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Quotations about animals

Aldous HuxleyIt is man's intelligence that makes him so often behave more stupidly than the beasts. Man is impelled to invent theories to account for what happens in the world. Unfortunately, he is not quite intelligent enough, in most cases, to find correct explanations. So that when he acts on his theories, he behaves very often like a lunatic.

Thus, no animal is clever enough, when there is a drought, to imagine that the rain is being withheld by evil spirits, or as punishment for its transgressions. Therefore you never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion. No horse, for example would kill one of its foals to make the wind change direction. Dogs do not ritually urinate in the hope of persuading heaven to do the same and send down rain. Asses do not bray a liturgy to cloudless skies. Nor do cats attempt, by abstinence from cat's meat, to wheedle the feline spirits into benevolence. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, intelligent enough.

 - Aldous Huxley

Henry David ThoreauI have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized.

 - Henry David Thoreau

John MuirBears are made of the same dust as we, and breathe the same winds and drink of the same waters. A bear's days are warmed by the same sun, his dwellings are overdomed by the same blue sky, and his life turns and ebbs with heart-pulsings like ours, and was poured from the same First Fountain. And whether he at last goes to our stingy heaven or no, he has terrestrial immortality. His life not long, not short, knows no beginning, no ending. To him life unstinted, unplanned, is above the accidents of time, and his years, markless and bound less, equal Eternity.

 - John Muir

John GroganSuch short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.

 - John Grogan

Of all the influences which have been exercised on man by the care of his flocks, herds, and droves, perhaps the most important is that which has arisen from the broader development of his sympathies. The savage may be defined as a man who cares only for his family and his tribe; the civilized man as one whose kindly interest extends to mankind and beyond to all sentient beings.

 - Nathaniel Southgate Shaler

Nick TroutOver the years I've come to appreciate how animals enter our lives prepared to teach and far from being burdened by an inability to speak they have many different ways to communicate. It is up to us to listen more than hear, to look into more than past.

 - Nick Trout

Stephen HawkingFor millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn't have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.

 - Stephen Hawking

Christopher HitchensThose who worry about the treatment of animals are often accused of sentimentality or of putting the plight of beasts before the immense problems of humanity. But it is quite rare to find a humanitarian who is indifferent to animals and surprisingly common to find that those who belittle animal rights are the same ones who find the pain of humans easy to bear.

 - Christopher Hitchens

Christopher HitchensThose who campaign for animal liberation have confused the issue unnecessarily by borrowing human terminology. While the proletarian condition can be abolished and women can cease to be chattels and whole races can throw off slavery, there is no means of freeing animals from the condition of being beasts. For all I know, that is just as well.

 - Christopher Hitchens

Martin Luther KingNever, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.

 - Martin Luther King

Mahatma GandhiThe greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

 - Mahatma Gandhi

Fyodor DostoevskyPeople speak sometimes about the "bestial" cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.

 - Fyodor Dostoevsky

Edward AbbeyWe have never entered into an animal's mind and we can not know what it is like, or even if it exists. The risk of attributing too much is no greater than the risk of attributing too little.

 - Edward Abbey

Diane AckermanOne 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

Every animal is a gateway to the phenomenal world of the human spirit. What most fail to realize is that what they think of animals reflects the way they think of them selves.

 - Ted Andrews

For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.

 - Henry Beston

Ralph Waldo EmersonNature is always consistent, though she feigns to contravene her own laws. She keeps her laws, and seems to transcend them. She arms and equips an animal to find its place and living in the earth, and at the same time she arms and equips another animal to destroy it.

 - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Richard FeynmanThe universality of the deep chemistry of living things is indeed a fantastic and beautiful thing. And all the time we human beings have been too proud to even recognize our kinship with the animals.

 - Richard Feynman

William Temple HornadayHe who attempts to study any small group of animal forms without first gaining a bird's-eye view of the surrounding territory, and becoming familiar with the zoological grand divisions that lie around him, loses much.

 - William Temple Hornaday

William Temple HornadayHe who knows the wild animals of the world always travels among friends, and in every land he finds a welcome.

 - William Temple Hornaday

William Temple HornadayTo assume that every wild beast and bird is a sacred creature, peacefully dwelling in an earthly paradise, is a mistake. They have their wisdom and their folly, their joys and their sorrows, their trials and tribulations.

 - William Temple Hornaday

Not only does every animal live at the expense of some other animal or plant, but the very plants are at war....The individuals of a species are like the crew of a foundered ship, and none but good swimmers have a chance of reaching the land.

 - Thomas Henry Huxley

The animal world is on about the same level as a gladiator's show. The creatures are fairly well treated, and set to fight -- whereby the strongest, the swiftest, and the cunningest live to fight another day. The spectator has no need to turn his thumbs down, as no quarter is given.

 - Thomas Henry Huxley

To my way of thinking there's something wrong, or missing, with any person who hasn't got a soft spot in their heart for an animal of some kind. With most folks the dog stands highest as man's friend, then comes the horse, with others the cat is liked best as a pet, or a monkey is fussed over; but whatever kind of animal it is a person likes, it's all hunky-dory so long as there's a place in the heart for one or a few of them.

 - Will James

When we consider how much we owe to the Dog, man's faithful friend, to the noble Horse, the patient Ox, the Cow, the Sheep, and our other domestic animals, we can not be too grateful to them: and if we cannot, like some ancient nations, actually worship them, we have perhaps fallen into the other extreme, underrate the sacredness of animal life, and treat them too much like mere machines.

 - John Lubbock

... if Man would but treat other animals with kindness, so that they might approach us without fear, and we might have the constant pleasure of watching their winning ways. Their origin and history, structure and habits, senses and intelligence, offer an endless held of interest and wonder.

 - John Lubbock

Many people take to animals to escape from human beings -- but often, it turns out, because they find the animals so human. Others, of whom I am one, find animals a delightful change just because they are not human and never can be.

 - Louise MacNeice

Animals in nature, contrary to the suspicions of cynics or the hopes of idealists, are neither intrinsically vicious nor altruistic. Competition and cooperation are both nature's ways.

 - Stephen Jay Gould

Mark TwainOf all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.

 - Mark Twain

. . . birds will appeal most strongly to us through their songs. When your ears are attuned to the music of birds, your world will be transformed. Birds' songs are the most eloquent of Natures' voices.

 - Frank M. Chapman

Edward AbbeyNot only the pretty birds, but also the predators and reptiles, the ugly and unloved, the organic and inorganic - all belong here, with us, on the same small planet.

 - Edward Abbey

Diane AckermanI like handling newborn animals. Fallen into life from an unmappable world, they are the ultimate immigrants, full of wonder and confusion.

 - Diane Ackerman

Immanuel KantHe who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.

 - Immanuel Kant

George OrwellA man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.

 - George Orwell