Carnism Debunked

Humanely slaughtering the arguments for animal exploitation.

What does your religion say about harming animals?

Below is a compilation of quotes from scripture, as well as quotes from notable figures from each religion listed. Please select your religion from the list below to see what your religion says about harming animals for a multitude of purposes.

  1. Islam
  2. Christianity and Judaism
  3. Hinduism
  4. Sikhism
  5. Buddhism
  6. Jainism

ISLAM

“In Hell there is a huge roller, like the ones used to flatten stones on paved roads. This roller is 250 miles long and the beam by which it is dragged is also the same length. Someone stands next to the beam with a fairly long whip in his hand and forces the people to lie on the ground, like stones on a path. Two hundred to two hundred and fifty other people are chained to the beam and are forced to pull the roller over the people lying on the ground. As they pull, they are whipped. They are screaming, and the people being crushed are also howling and wailing. Blood flows everywhere. This goes on from morning until night. Then all those who were crushed take form again and are made to lie down and be crushed once more. Then they are heaped onto a fire burning as high as a mountain. I have seen this. I saw different people there: a man who butchered goats, a man who butchered cattle, and a man who weighed and sold the flesh of animals. I asked them what they had done and they told me. I saw all of this with my own eyes.”
- M.R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, Muslim spiritual teacher

“Do not allow your stomachs to become graveyards!”
- Prophet Muhammad, Hadith

During a journey, someone travelling with the Prophet (pbuh), gathered some birds eggs from a nest. The mother bird's painful cries and commotion attracted the attention of the Prophet (pbuh), who asked the man to return the eggs to the nest.
- Hadith (Bukhari)

"A good deed done to a beast is as good as doing good to a human being; while an act of cruelty to a beast is as bad as an act of cruelty to human beings."
- Hadith (Bukhari)

“Allah will not give mercy to anyone, except those who give mercy to other creatures.”
- Prophet Muhammad, Hadith

"All creations are given freedom and a place to live. They are all given water, air, fire, and a connection to earth and ether. But man grabs for himself what Allah has created as common to all. He snatches the homes of others for himself. He claims the water as his own. He claims the air as his own. He makes the Sun his own. He makes the Earth his own. He claims the Moon is his. He attempts to make what was common to all, his own. All are members of the same body. Created from one essence. If fate brings suffering to one member, the others cannot stay at rest. You who remain indifferent to the burden of pain of others do not deserve to be called human."
- Sa'di, Muslim spiritual teacher

"There is not an animal that lives on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, that doesn't form communities like you. They all shall be gathered to their Rabb (Lord) in the end."
- Qur'an, Sura 6:38

"We were on a journey with the Prophet (pbuh), and he left us for a while. During his absence, we saw a bird called Hummara with its two young and took the young ones. The mother bird was circling above us in the air, beating its wings in grief, when the Prophet (pbuh), came back and said: "Who has hurt the feelings of this bird by taking its young? Return them to her."
- Hadith (Muslim)

“Do not allow your boys to tie up birds in order to kill them, for I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbidding the tying up of animals or other creatures in order to kill them.”
- Hadith, Bukhaari, 5195; Muslim, 1958

"While a man was walking along a road, he became very thirsty. He came to a well, got down into it, drank, and climbed out again. He then saw a dog panting and licking mud because of severe thirst. The man said to himself, 'This dog is suffering from the same state of thirst I did.' So he went down the well (again), filled his shoe (with water), held it in his mouth (as he climbed out), and gave the water to the dog. God thanked him for that deed and forgave him (his sins). The people then asked the Prophet: "Is there a reward for us in serving animals?" He replied: "(Yes), there is a reward for serving any (living being)."
- Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Hadith 38

"Fear Allah in your treatment of these animals who cannot speak."
- Prophet Muhammad, Hadith

“He who takes pity {even} on a sparrow and spares its life, Allah will be merciful on him on the Day of Judgement.”
- Prophet Muhammad, Hadith

“Seest thou not that it is Allah Whose praise all beings in the heavens and on earth do celebrate, and the birds (of the air) with wings outspread? Each one knows its own (mode of) prayer and praise, and Allah knows well all that they do.”
- Qur'an, Sura 24:41

"Allah, curse the one who branded it."
- Prophet Muhammad (after seeing an animal who had been branded), Hadith

“All creatures are like a family (Ayal) of God: and He loves the most those who are the most beneficent to His family.”
- Prophet Muhammad, Hadith

"Because one ant stung you, you have burned a whole community which glorified Me."
- Prophet Muhammad, Hadith, bringing a message from Allah to a tribe of people who had burnt a colony of ants

"Whoever is kind to the creatures of God is kind to himself."
- Prophet Muhammad, Hadith


CHRISTIANITY AND JUDAISM

"He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck."
- Isaiah 66:3

"Woe to those who stretch themselves upon their couches and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall. They shall be the first to be exiled."
- Amos 6:4-7

“I give you all plants that bear seed everywhere on Earth, and every tree bearing fruit which yields seed: they shall be yours for food. All green plants I give for food to the wild animals, to all the birds of heaven, and to all reptiles on Earth, every living creature, it shall be theirs for food.”
- Genesis 1:29-31

"He [God] then who at the first was displeased with the slaughtering of animals, not wishing them to be slain, did not ordain sacrifices as desiring them; nor from the beginning did He require them."
- St. Peter the Apostle, 1st Bishop of Rome

“We are not God... Nowadays we must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.”
- Pope Francis

"Jesus commanded me not to eat meat and not to drink wine, but only bread, water, and fruits so that I will be found pure when he wants to talk to me."
- St. Paul (Toldot Jeschu, Ms. Vindobona; ed Samuel Drauss, Berlin 1902, p. 113)

