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Vegan Quotes

Last Updated on September 22, 2021

Non-violence, compassion and ethics have been topics of conversation for centuries. There are many quotes from great minds that support a lifestyle that respects animals as part of our moral community.

Disclaimer: People sometimes make memorable statements. Elated likes to share these quotes with you as they make us believe in the possibility of a better and brighter future. However, we do not necessarily endorse the people or the organizations these quotes originate from. By the time a person is perfect and 100% morally consistent, they will probably have left this planet. By printing these quotes we honor the compassionate nature we believe resides at the core of each one of us. In keeping with this philosophy, we ask you to please ignore the original context of the quotes and take a moment to view them from a new perspective: a vegan world where all animals are respected as members of our moral community.

The Definition of Veganism

“The word “veganism” denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

— Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society 1944

Vegan Quotes

“The vegan believes that if we are to be true emancipators of animals we must renounce absolutely our traditional and conceited attitude that we have the right to use them to serve our needs. We must supply these needs by other means.… If the vegan ideal of non-exploitation were generally adopted, it would be the greatest peaceful revolution ever known, abolishing vast industries and establishing new ones in the better interests of men and animals alike.”

— Donald Watson

“Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.”

— Mahatma Gandhi

“Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.”

— Samuel Butler

“Veganism deprives us of absolutely nothing. On the contrary, it provides a priceless gift: the peace of knowing that we are no longer participants in the hideous violence that is animal exploitation.”

“None of that is necessary. It’s not as if we’re in a situation where it is us or them. There’s something peculiar about talking about the moral status of animals, when we are killing and eating them for no reason whatsoever.”

— Gary L Francione

“To shut your mind, heart, imagination to the sufferings of others is to begin slowly but inexorably to die. It is to cease by inches from being human, to become at the end capable of nothing, generous or unselfish; or sometimes capable of anything, however terrible.”

— John Austin Baker, Bishop of Salisbury

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

— Thomas A Edison

“What man with a human heart, who has ever cared for domestic animals, could look into their eyes, so full of confidence and affection, and willingly give them over to the butcher’s knife? How could he devour their flesh as a sweet morsel?”

— Ellen G White “Ministry of Healing”

“There is a certain tragic isolation in believing that humans stand apart in every way from the creatures that surround them, that the rest of creation was shaped for our exclusive use.”

— New York Times Editorial March 2005

“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”

— Martin Luther King Jr.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

“Live life simply so that others may simply live.”

“To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to the protection by man from the cruelty of man.”

“To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the merest of creation as oneself.”

“We must be the change we wish to see.”

— Mahatma Gandhi

“I can’t think if anything that makes me happier than seeing an animal’s contentment, witnessing a creature allowed to be who he wants to be in the world — and at peace. It’s a thing of beauty.”

— Jenny Brown, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

A young girl sitting watching cows in a green field

“Humanity’s true moral test, its fundamental test, consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect humankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.”

“The intrinsic meaning of animal rights is that no animal should be used or killed for human purposes. Their rights as individuals are sacred, and no benefit to myself or my taste buds can trump their right to be.”

— Eddie Lama

“Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you anymore.”

— Franz Kafka

“The very beginning of Genesis tells us that God created man in order to give him dominion over fish and fowl and all creatures. Of course, Genesis was written by a man, not a horse. There is no certainty that God actually did grant man dominion over other creatures. What seems more likely, in fact, is that man invented God to sanctify the dominion that he had usurped for himself over the cow and the horse.”

— Milan Kundera

“Never, 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 Jr

“Let’s stop talking about veganism as a matter of compassion, benevolence and other nice-sounding, but ultimately anthropocentric missives. The idea that we are ‘being kind’, ‘acting compassionately’, or ‘saving lives’ just by being vegan is misguided. It’s also paternalistic. Veganism is a matter of justice, and it reflects the absolute minimum of justice that I owe other persons (human and non). That doesn’t mean we’re not compassionate people. It doesn’t mean we can’t act compassionately toward other animals (human or non). It just means that veganism is what we owe them. It’s not an act of charity.”

