Animal Rights: Our Statement
To add interest throughout the website I have interspersed commentary with thought provoking quotations from philosophers, ethicists, scientists and other notable thinkers both past and present. For ease of reading all quotations appear in a purple font
Please note: External links will open into a new window.
All beings are fond of life, like pleasure, hate pain, shun destruction, like life, long to live. To all life is dear.
Acharanga Sutra Jainism
Think differently about sheep.com supports animal rights in its strictest meaning which is the abolition of all animal exploitation.
Animal rights is not always easy to define with one single definition and you can read about general definitions here
We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.
Albert Schweitzer, The Philosophy of Civilization
Below you will find our position on animal rights.
We would like to see a world free from the exploitation and abuse of any living creature. We consider that most animals are sentient on some level and in varying degrees and therefore should be considered under the remit of animal rights. Our stance as proponents of animal rights is based upon animal sentience only and no other cognitive characteristics, such as intelligence, memory, and so on. Where there is doubt that sentience exists we give that animal the benefit of the doubt because we believe that all animals experience sentience at the very least when it comes to pain. Even if an animal has no anticipation or memory of pain, as many claim in order to justify their exploitative and cruel treatment of animals, if any creature experiences pain that creature is sentient at the very least with regard to the pain experienced at the time it is inflicted.
However having said that we consider that all muliticellular animals are sentient, anticipate, remember and feel pain, and just like humans have varying degrees of intelligence and other cognitive abilities. There is no way to tell how any nonhuman animal experiences the world any more than anyone can really understand how another human being does so, and other creatures may well experience the world on levels of awareness that we do not experience or comprehend. For more information about animal sentience please refer to:
Sentience in Farm animals.
We understand that all animals wish to avoid suffering both physical and psychological and that like us all beings are aware of and fear death and wish to live, indeed the desire for survival is one of evolution's driving forces. If you have any doubt that animals know when they are about to die, read this heart wrenching account included in our page on Factory Farming:Pigs
Basically if a being lives moves and exists in the world we consider that that creature has the moral right to live life free from exploitation, harm and death as a result of negative human intervention.
We as human beings do not have the knowledge or the right to assign defining criteria regarding sentience to any animate creature.
Here I quote from Albert's Schweitzer's essay The Ethic of Reverence for life
A man is really ethical only when he obeys the constraint laid on him to help all life which he is able to succour, and when he goes out of his way to avoid injuring anything living. He does not ask how far this or that life deserves sympathy as valuable in itself, nor how far it is capable of feeling. To him life as such is sacred. He shatters no ice crystal that sparkles in the sun, tears no leaf from its tree, breaks off no flower, and is careful not to crush any insect as he walks. If he works by lamplight on a summer evening, he prefers to keep the window shut and to breathe stifling air, rather than to see insect after insect fall on his table with singed and sinking wings.
If he goes out into the street after a rainstorm and sees a worm which has strayed there, he reflects that it will certainly dry up in the sunshine, if it does not quickly regain the damp soil into which it can creep, and so he helps it back from the deadly paving stones into the lush grass. Should he pass by an insect which has fallen into a pool, he spares the time to reach it a leaf or stalk on which it may clamber and save itself.
He is not afraid of being laughed at as sentimental. It is indeed the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed. It was once considered foolish to suppose that coloured men were really human beings and ought to be treated as such. What was once foolishness has now become a recognized truth. Today it is considered as exaggeration to proclaim constant respect for every form of life as being the serious demand of a rational ethic. But the time is coming when people will be amazed that the human race was so long before it recognized thoughtless injury to life as incompatible with real ethics. Ethics is in its unqualified form extended responsibility with regard to everything that has life.
Please take the time to read the complete essay
The Ethic of Reverence for Life, by Albert Schweitzer
Though nonhuman animals may experience the world differently to humans each animal is aware of his or her environment and are aware of what happens to them and of the cruelty that is inflicted upon them and they, like us, wish to live their lives free from cruelty, enslavement or any other exploitation or abuse. We strongly believe that no one has the right to deny any animal his or her right to life, and moreover a life free from any kind of suffering inflicted upon them by man for any reason whatsoever that is not in the interests of the nonhuman animal.
