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

 Reflections

Reflections from previous months.

Oh! Hidden Life, Vibrant in Every Atom,Oh! Hidden Light, Shining in Every Creature,May Each of Us, Who Feels as One with Thee,Know that We Are Therefore, One with Every Other!

Universal Invocation, by Annie Besant, British theosophist, women rights activist and writer

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May all beings everywhere be happy and free. May the thoughts, words, and actions of our day contribute to that happiness and freedom for all.

Ahimsa Prayer for All Beings

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All beings tremble before danger; all fear death. When a person considers this, they do not kill or cause to kill. All beings fear before danger; life is dear to all. When a person considers this, they do not kill or cause to kill.

From The Dhammapada

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The fact that humans are in the habit of eating meat is not an ethical argument. It is a simple fact that tells us nothing whatever about its moral worth. Tradition can explain things, but it cannot justify anything. 

From A Plea for the Animals, by Matthieu Ricard, writer, photographer and Buddhist Monk

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When our hearts are authentically open to universal communion, this sense of fraternity excludes nothing and no one … We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people. Every act of cruelty towards any creature is “contrary to human dignity” … The Catechism firmly states that human power has limits and that “it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly”.

From Laudato si, by Pope Francis

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We cannot have peace among people as long as we deny it to all other living beings. We cannot heal our mother earth as long as we enslave, trap, poison, and kill her children. We cannot live by religious proclamations that refuse to honor all God’s creation, nor can we follow the guidance of spiritual teachers who claim enlightenment while ordering the massive killing of innocent, sacred beings for their meals, entertainment, and clothing.

From Homo Ahimsa, by Judy McCoy Carman, activist for peace, the environment and animal liberation

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Veganism is not really about giving up anything – it’s about opening up to new things: new foods, new flavors, new friends. Yes, you’re abstaining from meat, dairy and eggs, but to focus on what you’re not eating is to deny yourself the full pleasure of veganism while also sending the message that you’re missing out on something. The only thing a vegan misses out on is contributing to the intentional killing of animals. Being vegan means you don’t have to apologize to your food.

From A Vegan Ethic, by Mark Hawthorne, animal rights advocate and writer

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By ethical conduct toward all creatures, we enter into a spiritual relationship with the universe.

From The Teaching of Reverence for Life, by Albert Schweitzer, theologian, writer, humanitarian and physician

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The environmental crisis we face today is also a spiritual crisis. We don’t so much need new technologies, as a different idea of what it means to be human. Modern civilization fosters an economy of “more” and accustoms us to a lifestyle of “more”. Whatever we have is not enough, and this excuses all the violence towards nature and the domination of people … who are different from us. All of our intellectual structures, from social morality to religion, are bent toward service of this ideology of domination.

From Disciples, by Keith Akers, writer, Biblical scholar and animal rights and environmental activist

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There’s nothing wrong with spirituality that supports abundant human life, a healthy relationship with the earth, and a sustainable balance between people and planet. In fact, this must become one of religion’s main functions in our time. We are called to watch over the earth. To protect. To guard. To maintain. To preserve. Not to destroy.

From Green Faith, by Rev. Fletcher Harper, Episcopal Priest, spiritual writer and founder of Green Faith

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Intersectionality: A spiritual person should regard all exploitation, cruelty and injustice as unacceptable. If there is a moral parity between humans and nonhuman animals, then vegans in particular must address these wrongs not just as they relate to nonhuman animals, but also as they relate to our fellow humans. All exploitation, cruelty and injustice, whether directed at humans or non-human animals, derives from the same culture of domination, supremacy and entitlement that too often is characteristic of our society. The most serious threat to both humans and nonhuman animals alike is human nature itself.

 

From the Compassion Consortium

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Animals and Profit: Anytime an animal is used in an industry that generates profits for humans, the abuse of the animal is always intensified. This is because, whether it is the food, fashion, racing, entertainment or any other industry, humans know that profits will rise if production is increased, costs are lowered, and customer demand expands. And it is always the voiceless animals, unable to protest their cruel treatment, who suffer the most from this drive for profits.

From the Compassion Consortium 

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Today, When I Could Do Nothing

(A Reflection by Jane Hirshfield from One Year Ago)

Today, when I could do nothing,
I saved an ant.

It must have come in with the morning paper,
still being delivered
to those who shelter in place.

A morning paper is still an essential service.
I am not an essential service.

I have coffee and books,
time,
a garden,
silence enough to fill cisterns.

It must have first walked
the morning paper, as if loosened ink
taking the shape of an ant.

Then across the laptop computer — warm —
then onto the back of a cushion.

Small black ant, alone,
crossing a navy cushion,
moving steadily because that is what it could do.

Set outside in the sun,
it could not have found again its nest.
What then did I save?
It did not move as if it was frightened,
even while walking my hand,
which moved it through swiftness and air.

Ant, alone, without companions,
whose ant-heart I could not fathom —
how is your life, I wanted to ask.

I lifted it, took it outside.

This first day when I could do nothing,
contribute nothing
beyond staying distant from my own kind,
I did this

By Jane Hirshfield, an American poet, essayist and translator. Her ninth book of poetry, Ledger, was published March 10, 2020. She wrote this poem March 17, the day that the San Francisco Bay Area’s six-county shelter-in-place protocol went into effect. 

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To be ‘for animals’ is not to be ‘against humanity.’ To require others to treat animals justly, as their rights require, is not to ask for anything more nor less in their case than in the case of any human to whom just treatment is due. The animal rights movement is a part of, not opposed to, the human rights movement. Attempts to dismiss it as anti-human are mere rhetoric.

From The Case for Animal Rights (2004) by Tom Regan, an American philosopher and author of numerous books on the philosophy of animal rights.

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Animals are God’s creatures, not human property, nor utilities, nor resources, nor commodities, but precious beings in God’s sight … Christians haven’t got much further than thinking that the whole world was made for us, with the result that animals are only seen in an instrumental way as objects, machines, tools, and commodities, rather than fellow creatures.

From Creatures of the Same God: Explorations in Animal Theology (2009) by The Reverend Andrew Linzey, an Anglican priest, theologian and founder and Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.

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Animals run no risk of going to hell. They are already there.

By Victor Hugo, French dramatist, novelist and poet.

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Since I and other beings both, in wanting happiness are equal and alike,

What difference is there to distinguish us that I should strive to have my bliss alone?

Since I and other beings both, in fleeing suffering are equal and alike,

What difference is there to distinguish us that I should save myself and not the others?

 

From A Guide to the Bodhisattva Path (“The Bodhicharyavatara”) by Shantideva.

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Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement … to get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is amazing; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.

By Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the leading Jewish theologians and philosophers of the 20th century.

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Kindness and compassion towards all living things is a mark of a civilized society. Conversely, cruelty, whether it is directed against human beings or against animals, is not the exclusive province of any one culture or community of people, Racism, economic deprival, dog fighting and cock fighting, bullfighting and rodeos, are all cut from the same fabric: violence. Only when we have become nonviolent towards all life will we have learned to live well ourselves.

From a letter written in 1990 by Cesar Chavez, an American labor leader, community organizer, civil rights activist and, together with Dolores Huerta, founder of the National Farm Workers Association.

