Quotations about   animals

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Animals are a compromise between being alone and being with people.

Lillian M. Roberts (contemp.) American author, veterinarian
Riding for a Fall (1996)
Added on 26-Jul-19 | Last updated 26-Jul-19
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It is our conviction that if souls were visible to the eyes, we should be able to see distinctly that strange thing, that each one individual of the human race corresponds to some one of the species of the animal creation; and we could easily recognize this truth, hardly perceived by the thinker, that from the oyster to the eagle, from the pig to the tiger, all animals exist in man, and that in each one of them is in a man. Sometimes even several of them at a time.

Animals are nothing else than the figures of our virtues and our vices, straying before our eyes, the visible phantoms of our souls. God shows them to us in order to induce us to reflect.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
Les Misérables, Part 1, “Fantine,” Book 5, ch. 5 (1862) [tr. Wilbour]
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Introducing Javert.

Alt. trans. [Fahnestock/MacAfee]: "It is our belief that if the soul were visible to the eye, every member of the human species would be seen to correspond to some species of the animal world, and a truth scarcely perceived by thinkers would be readily confirmed, namely, that from the oyster to the eagle, from the swine to the tiger, all animals are to be found in men and each of them exists in some man, sometimes several at a time. Animals are nothing but the portrayal of our virtues and vices made manifest to our eyes, the visible reflections of our souls. God displays them to us to give us food for thought."
Added on 31-May-19 | Last updated 31-May-19
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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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Animals are such agreeable friends — they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
“Mr. Gilfil’s Love Story,” ch. 7, Scenes of Clerical Life (1857)
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Added on 24-Mar-19 | Last updated 24-Mar-19
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One of the things I like best about animals in the wild is that they’re always off on some errand. They have appointments to keep. It’s only we humans who wonder what we’re here for.

Diane Ackerman (b. 1948) American poet, author, naturalist
“In Praise of Bats,” The Moon by Whale Light (1991)
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Added on 28-Dec-18 | Last updated 28-Dec-18
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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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I would not enter on my list of friends,
(Though graced with polish’d manners and fine sense,
Yet wanting sensibility) the man
Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.

William Cowper (1731-1800) English poet
“Winter Walk at Noon,” l. 560ff, The Task, Book 6 (1785)
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Added on 3-Aug-18 | Last updated 3-Aug-18
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Yet there is still this difference between man and all other animals — he is the only animal whose desires increase as they are fed; the only animal that is never satisfied.

Henry George (1839-1897) American economist
Progress and Poverty, Book 2, ch. 3 (1879)
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Added on 7-May-18 | Last updated 7-May-18
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I also think living in the country gives you faith. All you have to do is get up and look at the mountains and look at the other animals to realize that your problems are mostly made up or exacerbated by humans. But human life isn’t necessarily life. There’s so much more out there.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Interview in OutSmart (Jan 1998)
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Added on 30-Oct-17 | Last updated 30-Oct-17
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O woman! lovely woman! Nature made thee
To temper man: we had been brutes without you.
Angels are painted fair, to look like you:
There’s in you all that we believe of heaven, —
Amazing brightness, purity, and truth,
Eternal joy, and everlasting love.

Thomas Otway (1652-1685) English dramatist
Venice Preserv’d, Act 1, sc. 1 (1682)
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Added on 24-Oct-17 | Last updated 24-Oct-17
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GERVAIS: Whenever I do a thing about animals, there’s always someone that goes, “What about children dying in Syria?” Yeah, that’s bad, too — can’t we care about both? Sometimes I go, “You carry on all your good work for the fucking children in Syria, and I’ll do this.” I love the fact that there’s a hierarchy of things that you’ve got to care about. I tweeted “I love humans — they’re just not my favorite animal.” That was to annoy people.

GQ: True, though?

GERVAIS: No, I’m not a maniac. Of course humans are my favorite animal. [pauses] But I’ve never met an animal who was a cunt.

Ricky Gervais (b. 1961) English comedian, actor, director, writer
Interview with Chris Heath, GQ (15 May 2013)
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Added on 29-Nov-16 | Last updated 29-Nov-16
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I love animals. Growing up, the two things that made my blood boil were religious intolerance and animal cruelty. I’ve never understood it. I can’t stand to have an animal in pain. I’ve got to get it out of my head. It makes me angry, I want to cry, I want to stab someone. I don’t know where that comes from, really.

Ricky Gervais (b. 1961) English comedian, actor, director, writer
Interview with Chris Heath, GQ (15 May 2013)
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Added on 14-Oct-16 | Last updated 14-Oct-16
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Is it really a sport if you have all the equipment and your opponent doesn’t know a game is going on?

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
“Stand-Up for Animals,” PETA show, Los Angeles (15 Jun 2014)
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On hunting.
Added on 30-Mar-16 | Last updated 30-Mar-16
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All God’s creatures are His family; and he is the most beloved of God who does most good to God’s creatures.

Muhammad (570-632) Arabian merchant, prophet, founder of Islam [Mohammed]
The Sayings of Muhammad, #251 [tr. Al-Suhrawardy (1941)]
Added on 2-Feb-16 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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You can’t help but try and follow an animal’s thought processes, and you can’t help, when faced with an animal like a three ton rhinoceros with nasal passages bigger than its brain, but fail.

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
Last Chance to See, ch. 3 (1990)
Added on 3-Aug-15 | Last updated 3-Aug-15
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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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All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Way of All Flesh, ch. 19 (1903)

Full text.
Added on 29-Aug-08 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) English poet and critic
Lyrical Ballads, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” 615-618 (1798)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 31-Mar-15
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