Guess Who Was America’s First Famous Animal Advocate

Published by PETA.
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

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind