Quotes: Animals and Religion


Quotes from Religious texts, Traditions, and People of Faith



“Regarding the eating of animal flesh and abstinence therefrom, know thou of a certainty that, in the beginning of creation, God determined the food of every living being, and to eat contrary to that determination is not approved.”
Selections from the Baha`i Writings on Some Aspects of Health and Healing

“Briefly, it is not only their fellow human beings that the beloved of God must treat with mercy and compassion, rather must they show forth the utmost loving-kindness to every living creature.”
Selections from the writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha

“Truly, the killing of animals and the eating of their meat is somewhat contrary to pity and compassion.”
Lights of Guidance: A Baha’i Reference file


“… the most important thing is to stop killing… because animals also have souls and understand like humans… If we kill and eat them we owe them a blood debt.”
Teachings of the Saints, About Keeping the Ten Precepts – Abstaining from Killing


“If you had known what that text means, “I require mercy, not sacrifice”, you would not have condemned the innocent.”
Matthew 12:7

“… sacrifices were invented by men to be a pretext for eating flesh.”
Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 7.6

“But once Christ has come in the end of time, and Omega passed into Alpha and turned the end into the beginning, we are no longer allowed divorce, nor are we circumcised, nor do we eat flesh, for the Apostle says, It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine. ”
Jerome (c. 342-420), Adversus Jovianum 1.18

“Violence towards humans, violence towards animals, and violence towards the earth is all of one piece – It is all an endless appropriation of more and more. Everything and everyone becomes a “resource” that must be appropriated and exploited for human purposes. Jesus and the early Christians saw that the whole system of violence was madness, and that the answer was not to try to reform it, but simply remove oneself from it entirely.”
Keith Akers, The Lost Religion of Jesus: Simple Living and Nonviolence in Early Christianity


“All men have a mind which cannot bear to see the sufferings of others. The superior man, having seen the animals alive, cannot bear to see them die; having heard their dying cries, he cannot bear to eat their flesh.”
Mencius, King Hui of Liang


“He who desires to augment his own flesh  by eating the flesh of other creatures lives in misery in whatever species he may take his birth.”
Mahabharata, Anu 115.47

“Meat cannot be obtained without injury to animals, and the slaughter of animals obstructs the way to Heaven; let him therefore shun the use of meat.”
The Laws of Manu V, 45 – 52


“And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood, I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.”
Leviticus 17:10, Holy Bible

“He that kills an ox is as if he slew a person.”
Isaiah 66:3

“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”
Hosea 6:6

“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

“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

“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 that man has no preeminence above an animal; for all is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

“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

“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me?” says the Lord. “I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs or of he-goats. . . bring no more vain oblations… Your new moon and your appointed feasts my soul hates; … and when you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; yes, when you make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood.”
Isaiah 1:11-16


“Do not go into the mountain to catch birds in nets, nor to the water to poison fishes and minnows. Do not butcher the ox that plows your field.”
Tract of the Quiet Way


“All meats eaten by living beings are of their own relatives.”
Lankavatara Sutra (Tripitaka No 671)

“Pray let us not eat any flesh or meat whatsoever coming from living beings. Anyone who eats flesh is cutting himself off from the great seed of his own merciful and compassionate nature, for which all sentient beings will reject him and flee from him when they see him acting so. . . Someone who eats flesh is defiling himself beyond measure . . .”
The Buddha in the Brahmajala Sutra

“Let the Bodhisattva who is disciplining himself to abide in great compassion, because of its terrifying living beings, refrain from eating meat . . . let the Bodhisattva, whose nature is pity and who regards all beings as his only child, wholly refrain from eating meat. . .”
The Buddha in the Lankavatara Sutra

“You should know that these people who eat meat may gain some awareness and may seem to be in samadhi, but they are all great rakshasas. When their retribution ends, they are bound to sink into the bitter sea of birth and death. They are not disciples of the Buddha. Such people as these kill and eat one another in a never-ending cycle. How can such people transcend the Triple Realm?”
Shurangama Sutra


“I am come to end the sacrifices and feasts of blood, and if ye cease not offering and eating of flesh and blood, the wrath of God shall not cease from you.”
Gospel of the Holy Twelve


“Allah will not give mercy to anyone, except those who give mercy to other creatures.”
Prophet Muhammad, Hadith

“Do not allow your stomachs to become graveyards of animals.”
Prophet Muhammad, Hadith

“The Holy Prophet (S) said : ‘One who kills even a sparrow or anything smaller, without a justifiable reason, will be answerable to Allah.’
Ahmad & Al-Nasai

(Regarding animal sacrifices)… “their flesh will never reach Allah, nor yet their blood – but your devotion and piety will reach Him.”
The Quran, 22:37


“A true monk should not accept such food and drink as has been especially prepared for him involving the slaughter of living beings.”

“Non-injury to living beings is the highest religion.”



“Those mortals who consume marijuana, flesh and wine – no matter what pilgrimages, fasts and rituals they follow – they will all go to hell.”
Guru Granth Sahib



“The offering to the deities of meat obtained by killing animate beings is like offering a mother the flesh of her own child; and this is a grievous failure.”
The Supreme Path of Discipleship: The Precepts of the Gurus, The Thirteen Grievous Failures, Great Guru Gampopa

“Feeling unbearable compassion for all animals in the world who are killed for food, I went back before the Jowo Rinpoche [JO-wo RIM-po-shay, a statue of the Buddha in Lhasa], prostrated myself, and made this vow: From today on, I give up the negative act that is eating the flesh of beings . . .”
Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol (1781-1851), in The Life of Shabkar: The Autobiography of a Tibetan Yogi

“In every country in the world, killing human beings is condemned. The Buddhist precept of non-killing extends even further, to include all living beings.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, Interbeing: Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism

“We must look deeply. When we buy something or consume something, we may be participating in an act of killing. This precept (non-killing) reflects our determination not to kill, either directly or indirectly, and also to prevent others from killing.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, Touching Peace: Practicing the Art of Mindful Living


“An ye harm none, do what ye will.”
Wiccan Rede


“We should understand well that all things are the work of the Great Spirit. We should know the Great Spirit is within all things: the trees, the grasses, the rivers, the mountains, and the four-legged and winged peoples; and even more important, we should understand that the Great Spirit is also above all these things and peoples. When we do understand all this deeply in our hearts, then we will fear, and love, and know the Great Spirit, and then we will be and act and live as the Spirit intends.”
Black Elk

“The Lakota was a true naturist – a lover of nature. Kinship with all creatures of the earth was a real and active principle. For the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them, and so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.”
Chief Luther Standing Bear – Lakota

“Behold, my Brothers, the spring has come; The earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love! Every seed has awakened and so has all animal life. It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being and we therefore yield to our neighbours, even our animal neighbours, the same right as ourselves, to inhabit this land.”
Tatanka Yotanka  (Sitting Bull)  1877 – Lakota