There is no justifiable reason to inflict pain upon any nonhuman animal any more than there is to inflict pain upon any human being save perhaps in the interests of that being, for instance to to provide an animal with medical assistance which at times may bring about pain for a nonhuman animal as it does for humans in the interests of providing treatment for the sake of the wellbeing of that animal.
We strongly believe that animals have moral rights, including the right to life and the right not to be harmed, and as a consequence animals should be granted legal rights to live their lives the way nature intended without negative intervention by human beings.
Because one species is more clever than another, does it give it the right to imprison or torture the less clever species? Does one exceptionally clever individual have a right to exploit the less clever individuals of his own species? To say that he does is to say with the Fascists that the strong have a right to abuse and exploit the weak - might is right, and the strong and ruthless shall inherit the earth.
This website supports animal rights and is against the use of animals for food, clothing, sport, entertainment and experimentation. We strongly consider that animals are here for their own purposes and are not for our use or abuse. We believe that animals have their own inherent worth irrespective of their perceived or actual use to us, and as such they should not be used towards our betterment under any circumstance. Moreover the lives of some animals should not be considered as of more worth by the virtue of a particular characteristic such as intelligence, anymore than the life of a human being be considered differently as a result of a similar criterion. The rights of any creature should not be dependent on ability, intelligence, appearance, size or any other characteristic.
It has to be noted that creatures who appear to many people to be less attractive or to which they may even have a phobic reaction, such as insects and arachnids, often are not considered in the some light as a mammal, such as a dog or cat or a rabbit, and are not accorded with even the basic right to their lives. Size as ludicrous as it may seem is another criterion which lessons a creatures support for even basic rights. For example who cares about a beetle on the verge of extinction, but if it were a species of whale or a furry mammal... Everyone is concerned about the extinction of bees, but if they were considered of no real value as a pollinator or provider of honey and other products It has to be wondered how many people would care other than serious conservationists. Unfortunately this attitude may be present amongst some animal rights supporters who inadvertently overlook these beings as animals as much as any other with the same inherent right to live their lives according to their natures.
We consider the life of any creature valuable to that creature, the lives of animals are not merely valuable because of their utility to humans or because they are more attractive or they are more like us and so on. Animals lives aren't less valuable than humans.
Animals like you or I simply wish to live and we should allow them to do so, the instinct for survival is the most prominent of all instinctive behaviours in both nonhuman and human animals.
Although Animals should be allowed to freely live the lives they wish by their nature to lead without negative interference of any kind, medical aid and other support measures should nevertheless be made available to animals for their own welfare in a similar way as it should be available to humans, which sadly is not universally the case. As the most intelligent animal concerning the provision of medical care and other supportive measures it is our moral obligation to ensure that medical and other supports should be provided to any creature to relieve suffering whenever possible. Moreover, in addition to veterinary care, supportive measures should be available to care for disabled or sick animals unable to care for themselves in the wild .
We are opposed to Speciesism as much as we are opposed to racism, sexism and any other form of discrimination. We would like to see a world were the life of each individual being is respected regardless of race, creed, gender, or species, regardless as to their use to us or otherwise. And the last statement applies as well of course to humans as much it does to nonhuman animals. It is our philosophy that the life of a nonhuman animal is as important to him or her as our lives are important to us and as a consequence we should respect their right to life. We consider all animals equal inasmuch that their rights to live according to their natures are respected. It is superfluous to say that equality does not imply that animals should be granted rights that are only applicable to humans such as the right to education, the right to vote and so on, this is of course ludicrous and common sense tells us that this is not the intention of the animal rights supporters. However as many writers on the matter often feel the need to emphasise this I have done so here even though it had not previously occurred to me to do so.
We advocate that animals are equal inasmuch as their interests should be respected and taken into consideration. The word interests to mean their interest in living their lives unmolested free from suffering inflicted by human beings, to seek out companionship, reproduce, to care for their young and other activities according to their natures.
