Animal industry quotes

These are quotes pertaining to specific worldwide institutions in which animals are exploited and abused. I start off with quotes about animal exploitation in general before moving on to the specific industries; experimenting on animals, enslaving/capturing animals, animals used in clothing and fashion, hunting and fishing, and factory farming.

General industry quotes

Should reverence for life be a priority in our lives?...Each day around the world, humans display supreme arrogance by ordering the death of other creatures for convenience, for progress, or for sport.
-Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D.

If possessing a higher degree of intelligence does not entitle one human to use another for his or her own ends, how can it entitle humans to exploit nonhumans for the same purpose?
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

The combined outrage of the millions of creatures which have suffered at the hands of man may well combine to haunt us. We are all of the same family, though destiny has assigned us to different roles: in our relationship with animals, we should regard them as different, not inferior.
-Dennis Bardens

Humanity cannot afford to acknowledge all of the blood that it spills and the destruction it inflicts on the world in its effort to perpetuate itself. Desacralization is a process that allows us to sever any relationship we might feel to other living things. By draining the aliveness out of things, we can pretend that our control and manipulation are of little consequence. Man the trapper becomes man the taxidermist, disemboweling nature of its spontaneity and movement, and stuffing it with a leaden inanimateness.
-Jeremy Rifkin, Algeny

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

A dog starv'd at the master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A horse misus'd upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear,
A skylark wounded on the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
-William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

In justifying cruelty to animals we put ourselves also on the animal level. We choose the jungle and must abide by our choice.
-C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock

With the eventual acceptance of Darwin's theory we reach a modern understanding of nature, one which has since then changed in detail rather than in fundamentals. Only those who prefer religious faith to beliefs based on reasoning and evidence can still maintain that the human species is the special darling of the entire universe, or that other animals were created to provide us with food, or that we have divine authority over them, and divine permission to kill them.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

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

Beasts kill for hunger, men for pay.
-John Gay

As far as eating animals is concerned, humans are the most stupid animals on the planet. We kill billions of wild animals to protect the animals that we eat. We are destroying our environment to feed to the animals we eat. We spend more time, money, and resources fattening up the animals we eat than we do feeding humans who are dying of hunger. The greatest irony is that after all the expenses of raising these animals, we eat them; and they kill us slowly...And rather than recognize this madness, we torture and murder millions of other animals trying to find cures to diseases caused by eating animals in the first place.
-Mike Anderson

The relationship of homo sapiens to the other animals is one of unremitting exploitation. We employ their work; we eat and wear them. We exploit them to serve our superstitions: whereas we used to sacrifice them to our gods and tear out their entrails in order to foresee the future, we now sacrifice them to science, and experiment on their entrails in the hope - or on the mere off chance - that we might thereby see a little more clearly into the present...To us it seems incredible that the Greek philosophers should have scanned so deeply into right and wrong and yet never noticed the immorality of slavery. Perhaps 3,000 years from now it will seem equally incredible that we do not notice the immorality of our own oppression of animals.
-Brigid Brophy

Pain is pain, whether it be inflicted on man or on beast; and the creature who suffers it, whether man or beast, being sensible to the misery of it, whilst it lasts, suffers evil...The white man...can have no right, by virtue of his color, to enslave and tyrannize over a black man...For the same reason, a man can have no natural right to abuse and torment a beast.
-Dr. Humphrey Primatt

We need not wait for God
The animals do judge
Of air and sea and grass
Accusing with their eyes
Waiting here en masse
They cry out with their blood
The whale caught in surprise
By oilslick’s killing sludge
The cow with poisoned milk
The elephant’s muted roar
At radioactive food
The tiger’s mangey hide
The silkworm’s broken silk
(The animals do judge)
The dead gulls on the shore
Mists of insecticide
Killing all spore and sperm
Eagle and owl have died
And nematode and worm
The snakes drag in the mud
Fallen the lion’s pride
The night moth’s wings are bruised
They cry out with their blood
Cain! Killer! We are named
By beast and bird condemned
By fish and fowl accused
We need not wait for God
The animals do judge
-Madeleine L’Engle, The Animals Do Judge

