense at least of an equal right to life with all other creatures of the divine power and grace.”
Rev. Francis Wood
The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review, July 1931
(Journal of the Vegetarian Society)

“We must act, and act quickly, to see that the rights of animals to a happy life is recognised…A religion, in fact, which fails to recognise these rights cannot be thought of as true religion.”
Rev. R.C.R. Adkins, M.A.
‘Religion and the Rights of Animals’
The British Vegetarian, November/December 1967
(Journal of the Vegetarian Society)

“Animals have very positive rights because they are God’s creatures. If we have to speak with absolute accuracy we must say that God has the right to have all his creatures treated with proper respect.”
Cardinal Heenan
Foreword to God’s Animals by Ambrose Agius,
(Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, 1970)

“We speak of human rights. I think we should also speak of animal rights and natural rights, but there must be some radical re-orientation in current attitudes and thinking before these rights are recognised and respected.”
Launcelot Fleming,
Bishop of Norwich
The Living World, Vol.1, no.2
(Crusade Against All Cruelty to Animals, 1970)

“The time has come when we must act responsibly towards the rights of animals and cease to accept the view that man has authority for exercising an absolute dominion.”
Canon Eric Turnbull, Worcester Evening News, June 26th 1972

A few of the following excerpts are from articles which may be read in full On The Fellowship Of Life.

‘Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.’ – Deut. 4
“This is something more than a moral precept; it breathes the spirit of chivalry. It reads like the product of a far later age than that in which it was framed. For, that animals have rights, is a modern idea – an idea which even in our own day is recognised only partially and imperfectly.
“…why should we invoke, as a justification of our behaviour to animals, a principle on which we should be ashamed to act in relation to human beings?”
Rev. Prebendary Moss,
Head Master of Shrewsbury School
‘The Gospel of Humanity’ – The Herald of the Golden Age, March 1900

“The day is coming when the dogma which binds the churches in fetters will be dispensed with, and the spirit of true brotherhood will take its place. As the world realises more fully the Divine sonship of the race, that all life is one, and that God is the Father of all, there will come also the realisation of its responsibility. With the realisation of kinship with all creatures, including those in the lower order of creation, there will come a sense of duty to them, and that we must show our nobility by exercising our right of merciful justice, and not by our power to oppress the poor merciful beasts.”
Rev. O. A. Broadley
‘A Vegetarian Church’ – An Address delivered at the Bible Christian Church, Cross Lane, Salford, on October 14th 1906
(From a transcript in The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review of November 1906)

“Are we to eat just what we like, what we choose, without regard to the pain and suffering, to the rights of the creatures in our power, to the naturalness or unnaturalness of the food they supply, or, again, to the possible physical, mental, and moral injury their flesh may do to those who eat of it?
…The animal has its rights, and can claim from us these two – Justice and Mercy.”
Rev. A.M. Mitchell, M.A.,
Vicar of Burton Wood, Lancashire
‘The Church and Food Reform’ – The Herald of the Golden Age, April 1910
(See Bibliography of leaflets/pamphlets/booklets at: www.ordergoldenage.co.uk )

“Our opponents…suggest that, in our zeal for the rights of animals we are disposed to forget the rights of men, and are prepared to pursue a policy which would eventuate in the overrunning of the earth by the former to the detriment of the latter. Neither of these charges is true. We recognise that the rights of animals, as those of men, are conditioned by the rights of their fellow-beings; that, in this world, all living things should accept such limitations, in respect of their lives and liberties, as are requisite in the interest of all other living things. All that we claim on behalf of the animals is, that they shall be dealt with on the same principles of justice which we apply in the case of men, and shall not be subject to greater limitations than strict justice requires.”
Rev. Francis Wood
‘Vegetarianism in Relation to the Treatment of Animals’
The C.P. Newcombe Memorial Prize – Essay, 1919
(Published as a pamphlet by the Vegetarian Society in 1920)

“Our minds are in compartments and to preserve our comfort we see to it that the contents of different compartments do not get mixed. May I remind you that ‘holiness’ carries the meaning of ‘wholeness’, so that he who aspires must needs see about breaking down these compartments. I hold that because of our kinship we have a clear ethical duty to protect animals from cruelty and sudden death, and not to eat them.
…anyone who accepts the idea of the One Life must accord to the animals the rights of younger brothers.”
Rev. C.V. Pink, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.,
(Liberal Catholic Church)
From a transcript of a lecture headed ‘A Christian Ethic’ and with reference to An Essay on Man by Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
World Forum, Spring 1953

“It is indeed within the consciousness of a solemn trust, held under the sovereignty of the Most High God the Creator, that man is required to look around at other orders of creation, all of which exist, by divine decree, along side of him. These orders have their rights, difficult though it may be to define precisely what they are. It is, of course, because of this difficulty that it is easier to talk in general terms; to recognise an over-all responsibility; to see our stewardship as a trust held under God – it is easier to do this rather than to see in practice what this means.”
Archdeacon Edward Carpenter, Ph.D,
(later Dean of Westminster Abbey)
From ‘Man’s relationship with the animal creation’ – a sermon delivered at the Abbey following publication of the ‘Brambell Report’ on factory farming. Transcript published in The British Vegetarian, July-August 1966

“The rights of animals are protected. The animals must have their day of rest as men must have it (Exodus 20.10; 23.12). If a nest is harried, the mother bird must never be killed, but must always be let go (Deuteronomy 22. 6, 7). When the ox is drawing the heavy sled that threshes the grain, he must never be muzzled. He must, as it were, be allowed to have a share in the fruit of his labours (Deuteronomy 25.4).”
The Revd Professor William Barclay
‘Man and the Beasts’ – Life and Work, January 1976
(Church of Scotland magazine)

“Animals obviously do not have human rights, for their life has a different purpose and function. They would have no use for our social and political rights. But what of those other “rights” (there is no other word for it) which their Creator must have given them (not against himself but against us) when he placed them on this earth – rights which follow from the physical nature they share with us humans, from the needs and appetites we have in common and our common capacity for pleasure and pain?”
Rev. Basil Wrighton
(unpublished) Letter to a columnist in The Universe dated 19th July, 1982
Reprinted in The Ark, No. 136, August 1982

“ ‘Human rights’ is a complex idea and one may agree that animal and human ‘rights’ are not precisely on a par. If, however, humans have ‘an obligation to see that animals do not suffer unnecessary or excessive pain’, then it is an animal’s ‘right’ that we should honour that obligation.”
The Rt. Revd. Dr. John Austin Baker
Letter published in the Church of England Newspaper, 25th September 2003 edition.

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