The only reason they come to see me is that I know that life is great—and they know I know it.Clark Gable
Animal rights refers to the extension of rights to animals.
- The question is not can they reason, nor can they talk, but can they suffer?
- It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.
- You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughter-house is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity, expensive races, — race living at the expense of race.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson in "Fate"
- The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
- We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.
- Animals do not survive by rational thought (nor by sign languages allegedly taught to them by psychologists). They survive through inborn reflexes and sensory-perceptual association. They cannot reason. They cannot learn a code of ethics. A lion is not immoral for eating a zebra (or even for attacking a man). Predation is their natural and only means of survival; they do not have the capacity to learn any other.
- Edwin A. Locke, author of The Prime Movers: Traits of the Great Wealth Creators (2000)
- As often as Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought: in their behaviour toward creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right.
- The animals themselves are incapable of demanding their own liberation, or of protesting against their condition with votes, demonstrations, or bombs. Human beings have the power to continue to oppress other species forever, or until we make this planet unsuitable for living beings. Will our tyranny continue, proving that we really are the selfish tyrants that the most cynical of poets and philosophers have always said we are? Or will we rise to the challenge and prove our capacity for genuine altruism by ending our ruthless exploitation of the species in our power, not because we are forced to do so by rebels or terrorists, but because we recognize that our position is morally indefensible? The way in which we answer this question depends on the way in which each one of us, individually, answers it.
- A man can live and 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. And to act so is immoral.
- Leo Tolstoy (On Civil Disobedience)
- Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. They move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.
- Henry Beston (the Outermost House)