Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat (red meat, poultry, seafood, insects and the flesh of any other animal), and may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter.
Vegetarianism can be adopted for different reasons. Many object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life. Such ethical motivations have been codified under various religious beliefs, along with animal rights. Other motivations for vegetarianism are health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic, economic, or personal preference.
- The old man … received the Sabbath with sweet song and chanted the hallowing tunefully over raisin wine; while it was still day he hallowed and the sun came to gaze at his glass. … The table was well spread with all manner of fruit, beans, greenstuffs and good pies, plum water tasting like wine, but of flesh and of fish there was never a sign. … in truth it is in no way obligatory to eat flesh and fish … He and she, meaning the old man and the old woman, had never tasted flesh since growing to maturity.
- Cruelty stares at me from the butcher's face. I tread amidst carcasses. I am in the presence of the slain. The death-set eyes of beasts peer at me and accuse me of belonging to the race of murderers. Quartered, disembowelled creatures on suspended hooks plead with me. I feel myself dispossessed of the divinity.
- If perfect health is the best preventive and security against disease, and if a well-selected and properly administered vegetable diet is best calculated to promote and preserve that perfect health, then this part of the subject — what I have ventured to call the medical argument — is at once disposed of. The superiority of the diet I recommend is established beyond the possibility of debate. Now, that this is the case — namely, that this diet is best calculated to promote perfect health — I have no doubt.
- The destruction of animals for food, in its details and tendencies, involves so much of cruelty as to cause every reflecting individual — not destitute of the ordinary sensibilities of our nature — to shudder.
- No child, I think, can walk through a common market or slaughter-house without receiving moral injury; nor am I quite sure that any virtuous adult can.
- I saw that he [Pythagoras] approached the altars in purity, and suffered not his belly to be polluted by partaking of the flesh of animals and that he kept his body pure of all garments woven of dead animal refuse … I also saw that his philosophical system was in other respects oracular and true.
- To produce 1 lb. of feedlot beef requires 7 lbs. of feed grain, which takes 7,000 lbs. of water to grow. Pass up one hamburger, and you'll save as much water as you save by taking 40 showers with a low-flow nozzle. Yet in the U.S., 70% of all the wheat, corn and other grain produced goes to feeding herds of livestock. Around the world, as more water is diverted to raising pigs and chickens instead of producing crops for direct consumption, millions of wells are going dry. India, China, North Africa and the U.S. are all running freshwater deficits, pumping more from their aquifers than rain can replenish. As populations in water-scarce regions continue to expand, governments will inevitably act to cut these deficits by shifting water to grow food, not feed. The new policies will raise the price of meat to levels unaffordable for any but the rich. … In the U.S., livestock now produce 130 times as much waste as people do. Just one hog farm in Utah, for example, produces more sewage than the city of Los Angeles. These megafarms are proliferating, and in populous areas their waste is tainting drinking water. In more pristine regions, from Indonesia to the Amazon, tropical rain forest is being burned down to make room for more and more cattle. Agriculture is the world's biggest cause of deforestation, and increasing demand for meat is the biggest force in the expansion of agriculture.
- I'm sort of like a post-modern vegetarian; I eat meat ironically.
- Bill Bailey, Part Troll (2004).
- All these animals are put in cages, never see the sun or grass, and they leave this hell only to go to the slaughter-house. For me intensive breeding is a sign of human degeneration. If one can find that acceptable, then we humans have lost all moral value. … [How long have you been a vegetarian?] Since 1962, when I went on French television to denounce conditions of animal slaughter. That is when I became aware of the horror of factory farming, live transports and the killings of farm animals. I have always been sensitive to animal distress but from then on I refused to be involved in such inhuman industrial deaths.
- As I began to move away from a meatheavy diet to a plantbased menu, it felt as if the doors to truly delicious foods were finally opening up.
- I have always been an animal lover. I had a hard time disassociating the animals I cuddled with—dogs and cats, for example—from the animals on my plate, and I never really cared for the taste of meat. I always loved my Brussels sprouts!
- Kristen Bell, responding to the question "What prompted you to go vegetarian?", in "peta2 Chats With Kristen Bell", in peta2.com (18 July 2011).
- It is not, I think, going too far to say, that every fact connected with the human organization goes to prove, that man was originally formed a frugivorous animal … This opinion is principally derived from the formation of his teeth and digestive organs, as well as from the character of his skin, and the general structure of his limbs. It is not my intention now to go further into the discussion of this subject, than to observe, that if analogy be allowed to have any weight in the argument, it is wholly on that side of the question which I have just taken. Those animals, whose teeth and digestive apparatus most nearly resemble our own, namely, the apes and monkeys, are undoubtedly frugivorous.
- They [the true instructors of the people] will accustom children to the vegetable régime. The peoples living on vegetable foods, are, of all men, the handsomest, the most vigorous, the least exposed to diseases and to passions, and they whose lives last longest. Such, in Europe, are a large proportion of the Swiss. The greater part of the peasantry who, in every country, form the most vigorous portion of the people, eat very little flesh-meat. The Russians have multiplied periods of fasting and days of abstinence, from which even the soldiers are not exempt; and yet they resist all kinds of fatigues. The negroes, who undergo so many hard blows in our colonies, live upon manioc, potatoes, and maize alone. The Brahmins of India, who frequently reach the age of one hundred years, eat only vegetable foods. It was from the Pythagorean sect that issued Epaminondas, so celebrated by for his virtues, Archytas, by his genius for mathematics and mechanics; Milo of Crotona, by his strength of body. Pythagoras himself was the finest man of his time, and, without dispute, the most enlightened, since he was the father of philosophy amongst the Greeks. Inasmuch as the non-flesh diet introduces with many virtues and excludes none, it will be well to bring up the young upon it, since it has so happy an influence upon the beauty of the body and upon the tranquillity of the mind. This regimen prolongs childhood, and, by consequence, human life.
- Vegetarianism is a way of life that we should all move toward for economic survival, physical well-being and spiritual integrity.
- I presume that very few men and very few women would be willing to go and catch hold either sheep or of oxen and themselves slaughter the creatures in order that they may eat. […] Now, I venture to submit that if people want to eat meat, they should kill the animals for themselves, that they have no right to degrade other people by work of that sort. Nor should they say that if they did not do it the slaughter would still go on. […] Every person who eats meat takes a share in that degradation of his fellow-men; on him and on her personally lies the share, and personally lies the responsibility.
- Annie Besant, Vegetarianism in the Light of Theosophy, 1913, pp. 18-20.
- All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap.
- William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790-1793), Proverbs of Hell.
- After years of trial and error Franz [Kafka] has at last found the only diet that suits him, the vegetarian one. For years he suffered from his stomach; now he is as healthy and as fit as I have ever known him. Then along come his parents, of course, and in the name of love try to force him back into eating meat and being ill.
- Once he [Kafka] went to the Berlin aquarium … Suddenly he began to speak to the fish in their illuminated tanks, "Now at last I can look at you in peace, I don't eat you any more." It was the time that he turned strict vegetarian. If you have never heard Kafka saying things of this sort with his own lips, it is difficult to imagine how simply and easily, without any affectation, without the least sentimentality—which was something almost completely foreign to him—he brought them out. Among my notes I find something else that Kafka said about vegetarianism. He compared vegetarians with the early Christians, persecuted everywhere, everywhere laughed at, and frequenting dirty haunts. "What is meant by its nature for the highest and the best, spreads among the lowly people."
- Max Brod, Franz Kafka: A Biography, translated by G. Humphreys Roberts and Richard Winston (New York: Schocken Books, 1960), p. 74.
- The central question about vegetarian diets used to be whether it was healthy to eliminate meat and other animal foods … Now, however, the main question has become whether it is healthier to be a vegetarian than to be a meat eater. … The answer to both questions, based on currently available evidence, seems to be yes. A properly planned vegetarian diet can provide all the essential nutrients, even for growing children … And, on the whole, vegetarians are less likely to be afflicted with the chronic diseases that are leading killers and cripplers in societies where meat is the centerpiece of the diet.
- Thus, Mahāmati, wherever there is the evolution of living beings, let people cherish the thought of kinship with them, and, thinking that all beings are [to be loved as if they were] an only child, let them refrain from eating meat. So with Bodhisattvas whose nature is compassion, [the eating of] meat is to be avoided by him. Even in exceptional cases, it is not [compassionate] of a Bodhisattva of good standing to eat meat.
- … how can I permit my disciples, Mahāmati, to eat food consisting of flesh and blood, which is gratifying to the unwise but is abhorred by the wise, which brings many evils and keeps away many merits; and which was not offered to the Rishis and is altogether unsuitable?
Now, Mahāmati, the food I have permitted [my disciples to take] is gratifying to all wise people but is avoided by the unwise; it is productive of many merits, it keeps away many evils; and it has been prescribed by the ancient Rishis. It comprises rice, barley, wheat, kidney beans, beans, lentils, etc., clarified butter, oil, honey, molasses, treacle, sugar cane, coarse sugar, etc.; food prepared with these is proper food. Mahāmati, there may be some irrational people in the future who will discriminate and establish new rules of moral discipline, and who, under the influence of the habit-energy belonging to the carnivorous races, will greedily desire the taste [of meat]: it is not for these people that the above food is prescribed. Mahāmati, this is the food I urge for the Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas who have made offerings to the previous Buddhas, who have planted roots of goodness, who are possessed of faith, devoid of discrimination, who are all men and women belonging to the Śākya family, who are sons and daughters of good family, who have no attachment to body, life, and property, who do not covet delicacies, are not at all greedy, who being compassionate desire to embrace all living beings as their own person, and who regard all beings with affection as if they were an only child.
- If, Mahāmati, meat is not eaten by anybody for any reason, there will be no destroyer of life.
- From eating [meat] arrogance is born, from arrogance erroneous imaginations issue, and from imagination is born greed; and for this reason refrain from eating [meat].
- One who eats meat kills the seed of great compassion.
- I can affirm that a person who neither eats the flesh of other beings nor wears any part of the bodies of other beings, nor even thinks of eating or wearing these things, is a person who will gain liberation.
- Man alone consumes more flesh than all the other animals together devour; he is, then, the greatest destroyer; and this more from custom than necessity. Instead of using with moderation the blessings which are offered him, instead of disposing of them with equity, instead of increasing them in proportion as he destroys, the rich man places all his glory in consuming, in one day, at his table, as much as would be necessary to support many families: he equally abuses both animals and his fellow-creatures, some of whom remain starving and languishing in misery, and labour only to satisfy his immoderate appetite, and more insatiable vanity, and who, by destroying others through wantonness, destroys himself by excess. Nevertheless, man, like some other animals, might live on vegetables.
- Now, I'm no shrinking violet. I played hockey until half of my teeth were knocked down my throat. And I'm extremely competitive on a tennis court — I'll dive for any ball on any surface. 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 that firsthand experience of man's cruelty to animals that laid the real groundwork for my commitment to vegetarianism.
- Peter Burwash, Vegetarian Primer (New York: Atheneum, 1983), p. 75.
- That Pasiphaë promoted breeding cattle,
To make the Cretans bloodier in battle.
For we all know that English people are
Fed upon beef—I won't say much of beer,
Because 't is liquor only, and being far
From this my subject, has no business here;
We know, too, they very fond of war,
A pleasure—like all pleasures—rather dear;
So were the Cretans—from which I infer
That beef and battles both were owing to her.
- This may surprise you, because it surprised me when I found out, but the single biggest thing that an individual can do to combat climate change is to stop eating animals. Because of the huge, huge carbon footprint of animal agriculture. I was shocked to find out that animal agriculture directly or indirectly accounts for 14.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions, compared to all transportation – every ship, car, truck, plane on the planet only accounts for 13%. Less than animal agriculture. So most people think that buying a Prius is the answer, and it’s certainly not wrong, but it’s not the biggest agent of climate change.
