quotations about animals

If we're not supposed to eat animals ... how come they're made out of meat?



Tags: vegetarianism

What do you see when you look at an animal? A kindred spirit, a creature much like you; but possibly, the very next moment, a beast, a stranger, just an animal. Animals are like those pictures that we see as one thing and then another; the duck that suddenly becomes a rabbit; the wine glass that's also an old woman in profile. Now the pig is a fellow creature, like Wilbur in Charlotte's Web. Now he's pork.

JEAN KAZEZ, Animalkind


The fact that the lower animals are excited by the same emotions as ourselves is so well established, that it will not be necessary to weary the reader by many details. Terror acts in the same manner on them as on us, causing the muscles to tremble, the heart to palpitate, the sphincters to be relaxed, and the hair to stand on end. Suspicion, the offspring of fear, is eminently characteristic of most wild animals. Courage and timidity are extremely variable qualities in the individuals of the same species, as is plainly seen in our dogs. Some dogs and horses are ill-tempered, and easily turn sulky; others are good-tempered; and these qualities are certainly inherited. Everyone knows how liable animals are to furious rage, and how plainly they show it.

CHARLES DARWIN, On the Origin of the Species


Tags: Charles Darwin, emotion

Now by these ... means one can also know the difference between men and beasts. For it is rather remarkable that there are no men so dull and so stupid (excluding not even the insane), that they are incapable of arranging various words together and of composing from them a discourse by means of which they might make their thoughts understood, and that, on the other hand, there is no other animal at all, however perfect and pedigreed it may be, that does the like. This does not happen because they lack the organs, for one sees that magpies and parrots can utter words just as we can, and yet they cannot speak as we do, that is to say, by testifying to the fact that they are thinking about what they are saying; on the other hand, men born deaf and dumb, who are deprived of the organs that aid others in speaking just as much as, or more than the beasts are wont to invent for themselves various signs by means of which they make themselves understood to those who, being with them on a regular basis, have the time to learn their language. And this attests not merely to the fact that beasts have less reason than men but that they have none at all.

RENE DESCARTES, Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason


Tags: Rene Descartes

Animals are less sensitive than human beings because the, living only in the present, lack the reflection on the past and future that plays so great a role in the subjective lives of people; yet where physical pain is involved, we ought to take the greatest care not to cause needless anguish to animals.

DAVID FRASER, Understanding Animal Welfare


Tags: present

All animals are minor variations on a very particular theme.

RICHARD DAWKINS, The Ancestor's Tale


Tags: Richard Dawkins

It is in hunting that the special relationship with animals is clearest. In Siberian belief, animals are thought to give themselves of their own free will to a hunter who respects them. Animals are equal in status to their hunters, and in myths often change into humans or marry them. The brown bear, considered to be Lord of the Forest, has a soul-force of immense power which can be dangerous, but can also be used for healing. Even today, injuries are healed by stroking the affected part with a bear's paw or rubbing it with bear's fat. A bear hunt is surrounded by taboos, and in many areas the soul of a killed bear must be appeased by an elaborate rite. For example, the eyes are sewn up to prevent the bear from pursuing the hunter.

ROY G. WILLIS, World Mythology


Tags: hunting

Animals are like humans, only more openly carnal and sexual, more openly and therefore more disarmingly absurd.

YI-FU TUAN, Dominance and Affection


Zoos teach us that animals are like machine parts: separable, replaceable, interchangeable. They teach us that there is no web of life, that you can remove one part and put it into a box and still have that part. But that is all wrong.... Zoos teach us implicitly that animals need to be managed, that they can't survive without us. They are our dependents, not our teachers, our neighbors, our betters, our equals, our friends, our gods. They are ours. We must assume the interspecies version of the white man's burden, and out of the goodness of our hearts we must benevolently control their lives. We must "rescue them from the wild."

DERRICK JENSEN & KAREN TWEEDY-HOLMES, Thought to Exist in the Wild


Animals when in company walk in a proper and sensible manner, in single file, instead of sprawling all across the road and being of no use or support to each other in case of sudden trouble or danger.

KENNETH GRAHAME, The Wind in the Willows


Animals are, like all living things, self-building, self-maintaining, and self-protecting embodiments of their genetic designs, and they are therefore in human eyes objects of their own operations.

A. VAN GINKEL, General Principles of Human Power


When animals are no longer colonized and appropriated by us, we can reach out to our evolutionary cousins. Perhaps then the ancient hope for a deeper emotional connection across the species barrier, for closeness and participation in a realm of feelings now beyond our imagination, will be realized.



I told the good Father that if he and I were going in the future to some wonderful Elysian Field and the animals were not going to go anywhere, that was all the more reason to give them a little better shake in the one life they did have.

CLEVELAND AMORY, obituary, The New York Times, Oct. 16, 1998


New sentient creatures filled the unseen depths,
Life's glory and swiftness ran in the beauty of beasts.



Tags: Sri Aurobindo

Rumors and reports of man's relation with animals are the world's oldest news stories, headlined in the stars of the zodiac, posted on the walls of prehistoric caves, inscribed in the languages of Egyptian myth, Greek philosophy, Hindu religion, Christian art, our own DNA. Belonging within the circle of mankind's intimate acquaintance ... constant albeit speechless companions, they supplied energies fit to be harnessed or roasted.

LEWIS H. LAPHAM, "Man and Beast", Lapham's Quarterly: Animals


Tags: Lewis H. Lapham

As the role of animals in society and the economy has evolved, and more recently, as scientific research has revealed more about animals' cognitive abilities and social development, public sensibility has changed dramatically, often leaving outmoded law behind. As a result, lawyers worldwide have begun searching for innovative ways to make animals more visible to the law: strengthening and enacting new anti-cruelty statutes, improving basic protections, and, in some more radical cases, challenging animals' property status itself in an effort to grant them fundamental rights.

CARA FEINBERG, "Are Animals 'Things'?", Harvard Magazine, March/April 2016


To those of you who believe animals are disposable -- they are not! Please stop dumping your animals and take responsibility for them. Our shelter will always be fighting an uphill battle if we do not come together and treat our companion animals with the dignity they deserve.

MA SOUPISET, "Animals are not disposable", San Angelo Standard Times, March 9, 2016


The intelligences that are animals are here from many planetary sources. They have been seeded here to be amongst you. They have been seeded as you have been seeded. Different classes of animal have existed elsewhere for as long as long as you have existed -- it is only in what is considered to be your recent times that an influx of various types of species of animal have been brought here and allowed to evolve and spread around you and amongst you. This is after all one grand and interesting experiment.

SHANE MCMINN, Spirituality from the Stars


Ugly animals have it rough. We're more likely to eat them or let them go extinct, and less likely to adopt them from animal shelters.

JOSHUA A. KRISCH, "These Animals Are So Ugly That Scientists Don't Care About Them", Vocativ, March 9, 2016


My animals are a pain in my backside, but the joy and unconditional love they give me far exceeds any chore that I, as a responsible pet owner, can ever do for them, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

JODY FULLER, "My animals are a pain in my backside", The LaFayette Sun, February 27, 2016