— Vincent Guihan

“Nothing will benefit human health and ensure survival of life on Earth, more than evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

“It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would beneficially influence the lot of mankind.”

“The most important endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life.”

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

— Albert Einstein

“Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to humankind”

“The thinking person must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another.”

— Albert Schweitzer

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

— Carl Sagan

“I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.”

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

— Mohandas Gandhi

“Veganism extends compassionate, gentle benevolence to all sentient beings”

— Stanley Sapon

“We must not refuse to see with our eyes what they must endure with their bodies.”

“I look forward to the day when animals will have the right to run if they have legs, swim if they have fins, and fly if they have wings.”

— Gretchen Wyler

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. 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 not 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

“You are diseased in understanding and religion. Come to me, that you may hear something of sound truth. Do not unjustly eat fish the water has given up, And do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals, Or the white milk of mothers who intended its pure draught for their young, not noble ladies. And do not grieve the unsuspecting birds by taking eggs; for injustice is the worst of crimes. And spare the honey which the bees get industriously from the flowers of fragrant plants; For they did not store it that it might belong to others, Nor did they gather it for bounty and gifts. I washed my hands of all this; and wish that I Perceived my way before my hair went gray!”

— Al-Ma’arri

“The animals you say were ‘sent’ for man’s free use and nutriment. Pray, then, inform me, and be candid, why came they eons before man did, to spend long centuries on earth. Awaiting their devourer’s birth? Those ill-timed chattels, sent from heaven, were, sure, the maddest gift e’er given – ‘sent’ for man’s use (can man believe it?) when there was no man to receive it!”

— Henry S Salt 1851 – 1939

“He 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

“Alas, what wickedness to swallow flesh into our own flesh, to fatten our greedy bodies by cramming in other bodies, to have one living creature fed by the death of another! In the midst of such wealth as earth, the best of mothers provides, yet nothing satisfies you, but to behave like the Cyclopes, inflicting sorry wounds with cruel teeth! You cannot appease the hungry cravings of your wicked, gluttonous stomachs except by destroying some other life.”

“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.”

“Animals share with us the privilege of having a soul.”

“If men with fleshly mortals must be fed, and chew with bleeding teeth the breathing bread; what else is this but to devour our guests, and barbarously renew Cyclopean feasts? While Earth not only can your needs supply, but, lavish of her store, provides for luxury; a guiltless feast administers with ease, and without blood is prodigal to please.”

— Pythagoras

“And the fox said to the little Prince, men have forgotten this truth, but you must not forget it. You become responsible forever for what you have tamed.”

— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ‘Le Petit Prince’

“The animals of the planet are in desperate peril. Without free animal life, I believe we will lose the spiritual equivalent of oxygen.”

“The animals of the world are here for their own reasons. They were not created for us, any more than black people were created for white, or women were created for men.”

— Alice Walker

“People must have renounced, it seems to me, all-natural intelligence to dare to advance that animals are but animated machines…. It appears to me, besides, that [such people] can never have observed with attention the character of animals, not to have distinguished among them the different voices of need, of suffering, of joy, of pain, of love, of anger, and of all their affections. It would be very strange that they should express so well what they could not feel.”

“What a pitiful, what a sorry thing to have said that animals are machines bereft of understanding and feeling, which perform their operations always in the same way, which learn nothing, perfect nothing, etc.!

What! that bird which makes its nest in a semi-circle when it is attaching it to a wall, which builds it in a quarter circle when it is in an angle, and in a circle upon a tree; that bird acts always in the same way? That hunting dog which you have disciplined for three months, does it not know more at the end of this time than it knew before your lessons? Does the canary to which you teach a tune repeat it at once? do you not spend a considerable time in teaching it? have you not seen that it has made a mistake and that it corrects itself?

Is it because I speak to you, that you judge that I have feeling, memory, ideas? Well, I do not speak to you; you see me going home looking disconsolate, seeking a paper anxiously, opening the desk where I remember having shut it, finding it, reading it joyfully. You judge that I have experienced the feeling of distress and that of pleasure, that I have memory and understanding.