- James Cameron, from an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit; as quoted in "Director James Cameron on Vegan Diet: Like I've Set the Clock Back 15 Years", in Ecorazzi (12 April 2014).
- We're basically a vegetarian species and should be eating a wide variety of plant foods and minimizing our intake of animal foods. … Usually, the first thing a country does in the course of economic development is to introduce a lot of livestock. Our data are showing that this is not a very smart move, and the Chinese are listening. They're realizing that animal-based agriculture is not the way to go. … Ironically, osteoporosis tends to occur in countries where calcium intake is highest and most of it comes from protein-rich dairy products. The Chinese data indicate that people need less calcium than we think and can get adequate amounts from vegetables.
- [The animals] are now especially bred for eating purposes, and if the demand decreased, the supply would decrease also. Further, how is it that we are not overrun by wild animals of all sorts? … People need not worry about the future welfare of the bovine race, if they would only be a little more humane in their treatment of its present representatives!
- Were one to stop and think of what meat is, and what it was, it is doubtful if one could eat it. It is merely dead and decaying flesh — flesh from the body of an animal. … Only by the fact that they are covered up, and their true nature concealed by cooking, and basting, and pickling, and peppering and salting can we eat them at all. If we were natural carnivorous animals, we should delight in bloodshed and gore of all kind! … We should eat our flesh warm and quivering — just as it comes from the cow!
- To see the Convulsions, Agonies and Tortures of a poor Fellow-Creature, whom they cannot restore nor recompense, dying to gratify Luxury, and scratch callous and rank Organs, must require a rocky Heart, and a great Degree of Cruelty and Ferocity. I cannot find any great Difference on the Foot of natural Reason and Equity only, between feeding on human Flesh, and feeding on brute animal Flesh, except Custom and Example. I believe some rational Creatures would suffer less in being fairly butcher'd, than a strong Ox, or red Deer; and in natural Morality and Justice, the Degrees of Pain here, make the essential Difference; for as to other Differences, they are relative only, and can be of no Weight with an infinitely perfect Being. Did not Use and Example weaken this Terror, and make the Difference, Reason alone could never do it.
- It is plain that the present system of intensive farming cannot be defended. … Let us then be vegetarians, at least. For those who have recognized flesh-eating for what it is, the merest addiction, and one, as Shelley saw, to ‘kindle all putrid humours in (our) frame’ … for such moralists the step is easy. It is not necessary, rather it is incompetent, to kill and torture animals to eat.
- Stephen R. L. Clark, The Moral Status of Animals, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977, p. 46.
- In the perfect world originally designed by God, man was meant to be a vegetarian.
- Rabbi Jacob Cohn, The Royal Table: An Outline of the Dietary Laws of Israel, New York: Block Publishing Co., 1936, p. 9 (opening sentence of the book).
- I rode across the country on a motorcycle in 1975. I remember it was the worst time of year and bloody cold. When I was going through Texas, I went through the feedlots, which I had never seen before. It was a very sobering sight—heartbreaking and awful. It's a corporate system completely out of touch with what is sustainable, what is humane, what is compassionate. At the time, I didn't even know what a vegetarian was. I just thought, "I can't eat [animals] anymore."
- True and constant vigour of body is the effect of health, which is much better preserved with watery, herbaceous, frugal, and tender food, than with vinous, abundant, hard, and gross flesh.
- The vulgar opinion, then, which, on health reasons, condemns vegetable food and so much praises animal food, being so ill-founded, I have always thought it well to oppose myself to it, moved both by experience and by that refined knowledge of natural things which some study and conversation with great men have given me. And perceiving now that such my constancy has been honoured by some learned and wise physicians with their authoritative adhesion, I have thought it my duty publicly to diffuse the reasons of the Pythagorean diet, regarded as useful in medicine, and, at the same time, as full of innocence, of temperance, and of health. And it is none the less accompanied with a certain delicate pleasure, and also with a refined and splendid luxury, if care and skill be applied in selection and proper supply of the best vegetable food, to which the fertility and the natural character of our beautiful country seem to invite us.
- To any thinking person, it must be obvious that there is something badly wrong in relations between human beings and the animals that human beings rely on for food; and that in the past 100 or 150 years whatever is wrong has become wrong on a huge scale, as traditional animal husbandry has been turned into an industry using industrial methods of production. … It would be a mistake to idealise traditional animal husbandry as the standard by which the animal-products industry falls short: traditional animal husbandry is brutal enough, just on a smaller scale. A better standard by which to judge both practices would be the simple standard of humanity: is this truly the best that human beings are capable of?
- I am vegetarian. … I became one at 20 when I was working in a pig farm. I got attached to the pigs and I couldn’t stand the thought that they would have to go off to be slaughtered.
- If judge and jury had to hang the prisoner themselves in cold blood, there would be fewer executions; if we each had to butcher our own meat, there would be a great increase in the number of vegetarians.
- The natural food of man, judging from his structure, appears to consist of the fruits, roots, and other succulent parts of vegetables.
- Thousands — millions and billions — of animals are killed for food. That is very sad. We human beings can live without meat, especially in our modern world. We have a great variety of vegetables and other supplementary foods, so we have the capacity and the responsibility to save billions of lives. I have seen many individuals. and groups promoting animal rights and following a vegetarian diet. This is excellent. Certain killing is purely a "luxury." … But perhaps the saddest is factory farming. The poor animals there really suffer. I once visited a poultry farm in Japan where they keep 200,000 hens for two years just for their eggs. During those two years, they are prisoners. Then after two years, when they are no longer productive, the hens are sold. That is really shocking, really sad. We must support those who are attempting to reduce that kind of unfair treatment. An Indian friend told me that his young daughter has been arguing with him that it is better to serve one cow to ten people than to serve chicken or other small animals, since more lives would be involved. In the Indian tradition, beef is always avoided, but I think there is some logic to her argument. Shrimp, for example, are very small. For one plate, many lives must be sacrificed. To me, this is not at all delicious. I find it really awful, and I think it is better to avoid these things. If your body needs meat, it may be better to eat bigger animals. Eventually you may be able to eliminate the need for meat. I think that our basic nature as human beings is to be vegetarian — making every effort not to harm other living beings. If we apply our intelligence, we can create a sound, nutritional program. It is very dangerous to ignore the suffering of any sentient being.
- Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, interview in Worlds in Harmony: Dialogues on Compassionate Action, Berkeley: Parallax Press, 1992, pp. 20-21.
- I have always been astonished at the fact that the most extraordinary workers I ever saw, viz., the laborers in the mines of Chili, live exclusively on vegetable food, which includes many seeds of the leguminous plants.
- Among the reforms necessary for the triumph of true refinement and true morality, which ought to be our earnest aim, is the Dietetic one, which, if not the weightiest of all (allerwichtigste), yet, undoubtedly, is one of the weightiest. Still is the ‘civilised’ world stained and defiled by the remains of a horrible barbarity; while the old-world revolting practice of slaughter of animals and feeding on their corpses still is in so universal vogue, that men have not the faculty even of recognising it as such, as otherwise they would recognise it; and aversion from this horror provokes censure of such eccentricity, and amazement at any manifestation of tendency to reform, as at something absurd and ridiculous — nay, arouses even bitterness and hate. To extirpate this barbarism is a task, the accomplishment of which lies in the closest relationship with the most important principles of humaneness, morality, æsthetics, and physiology. A foundation for real culture — a thorough civilising and refining of humanity — is clearly impossible so long as an organised system of murder and of corpse-eating (organiserten Mord-und-Leichenfratz System) prevails by recognised custom.
- Georg Friedrich Daumer, quoted in The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-eating by Howard Williams (London: F. Pitman, 1883), p. 283.
- I like animals, all animals. I wouldn’t hurt a cat or a dog—or a chicken or a cow. And I wouldn’t ask someone else to hurt them for me. That’s why I’m a vegetarian.
- Peter Dinklage, “'Game of Thrones' Star Peter Dinklage on Why He's Vegetarian,” ad for PETA (26 August 2011).
- Bernard Shaw says that as long as men torture and slay animals and eat their flesh we shall have war. I think all sane, thinking people must be of his opinion. The children of my school were all vegetarians, and grew strong and beautiful on a vegetable and fruit diet. Sometimes during the war when I heard the cries of the wounded I thought of the cries of the animals in the slaughterhouse, and I felt that, as we torture these poor defenceless creatures, so the gods torture us. Who loves this horrible thing called war? Probably the meat-eaters, having killed, feel the need to kill—kill birds, animals—the tender stricken deer—hunt foxes. The butcher with his bloody apron incites bloodshed, murder. Why not? From cutting the throat of a young calf to cutting the throat of our brothers and sisters is but a step. While we are ourselves the living graves of murdered animals, how can we expect any ideal conditions on the earth?
- Although I have been prevented by outward circumstances from observing a strictly vegetarian diet, I have long been an adherent to the cause in principle. Besides agreeing with the aims of vegetarianism for aesthetic and moral reasons, it is my view that a vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.
- So I am living without fats, without meat, without fish, but am feeling quite well this way. It always seems to me that man was not born to be a carnivore.
- And then what pleasure they take to see a buck or the like unlaced? Let ordinary fellows cut up an ox or a wether, 'twere a crime to have this done by anything less than a gentleman! … In all which they drive at nothing more than to become beasts themselves, while yet they imagine they live the life of princes.
- There can be no purity whilst the flesh of creatures is partaken of and inhumanity towards the creatures practised.
- Therefore, in the light of the Truth that God is love, and that Jesus came to make his love manifest in the world, we cannot believe it is his will for men to eat meat, or to do anything else that would cause suffering to the innocent and helpless.
- We need never look for universal peace on this earth until men stop killing animals for food.
- Charles Fillmore, The Vegetarian, Unity Magazine, May 1920. Quoted in Will Tuttle, The World Peace Diet, ch. 3.
- Some persons in Europe carry their notions about cruelty to animals so far as not to allow themselves to eat animal food. Many very intelligent men have, at different times of their lives, abstained wholly from flesh; and this too with very considerable advantage to their health. … The most attentive research which I have been able to make into the health of all these persons induces me to believe that vegetable food is the natural diet of man; I tried it once with very considerable advantage: my strength became greater, my intellect clearer, my power of continued exertion protracted, and my spirits much higher than they were when I lived on a mixed diet. I am inclined to think that the inconvenience which some persons experience from vegetable food is only temporary; a few repeated trials would soon render it not only safe but agreeable, and a disgust to the taste of flesh, under any disguise, would be the result of the experiment. The Carmelites and other religious orders, who subsist only on the productions of the vegetable world, live to a greater age than those who feed on meat, and in general herbivorous persons are milder in their dispositions than other people. The same quantity of ground has been proved to be capable of sustaining a larger and stronger population on a vegetable than on a meat diet; and experience has shewn that the juices of the body are more pure and the viscera much more free from disease in those who live in this simple way. All these facts, taken collectively, point to a period, in the progress of civilization, when men will cease to slay their fellow mortals in the animal world for food, and will tend thereby to realize the fictions of antiquity and the Sybilline oracles respecting the millennium or golden age.
- When about 16 Years of Age, I happen’d to meet with a Book, written by one Tryon, recommending a Vegetable Diet. I determined to go into it. My Brother being yet unmarried, did not keep House, but boarded himself & his Apprentices in another Family. My refusing to eat Flesh occasioned an Inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my singularity. I made myself acquainted with Tryon’s Manner of preparing some of his Dishes, such as Boiling Potatoes or Rice, making Hasty Pudding, & a few others, and then propos’d to my Brother, that if he would give me Weekly half the Money he paid for my Board I would board myself. He instantly agreed to it, and I presently found that I could save half what he paid me. This was an additional Fund for buying Books: But I had another Advantage in it. My Brother and the rest going from the Printinghouse to their Meals, I remain’d there alone, and dispatching presently my light Repast, (which often was no more than a Biscuit or a Slice of Bread, a Handful of Raisins or a Tart from the Pastry Cook’s, & a Glass of Water) had the rest of the Time till their Return, for Study, in which I made the greater Progress from that greater Clearness of Head & quicker Apprehension which usually attend Temperance in Eating & Drinking. And now it was that being on some Occasion made asham’d of my Ignorance in Figures, which I had twice failed in learning when at School, I took Cocker’s Book of Arithmetic, & went thro’ the whole by myself with great Ease. I also read Seller’s & Sturmy’s Books of Navigation, & became acquainted with the little Geometry they contain, but never proceeded far in that Science. And I read about this Time Locke on Human Understanding, and the Art of Thinking by Messrs du Port Royal.
