“Without doubt, our duty to the lower animals, on which depends the problems of carnivorism, vivisection, sport, and others, is the question of our generation as slavery was the question of two generations ago. Every man and woman in whom conscience is awake, and a sense of duty is consciously followed, must face this question, and decide on which side he will range him or herself.
It is not a question of palate, of custom, of expediency but of right.”
Rev. J. Tyssul Davies, B.A.
‘The Rising Tide of Conviction’ – The Herald of the Golden Age, March 1903
“SIR,—As the subject of animals' rights is much to the front in these days, and as moral questions of this sort have an interest for instructors of the rising generation, may I ask if you could do me the kindness to publish an address of the Rev. H. B. Gray, D.D., Warden of Bradfield College?”
Rev. J. Stratton
From a letter to the Journal of Education (June 1903 edition)
With Acknowledgement to Animal Rights History
“Much of the indifference, apathy, and even cruelty which we see has its origin in the false education given the young concerning the rights of animals, and their duty towards them.”
Rev. John Todd Ferrier
'A Plea for Humaneness’ – The Herald of the Golden Age, July 1903
(Reprinted in a collected edition of Ferrier articles by the Order of the Golden Age and subsequently by the Order of the Cross - currently available as On Behalf of the Creatures from the remaining society).
“…the judgement of the Christian Church 200 years ago was that animals had no rights which mankind were bound to respect. That man might treat cruelly animals over which he had control at his pleasure, and that he had the right to put them to death, not only for need but for his pleasure or amusement as well.
…the general feeling of to-day is that they must be kindly and tenderly treated.”
Rev. James Clark
Bible Christian Church of Salford
From: Scriptural phase of Vegetarianism
Vegetarian Society tract, 1903
"The rights of animals rest on exactly the same foundation as the rights of man - justice and mercy."
The Reverend Lionel Smithett Lewis
Testimonial to the Royal Commission on Vivisection, 1906
Cited in A Century of Vivisection and Anti-Vivisection, E. Westacott, C.W. Daniel, 1949, p.265
“The day is coming when the dogma which binds the churches in fetters will be dispensed with, and the spirit of true brotherhood will take its place. As the world realises more fully the Divine sonship of the race, that all life is one, and that God is the Father of all, there will come also the realisation of its responsibility. With the realisation of kinship with all creatures, including those in the lower order of creation, there will come a sense of duty to them, and that we must show our nobility by exercising our right of merciful justice, and not by our power to oppress the poor merciful beasts.”
Rev. O. A. Broadley
‘A Vegetarian Church’ – An Address delivered at the Bible Christian Church, Cross Lane, Salford, on October 14th 1906
(From a transcript in The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review of November 1906)
“Are we to eat just what we like, what we choose, without regard to the pain and suffering, to the rights of the creatures in our power, to the naturalness or unnaturalness of the food they supply, or, again, to the possible physical, mental, and moral injury their flesh may do to those who eat of it?
…The animal has its rights, and can claim from us these two – Justice and Mercy.”
Rev. A.M. Mitchell, M.A.,
Vicar of Burton Wood, Lancashire
‘The Church and Food Reform’ – The Herald of the Golden Age, April 1910
(See: Order of the Golden Age Bibliography of leaflets/pamphlets/booklets)
“…our own right to live rests upon just the same ground as the right of our sentient fellow creatures, and whatever consideration impairs the validity of the one impairs the validity of the other. We consider we have a right to live because we do live, and because our life is sweet to us. For we reason that, since we do live, and since we enjoy our existence, the Infinite which gave us our life must intend us to live, and must intend us to live as long as it gives us life. We are perfectly sure that no finite fellow-creature has a right to deprive us of our existence which infinite power and grace have bestowed. But just the same considerations apply in the case of the animals. They are as truly alive and as truly enjoy their lives as we do.”
Rev. Francis Wood
Suffering and Wrong: the message of the new religion, G. Bell & Sons, 1916
From an abridged version in The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review of July 1941
“The man who refrains from flogging horses or kicking dogs out of motives of mercy, though far superior to that truly degraded being, the cruel person, is, nevertheless, not the highest type of humanitarian. This is the Just man, who acknowledges that animals have rights – a proof that animals have rights is furnished by the fact that they are to some extent protected by law from the wanton cruelty of man. But even if animals had no rights, the moral obligation resting on all decent-minded persons, let alone those who profess and call themselves Christians, to treat animals justly, would remain.