Terms like that, "Humane Society," are devised with people like me in mind, who don't care to dwell on what happens to the innocent.
-Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

Even people who are aware that the traditional family farm has been taken over by big business interests, and that some questionable experiments go on in laboratories, cling to a vague belief that conditions cannot be too bad, or else the government or the animal welfare societies would have done something about it.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

Children all over the world consort quite naturally with animals. They don't see any dividing line. That is something they have to be taught, just as they have to be taught it is all right to kill and eat them.
-J.M. Coetzee, The Lives of Animals

There will be no justice as long as man will stand with a knife or with a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is.
-Isaac Bashevis Singer

To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man. For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous. And that is the unpardonable crime.
-Romain Rolland, Nobel Prize 1915

Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct. Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit. The roots of cruelty, therefore, are not so much strong as widespread. But the time must come when inhumanity protected by custom and thoughtlessness will succumb before humanity championed by thought. Let us work that this time may come.
-Albert Schweitzer

I cannot see the short, white curls
Upon the forehead of an Ox,
But what I see them dripping with
That poor thing’s blood, and hear the ax;
When I see calves and lambs, I see
Them led to death; I see no bird
Or rabbit cross the open field
But what a sudden shot is heard;
A shout that tells me men aim true,
For death or wound, doth chill me through.
-W.H. Davies, The Dumb World

We have always liked to think ourselves less savage than the other animals. To say that people are "humane" is to say that they are kind; to say that they are "beastly," "brutal," or simply that they behave "like animals" is to suggest that they are cruel and nasty. We rarely stop to consider that the animal who kills with the least reason to do so is the human animal. We think of lions and wolves as savage because they kill; but they must kill, or starve. Humans kill other animals for sport, to satisfy their curiosity, to beautify their bodies, and to please their palates. Human beings also kill members of their own species for greed or power. Moreover, human beings are not content with mere killing. Throughout history they have shown a tendency to torment and torture both their fellow human beings and their fellow animals before putting them to death. No other animal shows much interest in doing this.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

There can be no justification for causing suffering to animals simply to serve man's pleasure or simply to enhance man's lifestyle.
-The Dean of York

In an earlier stage of our development most human groups held to a tribal ethic. Members of the tribe were protected, but people of other tribes could be robbed or killed as one pleased. Gradually the circle of protection expanded, but as recently as 150 years ago we did not include blacks. So African human beings could be captured, shipped to America and sold. In Australia white settlers regarded Aborigines as a pest and hunted them down, much as kangaroos are hunted down today. Just as we have progressed beyond the blatantly racist ethic of the era of slavery and colonialism, so we must now progress beyond the speciesist ethic of the era of factory farming, of the use of animals as mere research tools, of whaling, seal hunting, kangaroo slaughter and the destruction of wilderness. We must take the final step in expanding the circle of ethics.
-Pete Singer

Vivisection and experimenting on animals

Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: "Because the animals are like us." Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is: "Because the animals are not like us." Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.
-Charles R. Magel

Vivisection is a social evil because if it advances human knowledge, it does so at the expense of human character.
-George Bernard Shaw

...the proposed air force and army experiments were designed so that many animals would suffer and die without any certainty that this suffering and death would save a single human life or benefit humans in any way at all; but the same can be said of millions of their experiments performed each year in the United States alone.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't...The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.
-Mark Twain

People tend to care about dogs because they generally have more experience with dogs as companions; but other animals are as capable of suffering as dogs are. Few people feel sympathy for rats. Yet rats are intelligent animals, and there can be no doubt that rats are capable of suffering and do suffer from countless painful experiments performed on them. If the army were to stop experiments on dogs and switch to rats instead, we should not be any less concerned.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

Reite and his colleagues experimented on chimpanzees because relatively little experimental work had been done on the great apes, as compared with monkeys. They apparently felt no need to address the basic question of why we should be doing any experiments on maternal deprivation in animals at all. They did not even try to justify their experiments by claiming they were of benefit to human beings. That we already have extensive observations of orphaned chimpanzees in the wild seems not to have been of interest to them. Their attitude was plain: this has been done with animals of one species, but not with animals of another, so let's do it to them. The most amazing part of the story is that taxpayers have paid for all this research – to the tune of over $58 million for maternal deprivation research alone.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

