It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars, and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons.
There’s a schizoid quality to our relationship with animals, in which sentiment and brutality exist side by side. Half the dogs in America will receive Christmas presents this year, yet few of us pause to consider the miserable life of the pig — an animal easily as intelligent as a dog — that becomes the Christmas ham.
When it comes to having a central nervous system and the ability to feel pain, hunger, and thirst, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.
What, is the jay more precious than the lark because his feathers are more beautiful?
If one person is unkind to an animal, it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.
If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons.
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 question is not “Can they reason?” Nor “Can they talk?” But “Can they suffer?”
God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages.
The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.
The more we learn of the true nature of nonhuman animals, especially those with complex brains and corresponding complex social behavior, the more ethical concerns are raised regarding their use in the service of man — whether this be in entertainment, as “pets,” for food, in research laboratories, or any of the other uses to which we subject them.
When a man’s best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem.
Do fur-bearing animals feel joy and fear and sadness and excruciating pain and a sense of loss precisely as human beings do? I knew the answer, had known it all along but hidden it from myself. Yet a boy who spends his time wandering the woods — isn’t he expected to bring something back, to justify his wanderings?
Human beings are the only animals of which I am thoroughly and cravenly afraid.
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, wear them, eat them — without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret.
It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.
Animals have two functions in today’s society: to be delicious and to fit well.
Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.