“…let us remember that the tiniest thing that lives may surely claim a right to enjoy its brief existence.”
Rev. F.S. Ross
‘Justice and Mercy’ – sermon preached at St. Saviour’s, Colgate, Horsham and based on Ezek. xviii.5: “Man be just – do right.”
From a transcript in The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review, June 1917
“It is difficult, nay impossible, to understand how ‘the spiritual’ can eat flesh-meat with an approving conscience, unless animals are known to be slaughtered swiftly and painlessly. How many religious people care to know the truth, take the trouble to know?
If it be said ‘I show my spirituality by rising above such things…’ the retort courteous and convincing clearly is: ‘ I will show you my spirituality by my scrupulous regard for everything which concerns sub-human life; by my championship of animal rights; by my unceasing hostility to brutality and torture to the defenceless.”
Rev. A.M. Mitchell, M.A.
‘Looking Animal-wards’ – The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review, September 1919
“Our opponents…suggest that, in our zeal for the rights of animals we are disposed to forget the rights of men, and are prepared to pursue a policy which would eventuate in the overrunning of the earth by the former to the detriment of the latter. Neither of these charges is true. We recognise that the rights of animals, as those of men, are conditioned by the rights of their fellow-beings; that, in this world, all living things should accept such limitations, in respect of their lives and liberties, as are requisite in the interest of all other living things. All that we claim on behalf of the animals is, that they shall be dealt with on the same principles of justice which we apply in the case of men, and shall not be subject to greater limitations than strict justice requires.”
Rev. Francis Wood
‘Vegetarianism in Relation to the Treatment of Animals’
The C.P. Newcombe Memorial Prize – Essay, 1919
(Published as a pamphlet by the Vegetarian Society in 1920)
“There are several strong reasons for abjuring flesh-foods, but all which assume man as the centre of the universe, or his claims as paramount, are doomed to sterility and contempt. The one great unimpeachable reason, the rights of animals, is a reason which ignores self and self-interest, and is based on the fundamental fact which we have often heard uttered, but have only partially understood. It runs thus: “Be ye sure that the Lord He is God; it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves.”
The Hon. And Rev. Edward Lyttleton, M.A., D.D., D.C.L.
‘Divine and human law’,
The Vegetarian News (December 1922)
“For some time many men and women have been endeavouring to let their sympathies reach beyond the limit of what is human and reach to any creature that can suffer or enjoy. Animals have rights. We see the recognition of this in the existence of Societies for the protection of animals, and the enforcement of laws against cruelty.
“…Vegetarianism stands for the extension of sympathy and understanding to the animal creation, and Vegetarianism marks a step forward in the moral progress of the world as definite as those steps which men took when they formed themselves into clans, tribes and nations.”
Rev. Victor A. Callow
Bible Christian Minister
‘Vegetarianism and Moral Obligation’
From The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review, March 1925
“…we can hardly suppose that the other animals, if they are able to think, admit our superiority. If they were capable of formulating a religion, they might differ considerably as to the shape of the beneficent Creator, but they would nearly all agree that the Devil must be very like a big white man. For we have always treated our poor relations in fur and feathers as if they had no rights at all. We have not only enslaved them, and killed and eaten them, but we have made it one of our chief pleasures to take away their lives, and not infrequently we have tortured them.”
The Rev. Dr. William Ralph Inge
Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral between 1911-34
Lay Thoughts of a Dean, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1926, p.198
“There are various tests of civilisation: one fair test is the place of the animal world in the scale of civil rights. To affirm that the animal workers in society have no rights is an admission of barbarism, because it is followed by acts and customs of barbaric cruelty.”
Rev Walter Walsh, D.D.
‘The Measure of a Man’ – Chairman’s Address at the Arnold Hills Memorial Lecture of the London Vegetarian Society on March 26th, 1928
From The Vegetarian News, April 1928
“None can truthfully allege that I ignore the rights and just claims of Man upon his fellow-man, but I stand also for the rights and claims of Beast as man’s partner in the world’s work.
“The destroyer and eater of his sub-human brother or sister must submit to hear that his flesh-eating habit is a complete denial of the doctrine of Animal Rights, a palpable injustice to members of the great family of the sentient races and a sinful breach of Heaven’s Law of Mercy.”
Rev. Walter Walsh, D.D.
‘The Common Good, or the Animal Co-worker with Man’ – a Sermon delivered at the 21st anniversary service of the Bristol Vegetarian Society at Oakfield Road Church, Clifton, on May 4th 1930.
