Skip to Main Content

Guess Who Was America’s First Famous Animal Advocate

Written by PETA | April 16, 2010
Mark Twain

“Heaven is by favor; if it were by merit your dog would go in and you would stay out.”
—Mark Twain

Italy had Leonardo da Vinci, India had Mahatma Gandhi, England had William Wilberforce, and the U.S. had Mark Twain.

Like these other luminaries, Twain was a committed advocate for the humane treatment of animals, and we don’t think that aspect of his life should be left out of any commemoration. So in advance of next week’s 100th anniversary of Twain’s death, PETA is donating $5,000 to The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, Missouri, and PETA Vice President Dan Mathews will be there to unveil a plaque featuring a quote from Twain about animal experimentation:

I believe I am not interested to know whether Vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t. To know that the results are profitable would not remove my hostility to it. The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity towards it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further. It is so distinctly a matter of feeling with me, and is so strong and so deeply-rooted in my make and constitution, that I am sure I could not even see a vivisector vivisected with anything more than a sort of qualified satisfaction.

Animals were integral to Twain’s writing from his first stories through his final years, and many of his animal-related pieces are spotlighted in Mark Twain’s Book of Animals.

If you’re going to be in Hannibal on Saturday at noon, come join Dan (who cites Twain as an inspiration in his memoir, Committed) as he unveils PETA’s plaque at The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum. With it in place, Twain’s animal rights message will reach thousands of future visitors to the museum.

Written by Paula Moore

Commenting is closed.
  • David Ashton says:

    Here are a few others Albert Einstein Albert Schweitzer Alexander Pope Anne Hathaway Anthony the Great Apollonius of Tyana Ashoka the Great Basil of Caesarea Brigitte Bardot Carl Lewis Casey Affleck Cesar Chavez Chelsea Clinton Christian Bale Clement of Alexandria Cloris Leachman Confucius Daryl Hannah Dennis Weaver Dick Gregory Ellen DeGeneres Emanuel Swedenborg Empedocles Flavius Claudius Julianus Forest Whitaker Franz Kafka Fred Rogers Gaius Musonius Rufus Gautama Buddha George Bernard Shaw George Harrison Grace Slick Gustav Holst Gustav Mahler Hayley Mills Hesiod Isadora Duncan Jane Goodall Jeff Beck Jiddu Krishnamurti Jim Carrey Joaquin Phoenix John Coltrane John Harvey Kellogg John Peel John Wesley Johnny Appleseed Julie Christie k.d. lang Kabr Kate Winslet Kevin Eubanks Killer Kowalski Leo Tolstoy Leonardo Da Vinci Lewis Gompertz Lilli Lehmann Linda McCartney Lord Byron M.K.Gandhi Malcolm Muggeridge Martina Navratilova Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Moby Nikola Tesla Ovid Pamela Anderson Paris Hilton Percy Bysshe Shelley Percy Grainger Philip Glass Plato Plotinus Plutarch Porphyry Ringo Starr Pythagoras of Samos Quintus Sextius Rabindranath Tagore Richard Gere Richard Wagner Saint Angela de Merici Saint Catherine of Siena Saint Francis of Paola Saint Hilarion Saint John Chrysostom Saint Richard of Chichester Shania Twain Sir Edwin Arnold Sir Paul McCartney Sir Richard Phillips Sir Stafford Cripps Sotion Spike Milligan Stella McCartney Stuart Murdoch Surya Bonaly Swami Satchidananda Swami Vivekananda Tertullian Theophrastus Thomas Ignatius Thomas Pitfield Tobey Maguire Weird Al Yankovic Wil Wheaton Yehudi Menuhin

  • Marisabel Ribbeck says:

    Independent thinking in conjunction with compassion may the most important trait in humanity.” Couldn’t be more true! Teach children compassion compassioncompassion from the very start and this I hope is the answer to the abuse of innocent animals.

  • Judy Hill says:

    Stop “puppy mills”! I volunteer for National Mill Dog Rescue “” in Colorado. Amazing nonprofit! Please go to their website become a fan please donate even $10 will make a huge difference in a rescued “puppy mill” dog’s life! Many thanks! Do not buy from Pet Stores Please adopt from shelters or rescue organizations!

  • troller says:

    What is the greatest lie every created? What is the most vicious obscenity ever perpetrated on mankind? Slavery? The Holocaust? Dictatorship? No. It’s the tool with which all that wickedness is built altruism. Whenever anyone wants others to do their work they call upon their altruism. Never mind your own needs they say think of the needs of… of whoever. The state. The poor. Of the army of the king of God! The list goes on and on. How many catastrophes were launched with the words “think of yourself”? It’s the “king and country” crowd who light the torch of destruction. It is this great inversion this ancient lie which has chained humanity to an endless cycle of guilt and failure.

  • Carrie says:

    “Independent thinking in conjunction with compassion may the most important trait in humanity.” Couldn’t be more true! Teach children compassion compassioncompassion from the very start and this I hope is the answer to the abuse of innocent animals.

  • Bea May says:

    I definitely heartily endorse the previous posts. It warms the heart and motivates me to keep emulating the great Mr. Twain’s wisdom. Bea May Canada

  • conando says:

    Mark Twain was a genius no less. Way ahead of his time and obviously ours too. This just proves it again. Independent thinking in conjunction with compassion might be the most important trait in humanity. Too bad that at least 90 of humanity have neither.

  • Jahiegel says:

    Twain was there can be no doubt the most comprehensively progressive American writer of the nineteenth century. Anyone in the area btw should surely take a few hours to visit the museum whether Saturday or not it’s a really nice place.

  • sarah says:

    you are my hero

  • Aneliese says:

    Thank you for posting. Mark Twain is one of the few people who can look beyond species and see all beings as the same.

  • Tara says:

    I am so glad to know this!!! It helps restore my faith in humanity even more. MARK TWAIN ANOTHER SHINING STAR!!!