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Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel and vicious taking of life. We shouldn’t be a part of it.

From Callus on my Soul: A Memoir (2003) by Dick Gregory, American comedian, civil rights and anti-war activist.

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Compassion is a verb.

From Love is Compassion in Action (2012) by Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master, global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist.

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One thing to remember is to talk to the animals. If you do, they will talk back to you. But if you don’t talk to the animals, they won’t talk back to you, then you won’t understand, and when you don’t understand you will fear, and when you fear you will destroy the animals, and if you destroy the animals, you will destroy yourself.

From My Heart Soars (1989) by Chief Dan George, Chief of Tseil-Waututh Nation, actor, musician, poet and author.

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There is a Green Faith religious revolution underway. It is taking place on every continent, within every faith tradition. It is changing the way people of faith understand and experience God, and what it means to have a moral life. It is changing the ways in which people worship and pray, eat, travel, and use resources like energy and water. It is adding a new dimension to the policy advocacy that faith communities have done for decades. And it is drawing a small but growing number of people of faith into various forms of public witness and nonviolent civil disobedience. The religious-environmental movement is ready for prime time.

From Green Faith: Mobilizing God’s People to Save the Earth by Rev. Fletcher Harper, Episcopal Priest, spiritual writer and founder of Green Faith.

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Four Daily Goals:

1. Wake up alive every morning.

2. Treat every living being with compassion and make the world a better place for all. 

3. Go to bed at peace with the day’s thoughts and actions.

4. Wake up alive the next day and start again.

From the Compassion Consortium

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It is clear that we must persevere without a break in our concern for all the human beings who are suffering, who are tortured, violated, and deprived of their rights in many countries throughout the world. But that should not hold us back in the least from turning our awareness to the abuses to which we subject animals … Seeing immense value in human life should not bring us to reduce to nothing the value of animal life.

 

From A Plea for the Animals by Matthieu Ricard, writer, photographer and Buddhist monk

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Agitate for the perfect while working for the possible. The world is not perfectible, but it is infinitely improvable. 

 

We cannot go from the basement to the penthouse in a single bound. We must make the climb one step at a time. Each small success becomes the platform from which we can pursue the next success. In the end, we will reach the goal that we could not reach all at once. 

 

If we refuse to accept partial, interim solutions because they are less than the ideal, the ideal will remain trapped forever within our imaginations, where it is of no help to anyone. 

 

Suffering Matters … The one thing we should not do is turn our back on the most intense and forlorn suffering imaginable for the sake of the ideal. We should never walk away from those who cannot walk away. 

From Changing the Game (2013) by Norm Phelps, animal rights activist, author and founding member of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians

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As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. 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.

By Pythagoras, Greek philosopher, mathematician and founder of the Pythagorean brotherhood that formulated principles that influenced Plato and Aristotle

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The logic that led to slavery and segregation in the Americas, colonization, and apartheid in Africa, and the rule of white supremacy throughout the world is the same one that leads to the exploitation of animals and the ravaging of nature. The fight for justice cannot be segregated but must be integrated with the fight for life in all its forms.

By Black liberation theologian James H. Cone in his essay Whose Earth is it Anyway? (2019)

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Killing an animal to make a coat is a sin. It wasn’t meant to be and we have no right to do it. A woman gains status when she refuses to see anything killed to be put on her back. Then she’s truly beautiful.

 

By Doris Day, American actress, singer and animal rights activist

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Whenever people say “We mustn’t be sentimental,” you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add “We must be realistic,” they mean they are going to make money out of it.

By Brigid Brophy (Lady Levy), British writer and campaigner for animal rights, and Vice-President of the National Anti-Vivisection Society

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Spirituality is what we feel and deeply know in our hearts, far out beyond the mind and logic. If you care about the suffering of others, in spite of society’s pressure to ignore it, you are a person who is in touch with your true heart and your true spirit. Spirituality is the unseen, but deeply felt, ahimsa love that dwells naturally in your hearts. 

From Homo Ahimsa, by Judy McCoy Carman, author and activist for peace, the environment and animal liberation

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Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else? If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and (quite often) die in horrific ways isn’t motivation, what would be? If being the number one contributor to the most serious threat facing the planet (global warming) isn’t enough, what is? And if you are tempted to put off these questions of conscience, to say not now, then when?

From Eating Animals (2009) by Jonathan Safran Foer, American novelist 

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Compassionate listening requires a particular attitude. It is non-judgmental, non-adversarial, and seeks the truth of the person questioned. It also seeks to see through any masks of hostility and fear to the sacredness of the individual and to discern the wounds suffered by all parties. Listeners do not defend themselves, but accept what others say as their perceptions. By listening, they validate the other’s right to their perceptions.

 

From Compassionate Listening by Gene Knudsen Hoffman, Quaker peace activist, pastoral counselor, poet, columnist and author

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There are three ways of killing that we, as Buddhists, have to restrain: either by directly killing, indirectly killing, or rejoicing to see others be killed. Not only does this apply to human life, it should be also extended to all living beings. 

From Buddhism for Beginners by Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master, global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist

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The moral duty of man consists in imitating the moral goodness and beneficence of God manifested in the creation toward all his creatures. That seeing as we daily do the goodness of God to all men, it is an example calling upon all men to practice the same towards each other; and, consequently, that everything of persecution and revenge between man and man, and everything of cruelty to animals, is a violation of moral duty.

From The Age of Reason: Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology by Thomas Paine, American political activist/theorist and philosopher

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For the Benefit of Animals and Humans:

 

As we advocate for the extension of compassion to nonhuman animals and the practice of spiritual, ethical veganism, at the same time we seek to end:

 

  • The chronic human illnesses and health problems created by meat-based diets;

 

  • The negative karma, dangerous and unhealthy working conditions, and sub-standard pay suffered by those humans who work in slaughterhouses and are forced to kill other living beings all day every day;

 

  • The effects of climate change and desecration of our environment caused by the animal agriculture industry;

 

  • The massive world hunger resulting from the inefficiencies of our agricultural emphasis on growing crops for consumption by farmed animals rather than humans.

From the Compassion Consortium

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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. 

Love all God’s creation, both the whole and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of light. Love the animals, love the plants, love each separate thing. If you love everything you will perceive the divine mystery in all things. Once you perceive this, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.

From The Brothers Karamazov (1880) by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Russian novelist and philosopher

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The first two-thirds of my life were devoted to the world. The last third will be devoted to my soul.

 

By Sister Mary Joseph. Previously known as Ann Russell Miller, a wealthy and well-known San Francisco socialite who hobnobbed with the likes of Nancy Reagan and Bob Hope. At the age of 61, after her husband died, she relinquished all her wealth and joined the Carmelite Monastery in Des Plaines, Ill. Sister May Joseph passed on June 5, 2021 at the age of 92.

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Every year we kill more than 60 billion animals, excluding fish, who numbers are so great we only measure their lives by weight. What about their thoughts and feelings? Some animals plan for the future, forge friendships that last for decades. They play, they help each other, they show signs of what we call empathy. But 70 % of animals we farm live inside of factories. In the United States, that number is 99%. Their lives are short and terrible. How will we be judged? It is heartbreaking to know all this, but it is also our opportunity. We know what we can do. We can change the way we farm. We can change what we eat. We can change how we treat nature. Some of us have lots of choices, while some have none at all. Those with the most power have the most responsibility, and most of us can do something. So, what will you do?