If every animal species never or rarely reacted the same way as humans, or, conversely, if they always or almost always reacted the same way as humans, they might be useful. But since animals react in the same way as humans in an unreliable unpredictable manner, animals are dangerous models for humans. Moreover, it is impossible to know which animal will respond in the same way a human does until it is known how a human responds. It is knowledge after the fact – redundant, and therefore useless.
-C. Ray Greek and Jean Swingle Greek, Specious Science, about animal experimentation

If penicillin had been judged by its toxicity to guinea pigs, it might never have been used by man.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation, quoting a toxicologist

The most callous, stupid things were done just because regulations required them...It was not until 1983, for example, that U.S. federal agencies stated that substances known to be caustic irritants such as lye, ammonia, and oven cleaners, did not need to be tested on the eyes of conscious rabbits.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

There are, in fact, only two categories of doctors and scientists who are not opposed to vivisection: those who don't know enough about it, and those who make money from it.
-Werner Hartinger, M.D.

Typically, defenders of experiments on animals do not deny that animals suffer. They cannot deny the animals' suffering, because they need to stress the similarities between humans and other animals in order to claim that their experiments may have some relevance for human purposes. The experimenter who forces rats to choose between starvation and electric shock to see if they develop ulcers (which they do) does so because the rat has a nervous system very similar to a human being's, and presumably feels an electric shock in a similar way.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

It doesn't take a Ph.D. in the sciences to grasp the fact that rodent exposure to the saccharin equivalent of 1,800 bottles of soda pop a day doesn't relate well to our daily ingestion of a few glasses of the stuff.
-Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, director of the American Council on Science and Health

There has been opposition to experimenting on animals for a long time. This opposition has made little headway because experimenters, backed by commercial firms that profit by supplying laboratory animals and equipment, have been able to convince legislators and the public that opposition comes from uninformed fanatics who consider the interests of animals more important than the interests of human beings.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

Hold then the same view of the dog which has lost his master, which has sought him in all the thoroughfares with cries of sorrow, which comes into the house troubled and restless, goes downstairs, goes upstairs; goes from room to room, finds at last in his study the master he loves, and betokens his gladness by soft whimpers, frisks, and caresses. There are barbarians who seize this dog, who so greatly surpasses man in fidelity and friendship, and nail him down to a table and dissect him alive, to show you the mesaraic veins! You discover in him all the same organs of feeling as in yourself. Answer me, mechanist, has Nature arranged all the springs of feeling in this animal to the end that he might not feel?

It may be thought justifiable to require tests on animals of potentially life-saving drugs, but the same kinds of tests are used for products like cosmetics, food coloring, and floor polishes. Should thousands of animals suffer so that a new kind of lipstick or floor wax can be put on the market? Don't we already have an excess of most of these products? Who benefits from their introduction, except the companies that hope to profit from them?
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

...the program of scientific experimentation that leads you to conclude that animals are imbeciles is profoundly anthropocentric. It values being able to find your way out of a sterile maze, ignoring the fact that if the researcher who designed the maze were to be parachuted into the jungles of Borneo, he or she would be dead of starvation in a week...If I as a human being were told that the standards by which animals are being measured in these experiments are human standards, I would be insulted.
-J.M. Coetzee, The Lives of Animals

So far as this argument is concerned nonhuman animals and infants and retarded humans are in the same category; and if we use this argument to justify experiments on nonhuman animals we have to ask ourselves whether we are also prepared to allow experiments on human infants and retarded adults; and if we make a distinction between animals and these humans, on what basis can we do it, other than a bare-faced – and morally indefensible – preference for members of our own species?
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

To be well used, creatures and places must be used sympathetically, just as they must be known sympathetically to be well known...The "animal scientist" to whom it is of no concern whether or not animals suffer will almost inevitably aid and abet the destruction of the decent old ideal of animal husbandry and, as a consequence, increase the suffering of animals. I hope that my country may be delivered from the remote, cold abstractions of university science.
-Wendell Berry, What Are People For?

