Man looking out over body of water - Image by Clément Falize

 Reflections

These 12 Reflections are refreshed monthly.

Click here to see archived Reflections from previous months.

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?” 

The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” 

“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. 


Then, smiling at the man, he said…” I made a difference for that one.”
 

The Starfish Story by Loren Eisley, American anthropologist, educator, and philosopher

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.

From Animal Farm by George Orwell, English novelist, essayist, and journalist

A good done to a beast is as good as doing good to a human being, while an act of cruelty to a beast is as bad as an act of cruelty to human beings.

Muslim Hadith (Bukhari)

I abhor vivisection with my whole soul. All the scientific discoveries stained with innocent blood I count as of no consequence. 

Mohandas Gandhi, from All Men Are Brothers: Life and Thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi as Told in His Own Words (1960)

Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, torment, torture or kill any creature or living being.

Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism

Ethical veganism results in a profound revolution within the individual; a complete rejection of the paradigm of oppression and violence that she has been taught from childhood to accept as the natural order. It changes her life and the lives of those with whom she shares this vision of nonviolence. Ethical veganism is anything but passive; on the contrary, it is the active refusal to cooperate with injustice.
 

From Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals (2013) by Gary L. Francione, Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy, Rutgers Law School

Allah will not give mercy to anyone, except those who give mercy to other creatures.

Prophet Muhammad, Hadith

One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals, will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from a speech given on March 25, 1965, on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol

I came to destroy the sacrifices, and if you cease not from sacrificing, the wrath of God will not cease from you.

Jesus of Nazareth, from Gospel of the Ebionites

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.

From The Idea of Progress (1922) by William Ralph Inge, Anglican Priest, professor of divinity at the University of Cambridge, and dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral

Earth and animal activists need to join forces against powerful corporations that are destroying both the earth and anymals.

From Eating Earth: Environment Ethics and Dietary Choice by Lisa Kemmerer, Montana State University Billings Professor of Philosophy and Religion and author or editor of 9 books.


(Kemmerer coined the term “anymal” as a contraction of “any” and “animal”, which offers a one-word alternative for the referent, “any animal who does not happen to be the species I am”).

Bismillah i-Rahman i-Rahim
May God’s Love fill my heart
And may God’s Mercy guide my actions
May God’s Beauty be in my eyes in my daily interactions
May God’s strength be in my hands when I stand up for justice
May God’s wisdom be in my mind when I speak truth to power
And may God’s Peace be on my tongue when
I eat a plant-based meal

By Duke McLeod, practicing Sufi Muslim, emerging Islamic scholar and member of the Compassion Consortium Advisory Board