 

By Greta Thunberg, in a video sponsored by Mercy for Animals

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As individuals and as a culture, our ability to heal, transform, and evolve beyond this old defiling mentality is tied to our food choices more than to anything else. To meditate for world peace, to pray for a better world, and to work for social justice and environmental protection while continuing to purchase the flesh, milk, and eggs of horribly abused animals exposes a disconnect that is so fundamental that it renders our efforts absurd, hypocritical, and doomed to certain failure.

 

From The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony (2004) by Dr. Will Tuttle, American writer, speaker, musician, and educator

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He who for the sake of happiness hurts others who also want happiness, shall not hereafter find happiness.

 

From The Dhammapada

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What are the implications of recognizing animals as persons or selves with inviolable rights? In the simplest terms, it means recognizing that they are not means to our ends. They were not put on earth to serve us, or feed us, or comfort us. Rather, they have their own subjective existence, and hence their own equal and inviolable rights to life and liberty, which prohibits harming them, killing them, confining them, owning them, and enslaving them. Respect for these rights rules out virtually all existing practices of the animal-use industries, where animals are owned and exploited for human profit, pleasure, education, convenience, or comfort.

From Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights (2013) by Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka

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

By Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, philosopher, abolitionist, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.

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There can be no great triumph over racism without addressing capitalism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, the environment that we live in, and the food that we consume. We have to recognize all of these connections.

By Angela Davis, American political activist, philosopher, academic, author, and recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize

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Waking up this morning, I smile,

Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.

I vow to live fully in each moment

And to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.

From Mindfulness Gathas by Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master, global spiritual leader, poet, and peace activist

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As we welcome this new arrival into our lives,

We ask that this being and all beings,

Shall live a life filled with joy,

A life filled with love,

A life free from violence and suffering.

 

As we welcome this new arrival into our lives,

We ask that our Divine Force, 

By whatever name and form It manifests itself to us,

Helps us affirm the sanctity of all life,

Helps us recognize that all life is precious.

Blessing for a New Arrival, anonymous

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Is there any one maxim which ought to be acted upon throughout one’s whole life? Surely the maxim of loving kindness is such: What I do not wish others to do to me, I also wish not to do to others.

 

From Lau V: IX, Analects of Confucius

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Carnivores sometimes say that eating the flesh of other living beings should be considered a matter of “personal choice”. Whose choice? Certainly not the one being chosen. Having the ability to make a personal choice does not mean that the choice made is not immoral, cruel, and uncompassionate. 

From the Compassion Consortium

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We have long been accustomed to regard animals as things: as objects, tools, commodities or resources. Thus we raise and slaughter them for food; we use their furs and hides for clothing and decorations; we dissect their bodies for research; we study their anatomy with detached interest. We regard other creatures as means to our own fulfillment, not as ends in themselves. One might say that we “de-humanize” animals, but this would not be accurate, since animals are not human. Rather, we “de-sacralize” animals – rob them of their holy qualities – and in the process de-humanize ourselves. For animals cannot be relegated to the status of an object. When we treat them as if they were mere biological machines – collections of conditioned reflexes – we injure both their nature and our own.

From The Souls of Animals (2007) by Gary Kowalski, American author noted for his books on eco-spirituality, science, history and animals

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Religious people... hold a kind and merciful view of life, the faith of the broken, the hounded, the hopeless. Yet too often, they will not extend that spirit to our fellow creatures.

 

Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind's capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense because they don't; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us.

 

Where we find wrongs done to animals, it is no excuse to say that more important wrongs are done to human beings, and let us concentrate on those. A wrong is a wrong, and often the little ones, when they are shrugged off as nothing, spread and do the gravest harm to ourselves and others.

From Dominion; The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy (2003) by Matthew Scully, American author, journalist and speechwriter

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Another piece of good news is that the world would be able to feed 1.5 billion undernourished people simply by giving the billion tons of grain used annually to feed cattle headed to the slaughter to them instead. If all the inhabitants of North America abstained from eating meat one day a week, that would make it indirectly possible to feed 25 million deprived persons every day for an entire year! It would also be an effective contribution on the struggle against climate change.

From A Plea for the Animals: The Moral, Philosophical, and Evolutionary Imperative to Treat All Beings with Compassion (2016) by Matthieu Ricard, writer, photographer and Buddhist monk

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Live according to your highest light, and more light will be given.

By Peace Pilgrim (born Mildred Lisette Norman), American spiritual teach, pacifist, mystic, and vegetarian activist 

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If, as the animal rights movement argues, there is no moral distinction between human and nonhuman animals – if animal rights are human rights – then it makes sense that we should be working for the liberation of all species. The key to granting that liberation lies in the system of domination that oppresses animals as well as humans. In other words, speciesism is intrinsically linked to racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, anti-Semitism, classism, sizeism, ableism, and other forms of discrimination. Because these oppressions share the same roots, no society that tolerates discrimination based on someone’s race, gender, religion, or other social category will ever reject the exploitation of nonhuman animals.

From A Vegan Ethic: Embracing a Life of Compassion Toward All (2016), by Mark Hawthorne, animal rights advocate and writer

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May we keep our compassion alive by eating in such a way that eliminates the suffering of living beings, stops contributing to climate change, and heals and preserves our precious planet.

From Five Contemplations by Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master, global spiritual leader, poet, and peace activist

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There is a light within a man of light, and it lights up the whole world. If he does not shine, he is darkness.

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

From The Gospel of Thomas, Verses 24 and 70

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Bless kindly all those who love animals.

 

Those who help turtles

cross over our roadways,

who save insects from drowning,

or take in “just one more”.

 

Bless all who help creatures

abandoned or lost,

and those who, with trust,

find no cost too great.

 

Bless those who feed birds

on deep winter days,

who heal injured wildlings

or play music to whales.

 

Bless those who save spiders,

and treat snakes with respect,

who see grace in the pigeon,

and speak kindly of moles.

 

Bless all those who hold creatures

high in their thoughts,

and unselfishly share

from the depths of their heart.

Prayer for Those Who Love all Creatures, from Blessing the Bridge: What Animals Teach Us About Death, Dying and Beyond (2011) by Rita M. Reynolds, author and founder of Howling Success Sanctuary in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville, Virginia

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One is not great because one defeats or harms other living beings. One is so called because one refrains from defeating or harming other living beings.

By Buddha

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Hear our humble prayer, O God,
for our friends the animals,
especially for animals who are suffering;
for any that are hunted or lost
or deserted or frightened or hungry;
for all that will be put to death.

We entreat for them all Thy mercy and pity,
and for those who deal with them
we ask a heart of compassion
and gentle hands and kindly words.

Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals
and so to share the blessings of the merciful.

A Prayer for Animals, attributed to Albert Schweitzer, theologian, writer, humanitarian and physician

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It is a feeble compassion that pulls up short where self-interest begins.