- I believe I have omitted mentioning that in my first Voyage from Boston, being becalm’d off Block Island, our People set about catching Cod & haul’d up a great many. Hitherto I had stuck to my Resolution of not eating animal Food; and on this Occasion, I consider’d with my Master Tryon, the taking every Fish as a kind of unprovok’d Murder, since none of them had or ever could do us any Injury that might justify the Slaughter. All this seem’d very reasonable. But I had formerly been a great Lover of Fish, & when this came hot out of the Frying Pan, it smeled admirably well. I balanc’d some time between Principle & Inclination: till I recollected, that when the Fish were opened, I saw smaller Fish taken out of their Stomachs: Then thought I, if you eat one another, I don’t see why we mayn’t eat you. So I din’d upon Cod very heartily and continu’d to eat with other People, returning only now & then occasionally to a vegetable Diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for every thing one has a mind to do.
- Jesus' message is about love and compassion, but there is nothing loving or compassionate at factory farms and slaughterhouses, where billions of animals endure miserable lives and die violent deaths. Jesus mandates kindness and mercy for all God's creatures. He'd be appalled by the suffering that we inflict on animals today to indulge our acquired taste for their flesh. Catholics, and all Christians, have a choice. When we sit down to eat, we can add to the violence, misery and death in the world, or we can respect God's creatures with a vegetarian diet. I believe we're obligated to make choices that are as merciful as possible, and we can all do that at the dinner table with a vegetarian diet. There won't be any factory farms and slaughterhouses in heaven.
- I do not regard flesh-food as necessary for us at any stage and under any clime in which it is possible for human beings ordinarily to live. I hold flesh-food to be unsuited to our species. We err in copying the lower animal world if we are superior to it. Experience teaches that animal food is unsuited to those who would curb their passions.
- I saw that the writers on vegetarianism had examined the question very minutely, attacking it in its religious, scientific, practical and medical aspects. Ethically they had arrived at the conclusion that man's supremacy over the lower animals meant not that the former should prey upon the latter, but that the higher should protect the lower, and that there should be mutual aid between the two as between man and man.
- Vegetarians should have that moral basis—that a man was not born a carnivorous animal, but born to live on the fruits and herbs that the earth grows.
- I do feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage—an inexorable demand—that we should cease to kill our fellow-creatures for satisfaction of our bodily wants.
- O impudence of power and might,
Thus to condemn a hawk or kite,
When thou, perhaps, carniv'rous sinner,
Hadst pullets yesterday for dinner!
- John Gay, The Fables, Volume 1 (1727), Pythagoras and the Countryman.
- Man lives very well upon flesh, you say, but, if he thinks this food to be natural to him, why does he not use it as it is, as furnished to him by Nature? But, in fact, he shrinks in horror from seizing and rending living or even raw flesh with his teeth, and lights a fire to change its natural and proper condition. … What is clearer than that man is not furnished for hunting, much less for eating, other animals? In one word, we seem to be admirably admonished by Cicero that man was destined for other things than for seizing and cutting the throats of other animals. If you answer that ‘that may be said to be an industry ordered by Nature, by which such weapons are invented,’ then, behold! it is by the very same artificial instrument that men make weapons for mutual slaughter. Do they this at the instigation of Nature? Can a use so noxious be called natural? Faculty is given by Nature, but it is our own fault that we make a perverse use of it.
- Pierre Gassendi, Letter to Van Helmont, quoted in The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-eating by Howard Williams (London: F. Pitman, 1883), pp. 103-104.
- Thus men continue to accuse themselves of being unjust, violent, cruel, and treacherous to one another, but they do not accuse themselves of cutting the throats of other animals and of feeding upon their mangled limbs, which, nevertheless, is the single cause of that injustice, of that violence, of that cruelty, and of that treachery. … Men believe themselves to be just, provided that they fulfil, in regard to their fellows, the duties which have been prescribed to them. But it is goodness which is the justice of man; and it is impossible, I repeat it, to be good towards one's fellow without being so towards other existences.
- Jean-Antoine Gleizes, Thalysie: the New Existence (1840-1842), quoted in The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-eating by Howard Williams (London: F. Pitman, 1883), p. 214.
- It is a specious but very false reason to allege that, since man has acquired this taste, he ought to be permitted to indulge it — in the first place because Nature has not given him cooked flesh, and because several ages must have rolled away before fire was used. … Nature, then, could have given man only raw or living flesh, and we know that it is repugnant to him over the whole extent of the earth.
- Jean-Antoine Gleizes, Thalysie: the New Existence (1840-1842), quoted in The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-eating by Howard Williams (London: F. Pitman, 1883), pp. 216-217.
- The better sort here pretend to the utmost compassion for animals of every kind. To hear them speak, a stranger would be apt to imagine they could hardly hurt the gnat that stung them: they seem so tender and so full of pity, that one would take them for the harmless friends of the whole creation; the protectors of the meanest insect or reptile that was privileged with existence. And yet, would you believe it? I have seen the very men who have thus boasted of their tenderness, at the same time devouring the flesh of six different animals toasted up in a fricassee. Strange contrariety of conduct! they pity and they eat the objects of their compassion.
- No flocks that range the valley free
To slaughter I condemn;
Taught by that Power that pities me,
I learn to pity them:
But from the mountain’s grassy side
A guiltless feast I bring;
A scrip with herbs and fruits supplied,
And water from the spring.
- It is a frightful wrong that other species are tortured, worried, flayed, and devoured by us, in spite of the fact that we are not obliged to this by necessity; while in sinning against the defenceless and helpless, just claimants as they are upon our reasonable conscience and upon our compassion, we succeed only in brutalising ourselves.
- Bogumil Goltz, Das Menschendasein in seinen weltewigen Zügen und Zeichen (1850); quoted in The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-eating by Howard Williams (London: F. Pitman, 1883), p. 286.
- First, how do you prove that mankind is invested with the right of killing them, and that brutes have been created for the purpose you assert them to be? Secondly, it is to be observed that the flesh of man himself possesses the same nourishing and palatable qualities? And are we then to become cannibals for that reason?
- Thousands of people who say they "love" animals sit down once or twice a day to enjoy the flesh of creatures who have been utterly deprived of everything that could make their lives worth living and who endured the awful suffering and the terror of the abattoirs — and the journey to get there — before finally leaving their miserable world, only too often after a painful death.
- Jane Goodall, The Ten Trusts (2003), p. xv.
- Today it is generally accepted that although the earliest humans probably ate some meat, it was unlikely to have played a major role in their diet. Plants would have been a much more important source of food.
- Jane Goodall, Harvest for Hope (2006).
- Comparative anatomy, therefore, proves that man is naturally a frugivorous animal, formed to subsist upon fruits, seeds, and farinaceous vegetables.
- All my life, I have been sickened by everything connected with meat-, fish-, and poultry eating. As a child, I saw apparently nice, kind people wring the necks of fowls, and I thought it foul; and I wondered if I could ever exert any influence to help bring such unworthiness to an end.
- I do not eat meat, I do not smoke, and I do not drink, and therefore, I do not feel the cold.
- Life has become too precious in this era for us to be involved in the shedding of blood, even that of animals, when we can survive without it. This is not an ascetic choice, we should note, but rather a life-affirming one. A vegetarian Judaism would be more whole in its ability to embrace the presence of God in all of Creation.
- Arthur Green, Seek My Face, Speak My Name: A Contemporary Jewish Theology (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1992), p. 89.
- The philosophy of nonviolence, which I learned from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during my involvement in the civil rights movement was first responsible for my change in diet. … Under the leadership of Dr. King I became totally committed to nonviolence, and I was convinced that nonviolence meant opposition to killing in any form. I felt the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” applied to human beings not only in their dealings with each other—war, lynching, assassination, murder and the like—but in their practice of killing animals for food or sport. 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 brutal taking of life.
- Dick Gregory, Dick Gregory's Natural Diet for Folks Who Eat: Cookin' with Mother Nature (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), pp. 15-16.
- It is strange to hear people talk on humanitarianism, who are members of societies for prevention of cruelty to children and animals, and who claim to be God-loving men and women, but who, nevertheless, encourage by their patronage the killing of animals merely to gratify the cravings of appetite.
- Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha'nish, Mazdaznan Dietetics and Cookery Book, 1913, p. 196.
- Even if man were created a carnivorous animal, is there no way for him to outgrow it as he becomes more intelligent?
- Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha'nish, Mazdaznan Dietetics and Cookery Book, 1913, p. 197.
- Some people seem to think that if the animals were not eaten they would multiply so rapidly as to overrun the earth. Is it not true that the more beef there is consumed the more there is raised? These people do not understand that there are men in the business who have made an effort to increase their stock by forced means.
- Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha'nish, Mazdaznan Dietetics and Cookery Book, 1913, p. 197.
- Based on the fossil record one big spurt in hominid cranial capacity seems to have occurred with the appearance of Homo erectus approximately 1.75 million years ago, long before red meat could have been a regular part of hominid diets.
- Donna Hart and Robert W. Sussman, Man the Hunted, expanded edition, p. 256.
- With respect to animal diet, let it be considered, that taking away the lives of animals, in order to convert them into food, does great violence to the principles of benevolence and compassion. This appears from the frequent hard-heartedness and cruelty found amongst those persons whose occupations engage them in destroying animal life, as well as from the uneasiness which others feel in beholding the butchery of animals.
- David Hartley, Observations on Man, his Frame, his Duty, and his Expectations (1749; 6th edition, 1834), Part II, Chapter III, Section II.
- Among other dreadful and disgusting images which Custom has rendered familiar, are those which arise from eating animal food. He who has ever turned with abhorrence from the skeleton of a beast which has been picked whole by birds or vermin, must confess that habit alone could have enabled him to endure the sight of the mangled bones and flesh of a dead carcase which every day cover his table. And he who reflects on the number of lives that have been sacrificed to sustain his own, should enquire by what the account has been balanced, and whether his life is become proportionately of more value by the exercise of virtue and by the superior happiness which he has communicated to [more] reasonable beings.
- John Hawkesworth, from his edition of Swift's Works; as quoted in The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-eating by Howard Williams (London: F. Pitman, 1883), p. 168.
- Man's carnivorous nature is not taken for granted, or praised in the fundamental teachings of Judaism. The rabbis of the Talmud told that men were vegetarians in earliest times, between Creation and the generation of Noah. In the twelfth century Maimonides, the greatest of all rabbinic scholars, explained that animal sacrifices had been instituted in ancient Judaism as a concession to the prevalent ancient practice of making such offerings to the pagan gods (Moreh Nebuhim 111:32). The implication is clear, that Judaism was engaged in weaning men from such practices. Judaism as a religion offers the option of eating animal flesh, and most Jews do, but in our own country there has been a movement towards vegetarianism among very pious Jews. A whole galaxy of central rabbinic and spiritual teachers including several past and present Chief Rabbis of the Holy Land, have been affirming vegetarianism as the ultimate meaning of Jewish moral teaching. They have been proclaiming the autonomy of all living creatures as the value which our religious tradition must now teach to all of its believers.
- Jews will move increasingly to vegetarianism out of their own deepening knowledge of what their tradition commands as they understand it in this age.
- I had negative synaesthesia eating a bacon sandwich and listening to a solo [Bryan] Ferry album, which turned me vegetarian.
- Like my friend, the doctor, I have lived temperately, eating little animal food, and that not as an aliment, so much as a condiment for the vegetables, which constitute my principal diet.
