quotations about animals

We can't change the world for animals without changing our ideas about animals. We have to move from the idea that animals are things, tools, machines, commodities, resources here for our use to the idea that as sentient beings they have their own inherent value and dignity.

ANDREW LINZEY, interview, OneKind, June 21, 2011


Tags: Andrew Linzey

Animals are just pure, uncomplicated entities of creation from God. They live like the Maasai do in Kenya--for each day is forever to them and the "Now" is what they live in. You can get aggravated with your pets and yell at them, but in a matter of minutes they are licking your hand again in love.

SYLVIA BROWNE, All Pets Go to Heaven


Tags: love

If zoos are like arks, then rare animals are like passengers on a voyage of the damned, never to find a port that will let them dock or a land in which they can live in peace. The real solution, of course, is to preserve the wild nature that created these animals and has the power to sustain them. But if it is really true that we are inevitably moving towards a world in which mountain gorillas can survive only in zoos, then we must ask whether it is really better for them to live in artificial environments of our design than not to be born at all.

PETER SINGER, In Defense of Animals


Our many domestic animals have played an important role in the civilization of man. Without them--especially the dog, the horse, the cow, and the sheep--man's development onward and upward would have been slow and uncertain. Those countries in which the problem of domestication did not enter remained ever near to barbarism.

C. W. BURKETT, preface, Our Domestic Animals


Tags: civilization

Animals are simply sophisticated machines created by the infinitely skilled artisan, God.

BRIAN G. HENNING, The Ethics of Creativity


Tags: machines, God

Animals have one thing that puts them way ahead of people: they don't dissemble, and you don't have to pretend in front of them.

IVAN KLIMA, Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light


Tags: Ivan Klima

Animals are like little children a bit. They're simple. They don't have politics driving them.

ANNABELLE SABLOFF, Reordering the Natural World


Tags: children

Society grants animals rights not because animals are like us or because animals would demand them, but because we humans feel empathy with animals. We attribute to them that they can suffer and that they deserve as living creatures not to suffer.



Tags: society, empathy

Unlike some people who have experienced the loss of an animal, I did not believe, even for a moment, that I would never get another.... I did know full well that there were just too many animals out there in need of homes for me to take what I have always regarded as the self-indulgent road of saying the heartbreak of the loss of an animal was too much ever to want to go through with it again. To me, such an admission brought up the far more powerful admission that all the wonderful times you had with your animal were not worth the unhappiness at the end.

CLEVELAND AMORY, The Cat Who Came for Christmas


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Remember: Animals are not our selfie props. If there's any risk that your photo is going to hurt or stress an animal, it's not worth it.

ANGELA HENDERSON, "Dear Everyone, Animals Are Not Selfie Props", PeTA, February 22, 2016


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.



Tags: James Anthony Froude, hunting

I have no doubt that it is a 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 the more civilized.



Tags: Henry David Thoreau, vegetarianism

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contained. I stand and look at them long and long.

WALT WHITMAN, Leaves of Grass


Tags: Walt Whitman

All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.



Tags: George Orwell

Animals are neither gods nor fiends, but men in their way without the lust and greed of man.

ROBERT E. HOWARD, Kull: Exile of Atlantis


Tags: Robert E. Howard

It is also a very remarkable fact that although many animals show more skill than we do in some of their actions, yet the same animals show none at all in many others; so what they do better does not prove that they have any intelligence, for if it did then they would have more intelligence than any of us and would excel us in everything. It proves rather that they have no intelligence at all, and that it is nature which acts in them according to the disposition of their organs. In the same way a clock, consisting only of wheels and springs, can count the hours and measure time more accurately than we can with all our wisdom.

RENE DESCARTES, Discourse on Method


Tags: Rene Descartes

Animals in their generation are wiser than the sons of men; but their wisdom is confined to a few particulars, and lies in a very narrow compass.

JOSEPH ADDISON, The Spectator, Jul. 17, 1711


Tags: Joseph Addison, wisdom

People must have renounced, it seems to me, all natural intelligence to dare to advance that animals are but animated machines. ... 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, Traite de la Tolerance a l' Occasion de la Morte de Jean Calas, 1763


Tags: Voltaire

First a baby dolphin died after being hauled from the sea for selfies by a mob in Argentina. Then we watched as a man in Florida dragged a shark onto the beach so that he could take some holiday snaps before returning it to the water. And just a couple of days later, a peacock in a Chinese zoo was literally scared to death when it was handled by a group of tourists intent on getting a picture with it. None of these people appear to have thought about the terror that the animals were experiencing and, sadly, that's typical of many people's interactions with wild animals -- they're so focused on themselves that the hell experienced by the animal doesn't cross their minds. To them, they're just a prop.

MIMI BEKHECHI, "We need to stop killing and torturing animals for the sake of a good selfie", The Independent, March 1, 2016


If animals are things, then, since humans are animals, humans are also just things.

APATHYNIHILISM, user comment, "Are Animals 'Things'?", Harvard Magazine, March/April 2016