From a transcript which appeared in The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review of June 1930
“It is certain that, as religion becomes purer, more and more people will come to abhor the cruelty involved in the rearing and killing of animals for human food, to regard the custom indeed as a kind of cannibalism, since the animals they consume are actually their ancestral kinsmen. They will also realise the resulting degradation to human character and society. Conventional religion has many debts and omissions to its discredit, but I know of none more flagrant and unworthy than its almost universal disregard for animal rights; the rights of animals to justice and mercy. It is said that God is love. Mankind will ascend to the highest life of religion when they act as though Love were God.”
Rev. Walter Walsh, D.D.
Excerpt from Twenty Dialogues on Universal Religion between Seeker and Finder, Williams and Norgate, 1930
From a review by Rev. Francis Wood in The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review, July 1930)
“As an example of the teaching officially given in the Roman Catholic Church, it is probably fair to quote from the ‘Moral Philosophy’ of Joseph Rickaby, S.J., ‘Brute beasts, not having understanding and therefore not being persons, cannot have any rights…We have then no duties of charity, nor duties of any kind, to the lower animals, as neither to sticks and stones.’
“The horror which this passage will arouse in almost all readers is the measure of the gulf which separates the old Ethics from the new.”
William Ralph Inge, K.C.V.O.
Christian Ethics and Modern Problems, Hodder & Stoughton, 1930, pp 278-79
“Their life appears just as precious to them as is ours to us.”
…the gift of life carries with it the gift of the right of life, in the sense at least of an equal right to life with all other creatures of the divine power and grace.”
Rev. Francis Wood
The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review, July 1931
“As you and your children grow in genuine humanitarianism the savage notion that beasts and birds have no rights will disappear. It cannot survive the light of reason and of righteousness.”
Rev. S. Parkes Cadman, D.D.
Excerpt from ‘Man’s Debt to the Animal World’ – a wireless talk over the American National Broadcasting System
Transcript published in The Vegetarian News, September 1933
“The discoveries which are still rightly associated with the name of Charles Darwin have proved, beyond a shadow of doubt, that the so-called lower animals are literally our distant cousins. They have as good a right on this planet as we have; they were not made for our benefit, as we used to suppose. This discovery has certainly altered our way of regarding them; it has made us aware of moral obligations which were formally unrecognised. The only question is how far the recognition of these obligations ought to take us.”
Dean William Ralph Inge
Outspoken Essays, (Second series), Longmans, Green, 1933, p.56
“Killing for food is but a small part of the many miseries inflicted on animals, but it is by far the most universal, for nearly every man, woman and child takes part in it. It begets a strange and terrible notion that animals were made to be killed and eaten, and that we have a perfect right to exploit them as we wish and to do whatever we like with them. It is thus the root of countless other cruelties, which can never be effectually eradicated until flesh-eating becomes a thing of the past.”
Rev. E.F. Udny, M.A.
‘Killing for Food – a Crime!’
The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review, June 1934
“…as soon as our author passes from theory to practice, from the statement of this principle of the rights of animals to its application to our conduct towards them, his attitude and ideas become less satisfactory.
“That is to say, after admitting, only a few sentences previously, that animals ‘have as good a right on this planet as we have,’ he now renders the admission quite nugatory by maintaining, in effect, that when it is a question of the satisfaction of man’s carnivorous cravings, the rights of animals must go by the board. What astonishing inconsistency! What an amazing volte-face!”
Rev Francis Wood
A Reply to Dean Inge’s defence of Flesheating, C.W. Daniel Co., 1934, pp10-11
"I know that St. Paul asked contemptuously, “Doth God take care of oxen?” I am sorry that he said so. But a greater than St. Paul told us that no sparrow falls to the ground without God. We men, the tyrants and bullies of our planet, have yet much to learn about our duties to our poor relations, who have as good a right to life and happiness as we have.”
Rev. Dr. William Ralph Inge,
Reprinted in the London Vegetarian Society journal The Vegetarian News, September 1935, from an article in the Evening Standard
“These two principles of mercy and sacrifice are in perpetual conflict. Shall I suffer or shall I let another suffer for me? I believe that I have no moral right to ask another to do for me what I am not prepared to do for myself. If I do not think it right to kill animals for food neither is it right for me to condemn another man to a trade which I consider demoralising.
…By what right do we sacrifice these animals?”
Rev. Victor A. Callow
Sermon at the annual service of the Vegetarian Society at their AGM of 1935
From a transcript which appeared in The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review of November 1935