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

Published by Paula Moore.

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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“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