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20 Great Thinkers Who Spoke Out For Animal Welfare

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3. Mark Twain (1835-1910) – American author and lecturer

Mark Twain

“I believe I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t. To know that the results are profitable to the race would not remove my hostility to it. The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity towards it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.”

4. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) – American writer, poet and lecturer

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.”

5. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) – American author, philosopher, naturalist and abolitionist

Henry David Thoreau

“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.”

“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.”

6. Albert Einstein (1879-1955) – German theoretical physicist, winner of 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics

Albert Einstein

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

“It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.”

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Photo credits: Animals image from Thinkstock; Dalai Lama image from russavia/ Wikimedia Commons; Singer image from Beyond My Ken/Wikimedia Commons; All other images from Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

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188 comments

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3:20PM PST on Jan 19, 2014

It's constantly amazing that so many supposedly innocent looking human babies, when grown up dedicate their short and useless lives to unspeakable atrocities. There is a constant flow of human monsters coming into this world.. they are like a flood of satanic evil on the earth

4:37PM PST on Jan 15, 2014

Thank you - wonderful, inspiring, refreshing, and sad all at the same time. They're called great minds for good reason. Thanks again.

9:53AM PST on Jan 14, 2014

Thank you for the information. I can certainly understand why these people are considered to be great thinkers!!!

11:18PM PST on Jan 13, 2014

Some people can live on vegetarian protein, and some can't. I have multiple food sensitivities, including almost all foods, and I can eat only certain meats and fishes and vegetables. I would vastly prefer to be able to eat only plant food, but I do not want to be judged for a diet that I don't choose. We do what we have to, in order to live.

So while I endorse the idea of vegetarianism, I can't practice it. Good for all those who can and do.

11:11PM PST on Jan 13, 2014

Pleased to read this one.

3:15PM PST on Jan 13, 2014

Thanks for the article. I am constantly disturbed at the number of intelligent people who continue to eat meat, even after seeing videos of the cruelty in factory farms and slaughterhouses....

2:29PM PST on Jan 13, 2014

Great thank you xx

11:13AM PST on Jan 13, 2014

Interesting article,Thank you

4:17AM PST on Jan 13, 2014

Thank you!

4:12AM PST on Jan 13, 2014

Omri H. for goodness sake get some perspective: you cannot view 19th century scientists and procedures with 21st century eyes. I will bet you are actually a creationist / (un)intelligent design supporter just looking for pathetic excuses to malign the greatest biologist the world has ever known.
His main scientific studies were of barnacles, however the many variations arising within domestic animals managed by humans within space of a few years identified that over the billions of years that this planet has existed nature would do a better job. The results and benefits of his work far outweigh the sacrifice of a few pie fillings.

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