Seeking Our Better Angels
Change is unnerving, and for many people, the thought of abandoning an animal-based diet is especially so.
A cultural ethos that celebrates the pursuit of self-interest ("I feel good when I eat meat!") underpins an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude toward animal cruelty.
So, when you’re tempted to turn your back on the suffering of helpless pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks and cattle — all of whom feel pain and emotion — reflecting on these thoughts from humankind's greatest thinkers might inspire you to do the right thing:
"All beings tremble before violence. All fear death, all love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?"
"We can judge the heart of man by his treatment of animals"
- Immanuel Kant
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”
- Jane Goodall
"Not to hurt our humble brethren [the animals] is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission — to be of service to them whenever they require it."
- St. Francis of Assisi
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
"The eating of meat extinguishes the great seed of compassion."
"Because the heart beats under a covering of hair, of fur, feathers, or wings, is it, for that reason, to be of no account?"
- Jean Paul Richter
“If we are to evolve beyond the modern industrialized animal factory mindset, we must universally adopt a worldview that puts the health and care of all involved in the food production system above short-term profits and cheap calories at any cost.”
- Daniel Imhoff; "The CAFO Reader"
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
- Anatole France
"Deliberate cruelty to our defenseless and beautiful little cousins is surely one of the meanest and most detestable vices of which a human being can be guilty."
- William Ralph Inge
“Taking away the lives of animals in order to convert them into food does great violence to the principles of benevolence and compassion.”
- David Hartley
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends."
- George Bernard Shaw
"Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you anymore."
- Franz Kafka
"If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.”
- Albert Einstein
"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."
- Albert Einstein
"Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes!"
- Theophile Gautier
“When I look into the eyes of an animal I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul."
- A.D. Williams
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
- James Herriot
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
- John Bunyan
"The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?'"
- Jeremy Bentham
“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”
- James D. Miles
"Vegetarian food leaves a deep impression on our nature. If the whole world adopts vegetarianism, it can change the destiny of humankind."
- Albert Einstein
"You cannot do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness or abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."
- William Penn