If you could see or feel the suffering you wouldn't think twice. Give back life. Don't eat meat.
Before they reach their end, the pigs get a shower, a real one. Water sprays from every angle to wash the farm off them. Then they begin to feel crowded. The pen narrows like a funnel' the drivers behind urge the pigs forward, until one at a time they climb onto the moving ramp... Now they scream, never having been on such a ramp, smelling the smells they smell ahead. I do not want to overdramatize because you've read all this before. But it was a frightening experience, seeing their fear, seeing so many of them go by, it had to remind me of things no one wants to be reminded of anymore, all mobs, all death marches, all mass murders and executions ...
Pulitzer prize winning author
We support the abolition of all types of animal farming, the most heinous of which is factory farming. Read about the atrocities of Factory Farming on this website.
Of all the atrocities perpetrated against animals by human beings, factory farming, along with experimentation, is the most exploitative cruel and abusive. Please read carefully the the information in the links above.
We advocate a vegan world for the sake of the health and wellbeing of all animals both human and non human and for the planet. To this end we condemn all forms of animal farming, most particularly that of
factory farming .
The first action you can take to end factory farming and the most simple is to to stop eating meat and adopt a vegan lifestyle
For more information on this website Vegetarianism/veganism
The vegan society
Atrocities are not less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and are called medical research.
George Bernard Shaw
During my medical education … I found vivisection horrible, barbarous and above all unnecessary.
Carl Jung, MD
We condemn experimentation on any living being regardless of the benefit to mankind and consider vivisection along with factory farming as an abhorrent crime against another sentient being. Experimentation upon animals is considered to be of little value in medical research. Even if it was we do not have the right to experiment on other animals, other sentient beings with who feel pain and suffer as much as we do.
For more information on this issue please visit:
Uncaged Campaigns Against animal testing and experiments
Again I refer you to appropriate quotations, the sentiment of which we strongly echo
I abhor vivisection…. I know of no achievement through vivisection, no scientific discovery that could not have been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty.
Charles W. Mayo, MD (1961), son of the co-founder of the Mayo Clinic.
I abhor vivisection with my whole soul. All the scientific discoveries stained with innocent blood I count as of no consequence.
Vivisection is the blackest of all the black crimes that a man is at present committing against God and his fair creation.
Universal declaration of Animal Rights
We support the Universal declaration of animal rights in the same way as we support the Universal declaration of Human Rights and would like to belong to a world that puts both into practice.
Fur, wool and other animal derived clothing
Some who reflect upon this subject for the first time will wonder how such cruelty can have been permitted to continue in these days of civilisation, and no doubt if men of education saw with their own eyes what takes place under their sanction, the system would have been put to an end long ago.
Charles Darwin, Essay on Fur, 1878
We support the abolition of the rearing and killing animals for their fur. Many people have strong objections to the rearing of animals for fur, even non vegans/vegetarians. It may have been a necessity in the stone age, now it is nothing more than a self indulgent decadent luxury. The brutality and heinous cruelty with which these killings are often carried out is beyond imagination. See links further down
The more common place leather often not seen in the same light as fur though is just as cruel. Globally more than one billion animals are slaughtered each year. Here in the UK leather most usually comes from cows who are slaughtered and such would of course come to an end when the farming and slaughter of animals is abolished. Even more horrendous though is leather from Asian countries, for example China, which may be stripped from the animal while he or she is still alive after having his or her throat cut. The very thought that other human beings could perpetrate such atrocities on other living beings is utterly shocking.
Furthermore it is not just cows but other animals who are cruelly exploited for their skin. Still today millions of snakes, alligators, seals and zebras are killed for their skins. An example we hear about each year is the controversial Canadian seal "Hunt", really a massacre of defenceless baby seals for their fur. Useful Links: Action You Can Take
Other appalling cruelty towards animals for their skins is less well known, for example every year in China approximately 2 million cats and dogs are killed and hundreds of thousands of cats' and dogs' skins are traded in Europe.
For more information:
When undercover investigators made their way onto Chinese fur farms, they found that many animals are still alive and struggling desperately when workers flip them onto their backs or hang them up by their legs or tails to skin them. When workers on these farms begin to cut the skin and fur from an animal's leg, the free limbs kick and writhe. Workers stomp on the necks and heads of animals who struggle too hard to allow a clean cut.
A Shocking Look Inside Chinese Fur Farms
If you are one of the many people who consider that the wearing of fur is dying out, think again.
Did you know that about fifty million mink are farmed annually worldwide?
How To Do Animal Rights. Fur Statistics
Be mindful though that wool more often than not comes from slaughtered sheep. If you buy a garment made of lamb's wool this is most certainly the case as lambs who are not sent to slaughter but spared for a few years to breed are not sheared until the following year. Even if your woolly jumper came from the fleece of a sheep who was not slaughtered, and there is really no way of telling, eventually the sheep will finish his or her days in the slaughter house and suffer exploitation in the interim until he or she can no longer provide any useful utility to man, such as a breeding machine to provide further lambs for slaughter.
Labour and Entertainment
We condemn the use of animals for labour regardless of the benefits to man. Likewise we would like to see an end to the exploitation of nonhuman animals for entertainment, for example as circus performers, in sports such as greyhound and horse racing and most certainly in dog fighting which is in any case banned in most countries.
We are opposed to hunting, trapping and fishing. Such "sports should be confined to history, they are an anachronism of a bygone age and should not be legalised in any country. It is a sad reflection on any society that legally condones the hunting of defences animals. It is shocking that in the UK within a very few weeks after being elected, the coalition conservative and liberal government propose to vote to repeal the hunting with dogs bill. A vicious and barbaric hunt which allows dogs to tear apart foxes and other creatures.
It was undoubtedly the League Against Cruel Sports' proudest moment when the culmination of eighty years' campaigning brought about the Hunting Act in 2004, protecting wildlife from the savagery and cruelty of the hunt.
However, despite the consigning of their 'sport' to the history books, the hunters are now stepping up their efforts to have the Hunting Act repealed. Moreover, some politicians want to repeal the hunting ban despite 75% of the public being in favour of keeping it.
Read more about this and other issues concerning hunting and other cruel "sports" included in
League Against Cruel Sports - Home - End cruelty to animals in sport
We condemn the imprisonment of animals in zoos and aquariums and other places of confinement such as safari parks. We consider that no animal, human or nonhuman is the property of another, for this reason we are opposed in principle to the keeping of pets.
Companion Animals (Pets)
Concerning pets, we prefer the term companion animal, in a perfect world no animal should be kept as a pet, and we wish this situation did not exist, but this is by no means an ideal world and the domestication of dogs and cats has progressed beyond the point of turning back. The opposition by many animal rights advocates including ourselves towards keeping a companion animal should not be considered as a call to release domesticated animals. Domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits and so on are now dependent on us for their survival, it would not be in the best interests of these animals to release them into the wild or let them loose in our streets where in both cases they would starve to death or come to other harm.
Moreover no advocate of animal rights wishes to remove companion animals from their homes and we support this position. However we have a moral duty to take responsible care of the animals that we take into our homes and you will find that many animal rights activists and supporters have companion animals or take into their homes rescued animals in need of care. We support the stance by many animal rights activists that companion animals who are already here should live long, healthy lives, in as natural a way as is possible, cared for with love and respect by the humans who take them into their homes as their guardians rather than their owners. We would though like to see the phasing out of confined animals as pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, rats, fish, reptiles and end breeding of such creatures as companion animals. These creatures still exist in the wild where they should remain to live the lives that nature intended.
