A few of the author's favorite quotes about activism, the environment, social justice, education, peace, animals and people.


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"It is the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed. It was once considered foolish to suppose that black men were really human beings and ought to be treated as such. What was once foolish has now become a recognized truth. Today it is considered as exaggeration to proclaim constant respect for every form of life as being the serious demand of a rational ethic. But the time is coming when people will be amazed that the human race existed so long before it recognized that thoughtless injury to life is incompatible with real ethics. Ethics is, in its unqualified form, extended responsibility to everything that has life."
- Dr. Albert Schweitzer (Nobel 1952)

"Those who claim to care about the well-being of human beings and the preservation of our environment should become vegetarians for that reason alone. They would thereby increase the amount of grain available to feed people elsewhere, reduce pollution, save water and energy, and cease contributing to the clearing of forests.…When nonvegetarians say that 'human problems come first' I cannot help wondering what exactly it is that they are doing for human beings that compels them to continue to support the wasteful, ruthless exploitation of farm animals."
Peter Singer, Animal Liberation, 1990

"The way that we breed animals for food is a threat to the planet. It pollutes our environment while consuming huge amounts of water, grain, petroleum, pesticides and drugs. The results are disastrous."
David Brubaker, PhD Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins University

"Much as we have awakened to the full economic and social costs of cigarettes, we will find we can no longer subsidize or ignore the costs of mass-producing cattle, poultry, pigs, sheep and fish to feed our growing population. These costs include hugely inefficient use of freshwater and land, heavy pollution from livestock feces, rising rates of heart disease and other degenerative illnesses, and spreading destruction of the forests on which much of our planet's life depends."
- Time Magazine Report: Visions of the 21st Century, "Will We Still Eat Meat?"

'The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as now they look upon the murder of men."
- Leonardo Da Vinci, Renaissance artist/inventor

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
- Albert Einstein (physicist, Nobel 1921)

"Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages."
- Thomas Edison

"Until he extends his circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace."
- Albert Schweitzer (physician, missionary and statesman, Nobel 1952)

"I abhor vivisection. It should be at least curbed. Better, it should be abolished. I know of no achievement through vivisection, no scientific discovery, that could have not been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty. The whole thing is evil."
- Dr. Charles Mayo (founder, the Mayo Clinic)

"I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals."
- Henry David Thoreau

"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
- Aldous Huxley

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
- Francis of Assisi

"Vegetarianism is the taproot of humanitarianism."

- Leo Tolstoy

"Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: Animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it."
- Milan Kundera

“If you cannot attain knowledge without torturing a dog, you must do without knowledge.”
- George Bernard Shaw (playwright, essayist, critic)

“I am sometimes asked, ‘Why do you spend so much of your time and money talking about kindness to animals when there is so much cruelty to men?’ I answer, I am working at the roots.”
- George T. Angell, founder of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

"The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans anymore than black people were made for whites, or women for men."
- Alice Walker

"It is the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed. It was once considered foolish to suppose that black men were really human beings and ought to be treated as such. What was once foolish has now become a recognized truth. Today it is considered as exaggeration to proclaim constant respect for every form of life as being the serious demand of a rational ethic. But the time is coming when people will be amazed that the human race existed so long before it recognized that thoughtless injury to life is incompatible with real ethics. Ethics is in its unqualified form extended responsibility to everything that has life."
- Dr. Albert Schweitzer (Nobel 1952)

"Flesh eating is unprovoked murder."
- Benjamin Franklin

"Humans--who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals--have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and 'animals' is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them--without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer...They are just too much like us."

- Dr. Carl Sagan, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors


"If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals."
- Leo Tolstoy

“Isn't man an amazing animal? He kills wildlife--birds, kangaroos, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice, foxes and dingoes by the million in order to protect his domestic animals and their feed. Then he kills domestic animals by the billion and eats them. This in turn kills man by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative--and fatal--health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer. So then man tortures and kills millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, some people are dying of sad laughter at the absurdity of man, who kills so easily and so violently, and once a year, sends out cards praying for "Peace on Earth."
- David Coats from Old MacDonald's Factory Farm

"The whole problem of health, in soil, plant, animal and man is one great subject."
- Sir Albert Howard, 1939

"Love animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble their joy, don't harass them, don't deprive them of their happiness, don't work against God's intent. Man, do not pride yourself on superiority to animals; they are without sin, and you, with your greatness, defile the earth by your appearance on it, and leave the traces of your foulness after you--alas, it is true of almost every one of us!"
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it."
- Abraham Lincoln

"To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the suffering of man. For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous. And that is the unpardonable crime."

- Romain Rolland, Nobel Prize Winner

"Do we, as humans, having an ability to reason and to communicate abstract ideas verbally and in writing, and to form ethical and moral judgments using the accumulated knowledge of the ages, have the right to take the lives of other sentient organisms, particularly when we are not forced to do so by hunger or dietary need, but rather do so for the somewhat frivolous reason that we like the taste of meat? In essence, should we know better?"
- Peter Cheeke, PhD, Contemporary Issues In Animal agriculture, 1999

“For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”
- Pythagoras (6th Century BC)

"Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to a man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not to die, so do other creatures."
- Dalai Lama of Tibet, His Holiness, The XIV

"A human can 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. "
- Leo Tolstoy

"The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of ‘real food for real people,’ you'd better live real close to a real good hospital."
- Neal D. Barnard, M.D., President, Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine

"Imagine the publicity if someone announced that they have developed a new treatment that cured 40 percent of all people with cancer. The media would be jumping up and down. That kind of benefit can be achieved today just by following a vegetarian diet. Right there you have an answer and no one's listening."
- Oliver Alabaster, M.D., Director of the institute for Disease Prevention, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

"Scientific data suggest positive relationships between a vegetarian diet and reduced risk for several chronic degenerative diseases and conditions, including obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and some types of cancer."
- J Am Diet Assoc. 1997;97:1317-1321.

"The way that we breed animals for food is a threat to the planet. It pollutes our environment while consuming huge amounts of water, grain, petroleum, pesticides, and drugs. The results are disastrous."

- David Brubaker, PhD, Center for a Livable Future, John Hopkins University

"I don't eat chicken anymore. I won't eat it. I won't allow it in my house."
- Rodney Leonard, U.S. Poultry inspection

"Some people are still going to want to eat meat...we do agree though that vegetarianism is a healthier diet."

- David Stroud of the American Meat Institute

"If man wants freedom why keep birds and animals in cages? Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places! I have since an early age abjured the use of meat."

- Leonardo da Vinci

"Flesh eating is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to moral feeling: killing. By killing, man suppresses in himself, unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity, that of sympathy and pity towards living creatures like himself and by violating his own feelings becomes cruel."

- Leo Tolstoy

"The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? But, can they suffer?"
- Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals & Legislation, 1789

"It is easy for us to criticize the prejudices of our grandfathers, from which our fathers freed themselves. It is more difficult to distance ourselves from our own views, so that we can dispassionately search for prejudices among the beliefs and values we hold."
- Peter Singer, Princeton University Philosopher and author of Animal Liberation

"Animals are my friends--and I don't eat my friends."

- George Bernard Shaw

"Sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the beginning. Probably that's why we decide we're done. It's getting too scary. We are touching down into something real."
- Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

"Each of us must be the change agent we want to see in the world."

- Gandhi

“Nothing is more powerful than an individual acting out of his conscience, thus helping to bring the collective conscience to life.”
- Norman Cousins

“Harmlessness is the highest religion.”
- Jain writings

“Our task must be to free ourselves... widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”- Albert Einstein

"Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth. This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."
- Chief Seattle, in a letter to President Franklin Pierce, 1852.

"I think we who work for justice and come face to face regularly with its negation are at risk of losing that which animates all healthy beings: the capacity to respond to the graciousness draping the world in colors vivid and electric, the warmth of the sun, a lover’s touch. If we neglect to notice these, why attend to anything else?
Shortly before he died, the noted Nigerian environmentalist and human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa wrote from prison to a friend, “I’m in good spirits...There’s no doubt that my idea will succeed in time, but I’ll have to bear the pain of the moment...I’m mentally prepared for the worst but hopeful for the best. I think I have the moral victory.” He did, of course, but he also lost his life in its pursuit. Think of that and weep, but then take the hand of a friend, tousle the hair of a child, beam over a rose and shout praises to the stars. And then begin again. Begin again. No better tribute could there be to all that is right and proud and free.

- William F. Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs--ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
- Harold Thurman Whitman

"To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival."
-Wendell Berry

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity."
- George Bernard Shaw

"Agricultural biotechnology in its present form is a vast scientific and commercial error. The people who have invested their money, time and reputations in it cannot afford to admit this. Unfortunately, they will not be the ones that end up paying the heaviest price for their incompetence, greed and hubris. As usual, the bill will be met by those least able to afford it, and the currency in which it will be denominated will not be dollars or euros alone, but the health and livelihoods of human beings and the environment in which we live."
"Planting Lies" by Steve McGiffen, Environmental advisor to the European Parliament

"There is, however, a moral basis for the vegetarian diet for which the indeterminate value of an animal's life takes on irrelevance. And that moral basis is a concern for the environment, a value as absolute as the value we all place on human life, since humanity will not survive for long on a poisoned planet. To be an environmentalist who happens to eat meat is like being a philanthropist who doesn't happen to give to charity."
Howard Lyman, Mad Cowboy

"An estimated 85 percent of all U.S agricultural land is used in the production of animal foods, which in turn is linked with deforestation, destruction of wildlife species, extinction of species, loss of soil productivity, mineral deletion and erosion, water pollution and depletion, overgrazing, and desertification."
Dr. Michael W. Fox, Agricide

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