It is difficult to picture the great Creator conceiving of a program of one creature (which He has made) using another living creature for purposes of experimentation. There must be other less cruel ways of obtaining knowledge.
-Adlai Stevenson

Enslaving and capturing animals

God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages.
-Jacques Deval, Afin de vivre bel et bien

We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.
-William Ralph Inge, Outspoken Essays

Sometimes animals may suffer more because of their more limited understanding. If, for instance, we are taking prisoners in wartime we can explain to them that although they must submit to capture, search, and confinement, they will not otherwise be harmed and will be set free at the conclusion of hostilities. If we capture wild animals, however, we cannot explain that we are not threatening their lives. A wild animal cannot distinguish an attempt to overpower and confine from an attempt to kill; the one causes as much terror as the other.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

God gave his creatures light and air
And water, open to the skies;
Man locks him in a stifling lair
And wonders why his brother dies.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

Man is the only slave. And he is the only animal who enslaves. He has always been a slave in one form or another, and has always held other slaves in bondage under him in one way or another. In our day, he is always some man's slave for wages, and does that man's work; and this slave has other slaves under him for minor wages, and they do his work. The higher animals are the only ones who exclusively do their own work and provide their own living.
-Mark Twain

The idea that it is funny to see wild animals coerced into acting like clumsy humans, or thrilling to see powerful beasts reduced to cringing cowards by a whip-cracking trainer is primitive and medieval. It stems from the old idea that we are superior to other species and have the right to hold dominion over them.
-Dr. Desmond Morris

I will remember what I was,
I am sick of rope and chain
I will remember my old strength
And all of my forest affairs.
I will not sell my back to man
For a bundle of sugar cane.
I will go out to my own kind
And the wood-folk in their lairs.
I will go out until the morning break,
Out to the winds' untainted kiss,
The water's clean caress.
I will forget my ankle ring
And snap my picket stake.
I will revisit my lost loves
And playmates, masterless.
-Rudyard Kipling, The Captive's Dream

Wildlife is decreasing in the jungles, but it is increasing in the towns.
-Mahatma Gandhi

I see shining fish struggling within tight nets, while I hear orioles singing carefree tunes. Even trivial creatures know the difference between freedom and bondage. Sympathy and compassion should be but natural to the human heart.
-Tu Fu

The beasts are very wise,
Their mouths are clean of lies,
They talk one to the other,
Bullock to bullock brothers
Resting after their labors,
Each in stall with his neighbors,
But man with goad and whip,
Breaks up their fellowship,
Shouts in their silky ears
Filling their soul with fears.
When he has plowed the land,
He says: "they understand."
But the beasts in stall together,
Freed from the yoke and tether,
Say as the torn flank smoke:
"Nay, 'twas the whip that spoke."
-Rudyard Kipling, The Beasts are Very Wise

Animals in clothing and fashion

No one in the world needs a mink coat but a mink.
-Murray Banks

Never wear anything that panics the cat.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Cruelty is one fashion statement we can all do without.
-Rue McClanahan

People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it's safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs.
-Author Unknown

Wear your own skin.
-As seen on a shirt

Get a feel for fur: Slam your fingers in a car door.
-Author Unknown(on the use of steel traps to capture fur-bearing animals)

...there was not a well-bred young horse in my time that had not his tail docked in that shameful way, just as if the good God that made us did not know what we wanted and what looked is one of the wickedest things in the world. Now look, for instance, at the way they serve dogs, cutting off their tails to make them look plucky, and shearing up their pretty little ears to a point to make them look sharp...Why don't they cut their own children's ears into points to make them look sharp? Why don't they cut the end off their noses to make them look plucky? One would be just as sensible as the other. What right have they to torment and disfigure God's creatures?
-Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

Killing animals for sport (hunting and fishing)

When a man wantonly destroys one of the works of man we call him a vandal. When he destroys one of the works of god we call him a sportsman.
-Joseph Wood Krutch

As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.
-Isaac Bashevis Singer

Hunting is not a sport. In a sport, both sides should know they're in the game.
-Paul Rodriguez

Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by what is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?
-Pierre Troubetzkoy

The woods were made for the hunters of dreams,
The brooks for the fishers of song;
To the hunters who hunt for the gunless game
The streams and the woods belong.
-Sam Walter Foss

When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when the tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity.
-George Bernard Shaw

Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.
-James Anthony Froude, Oceana

I have waited with a long rod
And suddenly pulled a gold-and-greenish, lucent fish from
And had him fly like a halo round my head,
Lunging in the air on the line.
Unhooked his groping, water-horny mouth,
And seen his horror-tilted eye,
His red-gold, water-precious, mirror-flat bright eye;
And felt him beat in my hand, with his mucous, leaping life-throb.
And my heart accused itself
Thinking: I am not the measure of creation.
This is beyond me, this fish.
His God stands outside my God.
And the gold-and-green pure lacquer-mucus comes off in
my hand
And the red-gold mirror-eye stares and dies,
And the water-suave contour dims.
But not before I have had to know
He was born in front of my sunrise,
Before my day.
He outstarts me.
And I, a many fingered horror of daylight to him,
Have made him die.
-D.H. Lawrence, Fish

When I was twelve, I went hunting with my father and we shot a bird. He was lying there and something struck me. Why do we call this fun to kill this creature who was as happy as I was when I woke up this morning.
-Marv Levy

I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it's such a beautiful animal. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.
-Ellen DeGeneres

Of all the creatures, man is the most detestable. Of the entire brood, he is the only one that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain. The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.
-Mark Twain

Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, the frogs do not die in sport, but in earnest.
-Bion, Plutarch

Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is - whether its victim is human or animal - we cannot expect things to be much better in this world...We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing, we set back the progress of humanity.
-Rachel Carson

Since 1988, when the world's seafood supply peaked at 34 pounds a person each year, the combined effects of overfishing and increasing human populations have reduced the amount of fish and shellfish available on Earth to only about 25 pounds a person each year, according to the findings. And this trend is projected to continue rapidly downward to less than 17 pounds a person each year by 2020., "China, U.N. challenged over fish," 28 Nov 2001

The ships grew bigger. They eventually reached 8,000 tons, towing nets with openings 3,500-feet in circumference. In an hour they can haul up as much as 200 tons of fish, twice as much as a typical 16th century ship would have caught in an entire season. Re-crewed and supplied by ocean-going tenders, the ships could pursue fish anywhere in the world for months on end without ever visiting a port or even sighting land. Plying international waters, they were outside the jurisdiction of the nations off which they fished. By the 1970s the Soviet Union had 400 factory trawlers on the high seas. Japan had 125, Spain, 75, West Germany, 50, France and Britain, 40, and dozens more were operated by East Bloc nations. They plied the Georges Banks of New England, the hake stocks of South Africa, Alaskan and Baring Sea Pollock, Antarctic krill and, most of all, the northern cod off Newfoundland and Labrador. They were strip-mining the sea.
-Colin Woodard, "A Run on the Banks: How 'Factory Fishing' Decimated Newfoundland Cod

Animals give me more pleasure through the viewfinder of a camera than they ever did in the crosshairs of a gunsight. And after I've finished "shooting," my unharmed victims are still around for others to enjoy. I have developed a deep respect for animals. I consider them fellow living creatures with certain rights that should not be violated any more than those of humans.
-Jimmy Stewart

The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of a gun.
-P.G. Wodehouse

Whether hunting is right or wrong, a spiritual experience, or an outlet for the killer instinct, one thing it is not is a sport. Sport is when individuals or teams compete against each other under equal circumstances to determine who is better at a given game or endeavor. Hunting will be a sport when deer, elk, bears, and ducks are given 12-gauge shotguns. Bet we'd see a lot fewer drunk yahoos (live ones, anyway) in the woods if that happened.
-R. Lerner

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.

The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.
-Henry David Thoreau

Shoot animals with cameras, not with guns.
-As seen on a bumper sticker

People complain that we treat animals like objects, but in fact we treat them like prisoners of war...We had a war once against the animals, which we called hunting...That war went on for millions of years. We won it definitely only a few hundred years ago, when we invented guns. It is only since victory became absolute that we have been able to afford to cultivate compassion. But our compassion is very thinly spread. Beneath it is a more primitive attitude. The prisoner of war does not belong to our tribe. We can do what we want with him. We can sacrifice him to our gods. We can cut his throat, tear out his heart, throw him on the fire. There are no laws when it comes to prisoners of war.
-J.M. Coetzee, The Lives of Animals

Factory Farming

If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons.
-C.S. Lewis

While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?
-George Bernard Shaw

[There] is an unusual amount of cultural confusion on the subject of animals. For at the same time many of us seem eager to extend the circle of our moral consideration to other species, in our factory farms, we're inflicting more suffering on more animals than at any time in history. One by one science is dismantling our claims to uniqueness as a species, discovering that such things as culture, tool making, language, and even possibly self-consciousness are not, as we used to think, the exclusive properties of Homo sapiens. And yet most of the animals we eat lead lives organized very much in the spirit of Descartes, who famously claimed that animals were mere machines, incapable of thought or feeling. There's a schizoid quality to our relationships with animals today in which sentiment and brutality exist side by side. Half the dogs in America will receive Christmas presents this year, yet few of us ever pause to consider the life of a pig — an animal equally as intelligent as a dog — that becomes the Christmas ham.
-Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Anyone who says that life matters less to an animal than it does to us has not held in his hands an animal fighting for its life. The whole of the being of the animal is thrown into that fight, without reserve. When you say that the fight lacks a dimension of intellectual or imaginative horror, I agree. It is not the mode of being animals to have an intellectual horror: their whole being is in the living flesh...I urge you to walk, flank to flank, beside the beast that is prodded down the chute to his executioner.
-J.M. Coetzee, The Lives of Animals

...many inhumane practices – even when blatantly contrary to the intent of anticruelty statues – are exempt from anticruelty laws. Whether it's the quarter of a billion male chicks – of no commercial value in egg production – that the poultry industry intentionally grinds up alive or smothers each year, or the millions of breeding hogs and veal calves that spend their entire lives inside crates so small they can never turn around, these and billions of other farm animals are generally exempted from the law's coverage under the wastebasket term "normal agricultural practices."
Gail A. Eisnitz, Slaughterhouse

Killing of animals for food is one thing, but on the other hand they do not exist simply as things to be slaughtered. This is true of fishing, too. Many men fish and leave their victims to rot and stink. But what about the fish? Has he no rights — not to be romanticized as though he were a man — but real rights?
-Francis A. Schaeffer, "Pollution and the Death of Man"

Whatever the child's initial reaction, though, the point to notice is that we eat animal flesh long before we are capable of understanding that what we are eating is the dead body of an animal. Thus we never make a conscious, informed decision, free from the bias that accompanies any long-established habit, reinforced by all the pressures of social conformity to eat animal flesh. At the same time, children have a natural love of animals, and our society encourages them to be affectionate toward animals such as dogs and cats and toward cuddly, stuffed animals. These facts help to explain that most distinctive characteristic of the attitudes of children in our society to animals – namely, that rather than having one unified attitude to animals, the child has two conflicting attitudes that coexists, carefully segregated so that the inherent contradiction between them rarely causes trouble.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

American meat production has never before been so centralized: thirteen large packing houses now slaughter most of the beef consumed in the United States. The meat packing system that arose to supply the nation's fast food chains — an industry molded to serve their needs, to provide massive amounts of uniform ground beef so that all of McDonald's hamburgers would taste the same — has proved to be an extremely efficient system for spreading disease. Although E. coli O157:H7 has received a good deal of public attention over the past two decades scientists have discovered more than a dozen other new foodborne pathogens, including Campylobacter jejuni, Cryptosporidium parvum, Cyclospora cayetanensis, Listeria monocytogenes, and Norwalk-like viruses. The CDC estimates that more than three-quarters of the food related illnesses and deaths in the United States are caused by infectious agents that have not been identified.
-Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation, 2002

