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Quotations and Poetry - Cruelty/Compassion

Jain monks have compassion to all beings; avoid what is sinful; abstain from food especially prepared or them; abstain from wicked deeds and from injuring living beings.
Maxim of the Monks (Jainism)

With the three means of punishment, words, thoughts and acts, ye shall not injure living things.
Jaina Sutras (Jainism)

He who harms animals has not understood or renounced deeds of sin ... Those whose minds are at peace and who are free from passions do not desire to live at the expense of others.
Acharanga Sutra (Jainism)

The butcher relenteth not at the bleating of the lamb; neither is the heart of the cruel moved with ditress. But the tears of the compassionate are sweeter than dew-drops, falling from roses on the bosom of spring.
Akhenaton? (c.BC 1375)

The ways are two: love and want of love. That is all.
Menchius (?732-?289 BC) (Confucian)

This is the sum of duty: do naught to others which if done to thee, would cause thee pain.
Mahabharata (Hindu)

When a man has pity on all living creatures then only is he noble.
Buddha (563? - 483? B.C.)

Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.
Udanavarga (Buddhist)

The Bhuddha has mercy even on the meanest thing.
Vinaya, Cullavagga Khandhaka (Buddhist)

All beings seek for happiness; so let your compassion extend itself to all.
Mahavamsa (Buddhist)

Because he has pity on every living creature, therefore is a man called 'holy'.
Dhammapada (Buddhist)

Cruelty is fed, not weakened by tears.
Publilius Syrus (fl. B.C. 42)

All cruelty springs from weakness.
Seneca (4 BC - AD 65)

An adulteress was forgiven, who passed by a dog at a well, and the dog was holding out his tongue from thirst, which was near killing him. The woman drew off her boot and tied it to the end of her veil, and drew water for the dog, and gave him to drink, and for this she was forgiven.
Mishkat-el-Masabih (Islam)

He who abstains from anything animate ... will be much more careful not to injure those of his own species. For he who loves the genus will not hate any species of animals.
Porphyry (233-304)

Have a compassionate heart towards all creatures.
Attr. Ko Hung (284-363 AD) (Confucian-Taoist)

He that will not be merciful to his beast is a beast himself.
Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)

True benevolence, or compassion, extends itself through the whole of existence and sympathises with the distress of every creature capable of sensation.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

To give pain is the tyranny; to make happy, the true empire of beauty.
Richard Steele (1672-1729)

There is something in animals beside the power of motion. They are not machines; they feel.
Charles De Secondat Montesquieu (1689-1755)

I had rather, if cruelty has been prevented by the four prints [The Four Stages of Cruelty], be maker of them than of the [Raphael] cartoons.
William Hogarth (1697-1764)

The butcher knocks down the stately ox with no more compassion than the blacksmith hammers a horse-shoe, and plunges his knife into the throat of an innocent lamb with as little reluctance as the tailor sticks his needle into the collar of a coat.
Soame Jenyns (1704-1787)

The more we come in contact with animals and observe their behaviour, the more we love them, for we see how great is their care of the young.
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

If [man] is not to stifle his human feelings, he must practise kindness towards animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

Cruelty to dumb animals is one of the distinguishing vices of low and base minds. Wherever it is found, it is a certain mark of ignorance and meanness; a mark which all the external advantages of wealth, splendour, and nobility, cannot obliterate. It is consistent neither with learning nor true civility.
William Jones (1726-1800)

What is it that should trace the insuperable line? ...The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

The habit of shedding blood, or even of seeing it shed, corrupts all sentiment of humanity.
Compte de Volney (1757-1820)

The brute animals have all the same sensations of pain as human beings, and consequently endure as much pain when their body is hurt; but in their case the cruelty of torment is greater, because they have no mind to bear them up against their sufferings, and no hope to look forward to when enduring the last extreme pain....
Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847)

I wish no living thing to suffer pain.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

For there are deeds which have no form, sufferings which have no tongue.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

It were much better that a sentient being should never have existed, than that it should have existed only to endure unmitigated misery.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Animal life, sombre mystery. All nature protests against the barbarity of man, who misapprehends, who humiliates, who tortures his inferior brethren.
Jules Michelet (1798-1874)

I could not have slept to-night if I had left that helpless little creature to perish on the ground. (reply to friends who chided him for delaying them by stopping to return a fledgling to its nest.)
attr. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Human dignity begins to assert itself only at the point where man is distinguishable from the beast by pity for it.
Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.
Anna Sewell (1820-1878)

The behaviour of men to the lower animals, and their behaviour to each other, bear a constant relationship.
Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)