- Just as divorce according to the Saviour's word was not permitted from the beginning, but on account of the hardness of our heart was a concession of Moses to the human race, so too the eating of flesh was unknown until the deluge. But after the deluge, like the quails given in the desert to the murmuring people, the poison of flesh-meat was offered to our teeth. … At the beginning of the human race we neither ate flesh, nor gave bills of divorce, nor suffered circumcision for a sign. Thus we reached the deluge. But after the deluge, together with the giving of the law which no one could fulfil, flesh was given for food, and divorce was allowed to hard-hearted men, and the knife of circumcision was applied, as though the hand of God had fashioned us with something superfluous. But once Christ has come in the end of time, and Omega passed into Alpha and turned the end into the beginning, we are no longer allowed divorce, nor are we circumcised, nor do we eat flesh.
- Diogenes maintains that tyrants do not bring about revolutions in cities, and foment wars civil or foreign for the sake of a simple diet of vegetables and fruits, but for costly meats and the delicacies of the table. And, strange to say, Epicurus, the defender of pleasure, in all his books speaks of nothing but vegetables and fruits; and he says that we ought to live on cheap food because the preparation of sumptuous banquets of flesh involves great care and suffering, and greater pains attend the search for such delicacies than pleasures the consumption of them. … Persons who feed on flesh want also gratifications not found in flesh. But they who adopt a simple diet do not look for flesh. … The soul greatly exults when you are content with little: you have the world beneath your feet, and can exchange all its power, its feasts, and its lusts, the objects for which men rake money together, for common food, and make up for them all with a sack-cloth shirt.
- Dicæarchus in his book of Antiquities, describing Greece, relates that under Saturn, that is in the Golden Age, when the ground brought forth all things abundantly, no one ate flesh, but every one lived on field produce and fruits which the earth bore of itself. … Xenocrates the philosopher writes that at Athens out of all the laws of Triptolemus only three precepts remain in the temple of Ceres: respect to parents, reverence for the gods, and abstinence from flesh. Orpheus in his song utterly denounces the eating of flesh. I might speak of the frugality of Pythagoras, Socrates, and Antisthenes to our confusion: but it would be tedious, and would require a work to itself.
- Some yoga teachers say that a vegetarian diet is not necessary.
Pattabhi Jois: [laughing] Oh ... a new method!
Many Indians and Westerners eat meat.
Pattabhi Jois: They are not practicing yoga. Meat eating makes you stiff.
What is the most important yogic practice in this time?
Pattabhi Jois: Vegetarian diet is the most important practice for yoga.
- The human flesh and the flesh of beasts is similar and their crimson blood is also the same.
- It is interesting to note that scientific men all over the world are awakening to the fact that the flesh of animals as food is not a pure nutriment, but is mixed with poisonous substances, excrementitious in character, which are the natural results of animal life.
- A dead cow or sheep lying in a pasture is recognised as carrion. The same sort of a carcass dressed and hung up in a butcher's stall passes as food! Careful microscopic examination may show little or no difference between the fence corner carcass and the butcher shop carcass. Both are swarming with colon germs and redolent with putrefaction.
- How many times, for instance, have we not heard people speak with all the authority of conviction about the “canine teeth” and “simple stomach” of man, as certain evidence of his natural adaptation for a flesh diet! At least we have demonstrated one fact; that if such arguments are valid, they apply with even greater force to the anthropoid apes — whose “canine” teeth are much longer and more powerful than those of man … And yet, with the solitary exception of man, there is not one of these last which does not in a natural condition absolutely refuse to feed on flesh! M. Pouchet observes that all the details of the digestive apparatus in man, as well as his dentition, constitute “so many proofs of his frugivorous origin”— an opinion shared by Professor Owen, who remarks that the anthropoids and all the quadrumana derive their alimentation from fruits, grains, and other succulent and nutritive vegetable substances, and that the strict analogy which exists between the structure of these animals and that of man clearly demonstrates his frugivorous nature. This is also the view taken by Cuvier, Linnæus, Professor Lawrence, Charles Bell, Gassendi, Flourens, and a great number of other eminent writers.
- The free movement of the moral impulse to establish justice for animals generally and the claim of their rights from mankind are hidden in a natural psychic sensibility in the deeper layers of the Torah. In the ancient value system of humanity … the moral sense had risen to a point of demanding justice for animals. … Just as the democratic aspiration will reach outward through the general intellectual and moral perfection … so will the hidden yearning to act justly towards animals emerge at the proper time. What prepares the ground for this state is the commandments, those intended specifically for this area of concern. There is indeed a hidden reprimand between the lines of the Torah in the sanction to eat meat.
- Abraham Isaac Kook, "Fragments of Light: A View as to the Reasons for the Commandments," in The Lights of Penitence, The Moral Principles, Lights of Holiness, Essays, Letters, and Poems, trans. Ben Zion Bokser (New York: Paulist Press, 1978), pp. 317-318.
- With the possible exception of sex, there is no more basic human activity than eating, rendering it an appropriate candidate for Jewish rituals designed to maintain our focus on Godliness. The table is seen as an altar, and the concern with Kashrut extends to removing knives, instruments of war, from the table during the Birkat HaMazon (blessing after the meal). Tsaar baalei khayim, the concern for the pain of all living things and the reverence for life, is another essential aspect of kashrut. Vegetarianism is clearly the Torah's ideal; the Garden of Eden is a vegetarian society.
- Bonnie Koppell, "Vegetarianism," in Rabbis and Vegetarianism: An Evolving Tradition, edited by Roberta Kalechofsky (Marblehead, MA: Micah Publications, 1995), p. 37.
- Vegetarianism is an ideal way to actualize the Torah's vision of a world in which the divine spark in all creation is respected and revered.
- Bonnie Koppell, "Vegetarianism," in Rabbis and Vegetarianism: An Evolving Tradition, edited by Roberta Kalechofsky (Marblehead, MA: Micah Publications, 1995), p. 39.
- The cow doesn't grow fast enough for man / So through his greed he makes a faster plan / He has drugs to make the cow grow quicker / Through the stress the cow gets sicker / Twenty-one different drugs are pumped / Into the cow in one big lump / So just before it dies, it cries / In the slaughterhouse full of germs and flies / Off with the head, they pack it, drain it, and cart it / And there it is, in your local supermarket / Red and bloody, a corpse, neatly packed / And you wonder about heart attacks?
- KRS-One, Boogie Down Productions, 1990, Edutainment, Beef.
- Perhaps a man hitched to the cart of a Martian or roasted on the spit by inhabitants of the Milky Way will recall the veal cutlet he used to slice on his dinner plate and apologize (belatedly) to the cow.
- Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
- The following pages were written in the Concentration Camp in Dachau, in the midst of all kinds of cruelties. They were furtively scrawled in a hospital barrack where I stayed during my illness, in a time when Death grasped day by day after us, when we lost twelve thousand within four and a half months … “You asked me why I do not eat meat and you are wondering at the reasons of my behavior … I refuse to eat animals because I cannot nourish myself by the sufferings and by the death of other creatures. I refuse to do so, because I suffered so painfully myself that I can feel the pains of others by recalling my own sufferings … I am not preaching … I am writing this letter to you, to an already awakened individual who rationally controls his impulses, who feels responsible, internally and externally, for his acts, who knows that our supreme court is sitting in our conscience … I have not the intention to point out with my finger … I think it is much more my duty to stir up my own conscience … That is the point: I want to grow up into a better world where a higher law grants more happiness, in a new world where God's commandment reigns: You shall love each other.”
- My mother was convinced, and on this head I have retained her firm belief, that to kill animals for the purpose of feeding on their flesh is one of the most deplorable and shameful infirmities of the human state; that it is one of those curses cast upon man either by his fall, or by the obduracy of his own perversity. She believed, and I am of the same belief, that these habits of hard-heartedness towards the gentlest animals, our companions, our auxiliaries, our brethren in toil and even in affection here below; that these immolations, these sanguinary appetites, this sight of palpitating flesh, are calculated to brutalize the instincts of the heart and make them ferocious. She believed, and I am of the same belief, that this nurture, which is seemingly much more succulent and much more energetic, contains in itself active causes of irritation and putridity, which sour the blood and shorten the days of mankind. In support of these ideas of abstinence, she quoted the innumerable gentle and pious tribes of India who deny themselves all that has had life; and the strong and healthy races of the shepherds and even of the laboring classes of our fields.
- My mother took me to town with her, and made me pass, as if by accident, through the yard of a slaughter-house. I saw some men, their arms naked and besmeared with blood, knocking a bull in the head; others cutting the throats of calves and sheep, and separating their still heaving limbs. Streams of smoking gore ran along the pavement. An intense feeling of pity, mingled with horror, seized upon me. I asked to be led away quickly. The thought of these scenes, the necessary preliminaries of one of those dishes of meat which I had so often seen on the table, made me take a disgust to animal food and inspired me with a horror for butchers.
- Until the age of twelve, then, I only lived on bread, milk-food, vegetables, and fruit. My health was not less robust on this account, nor my growth less rapid, and it was to this diet, perhaps, that I was indebted for that purity of feature, that exquisite sensibility of feeling, and that serene gentleness of humor and character which I had preserved up to that period.
- We all love animals, but why do we call some ‘pets’ and others ‘dinner’? If you knew how meat was made, you'd probably lose your lunch. I know. I'm from cattle country. That's why I became a vegetarian.
- Yet many Americans who have reluctantly given up their gas-guzzling cars would never think of questioning the resource costs of their grain-fed-meat diet. So let me try to give you some sense of the enormity of the resources flowing into livestock production in the United States. The consequences of a grain-fed-meat diet may be as severe as those of a nation of Cadillac drivers.
- We got hooked on grain-fed meat just as we got hooked on gas-guzzling automobiles. Big cars “made sense” only when oil was cheap; grain-fed meat “makes sense” only because the true costs of producing it are not counted.
- Physiologists have usually represented that our species holds a middle rank, in the masticatory and digestive apparatus, between the flesh-eating and the herbivorous animals; — a statement which seems rather to have been deduced from what we have learned by experience on this subject, than to result fairly from an actual comparison of man and animals. … The teeth of man have not the slightest resemblance to those of the carnivorous animals, except that their enamel is confined to the external surface. He possesses, indeed, teeth called canine, but they do not exceed the level of the others, and are obviously unsuited to the purposes which the corresponding teeth execute in carnivorous animals. … Thus we find that, whether we consider the teeth and jaws, or the immediate instruments of digestion, the human structure closely resembles that of the simiæ; all of which, in their natural state, are completely herbivorous.
- William Lawrence, Lectures on Comparative Anatomy, Physiology, Zoology, and the Natural History of Man, Eighth Edition (London: John Taylor, 1840), Section I, Chapter VI, pp. 148-150.
- For the moment we will put aside the consideration of the effect upon others — which is so infinitely more important — and think only of the results for the man himself. It is necessary to do this because one of the objections frequently brought against vegetarianism is that it is a beautiful theory, but one the working of which is impracticable, since it is supposed that a man cannot live without devouring dead flesh. That objection is irrational, and is founded upon ignorance or perversion of facts. I am myself an example of its falsity; for I have lived without the pollution of flesh food — without meat, fish or fowl — for the last thirty-eight years, and I not only still survive, but have been during all that time in remarkably good health. Nor am I in any way peculiar in this, for I know some thousands of others who have done the same thing. I know some younger ones who have been so happy as to be unpolluted by the eating of flesh during the whole of their lives; and they are distinctly freer from disease than those who partake of such things.
- Would the delicate ladies who devour sanguinary beef-steaks like to see their sons working as slaughtermen? If not, then they have no right to put this task upon some other woman's son. We have no right to impose upon a fellow-citizen work which we ourselves should decline to do. It may be said that we force no one to undertake this abominable means of livelihood; but that is a mere tergiversation, for in eating this horrible food we are making a demand that some one shall brutalize himself, that some one shall degrade himself below the level of humanity.