Most horses slaughtered in the United States are young, healthy animals whose owners simply have no use for them. During a visit to a horse auction, however, one can also usually see many broken-down, mistreated, and emaciated animals, horses whose owners have neglected them. Nothing more than a financial burden to their owners, such animals are simply hauled off to auction barns where "killers" – slaughterhouse buyers – pay around fifty-five cents a pound. Thus, instead of being penalized for the cruelty they've inflicted, irresponsible horse owners are rewarded with a slaughterhouse check.
Gail A. Eisnitz, Slaughterhouse

It would not do for the consumer to know that the hamburger she is eating came from a steer who spent much of his life standing deep in his own excrement in a feedlot, helping to pollute the local streams. Or that the calf that yielded the veal cutlet on her plate spent its life in a box in which it did not have room to turn around.
-Wendell Berry, What Are People For?

The newspapers do little better. Their coverage of nonhuman animals is dominated by "human interest" events like the birth of a baby gorilla at the zoo, or by threats to endangered species; but developments in farming techniques that deprive millions of animals of freedom of movement go unreported.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

...the hogs would go up a hundred-foot ramp to a tank where they're dunked in 140 degree water (a standard procedure in pork processing). That's to scald their hair off...Water any hotter than that would take the meat right off their bones. You stick a live hog, it tightens up the muscles around that slit and holds the blood in. There's no way these animals can bleed out in the few minutes it takes to get up the ramp. By the time they hit the scalding tank, they're still fully conscious and squealing. Happens all the time.
Gail A. Eisnitz, Slaughterhouse, quoting a slaughterhouse worker

If you work in that stick pit any period of time, you develop an attitude that lets you kill things but doesn't let you care. You may look a hog in the eye that's walking around down in the blood pit with you and think, God, that really isn't a bad-looking animal. You may want to pet it. Pigs down on the kill floor have up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them – beat them to death with a pipe. I can't care.
Gail A. Eisnitz, Slaughterhouse, quoting a slaughterhouse worker

As for cages themselves, an ordinary citizen who kept dogs in similar conditions for their entire lives would risk prosecution for cruelty. A pig producer who keeps an animal of comparable intelligence in this manner, however, is more likely to be rewarded with a tax concession or, in some countries, a direct government subsidy.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

(Farm animals are routinely trucked long distances in harsh weather) the winter, some hogs come in all froze to the sides of the trucks. They tie a chain around them and jerk them off the walls of the truck, leave a chunk of hide and flesh behind. They might have a little bit of life left in them...but workers just throw them on the piles of dead ones. They'll die sooner or later, because there's nothing left to them.
Gail A. Eisnitz, Slaughterhouse, quoting a slaughterhouse worker

You can get frustrated when you're trying to move cattle along...Sometimes you have to prod them a lot. But some of the drivers like to burn the hell out of them. The five or six hotshots (electric prods) by the lead-up chutes are hooked directly to a 110-volt outlet. Some drivers would beat the cattle with hotshots until they were so wild and panicky you couldn't do a thing with them, right up into the knocking box, then they'd just stand there and laugh...If an employee complained, a supervisor would put him on a much harder job – usually in the hide room, where they'd have to take hides off the rail, spread them out, and put salt on them. It's a terrible job. Instead of firing someone who complains, he'd put them down there and they'd quit pretty quick.
Gail A. Eisnitz, Slaughterhouse, quoting a slaughterhouse worker

If animals are no longer quite outside the moral sphere, they are still in a special section near the outer rim. Their interests are allowed to count only when they do not clash with human interests. If there is a clash – even a clash between a lifetime of suffering for a nonhuman animal and the gastronomic preference of a human being – the interests of the nonhuman are disregarded. The moral attitudes of the past are too deeply embedded in our thought and our practices to be upset by a mere change in our knowledge of ourselves and of other animals.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

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

It is an indication of the extent to which people are now isolated from the animals they eat that children brought up on storybooks that lead them to think of a farm as a place where animals wander around freely in idyllic conditions might be able to live out their entire lives without ever being forced to revise this rosy image.
-Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.
-Leo Tolstoy

Back to homepage