Some Quotes From Famous Individuals Relating to Animal Rights

The following quotes are very good portrayals of the attitude towards animals that are the goals for all of us to strive to achieve.  They are made by some of history’s great minds.

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” 

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed.  Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” 

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.” 

Will Durant

“I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.” 

Xenocrates (396-314 B.C.)

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” 

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” 

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

“The graveyards are full of indispensable men.” 

Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970)

“I am not young enough to know everything.” 

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” 

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“To sit alone with my conscience will be judgment enough for me.” 

Charles William Stubbs

“Well done is better than well said.” 

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” 

Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

When a man has pity on all living creatures then only is he noble. 

The Buddha (6th cent BCE)

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident…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…Boundless compassion for all living things is the surest and most certain guarantee of pure moral conduct. Whoever is filled with it will assuredly injure no one…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 (1788-1860)

Out of 135 criminals, including robbers and rapists, 118 admitted that when they were children they burned, hanged and stabbed domestic animals. 

Ogonyok (1979)

Animal experimentation is the blackest of all the black crimes that a man is at present committing…We should be able to refuse to live if the price of living be the torture of sentient beings…I abhor [animal] experimentation with my whole soul. All the scientific discoveries stained with innocent blood I count as of no consequence…The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. 

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

For as long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love… 

Primoque a caede ferarum incaluisse puto maculatum sanguine ferrum (‘I think the blood of animals was the first to stain our weapons’).
Pythagoras (ca. 580-520 BCE). 

No humane being, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, will wantonly murder any creature which holds its life by the same tenure that he does. 

Henry David Thoreau (1817-62)

True benevolence, or compassion, extends itself through the whole of existence and sympathises with the distress of every creature capable of sensation. 

Joseph Addison

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness or abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. 

William Penn

The awful wrongs and sufferings forced upon the innocent, faithful animal  race, form the blackest chapter in the whole world’s history. 

Edwardd Augustus Freeman

Cruelty is the obvious cancer of modern civilization. 

Rev. A. D. Beldon

Anything that can feel pain should not be put to pain. 

R. M. Dolgin

If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. 

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 …[they] are an obligation put on us, a responsibility we have no right to neglect, nor to violate by cruelty. 

James Herriot

We can not have peace among men whose hearts find delight in killing any living creature. 

Rachel Carson

I am sometimes asked ‘Why do you spent so much of your time and money talking about kindness to animals when there is so much cruelty to men?’ I answer: ‘I am working at the roots.’ 

George T.Angell

He who harms animals has not understood or renounced evil..Those whose minds are at peace…do not desire to live at the expense of others. 

Acharanga Sutra (Jainism)

Cruelty has cursed the human family for countless ages. It is almost impossible for one to be cruel to animals and kind to humans. If children are permitted to be cruel to their pets and other animals, they easily learn to get the same pleasure from the misery of fellow-humans. Such tendencies can easily lead to crime. 

Fred A. McGrand

There can be no justification for causing suffering to animals simply to serve mans’ pleasure or simply to enhance mans’ lifestyle. 

The Dean of York

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. 

Ashley Montagu

Animals form an inalienable fragment of nature, and if we hasten the disappearance of even one species, we diminish our world and our place in it. 

James Michener

The basis of all animal rights should be the Golden Rule: we should treat them as we would wish them to treat us, were any other species in our dominant position. 

Christine Stevens

Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself. 

James A. Froude (1818-1894)

First it was necessary to civilize man in relation to man. Now it is necessary to civilize man in relation to nature and the animals. 

Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

I could not have slept tonight if I had left that helpless little creature to perish on the ground (President Lincoln’s reply to friends who chided him for delaying them by stopping to return a fledgling to its nest). 

President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

If [man] is not to stifle human feelings, he must practice kindness toward animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of man by his treatment of animals. 

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages. 

Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. President

The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different. 

Hippocrates (ca. 460-377 BCE).

The deeper minds of all ages have had pity for animals. 

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)