 

From The Great Compassion: Buddhism & Animal Rights by Norm Phelps, animal rights activist, author and founding member of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians

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Why are we often considered elitist, stubborn, brash, offensive, overbearing, rude, inflexible, opinionated and/or judgmental simply because we refuse to intentionally and unnecessarily harm nonhuman animals?

 

From the Compassion Consortium

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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.”

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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

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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)

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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)

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

Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism

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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

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

Prophet Muhammad, Hadith

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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

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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

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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.

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

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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”).

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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

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The gravest threat to the well-being and continued existence of the human species is human nature … Ironically, the gravest threat to the well-being and continued existence of all other species also is human nature.

From the Compassion Consortium by Rev. William

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Love of animals is a universal impulse, a common ground on which all of us may meet. By loving and understanding animals, perhaps we humans shall come to understand each other. 

By Louis J. Camuti, author and New York City cat veterinarian who made house calls for over 60 years; the first veterinarian to devote his entire practice to treating and healing cats; memorial fund in his honor established at the Cornell University College of Veterinarian Medicine.

***

Women and other animals are exploited for their reproductive abilities, and both are devalued as they age and wear out – when they are no longer able to reproduce.

From Sister Species: Women, Animals and Social Justice by Lisa Kemmerer, Montana State University Billings Professor of Philosophy and Religion and author or editor of 9 books

***

I’m an animal rights activist because I believe we won’t have a planet if we continue to behave toward other species the way we do. 

By James Cromwell, American actor and activist, and the human star of the film Babe

***

To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings 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.

By Romaine Rolland, French dramatist, novelist, essayist, and mystic; awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915

***

Human beings are a part of the animal kingdom, not apart from it. The separation of "us" and "them" creates a false picture and is responsible for much suffering. It is part of the in-group/out-group mentality that leads to human oppression of the weak by the strong as in ethic, religious, political, and social conflicts.

From Animals Matter: A Biologist Explains Why We Should Treat Animals with Compassion and Respect, by Marc Bekoff, American biologist, ethologist, behavioral ecologist, and writer

***

You humans drink our milk and eat the eggs of the chickens and the ducks. Isn't that enough for you? Isn't it enough that we give you our children and what's meant for our children? And if not, when is it enough? All you humans do is take, take, take from the earth and its beautiful creatures, and what do you give back? Nothing. I know humans consider it a grave insult to be called an animal. Well, I would never give a human the fine distinction of being called an animal, because an animal may kill to live but an animal never lives to kill. Humans have to earn the right to be called animals again.

From Holy Cow by David Duchovny, American actor, writer, producer, director, novelist, and singer-songwriter

***

Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept us safe among them... The animals had rights - the right of man's protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man's indebtedness. This concept of life and its relations filled us with the joy and mystery of living; it gave us reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.

By Chief Luther Standing Bear, Sicangu and Oglala Lakota Chief, notable as an author, educator, and philosopher

***

One saw a bird dying, shot by a man. It was flying with rhythmic beat and beautifully, with such freedom and lack of fear. And the gun shattered it; it fell to the earth and all the life had gone out of it. A dog fetched it, and the man collected other dead birds. He was chattering with his friend and seemed so utterly indifferent. All that he was concerned with was bringing down so many birds, and it was over as far as he was concerned. They are killing all over the world. Those marvelous, great animals of the sea, the whales, are killed by the million, and the tiger and so many other animals are now becoming endangered species. Man is the only animal that is to be dreaded.

From Krishnamurti to Himself: His Last Journal by Jiddu Krishnamurti, philosopher, speaker and writer born in South India; raised under the tutelage of Charles Webster Leadbeater and Annie Bessant, leaders of the Theosophical Society who expected him to be a “vehicle” for an expected World Teacher; he later disavowed this idea. 

***

The sixteen hundred dairies in California’s Central Valley alone produce more waste than a city of twenty-one million people-that’s more than the populations of London, New York, and Chicago combined.

From Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food by Gene Baur, Co-Founder and President of Farm Sanctuary

***

Blessings for Those Who Love the Others

Bless kindly all those who love the others.

Those who help earthworms
found stranded on our sidewalks,
who save insects from drowning,
or take care where they step. 

Bless all who help those creatures
deemed ugly, disgusting or scary,
and those who always seek
to avoid a toxic response to visitors.

Bless those who feed creatures
suffering on cold winter days,
who offer refuge to injured wild beings,
or play music for garden inhabitants.

Bless those who don’t squash spiders,
See the beauty in snakes, 
who commune with the pigeons,
and speak kindly of rodents.

Bless all those who hold all creatures
high in their thoughts,
and proudly declare 
from the depths of their heart:

All life is precious.

 From the Compassion Consortium, by Rev. William (inspired by the Prayer for Those Who Love All Creatures by Rita M. Reynolds)

***

When I share a meal with a carnivore, it is always very troubling to me. What is see is a slaughtered living being on a plate being eaten by the person who slaughtered that living being for their own pleasure. How do I respond to this? First, I remind myself that for the first 40+ years of my life I was that person sitting opposite me. And then I remember that when I hit someone over the head with a stick, it does not make them think, it only gives them a headache. For me, the only productive path forward is to offer understanding, share knowledge, and extend compassion.

From the Compassion Consortium, by Rev. William

 ***

  If You Can

If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can overlook it when something goes wrong through no fault of yours and those you love take it out on you,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friends’ mistakes and never correct them,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can honestly say that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion or politics,
Then, my friends, you are almost as good as your dog.

Anonymous

It is a kind of theological folly to suppose that God has made the entire world just for human beings, or to suppose that God Is interested in only one of the million species that inhabits God’s earth.

 

By Desmond Tutu, South African cleric and theologian

***

There is an Animal Gospel. Animals also die in the arms of God. Their suffering is like the cross of Christ, carrying two aspects, the terrible and the glorious. There are not two essences of suffering, just a variety of degrees. And each of the degrees is for the one who suffers an absolute.

By Michel Damien, French author and philosopher

***

If you don’t like pictures of animal cruelty being posted on social media, you need to help stop the cruelty, not the pictures. You should be bothered that it is happening, not that you saw it.

By Marie Sarantakis, author and lawyer

In his final teachings before he physically left this earth, the Buddha foresaw that a situation would arise in the future where those speaking in his name would pervert his Doctrine and encourage meat consumption. So here, in this great Nirvana Sutra, he lays down his last will and testament on the matter: in no circumstances should one eat meat or fish " nor animal corpses, found in the jungle, for instance " nor even accept from a donor a meal which contains an abundance of flesh-foods. The very contact of other food with meat is deemed defiling and requires purification of the food by water. It is quite evident from all this that the Buddha in no way condoned the eating of meat and was keen for his monastic and lay followers to abjure the uncompassionate practice of meat eating and follow the pure path of vegetarian Mahayana. In this, we would be wise and benevolent to follow him.

 

From Buddha - Self: The "Secret" Teachings of the Buddha in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, Vol. 2, by Dr. Tony Page, Buddhist author and researcher

***

Being a humanitarian, supporting animal rights activists, human rights activists, it’s all the same.

