Attitudes to Animals in Quotes

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Attitudes to animals, and human opinion of animals, has been an oft debated subject in recent years. Here are a selection of quotes on animals:

"All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it".
- Samuel Butler

Here Butler shows that animals are in some ways more intelligent than humans! Having a mind isn't always an advantage, in evolutionary terms.

"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others"
George Orwell, Animal Farm

This is probably the most famous quote related to animals. The point is that as soon as there is a power vacuum in nature, like any form of vacuum, some other species or animal will fill th evoid and become dominant.

Animals, whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equal.
- Charles Darwin

Darwin comments on the potential discomfort caused by re-assessing our attitudes to animals, and the conflict this can cause with our behaviour towards them.

The desire to take medicine is perhaps the greatest feature which distinguishes man from animals
William Osler

Osler humorously comments on the true difference between man and animals, of course, the intelligence of man to make medicines and so on is the real difference.

It is the knowledge of the necessary and eternal truths which distinguishes us from mere animals, and gives us Reason and the Sciences, raising us to knowledge of ourselves and of God.
Gottfried Leibniz

Brain power is again highlighted by Leibniz - the ability to make conceptual leaps and extrapolate from the here and now.

God's first blunder: Man didn't find the animals amusing, - he dominated them and didn't even want to be an animal.
Friedrich Nietzsche

A pertinent comment here on man's separation from other creatures in his own eyes, somehow distancing himself from mere common animals.

So, animals we might be, but at least we're at the top of the tree, a 'higher animal' as described by Darwin in on the Origin of Species:
From the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.

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