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Guess Who: U.S.’ First Famous Animal Advocate

Written by Paula Moore | November 30, 2011

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


Courtesy of LOC; LC-USZ62-117717

Like these other luminaries, Twain was a committed advocate for the humane treatment of animals. In honor of his 176th birthday, we’ve selected one of his most powerful and impassioned statements to share. Of course, since it comes from Mark Twain, there’s also a dose of humor thrown in:

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 without anything more than a sort of qualified satisfaction.

To read more about Mark Twain’s thoughts on animals in celebration of this early animal advocate’s birthday, check out Mark Twain’s Book of Animals.

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  • Charles Allison says:

    The Greeks had Pythagoras, who was a lacto-vegetarian.

  • WinterT says:

    Great article PETA, but a very important animal advocate is missing from the ones listed. Germany had the famous animal advocate Albert Einstein. He has great animal quotes as well.

  • sadhuvedantmunijain says:

    i agree with you. but i want to draw your kind attention that in our country INDIA HAD advocated non violence since long. LORD RISHABHA DEV TO LORD MAHAVEER and others are the preachers of non violence. in our ancient literature s are full glory of nonviolence. i pay respect to Mark Twain for this honorable cause .

  • pj57 says:

    How profound! I never new that Mark Twain was an animal advocate.

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