Many people refer to themselves as an animal lover and consider they take good care of their companion animal, but often the desire to give a home to a cat or dog is for entirely selfish reasons, for example many puppies and kittens are given as Christmas or birthday presents to young children who may not care for the animal properly or even may be cruel. The reality in many homes is that companion animals are restricted with no opportunity for their natural behaviour, they must obey commands often being shouted at or worse such as beaten if they do not do so. Many have no freedom even to drink as they wish or to urinate or defecate unless humans allow then to do so. Many dogs can only see to their bodily functions when they are taken out for a walk possibly only a couple of times each day. In towns or cities many dogs may never be unleashed and may remain in cramped living spaces with no garden. There are many situations similar to the following of a young couple who live in a tiny terraced house with a small mostly paved back yard, measuring at the most eighteen feet by twelve. Here in the cramped environment they keep two dogs, one of medium size the other a small dog about the size of a Jack Russell. Also until recently two guinea pigs and a rabbit. Both of the owners of these animals go out to work for most of the day, the dogs are shut in the house and the guinea pigs and rabbits are in hutches outside in the shed, a dark place, although in the winter they are brought indoors. The only time these animals get to exercise is occasionally in the evenings when they are allowed to run in the yard and the dogs than go for a walk. Last year the guinea pigs died and now the rabbit is alone in her hutch all day. The animals were in any case not compatible, the guinea pigs pulling out the fur of the rabbit. The dogs are often shouted at and told to get inside if they stray out into the yard. The sad thing is these people love these animals in their own way and really do not see their actions as cruel.
Dogs are often ill treated dragged about on leads regardless of the animal's ability to keep pace. Many dogs or cats spend hours alone day in and day out for much of their lives. I have seen dogs trotting along on leashes while the owner cycles. Most shocking was an occasion recently of gypsies with two greyhounds tied to their horse drawn cart having to keep pace while two other smaller dogs were trapped in cages with no room to turn round. Yes not the usual scenario but you would be amazed at what people do to the animals they claim to love so much and sadly much of this is done without any intention to inflict harm, but rather as a result of ignorance or simply not thinking the matter through.
We advocate that those who take in a companion animal should be educated into the appropriateness of doing so and are able to provide the necessary conditions that provide the animal with as natural and as healthy an environment as is possible for the animal's psychical and psychological well being. We consider that there should be in place some form of restriction upon who should give a home to a domesticated animal and the type of animal kept as a pet. Anyone giving a home to a companion animal should ideally have to apply for a license to include an educational requirement on keeping their companion animal in conditions appropriate to his or her wellbeing. Furthermore regarding treatment of companion animals we particularly condemn the declawing of cats as this is a painful procedure and one which incidentally is banned in some countries
Activists and many animal rights supporters including the largest organisation PETA believe that domestic animals kept as companion animals should not be allowed to breed. To be quite frank our position on this issue is undecided, while the mutilation of any animal is interference and abuse the tragedy of unwanted animals is a significant problem when unwanted baby animals are mistreated, such as drowning kittens.
Please read PETA position on spaying and neutering:
Does PETA advocate spaying and neutering of companion animals?
Ideally all creatures should be left to evolve to their potential without our interference and concerning animals that remain in the wild we certainly advocate non interference except in the circumstances mentioned above such as to provide veterinary care if or when it is possible to do so. We support and applaud people who provide animal shelters caring for injured or sick wild animals and returning them to the wild afterwards or providing them with a safe environment if the animal is too sick or disabled to do so. Healthy wild animals should not be kept as companion animals in any circumstances and in many countries it would be illegal to do so. However as already mentioned in the case of companion animals returning them to the wild would not be practical, particularly here in the UK. Yes indeed as time goes by these creatures would adapt to their environment retuning to a wild state however most animal rights supporters consider that retuning dogs and cats to to the wild would inflict more harm than good.
We suggest choosing a dog or cat from an animal shelter, pound or
animal group rather than from a breeder or puppy mill. Here in the UK The rehoming scheme is a good examplehttp://www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/pets/rehoming
Thousands of abandoned healthy animals are killed every year so you would be helping to save a life and bring into decline the exploitative breeding methods of puppy mills.