- A day will come when the idea that for the sake of food the people of the past raised and massacred living beings and with complete equanimity displayed their flesh in bits and pieces in shop windows, will no doubt inspire the same revulsion that the cannibalistic meals of the Americans, Oceanians, or Africans inspired in the travelers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
- This species of food [fruits and farinacea] is that which is most suited to man, as is proved by the series of quadrupeds, analogy, wild men, apes, the structure of the mouth, of the stomach, and of the hands.
- Carl Linnaeus, Amœnites Academicæ, x., 8; quoted in The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-eating by Howard Williams (London: F. Pitman, 1883), p. 165.
- I compared meat to tobacco as a killer, but to be fair, in one way alone tobacco outshines meat as an evil: it is physically addictive. As we all know, tobacco companies have a history of trying to target their ads to teenagers in the frequently fulfilled hope that these young people will be in their thrall for the rest of their lives. Meat, by contrast, is in no way physically addictive. Eating it is merely a habit, one that people are socially conditioned to believe is normal, even healthy. Whether you choose to phase meat out of your diet slowly, over time, or to stop on a dime and become a vegetarian overnight, you won't suffer any real symptoms of “withdrawal.” But you probably will feel more energy, and enjoy a longer and healthier life.
- Vegetarians and vegans are not morally superior to everyone else. We're simply healthier, and a hell of a lot better for the environment around us. Of course, just because we're not morally superior doesn't mean we're not on the side of the angels. I believe we are. After all, we're practitioners of a diet that's better for people, better for animals, and better for the environment.
- It is not my purpose here to discuss the question of vegetarianism, or to meet the objections that may be urged against it; though it must be admitted that of these objections not one can withstand a loyal and scrupulous inquiry. I, for my part, can affirm that those whom I have known to submit themselves to this regimen have found its result to be improved or restored health, marked addition of strength, and the acquisition by the mind of a clearness, brightness, well-being, such as might follow the release from some secular, loathsome, detestable dungeon.
- For in truth all our justice, morality, all our thoughts and feelings, derive from three or four primordial necessities, whereof the principal one is food. The least modification of one of these necessities would entail a marked change in our moral existence. Were the belief one day to become general that man could dispense with animal food, there would ensue not only a great economic revolution--for a bullock, to produce one pound of meat, consumes more than a hundred of provender--but a moral improvement as well, not less important and certainly more sincere and more lasting than might follow a second appearance on the earth of the Envoy of the Father, come to remedy the errors and omissions of his former pilgrimage. For we find that the man who abandons the regimen of meat abandons alcohol also; and to do this is to renounce most of the coarser and more degraded pleasures of life. And it is in the passionate craving for these pleasures, in their glamour, and the prejudice they create, that the most formidable obstacle is found to the harmonious development of the race.
- This ideal is evidently still very imaginary, and may seem of but little importance; and infinite time must elapse, as in all other cases, before the certitude of those who are convinced that the race so far has erred in the choice of its aliment (assuming the truth of this statement to be borne out by experience) shall reach the confused masses, and bring them enlightenment and comfort. But may this not be the expedient Nature holds in reserve for the time when the struggle for life shall have become too hopelessly unbearable--the struggle for life that today means the fight for meat and for alcohol, double source of injustice and waste whence all the others are fed, double symbol of a happiness and necessity whereof neither is human?
- For a month now I have been an out-and-out vegetarian. The moral effect of this way of life, with its voluntary castigation of the body, causing one's material needs to dwindle away, is enormous. You can judge for yourself how utterly I [am] convinced of it, when I tell you that I expect of it no less than the regeneration of humanity. All I can tell you is: let yourself be converted to a natural way of living, but one in which you eat suitable food (compost-grown, stone-ground, wholemeal bread) and soon you will see the fruits of your endeavours.
- I have often thought, if it was not for this Tyranny which Custom usurps over us, that Men of any tolerable Good-nature could never be reconcil'd to the killing of so many Animals for their daily Food, as long as the bountiful Earth so plentifully provides them with Varieties of vegetable Dainties.
- 'Tis only Man, mischievous Man, that can make Death a Sport. Nature taught your Stomach to crave nothing but Vegetables; but your violent Fondness to change, and greater Eagerness after Novelties, have prompted you to the Destruction of Animals without Justice or Necessity, perverted your Nature and warp'd your Appetites which way soever your Pride or Luxury have call'd them.
- The more red meat and blood we eat, the more bloodthirsty we get, the more violent we get. The more vegetarian food that we eat, the more peace is taken into us.
- When I see bacon, I see a pig, I see a little friend, and that’s why I can’t eat it. Simple as that. But I’ll eat Linda’s veggie bacon. All her food was so good. Steve Martin came around for a barbecue once. I was grilling and he said, “Oh, no, I can’t have any of that.” I asked why not and he said, “Sorry, I’m vegetarian.” I said, “You didn’t know we are?! Everything on the grill is veggie!” He said, “Ahhh” and ate three veggie burgers and then asked where he could buy them.
- Paul McCartney, Animal Times interview, Fall, 1998.
- For cruelty to animals, vegetarianism is the great thing to get rid of that. For the planet, to prevent depleting the water and the land and everything, it’s a great idea. And I think it’s a great thing for your health, and doctors nowadays agree with that. There are plenty of great books and organizations, so no matter where you are, there is someone to help you. That’s your first step, and I think your second step is just look in the supermarket for good vegetarian food, and I think it’s so much more readily available now.
- Pigs and cows and chickens and people are all competing for grain.
- Why is compassion not part of our established curriculum, an inherent part of our education? Compassion, awe, wonder, curiosity, exaltation, humility — these are the very foundation of any real civilization, no longer the prerogatives, the preserves of any one church, but belonging to everyone, every child in every home, in every school.
- Yehudi Menuhin, Just for Animals; quoted in Souls Like Ourselves by Andrea Wiebers and David Wiebers (Rochester, MN: Sojourn Press, 2000), p. 16.
- Go to the meat-market of a Saturday night and see the crowds of live bipeds staring up at the long rows of dead quadrupeds. Does not that sight take a tooth out of the cannibal’s jaw? Cannibals? who is not a cannibal? I tell you it will be more tolerable for the Fejee that salted down a lean missionary in his cellar against a coming famine; it will be more tolerable for that provident Fejee, I say, in the day of judgment than for thee, civilized and enlightened gourmand, who nailest geese to the ground and feasted on their bloated livers in thy pate-de-foie-gras.
- Herman Melville, Moby Dick, chapter 65.
- The symbolism of meat-eating is never neutral. To himself, the meat-eater seems to be eating life. To the vegetarian, he seems to be eating death. There is a kind of gestalt-shift between the two positions which makes it hard to change, and hard to raise questions on the matter at all without becoming embattled.
- Simply let those, like him of Samos, live!
Let herbs to them a bloodless banquet give.
In beechen goblets let their beverage shine,
Cool from the crystal spring their sober wine!
Their youth should pass in innocence secure
From stain licentious, and in manners pure.
- John Milton, Elegy 6 55-66, to Charles Diodati.
- Strange spectacle! To see a mother giving her daughter, whom but yesterday she was suckling at her breast, this gross aliment of bloody meats, and the dangerous excitant wine!
- Jules Michelet, La Femme, vi. Onzième Edition, Paris, 1879.
- As for me, I could never so much as endure, without remorse and griefe, to see a poore, sillie, and innocent beast pursued and killed, which is harmelesse and voide of defence, and of whom we receive no offence at all.
- Montaigne, Of Cruelty.
- Well Mark Waid had him as a vegetarian, he sort of ratified it and then people were really angry because they used to say in the 70s his favourite food was beef bourguignon. But I kind of think of course he would be a vegetarian, I mean he would find it hard not to be. He's a super kid who grew up with animals and I'm sure he'd empathise with them pretty early on and just not be. I don't know, I might just put it in again to annoy people.
- The standard four food groups are based on American agricultural lobbies. Why do we have a milk group? Because we have a National Dairy Council. Why do we have a meat group? Because we have an extremely powerful [meat lobby].
- There's no question that largely vegetarian diets are as healthy as you can get. The evidence is so strong and overwhelming and produced over such a long period of time that it's no longer debatable.
- People sometimes forget that there are vegetables and vegetables. There are vegetables that have not so much nutriment in them; but there are others – all the farinaceous foods such as wheat and barley – which contain a greater amount of nutriment than beef or any other animal meat.
- Pythagoras, one of the oldest Philosophers in Europe, after he had travelled among the Easter nations for the sake of knowledge & conversation with their Priests & Judges seen their manners, taught his scholars that all man should be friends to all man & even to dumb beasts. This was the religion of the sons of Noah established by Moses & Christ & is still in force
- Sir Isaac Newton, Irenicum.
- Opposers of compassion urge: ‘If we should live on vegetable food, what shall we do with our cattle? What would become of them? They would grow so numerous they would be prejudicial to us—they would eat us up if we did not kill and eat them.’ But there is abundance of animals in the world whom men do not kill and eat; and yet we hear not of their injuring mankind, and sufficient room is found for their abode. Horses are not usually killed to be eaten, and yet we have not heard of any country overstocked with them. … Cattle are at present an article of trade, and their numbers are industriously promoted. … Self-preservation justifies a man in putting noxious animals to death, yet cannot warrant the least act of cruelty to any being. … Some animals are savage and unfeeling; but let not their ferocity and brutality be the standard pattern of the conduct of man. Because some of them have no compassion, feeling, or reason, are we to possess no compassion, feeling, or reason?
- George Nicholson, Remarks on Defences of Flesh-eating, quoted in The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-eating by Howard Williams (London: F. Pitman, 1883), p. 193.
- Since I stopped eating meat, I have noticed that my digestion is better, my thoughts are better, and I run instead of walking. […] I eat vegetables and all kinds of vegetarian food. I am a vegetarian. I am not a meat-eater.
- Vaslav Nijinsky, The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky.
- Vegetarianism is necessary for the very rich and the very poor. The poor need it because it is cheap and nourishing. The rich, in order to cleanse all the poisons from the corpses that have accumulated in their overfed organism.
- Natalia Nordman, Povarennaia kneiga dlia golodaiushchikh, quoted in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism (NCLC), vol. 108, edited by Jessica Menzo (Gale Group, 2002), p. 169.
- I don't understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it's medically conservative to cut people open or put them on powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs for the rest of their lives … Animal products are the main culprit in what is killing us. We can absolutely live better lives without them.
- [Our approach is] not like there was one set of dietary recommendations for reversing heart disease, a different one for reversing diabetes, and yet another for changing your genes or lengthening your telomeres. In all of our studies, people were asked to consume a whole-foods, plant-based diet … It's as though your body knows how to personalize the medicine it needs if you give it the right raw materials in your diet and lifestyle. … And what's good for you is good for our planet. To the degree we transition toward a whole-foods, plant-based diet, it not only makes a difference in our own lives; it also makes a difference in the lives of many others across the globe.
- O mortals, from your fellows' blood abstain,
Nor taint your bodies with a food profane:
While corn, and pulse by Nature are bestow'd,
And planted orchards bend their willing load;
While labour'd gardens wholesom herbs produce,
And teeming vines afford their gen'rous juice;
Nor tardier fruits of cruder kind are lost,
But tam'd with fire, or mellow'd by the frost;
While kine to pails distended udders bring,
And bees their hony redolent of Spring;
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.
- O impious use! to Nature's laws oppos'd,
Where bowels are in other bowels clos'd:
Where fatten'd by their fellow's fat, they thrive;
Maintain'd by murder, and by death they live.
'Tis then for nought, that Mother Earth provides
The stores of all she shows, and all she hides,
If men with fleshy morsels must be fed,
And chaw with bloody teeth the breathing bread:
What else is this, but to devour our guests,
And barb'rously renew Cyclopean feasts!
We, by destroying life, our life sustain;
And gorge th' ungodly maw with meats obscene.
