“Is it not a reproach that man is a carnivorous animal? True, he can and does live, in a great measure, by preying on other animals; but this is a miserable way--as any one who will go to snaring rabbits, or slaughtering lambs, may learn--and he will be regarded as a benefactor of his race who shall teach man to confine himself to a more innocent and wholesome diet. What my own practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized.” Henry David Thoreau in “Walden”
“I do feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants.” Mahatma Gandhi
“It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.” Albert Einstein
“As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” Pythagorus
“It is necessary to correct the error that vegetarianism has made us weak in mind, or passive or inert in action. I do not regard flesh-food as necessary at any stage” Mahatma Gandhi
“Nonviolence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all living beings, we are all savages.” Thomas Edison, inventor
“When a man wants to murder a tiger, he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him, he calls it ferocity.” George Bernard Shaw
“Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places! I have since an early age abjured the use of meat...” Leonardo da Vinci, painter, sculptor, poet.
“A dead cow or sheep lying in a pasture is recognized as carrion. The same sort of carcass dressed and hung up in a butcher’s stall passes as food!” J. H. Kellog
“I do not see any reason why animals should be slaughtered to serve as human diet when there are so many substitutes. After all, man can live without meat...” The Dalai Lama
“He who does not value life does not deserve it.” Leonardo da Vinci
“I hold flesh-food to be unsuited to our species. We err in copying the lower animal world if we are superior to it.” Mahatma Gandhi
“I look my age. It is the other people who look older than they are. What can you expect from people who eat corpses?” George Bernard Shaw, great English playwright
“Oh, my fellow men, do not defile your bodies with sinful foods. We have corn, we have apples bending down the branches with their weight, and grapes swelling on the vines. There are sweet-flavored herbs, and vegetables which can be cooked and softened over the fire, nor are you denied milk or thyme-scented honey. The earth affords a lavish supply of riches, of innocent foods, and offers you banquets that involve no bloodshed or slaughter; only beasts satisfy their hunger with flesh, and not even all of those, because horses, cattle, and sheep live on grass.” Pythagorus
“Can you really ask what reason Pythagorus had for abstinence from flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of mind the first man touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, set forth tables of dead, stale bodies, and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had a little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived. How could eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds? It is certainly not lions or wolves that we eat out of self-defense; on the contrary, we ignore these and slaughter harmless, tame creatures without stings or teeth to harm us. For the sake of a little flesh we deprive them of sun, of light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and being.
“If you declare that you are naturally designed for such a diet, then first kill for yourself what you want to eat. Do it, however, only through your own resources, unaided by cleaver or cudgel or any kind of ax.” The Roman Plutarch, in an essay “On Eating Flesh”.
In a similar line of thinking is this quote: “I’m no shrinking violet. I played hockey until half my teeth were knocked down my throat. And I’m extremely competitive on a tennis court. . . But that experience at the slaughterhouse overwhelmed me. When I walked out of there, I knew I would never again harm an animal! I knew all the physiological, economic, and ecological arguments supporting vegetarianism, but it was firsthand experience of man’s cruelty to animals that laid the real groundwork for my commitment to vegetarianism.” Peter Burwash, champion tennis player in his book, “A Vegetarian Primer”
“I do not want to make my stomach a graveyard of dead animals.” George Bernard Shaw
“He who, seeking his own happiness, punishes or kills beings who also long for happiness, will not find happiness after death.” Buddhist Dhammapada
“It may indeed be doubted whether butchers’ meet is anywhere a necessary of life. Grain and other vegetables, with the help of milk, cheese, and butter, or oil where butter is not to be had, afford the most plentiful, the most wholesome, the most nourishing, and the most invigorating diet. Decency nowhere requires that any man should eat butchers’ meat.” Economist Adam Smith in “The Wealth of Nations”
“In all the round world of Utopia there is no meat. There used to be. But now we cannot stand the thought of slaughterhouses. And, in a population that is all educated, and at about the same level of physical refinement, it is practically impossible to find anyone who will hew a dead ox or pig... I can still remember as a boy the rejoicings over the closing of the last slaughterhouse.” H. G. Wells, vision of the future in “A Modern Utopia”
“We are all God’s creatures--that we pray to God for mercy and justice while we continue to eat the flesh of animals that are slaughtered on our account is not consistent.” Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel-prize winning author
“Vegetarianism is a greater progress. From the greater clearness of head and quicker apprehension motivated him to become a vegetarian. Flesh-eating is an unprovoked murder.” Benjamin Franklin, great American statesman
“Various philosophers and religious leaders tried to convince their disciples and followers that animals are nothing more than machines without a soul, without feelings. However, anyone who has ever lived with an animal--be it a dog, a bird, or even a mouse--knows that this theory is a brazen lie, invented to justify cruelty.” Isaac Bashevis Singer
“To be nonviolent to human beings and to be a killer or enemy of the poor animals is Satan’s philosophy. In this age there is always enmity against poor animals, and therefore the poor creatures are always anxious. The reaction of the poor animals is being forced on human society, and therefore there is always strain of cold or hot war between men, individually, collectively or nationally.” A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.10.6)
“Every act of irreverence for life, every act which neglects life, which is indifferent to and wastes life, is a step towards the love of death. This choice man must make at every minute. Never were the consequences of the wrong choice as total and as irreversible as they are today. Never was the warning of the Bible so urgent: ‘I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life, that you and your children may live.’ (Deuteronomy 30:19)” Erich Fromm
