Animal Quotes

Some great quotes by various influential and/or interesting figures from some very different religious and philosophical backgrounds that capture why everyone (whoever they be and whatever their religion) should be concerned with kindness to, humane treatment of and respect for animals are listed below…
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress
can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
(Mahatma Gandhi, Father of India)
“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.”
(Francis of Assisi, Theologian)
Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard
by What is above him
when he shows no mercy to what is under him?
(Pierre Troubetzkoy)
“I will not kill or hurt any living creature needlessly,
nor destroy any beautiful thing,
but will strive to save and comfort all gentle life,
and guard and perfect all natural beauty upon the earth.”
(John Ruskin, Artist & Social Thinker)
God made all the creatures and gave them our love and our fear,
To give sign, we and they are His children, one family here.
(Robert Browning, Author & Poet)
God loved the birds and invented trees.
Man loved the birds and invented cages.
(Jacques Deval, Playwright)
It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence
to call an animal dumb
because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.
(Mark Twain, Great American Author)
“Compassion for animals is intimately connected
with goodness of character
and it may be confidently asserted
that he who is cruel to animals
cannot be a good man.”
(Arthur Schopenhauer)
godlike sympathy grows and thrives
and spreads far beyond
the teachings of churches and schools,
where too often the mean, blinding,
loveless doctrine is taught
that animals have no rights
that we are bound to respect,
and were only made for man,
to be petted, spoiled, slaughtered or enslaved.
(John Muir, Naturalist)
The assumption that animals are without rights
and the illusion that our treatment of them
has no moral significance
is a positively outrageous example
of Western crudity and barbarity.
Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.
(Arthur Schopenhauer)
I abhor vivisection with my whole soul.
All the scientific discoveries stained with innocent blood
I count as of no consequence.
(Mahatma Gandhi, Father of India)
Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals,
and the answer is:
“Because the animals are like us.”
Ask the experimenters why it is morally OK
to experiment on animals,
and the answer is:
“Because the animals are not like us.”
(Charles R. Magel, Philosopher)
Ever occur to you why some of us can be
this much concerned with animals suffering?
Because government is not.
Why not?
Animals don’t vote.
(Paul Harvey, Radio Broadcaster)
Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar
is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.
(Bradley Millar)
“If man is not to stifle his human feelings,
he must practice kindness towards animals,
for he who is cruel to animals
becomes hard also in his dealings with men.
We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”
(Immanuel Kant, Philosopher)
If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us
and because we are backing our own side
in the struggle for existence,
it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals,
enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons.
(C.S. Lewis, Author)
When a man wantonly destroys
one of the works of man we call him a vandal.
When he destroys one of the works of God
we call him a sportsman.
(Joseph Wood Krutch, Naturalist)
The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on
whether you are at the right or wrong end of a gun.
(P.G. Wodehouse, Humorist)
Heaven is by favour; if it were by merit
your dog would go in and you would stay out.
(Mark Twain Great American Author)
The fact that man knows right from wrong
proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures;
but the fact that he can do wrong
proves his moral inferiority to any creatures that cannot.
(Mark Twain, Great American Author)
I am not interested to know whether
vivisection produces results
that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t –
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, Great American Author)
It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb
because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.
(Mark Twain Great American Author, )
“If having a soul means being able to feel love
and loyalty and gratitude,
then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
(James Herriot, Author)
Our treatment of animals is important
to our own internal state.
If we are to expand our horizons,
to grow to understand what the relatedness
of each and every thing means,
then our love and appreciation of all life is essential.
Our respect and reverence for all living things
will be reflected in our own living.”
(Bill Schul, Author)
“I hope to make people realize
how totally helpless animals are,
how dependent on us,
trusting as a child must that we will be kind
and take care of their needs…
are an obligation put on us,
a responsibility we have no right to neglect,
nor to violate by cruelty.”
(James Herriot, Author)
The question is not, “Can they reason?”
nor, “Can they talk?”
but rather, “Can they suffer?”
(Jeremy Bentham, Philosopher)
I care not much for a man’s religion
whose dog and cat are not the better for it.
(Abraham Lincoln, US President)
The squirrel that you kill in jest,
dies in earnest.
(Henry David Thorea, Philosopher)
Every particle of factual evidence supports
the factual contention that the higher
mammalian vertebrates experience pain
sensations at least as acute as our own.
To say that they feel pain less
because they are lower animals is an absurdity;
it can easily be shown that many of their senses
are far more acute than ours –
visual acuity in certain birds,
hearing in most wild animals,
and touch in others;
these animals depend more than
we do today on a the sharpest possible
awareness of a hostile environment…
their nervous systems are almost identical to ours
and their reaction to pain remarkably similar…
The emotional element is all too evident,
mainly in the form of fear and anger.
(Richard Serjeant, author,’The Spectrum of Pain‘)
Animals can communicate quite well. And they do.
And generally speaking, they are ignored.
(Alice Walker)
Pain is pain, whether it be inflicted on man or on beast;
and the creature who suffers it, whether man or beast,
being sensible to the misery of it, whilst it lasts, suffers evil…
The white man…can have no right, by virtue of his color,
to enslave and tyrannize over a black man…
For the same reason,
a man can have no natural right to abuse and torment a beast.
(Dr. Humphrey Primatt, Priest)
People must have renounced, it seems to me,
all natural intelligence to dare to advance
that animals are but animated machines….
It appears to me, besides,
that [such people] can never have observed with attention
the character of animals,
not to have distinguished among them
the different voices of need,
of suffering, of joy, of pain,
of love, of anger, and of all their affections.
It would be very strange that they
should express so well what they could not feel.
(Voltaire, Philosopher)
Very little of the great cruelty
shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct.
Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit.
The roots of cruelty, therefore,
are not so much strong as widespread.
But the time must come when inhumanity protected by custom
and thoughtlessness will succumb
before humanity championed by thought.
Let us work that this time may come.
(Albert Schweitzer, Thinker)
We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty
with which we treat the animals.
Animals suffer as much as we do.
True humanity does not allow us
to impose such sufferings on them.
It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it.
Until we extend our circle of compassion
to all living things, humanity will not find peace.
(Albert Schweitzer, Thinker)
It is inexcusable for scientists to torture animals;
let them make their experiments on journalists and politicians.
(Henrik Ibsen, Poet & Playwright)
If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does,
then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit,
followed by the animal
most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit.
(Robert Brault, Writer)
Because the heart beats under a covering of hair,
of fur, feathers, or wings, it is, for that reason, to be of no account?
(Jean Paul Richter, Novelist)
Deliberate cruelty to our defenceless and beautiful little cousins
is surely one of the meanest and most detestable vices
of which a human being can be guilty.
(William Ralph Inge, Theologian)
The indifference, callousness and contempt
that so many people exhibit toward animals
is evil first because it results in great suffering in animals,
and second because it results in an incalculably
great impoverishment of the human spirit.
All education should be directed toward
the refinement of the individual’s sensibilities
in relation not only to one’s fellow humans
everywhere, but to all things whatsoever.
(Ashley Montague)
“Living with animals can be a wonderful experience,
especially if we choose to learn
the valuable lessons animals teach
through their natural enthusiasm,
grace, resourcefulness, affection and forgiveness.”
(Richard H. Pitcairn, Author)
“Most people have forgotten
how to live with living creatures,
with living systems and that, in turn,
is the reason why man,
whenever he comes into contact with nature,
threatens to kill the natural system
in which and from which he lives.”
(Konrad Lorenz, Naturalist)
“I could not have slept tonight if I had left
that helpless little creature to perish on the ground.”
(His answer to some friends who were annoyed
that he had delayed them
by returning a fledgling to the safety of its nest.)
(Abraham Lincoln, US President)
“Love of animals is a universal impulse,
a common ground on which all of us may meet.
By loving and understanding animals,
perhaps we humans shall come to understand each other.”
(Dr. Louis J. Camuti, Veterinarian)