- [To help combat climate change] Give up meat for one day (per week) initially, and decrease it from there. In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity.
- Everything of persecution and revenge between man and man, and everything of cruelty to animals is a violation of moral duty.
- Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason.
- Many refined people will not kill a fly, but eat an ox.
- Isaac Leib Peretz, Taanis Gedanken, 1896. Alle Verk, xii. 77.
- Now Euxenus realized that he was attached to a lofty ideal, and asked him at what point he would begin it. Apollonius answered: "At the point at which physicians begin, for they, by purging the bowels of their patients prevent some from being ill at all, and heal others." And having said this he declined to live upon a flesh diet, on the ground that it was unclean, and also that it made the mind gross; so he partook only of dried fruits and vegetables, for he said that all the fruits of the earth are clean. … After then having thus purged his interior, he took to walking without shoes by way of adornment and clad himself in linen raiment, declining to wear any animal product.
- Here’s a test you can try at home: put a two-year-old in a playpen with an apple and a rabbit. If it plays with the apple and eats the rabbit, you’ve got a carnivore. According to numerous studies … vegetarians have 60% less cancer than meat-eaters, and a tiny fraction of the heart attack rate. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out we aren’t very well designed to eat meat.
- Again, the practice of men sacrificing one another still exists among many nations; while, on the other hand, we hear of other human beings who did not even venture to taste the flesh of a cow and had no animal sacrifices, but only cakes and fruits dipped in honey, and similar pure offerings, but no flesh of animals; from these they abstained under the idea that they ought not to eat them, and might not stain the altars of the Gods with blood. For in those days men are said to have lived a sort of Orphic life, having the use of all lifeless things, but abstaining from all living things.
- They will feed on barley-meal and flour of wheat, baking and kneading them, making noble cakes and loaves; these they will serve up on a mat of reeds or on clean leaves, themselves reclining the while upon beds strewn with yew or myrtle. And they and their children will feast, drinking of the wine which they have made, wearing garlands on their heads, and hymning the praises of the gods, in happy converse with one another. And they will take care that their families do not exceed their means; having an eye to poverty or war.
But, said Glaucon, interposing, you have not given them a relish to their meal.
True, I replied, I had forgotten; of course they must have a relish-salt, and olives, and cheese, and they will boil roots and herbs such as country people prepare; for a dessert we shall give them figs, and peas, and beans; and they will roast myrtle-berries and acorns at the fire, drinking in moderation. And with such a diet they may be expected to live in peace and health to a good old age, and bequeath a similar life to their children after them.
- In my opinion the true and healthy constitution of the State is the one which I have described. But if you wish also to see a State at fever heat, I have no objection. For I suspect that many will not be satisfied with the simpler way of life. They will be for adding … dainties, and perfumes, and incense, and courtesans, and cakes, all these not of one sort only, but in every variety … And we shall want more servants. Will not tutors be also in request, and nurses wet and dry, tirewomen and barbers, as well as confectioners and cooks; and swineherds, too, who were not needed and therefore had no place in the former edition of our State, but are needed now? They must not be forgotten: and there will be animals of many other kinds, if people eat them.
And living in this way we shall have much greater need of physicians than before?
And the country which was enough to support the original inhabitants will be too small now, and not enough?
Then a slice of our neighbours' land will be wanted by us for pasture and tillage, and they will want a slice of ours, if, like ourselves, they exceed the limit of necessity, and give themselves up to the unlimited accumulation of wealth?
That, Socrates, will be inevitable.
And so we shall go to war, Glaucon. Shall we not?
Most certainly, he replied.
Then without determining as yet whether war does good or harm, thus much we may affirm, that now we have discovered war to be derived from causes which are also the causes of almost all the evils in States, private as well as public.
- I, for my part, wonder of what sort of feeling, mind or reason that man was possessed who was first to pollute his mouth with gore, and allow his lips to touch the flesh of a murdered being; who spread his table with the mangled forms of dead bodies, and claimed as daily food and dainty dishes what but now were beings endowed with movement, with perception and with voice. For the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that portion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.
- Plutarch, Moralia.
- Nothing can be more shocking and horrid than one of our kitchens sprinkled with blood, and abounding with the cries of expiring victims, or with the limbs of dead animals scattered or hung up here and there. It gives one the image of a giant's den in a romance, bestrewed with scattered heads and mangled limbs.
- Alexander Pope, Spence's Anecdotes and The Guardian, May 21, 1713; as quoted in The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-eating by Howard Williams (London: F. Pitman, 1883), p. 132.
- The fleshless diet contributes to health and to a suitable endurance of hard work in philosophy.
- No member of the animal kingdom nurses past maturity, No member of the animal kingdom ever did a thing to me, Its why I don't eat red meat or white fish, Don't give me no blue cheese, Were all members of the animal kingdom, Leave your brothers and sisters in the sea.
- Prince, Animal Kingdom lyrics, from The Truth album.
- Human beings are meant to eat vegetarian food. The tiger does not come to eat your fruits. His prescribed food is animal flesh. But man’s food is vegetables, fruits, grains, and milk products. So how can you say that animal killing is not a sin?
- 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.
- It is in no way a digression to mention the horrors of war in connection with massacres of cattle and carnivorous banquets. People's diet corresponds closely to their morality. Blood calls for blood. In this connection, if one considers the various people he has known, there will be no doubt that in general, the agreeable manners, kindness of disposition, and equanimity of the vegetarians contrasts markedly with the qualities of the inveterate meat-eaters and avid drinkers of blood.
- No wonder Muddlers initially think that becoming a vegetarian is like taking a vow of culinary abstinence mixed with voluntary poverty.
Of course, in time Muddlers discover that there is an incredibly delicious, colorful, and nutritious animal-free cuisine out there to be discovered, a menu of possibilities that includes foods from every nation and ethnicity in the world. It is the great new food we gain, not the customary old food we lose, that is the real surprise, something all of us have to discover for ourselves.
- Tom Regan, Empty Cages: Facing the Challenge of Animal Rights, ch. 6.
- I am experiencing an unprecedented surge of health and my energy has soared.
- Ilya Repin, Vegetarianskoe obozrenie (after he became a vegetarian).
- Poor little innocent creatures, if you were reasoning beings and could speak, how you would curse us! For we are the cause of your death, and what have you done to deserve it?
- Saint Richard of Chichester, quoted in Alban Butler, Lives of the Saints, vol. II, Burns & Oates, 1956, p. 24. Also quoted by Dr. Holly Roberts in Vegetarian Christian Saints, p. 191.
- A pitiful fellow! Such a ridiculous kind of pity his, as those silly souls have, who would not kill an innocent chicken for the world; but when killed to their hands, are always the most greedy devourers of it.
- Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, volume 4.
- In the new world that is coming, millions of human beings will voluntarily choose to eat lower on the food chain so that millions of others may obtain the minimum food calories they need to sustain their lives. This grand redistribution of the earth's bounty, the most far-reaching in history, will unite the human race in a new fraternal bond. A new species awareness will begin where the rich meet the poor on the descending rungs of the world's protein ladder. The decision to eat further down on the planet's food chain will force a wholesale reassessment of the entire grain-fed meat complex ranging from factory farm chickens to hogs. The collapse of the global cattle complex will likely precipitate a chain reaction, resulting in the elimination of other grain-fed meats from the human diet. The dissolution of the commercial cattle complex will spare the rich and might help save the poor. Eliminating grain-fed beef and eating lower on the food chain will dramatically reduce the incidence of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
- Jeremy Rifkin, Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture (London: Thorsons, 1993), p. 290.
- As human sacrifices were a natural effect of that superstitious cruelty which first produced the slaughter of animals, so is it equally natural that those accustomed to eat the brute, should not long abstain from the man : more especially as; when toasted or broiled on the altar, the appearance, savour, and taste of both would be nearly, if not entirely, the same.
- Joseph Ritson, Essay on Abstinence from Animal Food.
- The eating of meat without doubt focuses the physical mechanism closely to the physical system. There is nothing wrong with this. If you are trying to develop inner abilities however, and if you wish to allow yourself a mobility of focus, then moderation in this respect must be used.
- Jane Roberts, The Early Sessions: Book 4 of the Seth Material, Session 185, p. 247.
- This leads me of course to at least mention here the cruel methods used in the slaughtering of animals and fowls for human consumption. The creatures are treated as if they possessed no feeling or consciousness of their own - and such attitudes show a most unfortunate misreading of natural events. As a direct result, at least as many diseases develop through such procedures as would exist in a highly primitive society with unsanitary conditions.
- Jane Roberts, The Way Toward Health, p. 197.
- Although most of us conduct our lives as omnivores, in that we eat flesh as well as vegetables and fruits, human beings have characteristics of herbivores, not carnivores. The appendages of carnivores are claws; those of herbivores are hands or hooves. The teeth of carnivores are sharp; those of herbivores are mainly flat (for grinding). The intestinal tract of carnivores is short (3 times body length); that of herbivores, long (12 times body length). Body cooling of carnivores is done by panting; herbivores, by sweating. Carnivores drink fluids by lapping; herbivores, by sipping. Carnivores produce their own vitamin C, whereas herbivores obtain it from their diet. Thus, humans have characteristics of herbivores, not carnivores.
- William C. Roberts, M.D., Twenty questions on atherosclerosis.
- He could not think of the animals without shuddering in anguish. He looked into the eyes of the beasts and saw there a soul like his own, a soul which could not speak; but the eyes cried for it: "What have I done to you? Why do you hurt me?" He could not bear to see the most ordinary sights that he had seen hundreds of times—a calf crying in a wicker pen, with its big, protruding eyes, with their bluish whites and pink lids, and white lashes, its curly white tufts on its forehead, its purple snout, its knock-kneed legs:—a lamb being carried by a peasant with its four legs tied together, hanging head down, trying to hold its head up, moaning like a child, bleating and lolling its gray tongue:—fowls huddled together in a basket:—the distant squeals of a pig being bled to death:—a fish being cleaned on the kitchen-table.... The nameless tortures which men inflict on such innocent creatures made his heart ache. Grant animals a ray of reason, imagine what a frightful nightmare the world is to them: a dream of cold-blooded men, blind and deaf, cutting their throats, slitting them open, gutting them, cutting them into pieces, cooking them alive, sometimes laughing at them and their contortions as they writhe in agony. Is there anything more atrocious among the cannibals of Africa? To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of men. 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. That alone is the justification of all that men may suffer.
- Indeed, Judaism as a way of life, seeks to inculcate in us a consciousness of the Divine Presence in the World and respect for life accordingly. The more we care for life, the closer we are in fact to God. Accordingly, an ethical vegetarian way of life expresses the most noble and sublime values and aspirations of Judaism itself, bringing us closer to its vision for society as a whole.
- David Rosen, "Vegetarianism: An Orthodox Jewish Perspective," in Rabbis and Vegetarianism: An Evolving Tradition, edited by Roberta Kalechofsky (Marblehead, MA: Micah Publications, 1995), p. 55.
- It appears therefore that man, having teeth and intestines like frugivorous animals, should naturally be placed in that class. And not only do anatomical observations confirm this opinion, but the monuments of antiquity are also very favorable to it. “Dicaearchus,” says St. Jerome, “relates in his books on Greek antiquities that under the reign of Saturn, when the earth was still fertile by itself, no man ate flesh, but that all lived on fruits and vegetables that grew naturally.” … From this one can see that I am neglecting several advantageous considerations that I could turn to account. For since prey is nearly the exclusive subject of fighting among carnivorous animals, and since frugivorous animals live among themselves in continual peace, if the human species were of this latter genus, it is clear that it would have had a much easier time subsisting in the state of nature, and much less need and occasion to leave it.