By Daryl Hannah, American actress and environmental activist

***

Parting Way


Do not stand at my grave and weep,
For I am not there,
I do not sleep,
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glint on the snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the autumn rain,    
When you awake in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of birds circling in flight,
I am the stars that shine at night,
No, do not stand at my grave and cry,
For I am not there, 
I did not die.

Anonymous

***

The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.

By Arthur Schopenhauer, German author and philosopher

***

Living with animals can be a wonderful experience, especially if we choose to learn the valuable lessons animals teach through their natural enthusiasm, grace, resourcefulness, affection and forgiveness.

 

By Dr. Richard H. Pitcairn, D.V.M, Ph.D., and author

***

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.

By His Holiness The Dalai Lama

***

Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.

By James Anthony Froude, English historian and novelist

***

 

 

 

We all love animals. Why do we call some ‘pets’ and others ‘dinner?
 

k. d. Lang, Canadian pop and country singer-songwriter

***

To get mud off your hands, use soap and water. To get blood off your hands, go vegan.

John Sakars, musician and vegan activist

***

A human body in no way resembles those that were born for ravenousness; it hath no hawk’sbill, no sharp talon, no roughness of teeth, no such strength of stomach or heat of digestion, as can be sufficient to convert or alter such heavy and fleshy fare. But if you will contend that you were born to an inclination to such food as you have now a mind to eat, do you then yourself kill what you would eat. But do it yourself, without the help of a chopping-knife, mallet or axe, as wolves, bears, and lions do, who kill and eat at once. Rend an ox with thy teeth, worry a hog with thy mouth, tear a lamb or a hare in pieces, and fall on and eat it alive as they do. But if thou had rather stay until what thou eat is to become dead, and if thou art loath to force a soul out of its body, why then dost thou against nature eat an animate thing? There is nobody that is willing to eat even a lifeless and a dead thing even as it is; so they boil it, and roast it, and alter it by fire and medicines, as it were, changing and quenching the slaughtered gore with thousands of sweet sauces, that the palate being thereby deceived may admit of such uncouth fare.

 

Plutarch, 1st century Greek philosopher and historian

***

If a kid ever realized what was involved in factory farming, they would never touch meat again.
 

By James Cromwell, American actor and activist, and the human star of the film Babe

***

Ethical vegetarians eat only plant-based food in order to show compassion toward animals and other humans and to benefit the planet.

 

Sharon Gannon, animal rights activist, yoga teacher, and co-founder of the Jivamukti Yoga

method

***

People eat meat and think they will become as strong as an ox, forgetting that the ox eats grass.

Pino Caruso, Italian author and actor

***

We know we cannot be kind to animals until we stop exploiting them -- exploiting animals in

the name of science, exploiting animals in the name of sport, exploiting animals in the name of fashion, and yes, exploiting animals in the name of food.


By Cesar Chavez, an American labor leader, community organizer, civil rights activist and,

together with Dolores Huerta, founder of the National Farm Workers Association 

***

It shouldn't be the consumer's responsibility to figure out what's cruel and what's kind, what's environmentally destructive and what's sustainable. Cruel and destructive food products should be illegal. We don't need the option of buying children's toys made with lead paint, or aerosols  with chlorofluorocarbons, or medicines with unlabeled side effects. And we don't need the option of buying factory-farmed animals.


From Eating Animals (2009) by Jonathan Safran Foer, American novelist

***

What other agents then are there, which, at the same time that they are under the influence of man's direction, are susceptible of happiness? They are of two sorts: (1) other human beings who are styled persons. (2) Other animals, which, on account of their interests having been neglected by the insensibility of the ancient jurists, stand degraded into the class of things... But is there any reason why we should be suffered to torment them? Not any that I can see. Are there any why we should not be suffered to torment them? … It may come one day to be recognized, that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum, are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to such fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or, perhaps, the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not: Can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But, can they suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being? The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes.


From The Principles of Morals and Legislation by Jeremy Bentham, 18th/19th century English philosopher, jurist, and social reformer

***

Forests and meat animals compete for the same land. The prodigious appetite of the affluent

nations for meat means that agribusiness can pay more than those who want to preserve or

restore the forest. We are, quite literally, gambling with the future of our planet – for the sake of hamburgers.
 

From Animal Liberation by Peter Singer, Australian author and moral philosopher

***

A big reason for optimism about the end of animal farming is that it doesn't have to be the end of meat.


From The End of Animal Farming: How Scientists, Entrepreneurs, and Activists Are Building an Animal-Free Food System by Jacy Reese

***

If we accept a mere tenth of what animal-rights activists are claiming, then modern industrial agriculture might well be the greatest crime in history. When evaluating global happiness, is it wrong to count the happiness only of the upper classes, of Europeans or of men? Perhaps it is also wrong to consider only the happiness of humans.


From Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli author, intellectual, and professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

***

It's really hard (impossible, even) to care about climate change, workers' rights, human health, spiritual growth, and the environment while contributing to the death of 1 trillion innocent animals every year. Hopefully the progressives and 'spiritual' people will wake up and start to live according to their purported values.


By Moby

***

 

People care about animals. I believe that. They just don’t want to know or to pay. A fourth of all chickens have stress fractures. It’s wrong. They’re packed body to body, and can’t escape their waste, and never see the sun. Their nails grow around the bars of their cages. It’s wrong. They feel their slaughters. It’s wrong, and people know it’s wrong. They don’t have to be convinced. They just have to act differently. I’m not better than anyone, and I’m not trying to convince people to live by my standards of what’s right. I’m trying to convince them to live by their own.


From Eating Animals (2009) by Jonathan Safran Foer, American novelist

***

Some animal rights activists are demanding vegetarianism, even veganism now, or nothing. But since only 4 or 5 percent of Americans claim to be vegetarians, 'nothing' is the far more likely outcome. I ask these activists to weigh the horrors of Bladen County's industrial farms and the Tar Heel slaughterhouse against the consequences of doing nothing to alleviate the hour-to-hour sufferings of its victims. Is not a life lived off the factory farm and a death humanely inflicted superior to the terrible lives we know they lead and the horrible deaths we know they suffer in Bladen County today?


From An American Trilogy: Death, Slavery, and Dominion on the Banks of the Cape Fear River by Steven Wise

***

Vegetarianism is the ethical corollary of evolution. It is simply the expansion of ethics to suit the biological revelations of Charles Darwin. Evolution has taught us the kinship of all creatures.


J. Howard Moore, Why I Am a Vegetarian: An Address Delivered Before the Chicago Vegetarian Society. He is considered to be an early proponent of animal rights and etchical vegetarianism

***

The will to live is as intense in a weed as it is in a human.


By Mokokoma Mokhonoana, mystic, author, and social critic

***

We built zoos because we are cruel, because we care not about the freedom of others, but only our own freedom, because animals are weak and we love to crush the weak, because we never understood and we are still not understanding that all living things have feelings like us!


By Mehmet Murat ildan, Turkish playwright and novelist

***

It is nothing short of a miracle to be in the presence of a farm animal who has managed to reach old age. Most of their kin die before they are six months old.