“The awful wrongs and suffering
forced upon the innocent,
helpless, faithful animal race
form the blackest chapter in the whole world’s history.”
(Edward Freeman, Historian)
“Cruelty to dumb animals
is one of the distinguishing vices
of low and base minds,
Wherever it is found,
it is a certain mark of ignorance and meanness;
a mark which all the external advantages
of wealth, splendour, and nobility,
cannot obliterate.
It is consistent neither with learning nor true civility.”
(William Jones, English Philologist)
“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)
“Atrocities are no less atrocities when they occur in laboratories
and are called medical research.”
(George Bernard Shaw)
Vivisection is a social evil because
if it advances human knowledge,
it does so at the expense of human character.
(George Bernard Shaw)
When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport;
when the tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity.
(George Bernard Shaw)
“Anyone who has accustomed himself
to regard the life of any living creature as worthless
is in danger of arriving also at the idea
of worthless human lives.”
(Albert Schweitzer)
“The man who regards his own life
and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless
is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life.”
(Albert Einstein)
“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, US First Lady)
“If a man aspires toward a righteous life,
his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.”
(Tolstoy, Russian Author and Thinker)
In an earlier stage of our development
most human groups held to a tribal ethic.
Members of the tribe were protected,
but people of other tribes could be robbed or killed
as one pleased.
Gradually the circle of protection expanded,
but as recently as 150 years ago we did not include blacks.
So African human beings could be captured,
shipped to America and sold.
In Australia white settlers regarded Aborigines
as a pest and hunted them down,
much as kangaroos are hunted down today.
Just as we have progressed beyond the blatantly racist ethic
of the era of slavery and colonialism,
so we must now progress
beyond the “speciesist” ethic
of the era of factory farming,
of the use of animals as mere research tools,
of whaling, seal hunting, kangaroo slaughter
and the destruction of wilderness.
We must take the final step in expanding the circle of ethics.
(Pete Singer, Australian Philosopher)

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