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Spiritual Resources


“God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.”
I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”
Ecclesiastes 3:18-21 (NIV)

And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
And the calf and the young lion and the falling together;
And a little child shall lead them
And the cow and the bear shall feed;
Their young ones shall lie down together,
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox . . . .
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain…
— Isaiah 11:6-9 (KJV)

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:
Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this?
In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
— Job 12:7019 (KJV)

The Lord is good to all and His tender mercies are over all His creatures.
Psalms 145:9 (KJV)

A righteous person regards the life of his or her animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
Proverbs 12:10 (KJV)


Here you are faced with God’s teaching, which obliges you not only to refrain from inflicting unnecessary pain on any animal, but to help and, when you can, to lessen the pain whenever you see an animal suffering, even through no fault of yours.
Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch, Horeb, Chapter 60, Section 416.

For that which befalls the sons of men befalls animals; even one thing befalls them; as the one dies, so dies the other; yes, they all have one breath; so As God is merciful, so you also be merciful. As he loves and cares for all. His creatures and His children and are related to Him, because He is their Father, so you also love all His creatures as your brethren. Let their joys be your joys, and their sorrows yours. Love them and with every power which God gives you, work for their welfare and benefit, because they are the children of your God, because they are your brothers and sisters.
Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch, Horeb, Chapter 72, Section 482.

There are probably no creatures that require more the protective Divine word against the presumption of man than the animals, which like man have sensations and instincts, but whose body and powers are nevertheless subservient to man. In relation to them man so easily forgets that injured animal muscle twitches just like human muscle, that the maltreated nerves of an animal sicken like human nerves, that the animal being is just as sensitive to cuts, blows, and beating as man. Thus man becomes the torturer of the animal soul.
Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch, Horeb, Chapter 60, Section 415.

It seems doubtful from all that has been said whether the Torah would sanction ‘factory farming,’ which treats animals as machines, with apparent insensitivity to their natural needs and instincts. This is a matter for decision by halachic authorities.
Rabbi Aryeh Carmell, Masterplan: Judaism: its Programs, Meanings, Goals (New York/Jerusalem: Feldheim, 1991), 69.

The current treatment of animals in the livestock trade definitely renders the consumption of meat as halachically unacceptable as the product of illegitimate means.
Rabbi David Rosen, “Vegetarianism: An Orthodox Jewish Perspective”, in Rabbis and Vegetarianism: An Evolving Tradition, edited by Roberta Kalechofsky, (Micah Publications: Marblehead, Massachusetts, 1995), 53.

The progress of dynamic ideals will not be eternally blocked. Through general, moral and intellectual advancement… shall the latent aspiration of justice for the animal kingdom come out into the open, when the time is ripe.
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook, A Vision of Vegetarianism and Peace

The tzaddik (righteous person) acts according to the laws of justice; not only does he act according to these laws with human beings, but also with animals.
The Malbim

Living creatures possess a soul and a certain spiritual superiority which in this respect make them similar to those who possess intellect (people) and they have the power of affecting their welfare and their food and they flee from pain and death.
Nachmanides, commentary on Genesis 1:29

There is no difference between the pain of humans and the pain of other living beings, since the love and tenderness of the mother for the young are not produced by reasoning, but by feeling, and this faculty exists not only in humans but in most living beings.
Maimonides Guide for the Perplexed

It is forbidden, according to the law of the Torah, to inflict pain upon any living creature. On the contrary, it is our duty to relieve the pain of any creature, even if it is ownerless or belongs to a non Jew.
Code of Jewish Law

When horses, drawing a cart, come to a rough road or a steep hill, and it is hard for them to draw the cart without help, it is our duty to help them, even when they belong to a non-Jew, because of the precept not to be cruel to animals, lest the owner smite them to force them to draw more than their strength permits.
Code of Jewish Law

It is forbidden to tie the legs of a beast or of a bird in a manner as to cause them pain.
Code of Jewish Law


“There is not an animal that lives on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but they form communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they all shall be gathered to their Lord in the end.”
— Quran 6:38.

“Seest thou not that it is Allah Whose praise all beings in the heavens and on earth do celebrate, and the birds (of the air) with wings outspread? Each one knows its own (mode of) prayer and praise, and Allah knows well all that they do.”
— Quran 24:41

“And the earth, He has assigned it to all living creatures.”
— Quran 55:10

“A good deed done to an animal is like a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as cruelty to a human being.”
Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)


It is strange to hear people talk of Humanitarianism, who are members of societies for the 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 (1844-1936)

Great Philosophers

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 (6th century BC)

Animal pain is as real and as morally relevant as human pain, and that the day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been witholden from them but by the hand of tyranny.
English philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832)

The ability to suffer, not the ability to reason, must be the benchmark of how we treat other beings.
English philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832)

The unpardonable forgetfulness in which the lower animals have hitherto been left by the moralists of Europe is well known. It is pretended that the beasts have no rights. They persuade themselves that our conduct in regard to them has nothing to do with morals or (to speak the language of their morality), that we have no duties towards animals; a doctrine revolting, gross, and barbarous.
— German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.
— German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Thus, because Christian morality leaves animals out of account …, they are at once outlawed in philosophical morals; they are mere “things”, mere means to any ends whatsoever. They can therefore be used for vivisection, hunting, coursing, bullfights and horse racing, and can be whipped to death as they struggle along with heavy carts of stone. Shame on such a morality that is worthy of pariahs, chandalas and mlechchhas, and that fails to recognize the eternal essence that exists in every living thing, and shines forth with inscrutable significance from all eyes that see the sun!
— German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Great Thinkers

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 upon the murder of men.
Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519)

Vegetarian food leaves a deep impression on our nature. If the whole world adopts vegetarianism, it can change the destiny of humankind.
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

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

Flesh eating is unprovoked murder.
— Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

To seek to reduce the suffering of those who are completely under one’s domination, and unable to fight back, is truly a mark of a civilized society.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.
Plutarch (c.AD 46-c.120) — Historian

To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the suffering 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 (now billions) 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 (1929-1968) — Nobel Prize Literature, 1915

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

Great Writers

Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.
— Samuel Butler, Note-Books, 1912

“… in the 20th century, a group of powerful and bloody-minded men in Germany hit on the idea of adapting the methods of the industrial stockyard, as pioneered and perfected in Chicago, to the slaughter — or what they preferred to call the processing — of human beings.”
J.M. Coetzee, who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003, invoked the image of the slaughterhouse in describing the Nazi’s treatment of Jews.

Love animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble their joy, don’t harass them, don’t deprive them of their happiness, don’t work against God’s intent. Man, do not pride yourself on superiority to animals; they are without sin, and you, with your greatness, defile the earth by your appearance on it, and leave the traces of your foulness after you — alas, it is true of almost every one of us!
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)

You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

A mind of the calibre of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

In relation to [animals], all people are Nazis; for the animals, it is an eternal Treblinka.”  Also, in The Penitent the protagonist says “when it comes to animals, every man is a Nazi.
— Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902-1991). Received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978.

What I think about vivisection is that if people admit that they have the right to take or endanger the life of living beings for the benefit of many, there will be no limit for their cruelty.
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1920)

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 (1828-1920)

As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1920)

How can we hope that peace and prosperity will reign on Earth, if our bodies are living tombs, in which murdered animals are buried?
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1920)

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1920)

Don’t be disturbed, when upon refusing to eat meat, all of your loved ones begin to attack, judge, mock you. If eating meat was an indifferent act, meat-eaters would not be attacking vegetarianism; they are annoyed because in our time they are already aware of their sin, but still cannot free themselves of it.
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1920)

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