Quotations about   animal rights

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One could not stand and watch very long without becoming philosophical, without beginning to deal in symbols and similes, and to hear the hog squeal of the universe. Was it permitted to believe that there was nowhere upon the earth, or above the earth, a heaven for hogs, where they were requited for all this suffering? Each one of these hogs was a separate creature. Some were white hogs, some were black; some were brown, some were spotted; some were old, some young; some were long and lean, some were monstrous. And each of them had an individuality of his own, a will of his own, a hope and a heart’s desire; each was full of self-confidence, of self-importance, and a sense of dignity. And trusting and strong in faith he had gone about his business, the while a black shadow hung over him and a horrid Fate waited in his pathway.

Now suddenly it had swooped upon him, and had seized him by the leg. Relentless, remorseless, it was; all his protests, his screams, were nothing to it — it did its cruel will with him, as if his wishes, his feelings, had simply no existence at all; it cut his throat and watched him gasp out his life. And now was one to believe that there was nowhere a god of hogs, to whom this hog personality was precious, to whom these hog squeals and agonies had a meaning? Who would take this hog into his arms and comfort him, reward him for his work well done, and show him the meaning of his sacrifice?

Perhaps some glimpse of all this was in the thoughts of our humble-minded Jurgis, as he turned to go on with the rest of the party, and muttered: “Dieve — but I’m glad I’m not a hog!”

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) American writer, journalist, activist, politician
The Jungle, ch. 3 (1906)
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Added on 8-Oct-20 | Last updated 8-Oct-20
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Meantime, heedless of all these things, the men upon the floor were going about their work. Neither squeals of hogs nor tears of visitors made any difference to them; one by one they hooked up the hogs, and one by one with a swift stroke they slit their throats. There was a long line of hogs, with squeals and lifeblood ebbing away together; until at last each started again, and vanished with a splash into a huge vat of boiling water.

It was all so very businesslike that one watched it fascinated. It was porkmaking by machinery, porkmaking by applied mathematics. And yet somehow the most matter-of-fact person could not help thinking of the hogs; they were so innocent, they came so very trustingly; and they were so very human in their protests — and so perfectly within their rights! They had done nothing to deserve it; and it was adding insult to injury, as the thing was done here, swinging them up in this cold-blooded, impersonal way, without a pretense of apology, without the homage of a tear. Now and then a visitor wept, to be sure; but this slaughtering machine ran on, visitors or no visitors. It was like some horrible crime committed in a dungeon, all unseen and unheeded, buried out of sight and of memory.

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) American writer, journalist, activist, politician
The Jungle, ch. 3 (1906)
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Added on 1-Oct-20 | Last updated 1-Oct-20
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The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men.

Alice Walker (b. 1944) American writer, activist
Foreword to Marjorie Spiegel, The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery (1988; rev. ed. 1997)
Added on 14-Feb-20 | Last updated 14-Feb-20
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We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words.

Anna Sewell (1820-1878) English novelist
Black Beauty, Part 4, ch. 36 “Jakes and the Lady” (1877)
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Added on 31-Jan-20 | Last updated 31-Jan-20
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Animals often strike us as passionate machines.

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
Reflections on the Human Condition, Aphorism 7 (1973)
Added on 5-May-19 | Last updated 5-May-19
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It can truly be said: Men are the devils of the earth, and the animals are the tormented souls.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
“On Religion,” Parerga and Paralipomena (1851)
Added on 15-Oct-18 | Last updated 15-Oct-18
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The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?

Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) English jurist and philosopher
An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, ch. 17, sec. 1, footnote (1789)
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On animals, questioning why they are treated differently under the law.
Added on 22-Mar-13 | Last updated 3-Mar-22
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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.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“The Idea of Progress,” Romanes Lecture (27 May 1920)
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Added on 19-Oct-11 | Last updated 26-Jul-19
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The Puritan hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) English writer and politician
History of England, vol. 1, ch. 3 (1849)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-Jan-20
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There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham.

Anna Sewell (1820-1878) English novelist
Black Beauty, Part 1, ch. 13 “The Devil’s Trade-Mark” (1877)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 31-Jan-20
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