"There are a great many people who seem to think that man's duties begin and end with man; and that if they tell the truth habitually, forebear from injuring their neighbours, and eschew theft, dishonesty, and the like, nothing else is required of them by God in their relation towards other creatures. But not only every human being, but every living being has its rights; and justice in the highest form should be applied to it in all our actions. I say that a lame or infirm horse has a right to claim that it should not be worked; and just as one man should be protected from ill-treatment by another, so, on the same principle, ought all animals to be protected from ill-treatment."
The Rev. Algernon Godfrey Kingsford
From a sermon written for the Anglican vicar of Atcham, nr Shrewsbury by his wife, Anna, in 1873.
Dr. Anna Kingsford (1846-1888) became a leading figure in the Victorian Anti-Vivisection, Women's Rights and Theosophical movements.
From The Vegetarian News (March 1929)
“It did not occur to me by any natural process of thought that the innocent and harmless creatures around had the same right to live and enjoy their grant of life even as I had myself.
“…a valued friend and relative clearly and incisively showed me ‘how much Christianity in its accredited teaching seemed to lack consistent professors of a religion which claimed to be one of justice and compassion, and that this aspect of the teachers and the members of the Christian Church was an offence and stumbling-block to him. My mind was soon made up.’
“Human nature must renounce its supposed rights to universal slaughter, and conquer its selfishness before the golden age of Happiness, and Joy, and Health can come.”
Rev H.J. Williams
Rector of Kinross and founder of the original Order of the Golden Age in 1882
From ‘My Experiences’ – a series in The Vegetarian - May 21st , 1898 edition
“Certain teachings have gone forth from the ‘Society of Jesus,’ which for its callousness and brutality I forbear to put on your pages, only referring to the book ‘Moral Philosophy,’ pp. 249, 250 (text book of Stoneyhurst College), by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (Longmans), I beg, as a true and loyal Catholic, not only for myself but for other humane Catholics who abhor cruelty to animals and indifference to their sufferings, and have been therefore scandalized by this teaching, to express publicly our entire abhorrence of it, whether it come from the author of this manual or from any other authority inside or outside of the Church; because it is, to speak mildly as possible, mean and low and heartless, most impure, defiling the mind, utterly false and misleading, dangerous to public morals, most degrading and corrupting to the young, to whom it is given as part of their education, and moreover incompatible with reverence to God…
“Father Rickaby’s teaching – that animals have no rights, nor we any duties to them – may be the teaching of Jesuits, but it has never been, is not, and never can be the teaching of the Catholic Church of Christ, nor of true science.”
Rev. Gideon J. Ouseley
Letter to The Vegetarian, November 2nd, 1895 edition
(See also: Dean Inge excerpt from Christian Ethics and Modern Problems, 1930)
“In the English law animals have legal rights corresponding to a reality embraced by every sound mind. They have rights therefore—animal rights. And they have duties too—animal duties.”
Rev. Wilfrid Lescher
"Why I Oppose Vivisection, No. XIV,"
Animals' Friend (September 1896 edition)
With acknowledgement to Animal Rights History
‘Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.’ – Deut. xxx.4
“This is something more than a moral precept; it breathes the spirit of chivalry. It reads like the product of a far later age than that in which it was framed. For, that animals have rights, is a modern idea – an idea which even in our own day is recognised only partially and imperfectly.
“…why should we invoke, as a justification of our behaviour to animals, a principle on which we should be ashamed to act in relation to human beings?”
Rev. Prebendary Moss,
Head Master of Shrewsbury School
‘The Gospel of Humanity’ – The Herald of the Golden Age, March 1900
NB A selection of digitized volumes of The Herald of the Golden Age is available at the Internet Archive