If less-informed folks have been hassling you about veganism, it can be helpful to remember that you’re not alone. In fact, by standing up for the rights of the oppressed and giving a voice to the voiceless, you’re keeping company with some of the greatest minds in history. For example:

“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.”
“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 since an early age abjured the use of meat.”
- Leonardo da Vinci

“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”
- Abraham Lincoln

“The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men.”
- Alice Walker

“One is not a great one because one defeats or harms other living beings. One is so called because one refrains from defeating or harming other living beings.”
- Buddha, Dhammapada, Ch. 19

“If a man can control his body and mind and thereby refrains from eating animal flesh and wearing animal products, I say he will really be liberated.”
- Buddha, Surangama Sutra

“My perspective of veganism was most affected by learning that the veal calf is a by-product of dairying, and that in essence there is a slice of veal in every glass of what I had thought was an innocuous white liquid – milk.”
- Rynn Berry

“Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologise for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time. If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.”
“Vivisection is the blackest of all the black crimes that a man is at present committing against God and his fair creation. It ill becomes us to invoke in our daily prayers, the blessings of God, the Compassionate, if we in turn will not practise elementary compassion towards our fellow creatures.”
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mohandas Gandhi

“If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.”
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
- Albert Einstein

“Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character; and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.”
- Arthur Schopenhauer

“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.”
- Pythagoras

“The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?”
- Jeremy Bentham

“As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.”
“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.”
- Leo Tolstoy

“While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?”
“Atrocities are not less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and are called medical research.”
“A mind of the calibre of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows.”
- George Bernard Shaw

(It is probably worth noting that until recent times vegetarian often did mean vegan or more closely resemble veganism than current vegetarianism that is prefixed with non-veg exceptions such as lacto, ova, dietary, etc. Hence the founding of the first Vegan Society in the UK in 1944 to distinguish vegan vegetarianism from less consistent forms of vegetarianism.)

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  • kinlaso

    Great quotes! Thanks for posting this :)

  • Barbara Smith

    wow, those are awesome. I had heard a few before, but the more the merrier! thanks!