Bring the same judgment to bear on this dog which has lost its master, which has sought him on every road with sorrowful cries, which enters the house agitated, uneasy, which goes down the stairs, up the stairs, from room to room, which at last finds in his study the master it loves, and which shows him its joy by its cries of delight, by its leaps, by its caresses.

Barbarians seize this dog, which in friendship surpasses man so prodigiously; they nail it on a table, and they dissect it alive in order to show the mesenteric veins. You discover in it all the same organs of feeling that are in yourself. Answer me, machinist, has nature arranged all the means of feeling in this animal, so that it may not feel? has it nerves in order to be impassable? Do not suppose this impertinent contradiction in nature.

— Voltaire

“There is not an animal on the earth, nor a flying creature on two wings, but they are people like unto you.”

— The Koran

“It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.”

— Unknown

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

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Flesh-eating is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to moral feeling: killing.”

“If a man earnestly seeks a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from animal food.”

— Count Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

“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.”

— Romain Rolland

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

— Pino Caruso

“As often as Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought: in their behavior toward creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right.”

— Isaac Bashevis Singer

“As custodians of the planet, it is our responsibility to deal with all species with kindness, love and compassion. That these animals suffer through human cruelty is beyond understanding. Please help to stop this madness.”

— Richard Gere

“Animal liberation is also human liberation. Animal liberationists care about the quality of life for all. We recognize our kinship with all feeling beings. We identify with the powerless and the vulnerable the victims, all those dominated, oppressed and exploited. And it is the non-human animals whose suffering is the most intense, widespread, expanding, systematic and socially sanctioned of all.”

— Henry Spira

“But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh, we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.”

— Plutarch

Lisa: “Do we have any food that wasn’t brutally slaughtered?”

Homer: “Well, I think the veal died of loneliness.”

— Matt Groening, The Simpsons

“Refrain at all times from such foods as cannot be procured without violence and oppression.”

— Thomas Tryon

“Show me the enforced laws of a state for the prevention of cruelty to animals and I, in turn, will give you a correct estimate of the refinement, enlightenment, integrity and equality of that commonwealth’s people.”

— L T Danshiell

“Our grandchildren will ask us one day ‘Where were you during the Holocaust of the animals? What did you do against these horrifying crimes?’ We won’t be able to offer the same excuse for the second time, that we didn’t know.”

— Dr. Helmut Kaplan

“The wild, cruel beast is not behind the bars of the cage. He is in front of it.”

— Axel Munthe

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

— David Coats

“We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions and organs as our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

— Robert Louis Stevenson

“Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs. We live by the death of others: we are burial places! I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”

— Leonardo Da Vinci

“Life is life’s greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life’s scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature that owns it than the largest.”

— Lloyd Buggle Jr

“It often happens that the universal belief of one age, a belief from which no one was free or could be free without an extraordinary effort of genius or courage, becomes to a subsequent age, so palpable an absurdity that the only difficulty is, to imagine how such and idea could ever have appeared credible.”

— John Stuart Mill

“Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘Because the animals are like us.’ Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘Because the animals are not like us.’ Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.”

— Charles R Magel

“The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.”

— Henry David Thoreau

“While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?”

“The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them, that’s the essence of inhumanity.”

“Cruelty must be whitewashed by a moral excuse, and pretense of reluctance.”

“Atrocities are no less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and are called ‘medical research’.”

— George Bernard Shaw

“Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar”

— Brad Millar

“One who neglects or disregards the existence of earth, water, fire, air, vegetation and all other lives, disregards his own existence which is entwined with them.”

— Lord Mahavir, Jain Prophet

“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong in the world.”

— Dr. Paul Farmer

“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.”

— Schopenhauer

“Everything we do matters. We are all connected. We can’t fight to save animals and be angry and violent towards people. We have to work together to dilute anger and violence. We have to be the change and exude the change from our pores. We have to do it. There is a fine line we need to walk and this is the line of finding happiness amidst the suffering. Nobody is going to follow a miserable, angry, sad vegan. We have to carry the suffering of the animals in our hearts, but we also have to be able to dance. We have to be awake in a world that’s asleep and we have to understand the nature of the dream that people are dreaming.”

— Derek Goodwin, Vegan Radio

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