- The indifference of children towards meat is one proof that the taste for meat is unnatural; their preference is for vegetable foods, such as milk, pastry, fruit, etc. Beware of changing this natural taste and making children flesh-eaters, if not for their health's sake, for the sake of their character; for how can one explain away the fact that great meat-eaters are usually fiercer and more cruel than other men; this has been recognised at all times and in all places. The English are noted for their cruelty while the Gaures are the gentlest of men. All savages are cruel, and it is not their customs that tend in this direction; their cruelty is the result of their food. They go to war as to the chase, and treat men as they would treat bears. Indeed in England butchers are not allowed to give evidence in a court of law, no more can surgeons. Great criminals prepare themselves for murder by drinking blood. Homer makes his flesh-eating Cyclops a terrible man, while his Lotus-eaters are so delightful that those who went to trade with them forgot even their own country to dwell among them.
- There is a popular notion that vegetarians are mild and gentle folk who would not hurt a fly. Perhaps they would not hurt a fly. As to this, I cannot speak, but their charity towards flies certainly does not extend to human beings. Perhaps the most powerful argument in favour of a vegetarian diet is the vigour and pugnacity which it gives to those who practice it.
- I say ethical principle, because it is beyond doubt that the chief motive of Vegetarianism is the humane one. Questions of hygiene and of economy both play their part, and an important part, in a full discussion of food reform; but the feeling which underlies and animates the whole movement is the instinctive horror of butchery, especially the butchery of the more highly organized animals, so human, so near akin to man.
- Henry Stephens Salt, The Humanities of Diet.
- I advance no exaggerated or fanciful claim for Vegetarianism. It is not, as some have asserted, a "panacea" for human ills; it is something much more rational—an essential part of the modern humanitarian movement, which can make no true progress without it. Vegetarianism is the diet of the future, as flesh-food is the diet of the past.
- Henry Stephens Salt, The Humanities of Diet.
- It is often said, as an excuse for the slaughter of animals, that it is better for them to live and to be butchered than not to live at all. … In fact, if we once admit that it is an advantage to an animal to be brought into the world, there is hardly any treatment that cannot be justified by the supposed terms of such a contract. Also, the argument must apply to mankind. It has, in fact, been the plea of the slave-breeder; and it is logically just as good an excuse for slave-holding as for flesh-eating. It would justify parents in almost any treatment of their children, who owe them, for the great boon of life, a debt of gratitude which no subsequent services can repay. We could hardly deny the same merit to cannibals, if they were to breed their human victims for the table, as the early Peruvians are said to have done.
- Henry Stephens Salt, The Humanities of Diet.
- 28% of the greenhouse gasses come from eating meat and from raising cattle, so we can do a much better job. … Luckily we know that you can get your protein source from many different ways, you can get it through vegetables if you are a vegetarian. I have seen many body builders that are vegetarian and they get strong and healthy.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Arnold Schwarzenegger: Stop eating meat and save the planet", in BBC Newsbeat website (8 December 2015).
- Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.
- Albert Schweitzer, The Philosophy of Civilisation.
- We will one day think it as horrible to eat animals as we now think it horrible to eat each other.
- Sotion used to tell me why Pythagoras abstained from animal food, and why, in later times, Sextius did also. In each case, the reason was different, but it was in each case a noble reason. Sextius believed that man had enough sustenance without resorting to blood, and that a habit of cruelty is formed whenever butchery is practised for pleasure. Moreover, he thought we should curtail the sources of our luxury; he argued that a varied diet was contrary to the laws of health, and was unsuited to our constitutions. Pythagoras, on the other hand, held that all beings were inter-related, and that there was a system of exchange between souls which transmigrated from one bodily shape into another.
- Why should you call me to account for eating decently? If I battened on the scorched corpses of animals, you might well ask me why I did that. Why should I be filthy and inhuman? Why should I be an accomplice in the wholesale horror and degradation of the slaughter-house?
- I was a cannibal for twenty-five years. For the rest I have been a vegetarian. It was Shelley who first opened my eyes to the savagery of my diet.
- I was told that my diet was so poor that I could not repair the bones that were broken and operated on. So I have just had an Xradiograph taken; and lo! perfectly mended solid bone so beautifully white that I have left instructions that, if I die, a glove stretcher is to be made of me and sent to you as a souvenir.
- George Bernard Shaw, Letter to Mrs. Patrick Campbell.
- The average age of a meat-eater is 63. I am on the verge of 85 and still at work as hard as ever. I have lived quite long enough and am trying to die; but I simply cannot do it. A single beef-steak; would finish me; but I cannot bring myself to swallow it. I am oppressed with a dread of living forever. That is the only disadvantage of vegetarianism.
- George Bernard Shaw, American Vegetarian.
- When John Coltrane came to me, he looked different from his contemporaries: so clean, well-mannered and humble. About six months earlier he had apparently given up drugs and drink, become a vegetarian and taken to reading Ramakrishna's book's.
- Ravi Shankar, Raga Mala.
- It is only by softening and disguising dead flesh by culinary preparation that it is rendered susceptible of mastication or digestion, and that the sight of its bloody juices and raw horror does not excite intolerable loathing and disgust.
- There is no disease, bodily or mental, which adoption of vegetable diet and pure water has not infallibly mitigated, wherever the experiment has been fairly tried. Debility is gradually converted into strength, disease into healthfulness: madness, in all its hideous variety, from the ravings of the fettered maniac, to the unaccountable irrationalities of ill-temper, that make a hell of domestic life, into a calm and considerable evenness of temper, that alone might offer a certain pledge of the future moral reformation of society.
- By all that is sacred in our hopes for the human race, I conjure those who love happiness and truth, to give a fair trial to the vegetable system.
- The butchering of harmless animals cannot fail to produce much of that spirit of insane and hideous exultation in which news of a victory is related altho' purchased by the massacre of a hundred thousand men. If the use of animal food be in consequence, subversive to the peace of human society, how unwarrantable is the injustice and barbarity which is exercised toward these miserable victims. They are called into existence by human artifice that they may drag out a short and miserable existence of slavery and disease, that their bodies may be mutilated, their social feelings outraged.
- P. B. Shelley, "On the Vegetable System of Diet" (c. 1815; pub. in the 1920s), in Complete Works, ed. Roger Ingpen and Walter E. Peck, Volume 6 (New York: Gordian Press, 1965), pp. 343-344, original emphasis.
- There is not a single argument nor a single fact that can be offered in favor of flesh eating that cannot be offered, with equal strength, in favor of cannibalism.
- Herbert M. Shelton, Superior Nutrition.
- Give up animal foods for two months, or even for a week, and I promise you will look and feel better, and you’ll want to do it forever!
- Alicia Silverstone, Animal Times, Spring, 2008, p 3.
- I am a vegetarian for health reasons—the health of the chicken.
- 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.
- The only justification for killing animals is the fact that man can keep a knife or an ax in his hands and is shrewd enough and selfish enough to do slaughter for what he thinks is his own good. The Old Testament has many passages where the passion for meat is considered to be evil. According to the Bible, it was only a compromise with so-called human nature that God has allowed people to eat meat.
- Isaac Bashevis Singer, from the Foreword to Vegetarianism: A Way of Life by Dudley Giehl (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1981).
- Vegetarianism is my religion. I became a consistent vegetarian some twenty-three years ago. Before that, I would try over and over again. But it was sporadic. Finally, in the mid-1960s, I made up my mind. And I've been a vegetarian ever since. … This is my protest against the conduct of the world. To be a vegetarian is to disagree — to disagree with the course of things today. Nuclear power, starvation, cruelty — we must make a statement against these things. Vegetarianism is my statement. And I think it's a strong one.
- Becoming a vegetarian is not merely a symbolic gesture. Nor is it an attempt to isolate oneself from the ugly realities of the world, to keep oneself pure and so without responsibility for the cruelty and carnage all around. Becoming a vegetarian is a highly practical and effective step one can take toward ending both the killing of nonhuman animals and the infliction of suffering upon them.
- Those who claim to care about the wellbeing of human beings and the preservation of our environment should become vegetarians for that reason alone. They would thereby increase the amount of grain available to feed people elsewhere, reduce pollution, save water and energy, and cease contributing to the clearing of forests; moreover, since a vegetarian diet is cheaper than one based on meat dishes, they would have more money available to devote to famine relief, population control, or whatever social or political cause they thought most urgent. … when nonvegetarians say that “human problems come first” I cannot help wondering what exactly it is that they are doing for human beings that compels them to continue to support the wasteful, ruthless exploitation of farm animals.
- Quite rightly, we do not normally take the behaviour of animals as a model for how we may treat them. We would not, for example, justify tearing a cat to pieces because we had observed the cat tearing a mouse to pieces. Carnivorous fishes don’t have a choice about whether to kill other fish or not. They kill as a matter of instinct. Meanwhile, humans can choose to abstain from killing or eating fish and other animals. Alternatively, the argument could be made that is part of natural order that there are predators and prey, and so it cannot be wrong for us to play our part in this order. But this “argument from nature” can justify all kinds of inequities, including the rule of men over women and leaving the weak and the sick to fall by the wayside.
- Peter Singer, The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter.
- It may indeed be doubted whether butchers' meat 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, it is known from experience, can, without any butchers' meat, afford the most plentiful, the most wholesome, the most nourishing, and the most invigorating diet.
- You do not believe that souls are assigned, first to one body and then to another, and that our so-called death is merely a change of abode? You do not believe that in cattle, or in wild beasts, or in creatures of the deep, the soul of him who was once a man may linger? You do not believe that nothing on this earth is annihilated, but only changes its haunts? And that animals also have cycles of progress and, so to speak, an orbit for their souls, no less than the heavenly bodies, which revolve in fixed circuits? Great men have put faith in this idea; therefore, while holding to your own view, keep the whole question in abeyance in your mind. If the theory is true, it is a mark of purity to refrain from eating flesh; if it be false, it is economy. And what harm does it do to you to give such credence? I am merely depriving you of food which sustains lions and vultures.
- Further, it should be clear that meat in itself as protein is not much superior to eggs or nuts and could not alter the evolution of the brain – if this were so, this miracle food would have continued to enlarge humans’ brain size in succeeding years when much greater amounts of meat were consumed.
- We used to recommend meat, poultry, and fish for children because they are rich in protein and iron. However, we now know that there are harmful effects of a meaty diet, particularly changes in the arteries and weight problems, and that these changes begin in childhood. When children develop a taste for meats, it is hard to break this habit later on. It turns out that children can get plenty of protein and iron from vegetables, beans, and other plant foods that avoid the fat and cholesterol that are in animal products.
- There is no logical basis to support the theory that plants feel pain. The dubious possibility that they might, however, is no justification for killing obviously sentient beings. Any rational person understands the striking difference between slitting the throat of a sentient animal and plucking a fruit or vegetable. … Vegans and vegetarians are commonly baited by nonvegetarians with “what if” scenarios that typically have no relevance to or bearing on most people's real-life situations.
- Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, nothing so surely unmortars a society; nothing, we might plausibly argue, will so harden and degrade the minds of those that practice it. And yet we ourselves make much the same appearance in the eyes of the Buddhist and the vegetarian. We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions, and organs with ourselves; we feed on babes, though not our own; and the slaughter-house resounds daily with screams of pain and fear. We distinguish, indeed; but the unwillingness of many nations to eat the dog, an animal with whom we live on terms of the next intimacy, shows how precariously the distinction is grounded.
- Robert Louis Stevenson, In the South Seas, Chapter XI.
- I was born a vegetarian. … I feel there is no need to cause another living thing pain or harm. There are so many other things we can eat. I have never eaten meat in my life, and I’m 5 foot 10 and not exactly wasting away. A wise man once said, ‘Animals are my friends, and I’m not in the habit of eating my friends.’ That is exactly how I feel.
- The Tiger, the Lion, in short, all flesh-eating animals seized their prey, running, swimming, or flying, and tore it in pieces with their teeth or talons, devouring it there and then upon the spot. Man cannot catch other animals this way, or tear them in pieces, and devour them as they are… Besides he has higher and not merely animal impulses.
- Gustav von Struve, Mandaras’ Wanderungen.
