Friday, October 7, 2011

Smart People on Dumb Animals

I've already told you what I think about how we treat our mute cousins.

Here is what some really great minds had to say:

Abraham Lincoln:
I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.

Thomas Edison:
Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.

Mohandas Gandhi:
To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body.

Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy:
A human can be healthy without killing animals for food.  Therefore if he eats meat he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite.

Albert Schweitzer:
There slowly grew up in me an unshakable conviction that we have no right to inflict suffering and death on another living creature, unless there is some unavoidable necessity for it.

Leonardo da Vinci:
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.

Henry David Thoreau:
I have no doubt that it is part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with each other.

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

Ralph Waldo Emerson:
You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.

But for the sake of some little mouthful of meat, we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.

The gods created certain kinds of beings to replenish our bodies they are the trees and the plants and the seeds.

Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple:
The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than blacks were made for whites, or women for men.

Cardinal John Henry Newman:
Cruelty to animals is as if humans did not love God.

Sir Paul McCartney:
If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.

Sir Ian McKellen:
Although he's a vegetarian, I couldn't find any quotes by him on the subject. This one will have to do instead: "I'm Gandalf and Magneto - get over it!"

Franz Kafka:
Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you anymore.

George Bernard Shaw:
Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends.

Fred Rogers:
I don't want to eat anything that has a mother.

And on the subject of kindness to animals, let's not forget to be kind to the often mistreated animal wearing our clothes!


  1. Yes! Love all of these. The Leonardo Da Vinci one has always been a favourite of mine.

  2. Such wise company you place us in...
    "Every time,
    A twinge of sadness:
    The meat department"

    Thank you!

  3. Thanks Nicola! I love the story of Leonardo buying caged birds just so he could let them go.

    Bea - it boggled my mind when I first realized how many amazing people were vegetarians. A little sad that some of them spoke out so long ago and we're still not listening, but mostly encouraged by the good company. Thank you!

  4. It's amazing how many people throughout the ages have realized that animals can feel and understand pain and are not here for the purpose of servitude to anyone but their own needs, desires and survival. My favorite quote (and I am an avid quote collector) is this one from Albert Einstein:

    "A human being is a part of the whole called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty". - Albert Einstein

  5. David,
    This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear today. I had the option with dinner tonight to have chicken, pork or tofu with my pad thai, and I choose pork. And regretted it. I don't eat meat that often, and have had long periods of vegetarian or vegan diets. But, lately I've been feeling guilty about my choices. I'm being lazy and need to return to rigorous awareness. Thank you for helping to point me back on path. I'm indebted - indeed, we really do need each other to remind us...

  6. Hi again... For all the ways that words and ideas help us make better choices - I would be remiss not to take this opportunity to share a treasure of (animal) wisdom gathered under the name of Creature Quotes.

    It's creation was truly a labor of love and a wish to awaken our kindness.
    I think you'll like it too! ;)

  7. Kara that's a great quote. I love that he chooses the path of compassion out of the "optical delusion" of our consciousness.

    Hey Kellie I'm glad things clicked. I agree, we do need each other, although I often forget how important the sangha is and drift off on my own, until I realize I've been avoiding the very thing that I need.

    Hi again Bea - always nice to see you! Thanks for Creature Quotes It's a real gold mine!

  8. That's quite the round-up. So many inspiring quotes. Thanks for compiling these for us. Glad to be in such company.

  9. Thanks Carole. I kind of just cherry-picked the big names - hunting down quotes from Hayley Mills, Weird Al, Grace Slick, Killer Kowalski et al. would have been a bit over the top....

  10. Wonderful. Debra (Blue Lotus Cafe) sent us around! I've been vegetarian for 13 years and will NEVER return to eating animals.

    I did a post recently with "kindness to animal" quotes you might enjoy:

  11. Thanks, Nancy! Great post at 10 Ways to Help Stop Animal Cruelty - I like the rest of your blog too!

  12. your posts on animal cruelty and the eating of animals and their products has given me a lot to ponder. I was a vegetarian many years ago, and gave it up simply because I was always going against the tide, causing 'trouble' at the table because of my eating habits.

    i have a friend who is a zen priest and he loves his pot roast every Sunday. I've thought of having a conversation on this, because i am truly curious, but didn't want to offend.

    Amazing that eating no animal products is still such a revolutionary act. Were I eat a household or community that didn't eat meat, I know I would adapt easily. As it is, I enjoy many vegan meals when I eat out. But home is a whole different scene.

    I originally became a vegetarian (ovolacto) because of Lappe's books and the obvious connection between meat farming and degradation of the planet, not to mention the poor animals.

    Because of your posts, I am going to start cooking more vegan dinners on my nights where that is up to me. I'll do it quietly, sneak it in, as it were, and see where that gets me. Thank you.

  13. Hi Tara. I know what you mean about home being a whole different scene. I work away from home quite a bit, so I can be vegan most of the time, but when I come home I eat some token dairy and the odd free range egg. I guess it's a matter of priorities and each one of us has our own unique circumstances to work with.

    I can't judge zen clergy who choose to eat meat. But I don't understand it. I thought the precepts - not killing and not taking what is not freely given - would favour being vegan. I think I'm just going to follow my heart on this one and plod one step at a time.

    It's a sobering thought that my little blog can actually affect real people. Thanks for letting me know, Tara, and best wishes on the journey!

  14. Wow David, was just checking back and I'm delighted at the response you've had to this post, the things you said have really resonated with your readers, and I'm amazed that people are going to return to veggie/vegan diets thanks to you! Brilliant - THANK YOU!!

  15. Hi Nicola - thanks for your very kind words.

  16. This is the type of information I’ve long been trying to find. Thank you for writing this information. Hiking Ushuaia


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...