The awful wrongs and sufferings forced upon the innocent, helpless, faithful animal race, form the blackest chapter in the whole world's history.
Edward Freeman (1823-1892)

I am sometimes asked "Why do you spent so much of your time and money talking about kindness to animals when there is so much cruelty to men?" I answer: "I am working at the roots."
George T.Angell (1823-1909)

If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

... the cruelty that goes under the barbarous regime we call civilisation.
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

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 Edison (1847-1931)

Much of the indifference, apathy, and even cruelty we see has its origin in the false education given the young concerning the rights of animals, and their duty towards them.
J.Todd Ferrier (1855-1943)

Cruelty is the vice most natural to dullness of mind.
H.W.Nevinson (1856-1941)

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them, that's the essence of inhumanity.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Cruelty must be whitewashed by a moral excuse, and a pretence of reluctance.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

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 (1860-1954)

Once admit that we have the right to inflict unnecessary suffering and you destroy the very basis of human society.
John Galsworthy (1867-1933)

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)

The things I feared were not in the sky, but in the nature and in the touch of humanity. The cruelty of children .. the blindness of the unpitiful - these were my terrors. But not the crash of thunder overhead, not the bolts of fire from the clouds.
Ellen Glasgow (1874-1945)

...this rage - I have never forgotten it - contained every anger, every revolt I had ever felt in my life - the way I felt when I saw the black dog hunted, the way I felt when I watched old Uncle Henry taken away to the almshouse, the way I felt whenever I had seen people or animals hurt for the pleasure or profit of others.
Ellen Glasgow (1874-1945)

It is man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him truly a man.
Dr Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)

Until he extends his circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.
Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)

Our task must be to free ourselves...by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Love of animals is a universal impulse, a common ground on which all of us may meet. By loving and understanding animals, perhaps we humans shall come to understand each other.
Dr Louis J.Camuti (1893-1981)

Cruelty has cursed the human family for countless ages. It is almost impossible for one to be cruel to animals and kind to humans. If children are permitted to be cruel to their pets and other animals, they easily learn to get the same pleasure from the misery of fellow-humans. Such tendencies can easily lead to crime.
Fred A.McGrand (1895- )

Cruelty is the luxury of those who have nothing to do, like drugs or racing stables.
Marguerite Vourcenar (1903- )

The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil first because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of human spirit.
Ashley Montagu (1905- )

I don't think you should hurt or kill animals just to entertain an audience. Animals should have some rights. But there are a lot of directors, including Ingmar Bergman, who will injure animals to further a plot. I will have none of it.
James Mason (1909-1984)

Show me the enforced laws of a state for the prevention of cruelty to animals and I in turn will give you a correct estimate of the refinement, enlightenment, integrity and equity of that commonwealth's people.
L.T.Danshiell (1914- )

The heart of the matter is that some people like to cause injury or death to living things. And many of those who do not are indifferent to those who do.
Norman Cousins (1915 - )

I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs ...[They] are an obligation put on us, a responsibility we have no right to neglect, nor to violate by cruelty.
James Herriot (1916- )

Who can go to a rodeo and then criticize the hunter? ... an expertly placed bullet would be the best gift a rodeo horse could receive.
Roger Caras (1924 - )

I feel very sorry for women who continue to purchase real fur coats. They are lacking in a woman's most important requisites, heart and sensitivity.
Jayne Meadows (1926- )

"Sentimentalist" is the abuse with which people counter the accusation that they are cruel, thereby implying that to be sentimental is worse that to be cruel, which it isn't.
Brigid Brophy (1929- )

I am not basically a conservationist. When the last great whale is slaughtered, as it surely will be, the whales' suffering will be over. This is not the whales' loss, but man's. I am not concerned about the wiping out of a species - this is man's folly - I have only one concern, the suffering which we deliberately inflict upon animals whilst they live.
Clive Hollands (1929- )

I dream of a world where Man is at peace, not only with himself, but also with all the other creatures of the Earth. I long for a day when Man rejects the exploitation of other species for food, clothing, health, entertainment or even companionship. - for such a day will mean that cruelty no longer exists and it is cruelty which dominates my every conscious moment.
John Bryant (1942- )

An individual animal doesn't care if its species is facing extinction - it cares if it is feeling pain.
Ronnie Lee (1951- )

Out of 135 criminals, including robbers and rapists, 118 admitted that when they were children they burned, hanged and stabbed domestic animals.
Ogonyok (1979) (Soviet anti-cruelty magazine)

The Goddess of mercy has a thousand hands - and needs them all.
Japanese Proverb

 

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