- I saw, all of a sudden, an odd-looking bird making its way through the water to the opposite bank, followed by a great commotion. I found it was a domestic fowl which had managed to escape impending doom in the galley by jumping overboard and was now trying frantically to win across. It had almost gained the bank when the clutches of its relentless pursuers closed on it, and it was brought back in triumph, gripped by the neck. I told the cook I would not have any meat for dinner. I really must give up animal food. We manage to swallow flesh only because we do not think of the cruel and sinful thing we do. There are many crimes which are the creation of man himself, the wrongfulness of which is put down to their divergence from habit, custom, or tradition. But cruelty is not of these. It is a fundamental sin, and admits of no argument or nice distinctions. If only we do not allow our heart to grow callous, its protest against cruelty is always clearly heard; and yet we go on perpetrating cruelties easily, merrily, all of us ⎯ in fact, any one who does not join in is dubbed a crank. … if, after our pity is aroused, we persist in throttling our feelings simply in order to join others in their preying upon life, we insult all that is good in us. I have decided to try a vegetarian diet.
- I do not mean here absolute want of food, but want of healthful nutriment. How to provide good and plentiful food is, therefore, a most important question of the day. On the general principles the raising of cattle as a means of providing food is objectionable, because, in the sense interpreted above, it must undoubtedly tend to the addition of mass of a "smaller velocity."
- Nikola Tesla, The Problem of Increasing Human Energy, Century Illustrated Magazine, June 1900.
- It is certainly preferable to raise vegetables, and I think, therefore, that vegetarianism is a commendable departure from the established barbarous habit. That we can subsist on plant food and perform our work even to advantage is not a theory, but a well-demonstrated fact. Many races living almost exclusively on vegetables are of superior physique and strength. There is no doubt that some plant food, such as oatmeal, is more economical than meat, and superior to it in regard to both mechanical and mental performance. Such food, moreover, taxes our digestive organs decidedly less, and, in making us more contented and sociable, produces an amount of good difficult to estimate. In view of these facts every effort should be made to stop the wanton and cruel slaughter of animals, which must be destructive to our morals.
- Nikola Tesla (Century Illustrated Magazine, June 1900).
- One farmer says to me, "You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with"; and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle.
- 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.
- How can he practice true compassion
- Who eats the flesh of an animal to fatten his own flesh?
- Tiruvalluvar, Tirukkural:251.
- He who feasts on a creature's flesh and he who wields a weapon.
- Goodness is never one with the minds of these two.
- Tiruvalluvar, Tirukkural:253.
- If you ask, "What is kindness and what is unkindness?"
- It is not-killing and killing. Thus, eating flesh is never virtuous.
- Tiruvalluvar, Tirukkural:254.
- If the world did not purchase and consume meat,
- No one would slaughter and offer meat for sale.
- Tiruvalluvar, Tirukkural:256.
- All life will press palms together in prayerful adoration
- of those who refuse to slaughter or savour meat.
- Tiruvalluvar, Tirukkural:260.
- I had wished to visit a slaughter-house, in order to see with my own eyes the reality of the question raised when vegetarianism is discussed. But at first I felt ashamed to do so, as one is always ashamed of going to look at suffering which one knows is about to take place, but which one cannot avert; and so I kept putting off my visit. But a little while ago I met on the road a butcher … I asked him whether he did not feel sorry for the animals that he killed. He gave me the usual answer: 'Why should I feel sorry? It is necessary.' But when I told him that eating flesh is not necessary, but is only a luxury, he agreed; and then he admitted that he was sorry for the animals.
- And see, a kind, refined lady will devour the carcasses of these animals with full assurance that she is doing right, at the same time asserting two contradictory propositions: First, that she is, as her doctor assures her, so delicate that she cannot be sustained by vegetable food alone, and that for her feeble organism flesh is indispensable; and, secondly, that she is so sensitive that she is unable, not only herself to inflict suffering on animals, but even to bear the sight of suffering. Whereas the poor lady is weak precisely because she has been taught to live upon food unnatural to man; and she cannot avoid causing suffering to animals — for she eats them.
- We are not ostriches, and cannot believe that if we refuse to look at what we do not wish to see, it will not exist. This is especially the case when what we do not wish to see is what we wish to eat. If it were really indispensable, or, if not indispensable, at least in some way useful! But it is quite unnecessary … And this is continually being confirmed by the fact that young, kind, undepraved people — especially women and girls — without knowing how it logically follows, feel that virtue is incompatible with beefsteaks, and, as soon as they wish to be good, give up eating flesh.
- Men think it right to eat animals, because they are led to believe that God sanctions it. This is untrue. No matter in what books it may be written that it is not sinful to slay animals and to eat them, it is more clearly written in the heart of man than in any books that animals are to be pitied and should not be slain any more than human beings. We all know this if we do not choke the voice of our conscience.
- Leo Tolstoy, The Pathway of Life: Teaching Love and Wisdom (posthumous), Part I, International Book Publishing Company, New York, 1919, p. 68.
- After looking carefully into the matter, and after some years' experience in its non-use, I can state without hesitancy that, contrary to the prevailing opinion, the flesh of animals is not necessary as an article of food. … We shall find numerous articles of food, as we study the matter, that, so far as body nourishing, building, and sustaining qualities are concerned, contain twice, and in some cases over twice, as much as any flesh food that can be mentioned.
- Ralph Waldo Trine, Every Living Creature: Or, Heart-training Through the Animal World (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1899), pp. 25-26.
- The only really consistent humanitarian is the one who is not a flesh-eater; and great, I am satisfied, will be the results, both to the human family and to the animal race, as children are wisely taught and judiciously directed along this line.
- Ralph Waldo Trine, Every Living Creature: Or, Heart-training Through the Animal World (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1899), p. 30.
- I cannot kill. Unfortunately, there are so many who can and do kill. As I cannot kill I cannot authorize others to kill. Do you see? If you are buying from a butcher you are authorizing him to kill — kill helpless, dumb creatures, which neither I nor you could kill ourselves. So that I am for that reason a vegetarian, as most Russians are. For nine years I have been a vegetarian, and I shall be one — mind, I am a man with strong convictions — to the end of my life.
- Refrain at all times such Foods as cannot be procured without violence and oppression. For know, that all the inferior Creatures when hurt do cry and send forth their Complaints to their Maker or grand Fountain whence they proceeded. Be not insensible that every Creature doth bear the Image of the great Creator according to the Nature of each, and that he is the Vital Power in all things. Therefore let none take pleasure to offer violence to that Life, lest he awaken the fierce wrath, and bring danger to his own Soul.
- … far greater Advantages would come to pass amongst Christians, if they would cease from Contention, Oppression, and (what tends and disposes them thereunto,) the killing of Beasts, and eating their Flesh and Blood; and in a short time humane murthers, and devilish feuds and cruelties among each other, would abate, and perhaps scarce have a being amongst them.
- A vegetarian diet, by reason of its low content of saturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and animal proteins, and its high concentrations of folic acids, antioxidants, and phytoestrogens—shown to be effective in inhibiting the growth or in promoting the regression of serious coronary pathologies—constitutes a barrier against a number of chronic degenerative diseases, cancer among them. And that is not all. Fruits and vegetables—besides contaminating us much less than some other foods—are troves of precious substances that enable the neutralization of carcinogenic agents and that 'dilute' the concentration of diseased cells and reduce their proliferation. All of these advantages, as well as many others, emerged from studies on populations in the last century.
- (Of the mouth of man which is a tomb) there shall come forth loud noises out of the tombs of those who have died by an evil and violent death.
- Leonardo da Vinci, Prophecies.
- Though nature has given sensibility to pain to such living organisms as have the power of movement, in order thereby to preserve the members which in this movement are liable to diminish and be destroyed, the living organisms which have no power of movement do not have to encounter opposing objects, and plants consequently do not need to have a sensibility to pain, and so it comes about that if you break them they do not feel anguish in their members as do the animals.
- Leonardo da Vinci, Leonardo da Vinci's Note-Books, arranged and rendered into English by Edward McCurdy, 1923, p. 130.
- [Isaac Newton] thought it a very frightful inconsistency to believe that animals feel and at the same time to cause them to suffer. On this point his morality was in accord with is philosophy. […] This compassion, which he felt for no other animals, culminated in true charity for men. In truth, without humanity, a virtue which comprehends all virtues, the name of philosopher would be little deserved.
- Voltaire, Eléments de la Philosophie de Newton.
- There is in man a disposition to compassion as generally diffused as his other instincts. Newton had cultivated this sentiment of humanity, and he extended it to the lower animals. With Locke he was strongly convinced that God has given to them a proportion of ideas, and the same feelings, which he has to us … In truth, without humanity, a virtue which comprehends all virtues, the name of philosopher is little deserved.
- Voltaire, Elémens de la Philosophie de Newton.
- HEN: What appalling villains! I feel faint. Oh no! they'll tear my eyes out, and cut my throat! I'll be roasted and eaten! Won't these ruffians suffer any remorse?
COCK: No, my dear. The two priests I told you about were saying that men don't ever have any remorse for things that they're accustomed to doing.
- Voltaire, Dialogue between the Cock and the Hen.
- Men fed upon meat, and drinking strong drinks, have all an impoisoned and acrid blood which drives them mad in a hundred different ways. Their main insanity express in the fury of shed the blood of his brothers and to devastate fertile lands to rule over cemeteries.
- Voltaire, On The Princess of Babylon, Chapter III.
- Recently, while I was in the street, my eye was caught by a poulterer's shop; I stared unthinkingly at his piled-up wares, neatly and appetizingly laid out, when I became aware of a man at the side busily plucking a hen, while another man was just putting his hand in a cage, where he seized a live hen and tore its head off. The hideous scream of the animal, and the pitiful, weaker sounds of complaint that it made while being overpowered transfixed my soul with horror. Ever since then I have been unable to rid myself of this impression, although I had experienced it often before.
- Richard Wagner, Selected Letters of Richard Wagner.
- The meat industry is one of the most destructive ecological industries on the planet. The raising and slaughtering of pigs, cows, sheep, turkeys and chickens not only utilizes vast areas of land and vast quantities of water, but it is a greater contributor to greenhouse gas emissions than the automobile industry.
- Paul Watson, A Very Inconvenient Truth.
- Man is innately a creature of love … love is the most powerful force in the universe, and eventually—it's a very slow process—it will conquer. I think there will come a time, and this is down the road a great many years, when civilized people will look back in horror on our generation and the ones that have preceded it: the idea that we should eat other living things running around on four legs, that we should raise them just for the purpose of killing them! The people of the future will say “meat-eaters!” in disgust and regard us in the same way that we regard cannibals and cannibalism.
- In all the round world of Utopia there is no meat. There used to be. But now we cannot stand the thought of slaughter-houses. 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. We never settled the hygienic question of meat-eating at all. This other aspect decided us. I can still remember, as a boy, the rejoicings over the closing of the last slaughter-house.
- H. G. Wells, A Modern Utopia, Chapter the Ninth, The Samurai, Section 5.
- A considerable number of people opposed it because it did not assert or impose on all mankind, some particular fad. Vegetarians, for example, wanted clauses to establish the legal rights of animals (pigs, etc).
- And before we judge of them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit.
- H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, Chapter I.
- Those who eat flesh are but eating grains and vegetables at second hand; for the animal receives from these things the nutrition that produces growth. The life that was in the grains and the vegetables passes into the eater. We receive it by eating the flesh of the animal. How much better to get it direct by eating the food that God provided for our use!
- Ellen White, Health and Happiness, 1905.
- It has been well said … that there are steps on the way to the summit of Dietetic Reform, and, if only one step be taken, yet that single step will be not without importance and without influence in the world. The step, which leaves for ever behind it the barbarism of slaughtering our fellow-beings, the Mammals and Birds, is, it is superfluous to add, the most important and most influential of all.
- At this period of his existence, meat and blood, entrails, and all that had ever lived and breathed disgusted him as food, for an animal dies in pain just as man does, and it repelled him to be digesting death's agony.