The decision to have a companion animal should ideally not be self motivated although it is understandable that a person living alone for example may decide to give a home to a cat or a dog solely for companionship, however a loving relationship that adequately provides for the animal's physical and psychological needs must be considered to be consistent with the advocacy of animal rights. Get a companion animal who is suitable for your situation for example as you may have read above, it is not ideal for a person who works for most of the day to keep a dog shut up in a tiny apartment all day, taking him or her out for a short walk or in some cases no walk at all. An ideal situation is to have a good sized garden or at least be in position to take your dog for long and frequent walks to include an opportunity for him or her to be unleashed in a safe and appropriate environment. Ideally it is better for the animal if you are able to support two, preferably of the same species.
With regards to cats here in the UK it is becoming increasingly common to have someone refer to their cat as a house cat in much the way you would refer to a house plant. In recent years many people keep their cats constantly imprisoned in their homes, never allowing the poor animal his or her natural freedom. The reason for this appears to be anxiety about harm coming to the cat either as a result of a traffic accident or deliberate abuse or to prevent theft of the animal for purposes such as sale to a research laboratory . However as one would not confine ones children to the house to guard against various potentially harmful possibilities it is inappropriate to do so to cats and is cruel, with the exception of keeping them indoors at night perhaps. A cat may live a longer and safer life indoors but would he or she live a full and as natural a life as is possible?
Care and Release of Farm Animals
Similarly, animals domesticated for agricultural purposes should be cared for but allowed to run free in animal reserves. An ideal situation would be the abolition of farms and the land turned over to provide animal reserves where domesticated animals could live their lives and gradually return to their natural ways. Here in the UK for example In the Yorkshire dales most of the land is given over to sheep farming, where in the main these sheep are left to fend for themselves as are Herdwick sheep in the Lake district of Cumbria, both areas would make ideal animal reserves, the animals cared for by rangers, and add to the attraction of these wild and scenic places. As for a surplus of animals and over breeding in time this would settle down to normal levels as is the case for any wild animal because these animals will no longer be intentionally bred. All animals retain their original genetic makeup regardless of selective breeding and in time farm animals would regress to the way that nature intended and settle into a normal evolutionary pattern of change as would have been the case prior to human intervention.
Farm animals will not overrun the earth if we stop eating them because we will no longer intentionally breed them as we do now. Parent flocks and herds are deliberately maintained by artificial insemination, genetic selection, bizarre lighting schedules and other manipulations to force them to produce billions of offspring each year. This inflated population will fade as people stop eating animal products. In time, as David Gabbe states in Why Do Vegetarians Eat Like That?, "farm animals could be left to fend for themselves; some would make out fine, others would struggle to keep from becoming extinct. But, like all animals (except humans), they would adjust their numbers in accordance with the conditions around them." In the meantime, we have to remember that we, not they, are responsible for their predicament. We have an obligation to find ways to ease the transitional period for these animals.
Don't Plants Have Feelings Too?
by By Karen Davis, PhD, President of United Poultry Concerns
An idealist notion, maybe. But who would not wish to live in a peaceful world without exploitation of any animal either human or nonhuman. The exploitation of other beings diminishes us and adds to the injustice in the world, delays world peace and promotes global warming. There is no need for anyone to eat the flesh of any living being there is enough arable land to feed each and every person that is alive today, enough to feed the nine billion people, the global population predicted by 2050 2) I hope that future generations will look back with abject horror at the appalling atrocities that human beings have inflicted upon their fellow creatures, beings with whom we share this beautiful world.
Since compassion for animals is so intimately associated with goodness of character, it may be confidently asserted that whoever is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.
A Non Violent Approach
This website supports the nonviolent approach to achieving rights for non human animals through peaceful persuasion, education and campaigning and we consider that a change to a vegan diet and life style is the way forward to securing rights for our fellow creatures. People simply need educating concerning the perceived need for meat, and how animals are cruelly treated in order to supply a relatively small minority of the world's population with a food that is not natural and is unnecessary to health, which in fact results in ill health, at the expensive of the majority of humans and other animals.
A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.
We do not have a natural right to eat meat; meat is not our natural food. A tiger has a natural right to eat meat because meat is a natural part of his diet. A tiger has the correct anatomy to do so, sharp claws to tear flesh, long sharp pointed canine teeth to eat raw flesh. A tiger unlike man needs no weapon, neither does he have to cook his food to make it suitable for him to digest.