From Allowed to Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries by Isa Leshko, American photographer

***


Because the oppression of nonhuman individuals is normative, it is largely invisible, and most of us are complicit in one way or another. While social justice activists now widely recognize that the poor, elderly, and non-white racialized minorities are harmed by patriarchy, few are willing to similarly recognize the harm of patriarchal dualisms and hierarchy on nonhuman animals – even ecofeminist theorists. Very few social justice activists have even a rudimentary understanding of speciesism, or of the harmful exploitation that stems from such marginalization and cruel domination of nonhuman animals.


From Sister Species: Women, Animals and Social Justice by Lisa Kemmerer

***

The power brokers of factory farming know that their business model depends on consumers not being able to see (or hear about) what they do.


From Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

***

Why do human egos seem so threatened by the thought that other animals think and feel? Is it because acknowledging the mind of another makes it harder to abuse them?


From Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel by Carl Safina

***

When weight loss is conflated with veganism, it falls into dangerous area of body shaming and misogyny. Mainstream media loves to make women feel inferior when it comes to their bodies and unfortunately veganism has recently become another weapon and this sexist war on our society. Thin white women are used to sell veganism as a quick fix to a more desirable body at the expense of anyone who doesn't fit the cookie cutter idea of female perfection. In addition, these images and messages work to oppress women of colour and people living with disabilities. Selling veganism as anything other than caring for animals often leads to oppression, plain and simple. We need to resist this approach to promoting veganism by drawing the fight back to animals. Every single time.


From Fat, Gay Vegan - Eat, Drink and Live Like You Give a Sh!t by Sean O’Callaghan

***

A prison for animals who committed no crimes is what a zoo is.


From The Sunrise Scrolls: To Life from the Shadows II, by Lamine Pearlheart

***

Hunting animals is not a wildlife or environmental management solution. Why should anyone spend money to protect an animal that a wealthy trophy hunter can then pay to go kill?


By Fuad Alakbarov, political commentator, human rights activist and photographer

***

If our ethical code makes a purely arbitrary distinction between humans and all other species, then we have a code based on naked selfishness devoid of any higher principle.


From The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal by Jared Diamond, American Geographer, historian and ornithologist

***

Animal trafficking brings $20 billion, yes, billion with a b, into the United States every year, and that’s why you don’t see tighter regulations, higher fines, heftier punishments. As they say, follow the money. 


By Shenita Etwaroo, author and activist for human and animal rights

***

About 30 years ago, the philosopher Peter Singer started to argue about the way animals are treated in our factory farms. Everybody thought he was nuts. But I’ve watched this movement grow; I’ve watched it become emotional. It has to become emotional. You have to draw empathy into it. But here it is, right in our time—a philosopher making the argument, everyone dismissing it, but then people start discussing it.


By Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, American Philosopher and Novelist

***

We have advanced from canoes to galleys to steamships to space shuttles - but nobody knows where we’re going. We are more powerful than ever before, but have very little idea what to do with all that power. Worse still, humans seem to be more irresponsible than ever. Self-made gods with only the laws of physics to keep us company, we are accountable to no one. We are consequently wreaking havoc on our fellow animals and on the surrounding ecosystem, seeking little more than our own concord and amusement, yet never-ending satisfaction. Is there anymore more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?


From Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli author, intellectual and professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

***

Vegans avoid animal products because we oppose any use of animals, regardless of how small- or large-scale, but as we live in a non-vegan world we have to accept that some of those products are unavoidable at this point in time.


By Dominika Piasecka, vegan and animal rights activist

***

Animal rights and environmentalism walk hand in hand. We simply cannot take care of one without the other. If we try to do that, we fail. Protect the animals, protect our planet.


By Shenita Etwaroo, author and activist for human and animal rights

***

If factory farming for meat of cats, dogs, squirrels, swans and guinea pigs began in western Europe, you can be sure some of the bacon and sausage gorging public would be out protesting. Although other cultures regularly eat some or all of these animals, everybody draws the line somewhere. Most would balk at the idea of eating dolphin, gorilla, orangutan or human flesh, but really the differences between the species are minimal and whether we are a rabbit, horse, chimpanzee or human, we all have an innate desire to live our lives freely and avoid violation.


From Destination Eden - Eden Fruitarianism Explained by Mango Wodzak

***

No one in the world needs a Rhino horn but a Rhino.
By Paul Oxton, CEO and founder of the Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

***

See this abdicated beast, once king
Of them all, nibble his claws:
Not anger enough left—no, nor despair—
To break his teeth on the bars.


From The Complete Poems of Cecil Day-Lewis

***

It's not that there are no challenges to becoming a vegetarian or vegan, but in the media, including authors of popular books on food and food politics, contribute to the 'enfreakment' of what is so often patronizingly referred to as the vegan or vegetarian 'lifestyle.' But again, the marginalization of those who care about animals is nothing new. Diane Beers writes in her book For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States that 'several late nineteenth-century physicians concocted a diagnosable for of mental illness to explain such bizarre behavior. Sadly, they pronounced these misguided souls suffered from "zoophilpsychosis."' As Beers describes, zoophilpsychosis (an excessive concern for animals) was more likely to be diagnosed in women, who were understood to be 'particularly susceptible to the malady.' As the early animal advocacy movement in Britain and the United States was largely made up of women, such charges worked to uphold the subjugation both of women and of nonhuman animals.


From Beasts of Burden: Animal and Disability Liberation by Sunaura Taylor, American painter, writer, and activist for disability and animal rights

Special needs animals need special homes with special hearts in order to take care of them. These animals deserve forever homes, too. It’s so disheartening, how often I see posts for adoptions for a dog or cat that have aged twelve years without ever finding their family because of some perceived defect.


By Shenita Etwaroo, author, activist and advocate dedicated to human and animal rights

***


Violence takes on many forms, sadly violence is such an everyday part of our lives that we have mostly become oblivious to it. It goes on behind closed doors, far away from our vision. Screams that go unheard by the masses. Yet the butchered remains of miserable lives land with a sizzle on our dinner plates, and are rarely fully recognized for what they really are.


From Destination Eden - Eden Fruitarianism Explained by Mango Wodzak

***


The word animal is a derivative of the Greek word anima, which also means soul.


From Toward Saving the Honeybee by Gunther Hauk

***
Like other mammals, they are capable of strong emotions. They have certainly committed no crimes. I do not claim to have the answer, but I think it is certainly worthwhile to raise the question: Why, exactly, all over the civilized world, in virtually every major city, are apes in prison?


From Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence by Carl Sagan, American astrophysicist and cosmetologist

***
Animal rights are not a gift we give to animals. They are a birthright we have taken from them.


By Ryan Phillips, vegan activist

***
 

As long as humans feel they are forced to defend their own rights and worth by placing someone beneath them, oppression will not end.


From The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery by Marjorie Spiegel, author and Executive Director of The Institute for the Development of Earth Awareness

***
 

The choice-obsessed modern West is probably more accommodating to individuals who choose to eat differently than any other culture has ever been, but ironically, the utterly unselective omnivore - “I’m easy; I’ll eat anything” - can appear more socially sensitive than the individual who tries to eat in a way that is good for society. Food choices are determined by many factors, but reason (even consciousness) is not generally high on the list.


From Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

***
 

The indifference, callousness, and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil first because it results in great suffering towards animals, and second because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of human spirit.


By Ashley Montagu, British-American anthropologist

***
 

Look into their eyes and tell them "I'm sorry, you have to die, but I need to eat". Look into their eyes, and tell them "I know there is an abundance of plant-based foods I could eat, but I would still rather eat you". Look into their eyes and tell them "I know I don't NEED to eat you, but I am going to pay someone else to murder you anyway" Look into their eyes and tell them "I'm sorry you lived a short enslaved, abused and tortured life, but I don't care because I am selfish" Look into their eyes and tell them " I love my cat/dog, but your life doesn't matter as much" Go ahead, take a look into their eyes and tell them that!


By Jenn Keller-Lowe, animal rights activist

***
 

We don’t “crave” animal-based meat, dairy, and eggs, but we do crave fat, salt, flavor, texture, and familiarity.


From The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Healthfully and Living Compassionately by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

***


We are the collateral damage of carnism; we pay for it with our health, our environment, and our taxes - $7.64 billion a year, to be exact.


From Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism: The Belief System That Enables Us to Eat Some Animals and Not Others by Melanie Joy

***


Beyond the economics of production efficiency, animal welfare laws that require "humane" treatment are really not about animals; they're about humans and making humans feel better about using animals. We can comfort ourselves with the idea that we are acting in a "humane" way.


From Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals by Gary Francione

The Reflections for April, 2022 consist of quotations from essays written by various Vegan activists for Vegan Voices: Essays by Inspiring Changemakers, edited by Dr. Joanne Kong

I am glad we have a subconscious and the “mirror neurons” that allow us to put ourselves in the place of even the “oddest,” most alien beings, who seem the furthest removed from us. Practicing empathy, understanding, and respect can only be a good thing after all.


By Ingrid Newkirk, President and Founder, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

***

I do believe that we are in the middle of a global awakening of consciousness – a collective shift toward peace, nonviolence, and compassion, toward a future on which all sentient life on this planet will be treated with respect and reverence and allowed to live free of human imposed suffering. We must hold this vision of a compassionate, vegan world in our hearts and n our actions, and we just might see big changes for animals in our lifetime. Indeed, we already have.

By Hope Bohanec, activist, author, podcaster

***

So ethics, morality, and justice tell us that might does not make right, yet how do humans justify the use, enslavement, genetic manipulation, commodification, mutilation, objectification, killing, and consuming of sentient beings on this earth? The honest answer is we cannot, but we have tried to do so using any excuse and reasoning that we, the wielders of power, can use. These excuses include religious invention … And cultural practices are used to justify continuing insupportable barbarism in a time when there is no need for such practices to continue … Then there is the excuse of ownership, the result of the commodification of sentient living beings, which should be an affront and a perversion to any civilized mind. There are also people who simply do not care, and people who just want to satisfy their wants.  

By Katina Czyczelis, business manager, musician, activist, writer, and healer

***

​Activism can come in all shapes and forms. It doesn’t have to be on the streets. One can actively try to dismantle this violent system by – among other things – fundraising, organizing community events, making posters, managing social media, giving speeches, writing books and blogs, promoting plant-based nutrition as a medical professional, bearing witness, or running a vegan business, restaurant, or animal sanctuary. What matters is that you do something that you loave and are good at to strengthen the cause.

By Shweta Borgaonkar, social justice organizer

***

The idea that parents shouldn’t “force” (a word that really means “educate” in this context) their ethical and moral beliefs on their children is ridiculous, because society itself is not value-neutral. The notion of letting children choose for themselves whether or not they want to be vegan presents a false scenario, in which veganism is viewed as supporting ridiculous and extreme values backed by propaganda. Nonveganism, the default, is thus viewed as neutral and “the norm”. Big business, industry, and advertisers create and reinforce this nonvegan norm on a regular basis, which is anything but value-neutral. TV commercials for cheeseburgers, roadside billboards for zoos, and “Got Milk?” ads in magazines and school cafeterias all convey that animal are things and commodities for human use, and that this is a value in and of itself. 

By Sarina Farb, vegan educator and speaker

***

The vegan revolution is an essential part of the evolution of consciousness that humanity has to undergo in order to solve our problems. It is the first step in creating a nonviolent world. Aided by, among other things, the Internet and rising plant-based protein technologies, just as mountains are eroded by constant wind and precipitation, a tiny minority of animal activists are breaking the iron chains of habit and tradition to create a better, brighter future for all Earthlings.

By Sandra Isobel Kyle, the Singing Vegan

***

When the suffering of another creature causes you to feel pain, do not submit to the initial desire to flee from the suffering one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as you can to him who suffers, and try to help him.

By Leo Tolstoy as quoted by James O’Toole, Co-Director of Communications, Animal Save Movement 

***

​In society, we are conditioned from infancy to believe the lies that it is normal, natural, and necessary to consume animal products, It is up to those of us who have broken the disconnect to inform the public that these myths are not true and that believing them is not only wrong and incredibly destructive to our planet, our health, and of course, the billions of animals who are abused, tortured and murdered at the hands of humans every single year. 

By James O’Toole, Co-Director of Communications, Animal Save Movement

***

​I believe all humans know right from wrong. I believe that empathy is innate and violence is learned. The problem is that we’ve been conditioned by society to not only suppress our innate and deepest sense of empathy, but also to shun and ridicule those who openly display it. From the moment we’re born, we’re inundated with TV commercials, billboards, and other advertisements telling us animals are commodities. 

By Curtis Vollmar, animal liberation activist

***

I firmly believe that those phenomena that are the most detrimental, toxic and hindering to the animal rights movement occur within our own ranks, in the form of groups or individuals who 1) believe their way is the only way to achieve success and/or 2) condemn others for their form of activism or protest. I cannot stress how negative of an impact this rhetoric can have on the movement, especially on new or emerging activists. 

By Curtis Vollmar, animal liberation activist

***

Slaughterhouse workers are some of the most exploited and most vulnerable people in the workforce. We pay to kill, literally. And they have to live with that. They have to see the blood that we do not want to see. They have to take the life of an innocent sentient being. The act of killing over and over again can, among other consequences, cause irreparable damage to their psyche.

By Farah Siraj, vegan musician and speaker

***

I look into the future and see the possibilities for a bold new world brought about by the best qualities of who we are – our intellect, adaptability, sense of innovation, perseverance, optimism, and determination. We end the ravages upon our planet, instead regenerating and preserving its resources that allow us to live; we find strength in our diversity; we continue to recognize and accept the emotional and cognitive abilities of nonhuman animals; and we expand the rising awareness that food should be healing and not come from violence. I believe that one day, we will look back upon the mass exploitation of animals as a moral atrocity. Bringing it to an end will be proof of a revolutionary kindness and one of humanity’s greatest acts of compassion. 

From the Afterword to Vegan Voices: Essays by Inspiring Changemakers, edited by Dr. Joanne Kong

The Five Principles of Reiki:

Just for today, let go of anger. 
o    Anger results from one’s inability to control situations or people encountered in life. Step back, take a breath, clear your mind, step forward.