“To avoid causing terror to living beings, let the disciple refrain from eating meat... the food of the wise is that which is consumed by the sadhus [holymen]; it does not consist of meat... There may be some foolish people in the future who will say that I permitted meat-eating and that I partook of meat myself, but... meat-eating I have not permitted to anyone, I do not permit, I will not permit meat-eating in any form, in any manner and in any place; it is unconditionally prohibited for all.” The Buddha in Dhammapada
All beings hate pains; therefore one should not kill them. This is the quintessence of wisdom: not to kill anything. Sutrakritanga (Jainism)
Beings which kill others should not be killed in the belief that the destruction of one of them leads to the protection of many others. Purushartha Siddhyupaya (Jainism)
For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love. Pythagoras (6th century BC)
Those who have forsaken the killing of all; those who are helpmates to all; those who are a sanctuary to all; those men are in the way of heaven. Hitopadesa (Hindu)
Let him not destroy, or cause to be destroyed, any life at all, nor sanction the acts of those who do so. Let him refrain from even hurting any creature, both those that are strong and those that tremble in the world. Suita-Nipata (Buddhist)
One act of pure love in saving life is greater than spending the whole of one's time in religious offerings to the gods ... Dhammapada (Buddhist)
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 (c.AD 46-c.120)
The Utopians feel that slaughtering our fellow creatures gradually destroys the sense of compassion, which is the finest sentiment of which our human nature is capable. Thomas More (1478-1535)
From thence the beasts be brought in, killed and clean washed by the hands of their bondsmen. For they permit not their free citizens to accustom themselves to the killing of beasts, through the use whereof they think clemency, the gentlest affection of our nature, by little and little to decay and perish. Thomas Moore (1478-1535)
After they had accustomed themselves at Rome to the spectacles of the slaughter of animals, they proceeded to those of the slaughter of men, to the gladiators. Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)
Fishing is a pleasure of retirement, yet the angler has the power to let the fish live or die. Hung Tzu-ch'eng (1593-1665)
How do we know that we have a right to kill creatures that we are so little above, as dogs, for our curiosity or even for some use to us? Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
No humane being, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, will wantonly murder any creature which holds its life by the same tenure that he does. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
If he be really and seriously seeking to live a good life, the first thing from which he will abstain will always be the use of animal food, because ...its use is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to the moral feeling -- killing. Leo Tolstoy, great Russian philosopher (1828-1910)
The very emphasis of the commandment: Thou shalt not kill, makes it certain that we are descended from an endlessly long chain of generations of murderers, whose love of murder was in their blood as it is perhaps also in ours. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth? George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
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 (1866-1944)
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. Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)
Late upon the third day, at the very moment when, at sunset... there flashed upon my mind, unforeseen and unsought, the phrase 'Reverence for Life'. Dr Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)
A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as well as that of his fellow man, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help. Dr Albert Sweitzer (1875-1965)
Any religion or philosophy which is not based on a respect for life is not a true religion or philosophy. Dr Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)
The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life. Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
We cannot have peace among men whose hearts find delight in killing any living creature. Rachel Carson (1907-1964)
To inflict cruelties on defenseless creatures, or condone such acts, is to abuse one of the cardinal tenets of a civilized society - reverence for life. Jon Evans (1917- )
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 who owns it than the largest ... Lloyd Biggle Jr. (1923- )
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! ... Doris Day (1927- )
In the words of George Bernard Shaw:
We are living graves of murdered beasts
Slaughtered to satisfy our appetites.
We never pause to wonder at our feasts,
If animals like men could possibly have rights.
We pray on Sunday that we may have light,
To guide our footsteps on the paths we tread.
We are sick of war, we do not want to fight,
And we gorge ourselves upon the dead.
Like Carrion Crows we live and feed on meat,
Regardless of the suffering and pain
We cause by doing so, in this we treat,
Defenseless animals for sport or gain -
How can we hope in this world to attain
The peace we say we are so anxious for,
We pray for it o'er hetacomba of slain,
To God while outraging the moral law,
Thus cruelty begets the offspring --- WAR !
Published with the kind permission of Stephen Knapp
Stephen Knapp (Sri Nandanandana) is the President and Treasurer of the Vedic Friends Association (www.vedicfriends.org). He has been researching Vedic spirituality and comparative religious study for over 30 years in a variety of settings. He has directly engaged in those spiritual disciplines that have been recommended for hundreds of years. He continued his study of Vedic knowledge and practice under the guidance of a spiritual master to get the insights and realizations that are normally absent from the ordinary academic atmosphere. Through this process he has been initiated into the genuine and authorized spiritual line of the Brahma-Madhava-Gaudiya sampradaya, or disciplic succession, under the sanction of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. He has also extensively travelled throughout India to most of the major holy sights and more, and is known for his slide shows on his travels to the holy places and spiritual festivals of India (even nicknamed "the slide show acharya"), and for his lectures on the Vedic and Indian philosophy. He has written several books on the science and spiritual practice of Vedic culture and Eastern philosophy.
Visit his website, at: http://www.stephen-knapp.com.
You can email him at: Srinandan@aol.com.
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