Man most likely began to eat meat when he migrated to colder climates and could no longer gather herbivorous food particularly during winter time. Observing wild animals prey on other animals, man no doubt due to his instinct for survival, as keen as that of any other animal, most possibly did likewise fashioning for himself weapons in order to do so.
Man now no longer needs to eat the flesh of other animals. Doing so now not only takes life away from the animals he imprisons in factory farms and mercilessly slaughters, but also from other human beings as land is taken to grow crops in order to fatten the factory farmed animals whose flesh he seems unable to stop consuming despite the immorality of this practice and the risk to his health, a practice which his mind barely turns to as he consumes what now little resembles the once living breathing vibrant creature who just like himself simply wants to live.
In his essay On the Eating of Animal Flesh Volume 12 The Moralia Plutarch challenges the idea that man is naturally carnivorous - an excuse so often used today to justify the eating of meat appears to have been used for its justification in ancient times. Also In his discussion against meat eating Plutarch maintains that animals deserve ethical consideration because they possess the attributes of intelligence and sentience.
Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of soul or mind the first man did so, touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, he who 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 his 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 the sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds?
You call serpents and panthers savage and lions savage , but you yourselves , by your own foul slaughter, leave them no room to outdo you in cruelty; for their slaughter is their living yours is a mere appetizer.
It is certainly not lions and wolves that we eat out of self defence; on the contrary, we ignore these and slaughter the harmless , tame creatures without stings or teeth to harm us, creatures that, I swear, Nature appears to have produced for the sake of their beauty and grace...
But nothing abashes us, not the flower-like tinting of the flesh, not the cleanliness of their habits or the unusual intelligence that may be found in these poor wretches. No, for the sake of a little flesh we deprive them of the sun, of the light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and being.
The following section of the essay is indeed a very persuasive argument against meat being a natural food for man and will often leave even the most ardent meat eater lost for words.
We declare, then, that it is absurd for them to say that the practise of flesh-eating is based on nature . For that man is not naturally carnivorous is, in the first place, obvious from the structure of his body. A mans frame is in no way similar to those creatures who were made for flesh-eating; he has no hooked beak or sharp nails or jagged teeth, no strong stomach or warmth of vital fluids able to digest and assimilate a heavy diet of flesh. It is from the very fact, the evenness of our teeth, the smallness of our mouths, the softness of our tongues, our possession of vital fluids too inert to digest meat that nature disavows our eating of flesh. If you declare that you are naturally designed for such a diet, than first kill for yourself what you want to eat. Do, it however, only through your own resources, unaided by cleaver or cudgel of any kind or axe. Rather, just as wolves and bears and lions themselves slay what they eat, so you are to fell an ox with your fangs or a boar with your jaws, or tear a lamb or hare in bits. Fall upon it and eat it still living, as animals do. But if you wait for what you eat to be dead, if you have qualms about enjoying the flesh while life is still present, why do you continue, contrary to nature, to eat what possesses life? Even when it is lifeless and dead, however, no one eats the flesh just as it is; men boil it and roast it, altering it by fire and drugs, recasting and diverting and smothering with countless condiments the taste of gore so that the palate may be deceived and accept what is foreign to it.
Furthermore argues Plutarch the cruelty by which meat is acquired brutalises the human character which not only makes it callous to the suffering of non human animals but also to human beings.
But apart from these considerations, do you not find here a wonderful means of training in social responsibility? Who could wrong a human being when he found himself so gently and humanely disposed toward other non-human creatures?
Excerpts from a Translation by Harold Cherniss and William C Helmbold quoted in Ethical Vegetarianism From Phythagaras to Peter Singer by Kerry S. Walters and Lisa Portmess
If you would like to read the entire essay there are a number of translations available on the internet. I prefer the one above which unfortunately I have not been able to locate on the internet in the public domain, however the following translations are available on-line for you to read and indeed it is very worthwhile doing so, as this essay by Plutarch provides many insightful and thought provoking reasons why human beings should not eat meat.