 

Just for today, let go of worry. 
o    Worrying about what has occurred in the past is useless and can lead to shame and regret. Worrying about what may occur in the future is equally futile because it is unknown. 

Just for today, be grateful and humble.
o    To feel gratitude and humility is to be thankful for all of the circumstances in one’s life. 

Just for today, live honestly. 
o    Deal with both oneself and others with integrity.

Just for today, be compassionate. 
o    Be considerate of one’s environment and strive not to cause unnecessary harm to other living beings and life forms. 

***

On a larger scale, dharma means the essential order of things...rightness, justice, goodness, purpose rather than chance. Underlying this idea is the oneness of life...There is an ancient Sanskrit epigram, Ahimsa paramo dharma: the highest dharma is ahimsa, nonviolence, universal love for all living creatures; for every kind of violence is a violation of dharma, the fundamental law of the unity of life.

By Eknath Easwaran, Indian-born spiritual teacher, author and translator and interpreter of Indian religious texts such as the Bhagavad Vita and the Upanishads

***

Sometimes we might remember that all other animals have every bit as much right to be here and to be unmolested as any human does.

By Sir David Frederick Attenborough, English broadcaster, biologist, natural historian and author. Also, the “away” message for Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. 

***

Little Dog’s Rhapsody in the Night

He puts his cheek against mine
and makes small, expressive sounds.

And when I’m awake, or awake enough,

he turns upside down, his four paws
in the air and his eyes dark and fervent.

“Tell me you love me,” he says.

“Tell me again.”

Could there be a sweeter arrangement?

Over and over he gets to ask.

I get to tell.

From Dog Songs, Poems by Mary Oliver. Contributed by Elaine Hutchison, Compassion Consortium member.

***

Desire

Those who do not achieve their desires will continue to desire.

Those who achieve their desires will desire more.

Desire does not rest.

It is an infinite, endless hedonic treadmill of diminishing and unfulfilling returns.

Those who do not desire will achieve liberation and internal peace. 

The easiest way to gain happiness is to learn to desire the things we already have. 

The Compassion Consortium by Rev. William Melton (with a little assistance from The Buddha and Epictetus)

***

Ahimsa is not mere negative ‘non-injury.’ It is positive, cosmic love. It is the development of a mental attitude in which hatred is replaced by love.

By Swami Sivananda, a yogi and medical doctor from India, awarded the Padma Shri by India in 2022

***

For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

By Herman Hesse, a German-Swiss poet, novelist and painter, who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946

***

Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it alright will rather preserve it’s life than destroy it. 


By Henry David Thoreau, American essayist, naturalist, poet, and philosopher, best known for his book Walden, a Reflection Upon Simple Living in Natural Surroundings

***

When a child kills an animal for fun, we fear mental illness, when an adult with the capacity for reason does it, we call it “sport”. 


By Seth MacFarlane, American actor, director and producer

***
I

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice that it always coincides with their own desires. 


By Susan B. Anthony, American social reformer and women’s rights activist

***
 

A bloodless sportsman,
I hunt for the thoughts that throng the woods,
The dreams that haunt the sky,
The woods were made for the hunters of dreams,
The brooks for the fishers of song;
To the hunters who hunt for the gun-less games
The streams and woods belong.

From The Bloodless Sportsman by Sam Walter Foss, American poet and librarian

***

Of all the creatures that were made, man is the most detestable. Of the entire brood he is the only one – the solitary one – that possesses malice. That is the basest of all instincts, passions, vices – the most hateful. He is the only creature that has pain for sport, knowing it to be pain. Also – in all the list he is the only creature that has a nasty mind. 

By Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known by his pen name Mark Twain, American humorist, writer and lecturer.  

The U.S. system of justice contains laws whereby nonhuman animals have no legal standing, but are defined as “property,” as wives and enslaved Africans once were. Other animals (including mice, rats, and birds) are excluded from the legal definition of “animal” in the U.S., thereby denying these individuals whatever slight protection might be provided by U.S. animal welfare laws, and allowing science to use these sentient beings in any way researchers see fit, without fear of legal sanction. Other speciesist laws prevent animal advocates from using free speech on behalf of hunted animals … Institutionalized support for the systematic oppression of nonhuman animals is also evident in the recent Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, as well as in the mainstream media, both of which – unbelievably – label animal advocates as “terrorists.

By Lisa Kemmerer: Sister Species: Women, Animals and Social Justice


 

Cruelty: Not only the willful causing of unnecessary suffering, but the indifference to it.
 
By Jonathan Safran Foer:  Eating Animals


The eternal being which, as it lives in us, also lives in every animal ... the animal is in essence absolutely the same thing that we are.

By Arthur Schopenhauer: The Horrors and Absurdities of Religion


Bacon would not be a choice if the pig had any say in the matter. A lamb, given the gift of speech, would most probably say "no" if you asked if you could eat her leg. Fish would no doubt choose to stay in the water, if they could and I feel pretty sure turkeys must object once their Christmas fête (or should that be fate?) is made clear to them. Chickens are surely protesting from having their eggs systematically stolen and freedoms restricted, and both cows and their calves would be up in arms, if they had any, with the theft of their milk and violent separation. Given the chance, bees will attack and defend ferociously, even sacrificing themselves in the process, in order to protect their precious honey; a sure sign they do not part with it voluntarily.”

By Mango Wodzak: Destination Eden - Eden Fruitarianism Explained

There is a famous scene at the beginning of a Star Wars film, where the main character cuts open an animal to climb inside of it to so that he would survive extremely cold weather. People were shocked by this, and they should be. Do they not consider that wearing fur or leather is the same thing?

By Shenita Etwaroo, author, activist and advocate dedicated to human and animal rights

We use horses as our slaves; we chain dogs; we steal eggs from the chickens, honey from the bees; we make wallets out of crocodiles; we imprison the birds; we torture the bulls in the arenas; we whip the lions and beat the tigers in the circuses! What are we? Definitely not ethical creatures!

By Mehmet Murat ildan, Turkish author and animal rights activist

If chimpanzees have consciousness, if they are capable of abstractions, do they not have what until now has been described as "human rights"? How smart does a chimpanzee have to be before killing him constitutes murder? What further properties must he show before religious missionaries must
consider him worthy of attempts at conversion?”

By Carl Sagan:  Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence

Most frequently asked question at my AI talks: Will robots be conscious? We slaughter 60 billion animals/year, but are concerned for robots?”

By Piero Scaruffi, freelance software consultant, writer and university lecturer

As per the law of karma, that which is your meat today, this dear beloved animal will make mincemeat of you tomorrow. In another birth.

By Fakeer Ishavardas: Yoga of Jesus: Cracking the Code of the Mystic Teachings of Christ

If people were superior to animals, they'd take better care of the world”

By Benjamin Hoff: The Tao of Pooh

Beyond the economics of production efficiency, animal welfare laws that require "humane" treatment are really not about animals; they're about humans and making humans feel better about using animals. We can comfort ourselves with the idea that we are acting in a "humane" way.”

By Gary Francione: Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals

But perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that there are no walls between humans and the elephants except those that we put up ourselves, and that until we allow not only elephants, but all living creatures their place in the sun, we can never be whole ourselves.”

By Lawrence Anthony: The Elephant Whisperer