On the Eating of Flesh, by Plutarch
A comment concerning Animal welfare.
A comment concerning Animal welfare, if you are uncertain about the difference between animal welfare and animal rights please click here
While this website admires the efforts of animal welfare groups to ease the suffering of nonhuman animals by campaigning for better conditions, we do not support this stance and consider that the only humane way forward is to liberate animals from the negative effects of human influence as expressed in the agenda of the animal rights movement. Reforms in animal welfare although they provide temporary relief to animals suffering in the short term only increase public complacency in the long term by encouraging the public to feel more comfortable about consuming animal products. Moreover it is bizarre is it not to claim, as many animal welfare supporters do, that animals are sentient beings but continue nonetheless to believe that it is right to exploit them for our purposes, particularly considering the effects that doing so not only has on the unfortunate animals but upon other Human beings and the environment.
Nonetheless in our view signing petitions and other activities for improvement in the condition of exploited animals or against certain atrocities is encouraged, but the main aim must be to liberate animals from exploitation.
Final comment concerns Animal Rights and the the Holocaust, a comparison between the treatment of animals and the Holocaust by Several writers, including Jewish Nobel Prize laureate Isaac Bashevitz Singer and PETA which launched a campaign making this comparison. This website considers the comparison valid and supports this viewpoint.
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.
Kaplan, Dr. Helmut Arthur Schopenhauer 1788-1860 — German philosopher
In the main (there are areas of disagreement) this website supports the stance on Animal rights as expressed by but not limited to:
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation is a UK-based charity dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals.Like humans, animals are capable of suffering and have interests in leading their own lives; therefore, they are not ours to use – for food, clothing, entertainment, experimentation or any other reason. PETA and our affiliates around the world educate policymakers and the public about cruelty to animals and promote an understanding of the right of all animals to be treated with respect
peta.org.uk/ with links to international web sites
The Abolitionist Approach
The mission of this website is to provide a clear statement of an approach to animal rights that (1) requires the abolition of animal exploitation and rejects the regulation of animal exploitation; (2) is based only on animal sentience and no other cognitive characteristic, (3) regards veganism as the moral baseline of the animal rights position; and (4) rejects all violence and promotes activism in the form of creative, non-violent vegan education
Animal Equality is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to achieving equal consideration and respect for animals. Founded in Madrid, Spain in January 2006 we are currently active in Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, Peru, Venezuela and Colombia.
VIVA Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
What does Viva! Do?
Viva! campaigns for a vegetarian/vegan world because most farmed animals spend their short and miserable lives in the filth of factory farms and are killed with sickening barbarity – see here We expose this abuse by secretly going inside these shameful places and filming the suffering – publicising it with nationwide campaigns that bring about change. Billions of animals are also killed at sea causing immense suffering and the ecological collapse of the oceans
League Against Cruel Sports
We work to expose and bring to an end the cruelty inflicted on animals in the name of 'sport'
League Against Cruel Sports - Home - End cruelty to animals in sport
We are a peaceful international animal protection organisation based in Sheffield, England. Our main campaigns are against animal experiments (vivisection); against xenotransplantation (animal to human transplants); the global boycott of Procter & Gamble; for animal rights and for democratic action on animal issues through the political system.
Uncaged Campaigns Against animal testing and experiments
1) Animals Are Not Ours to Wear The Issues PETA.org.uk
2) If animal farming were to stop and we were to use the land to grow grain to feed ourselves, we could feed every single person on this planet. Consuming crops directly - rather than feeding them to animals and then eating animals - is a far more efficient way to feed the world. This Viva! Guide looks at why eating meat is a major cause of world hunger and how vegetarianism can provide a solution.
viva.org.uk/guides/feedtheworld.htm -page no longer available
Important please note:I am not an animal expert of any kind just your average person who loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in mind that the information included in this website has been researched to the best of my ability and any misinformation is quite by accident but of course possible.
Copyright, accreditations and other matters, please read