"The body which is burdened with meat is afflicted with diseases. A moderate way of living makes the body healthier and stronger and cuts off the root of evil. The stream of meat meals darkens the light of the spirit. One can hardly have virtue if one enjoys meat meals and feasts."
- St. Basilius the Great

"They shall no longer sacrifice their slaughtered beasts to the demons whom they wantonly follow. This shall be a rule binding on them and their descendants for all time.”
- Leviticus 17:7

"The reek of sacrifice is abhorrent to me”; “There is blood on your hands; wash yourselves and be clean.”
- Isaiah 1:13; 1:15-16

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow man.”
- St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

"Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind."
- Genesis 1:20

“Animals have done us no harm and they have no power of resistance. There is something so very dreadful, so Satanic, in tormenting those who have never harmed us, who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power.”
- Cardinal John Henry Newman

"For what happens to people also happens to animals—a single event happens to them: just as someone dies, so does the other. In fact, they all breathe the same way, so that a human being has no superiority over an animal."
- Ecclesiastes 3:19

"I came to destroy the sacrifices, and if ye cease not from sacrificing, the wrath of God will not cease from you."
- Jesus, Gospel of the Ebionites

"They love sacrifice, they sacrifice flesh and eat it, but the Lord has no delight in them."
- Hosea 8:13

“We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.”
- Bishop William Ralph Inge

"Thou shalt not kill."
- 10 Commandments (Commandment no. 5)


HINDUISM

"He who desires to augment his own flesh by eating the flesh of other creatures lives in misery in whatever species he may take his birth."
- Mahabharata, Anu.115.47

"If there were nobody who ate flesh, then there would be nobody to slay living creatures. The man who slays living creatures kills them for the sake of the person who eats flesh. If flesh were not considered as food, there would then be no destruction of living creatures. It is for the sake of the eater that the destruction of living entities is carried on in the world. Since, O you of great splendor, the period of life is shortened by persons who kill living creatures or cause them to be killed, it is clear that the person who seeks his own good should give up meat altogether."
- Mahabharata 115.29-32

"Avoiding harm to all creatures... this is true knowledge. All else is ignorance."
- Bhagavad Gita

"To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body."
- Gandhi

"I abhor vivisection with my whole soul. All the scientific discoveries stained with innocent blood I count as of no consequence."
- Gandhi

"Meat can never be obtained without injury to living creatures, and injury to sentient beings is detrimental to the attainment of heavenly bliss; let him therefore shun the use of meat. Having well considered the disgusting origin of flesh and the cruelty of fettering and slaying corporeal beings, let him entirely abstain from eating flesh."
- Manusmriti 5.48-49

"He who injures harmless creatures from a wish to give himself pleasure, never finds happiness in this life or the next."
- Manusmriti 5.45

"You must not use your God-given body for killing God's creatures, whether they are human, animal or whatever."
- Yajur Veda 12.32.90

"Riches cannot be found in the hands of the thriftless, nor can compassion be found in the hearts of those who eat meat."
- Tirukural, verse 252

"Those whose trade is killing creatures are deemed defiled by men who know the defiling nature of being mean."
- Tirukural, verse 329

"He who does not seek to kill, cause pain or tie up living creatures and desires the good of all attains everlasting joy."
- Manu Smriti 5.46 - Vishnu Dharma Sutra 51.69


SIKHISM

"You say that the One Lord is in all, so why do you kill chickens?"
- Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1350

"Kabeer says, to use force is tyranny, even if you call it a religious sacrifice. When your account is called for in the Kingdom of God, what will your condition be then? Kabeer says, the dinner of beans and rice is excellent when flavoured with salt. Who would cut throats to have meat with his bread?"
- Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1374

“You kill living beings, and call it a righteous action. Tell me, brother, what would you call an unrighteous action? You call yourself the excellent sage; then whom would you call a butcher?”
- Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1103

“Countless are the cutthroats who trade in violence. Countless are sinners who keep on sinning. Countless are liars, wandering lost in their lies. Countless are the impious who live on unwholesome food.”
- Guru Nanak, Jap Ji, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 4

“Living by neglect and greed, the world eats dead carcasses. Like a goblin or a beast, they kill and eat the forbidden carcasses of meat. Control your urges, or else you will be thrown into the tortures of hell.”
- Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 723


BUDDHISM

"All beings tremble before danger, all fear death. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill. All beings fear before danger, life is dear to all. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill. Whosoever tries to find happiness through hurting other beings, will not find happiness."
- Buddha, Dhammapada

"To avoid terror to living beings, let the disciple refrain from eating meat... the food of the wise is that which is consumed by the Sadhus (holy men); it does not consist of meat... There may be some foolish people in the future that will say that I permitted meat-eating and partook of meat myself, but...meat eating I have not permitted to anyone, I do not permit.. I will not permit meat eating in any form, in nay manner or in any place; it is unconditionally prohibited for all."
- Buddha, Dhammapada

"If a man can (control) his body and mind and thereby refrains from eating animal flesh and wearing animal products, I say he will really be liberated."
- Buddha, Surangama Sutra

"Every day forty thousand children die in the world for lack of food. We, who overeat in the West, who are feeding grains to animals to make meat, are eating the flesh of these children."
- Thich Nhat Hanh

"There are three ways of killing that we, as Buddhists, have to restrain: either by directly killing, indirectly killing, or rejoicing to see others be killed. Not only does this apply to human life, it should be also extended to all living beings."
- Thich Thanh Tu

"Eating meat, at the cost of great suffering for animals, is unacceptable. If, bereft of compassion and wisdom, you eat meat, you have turned your back on liberation."
- Shakbar


JAINISM

"He who harms animals has not understood or renounced deeds of sin...Those who are at peace and who are free from passions do not desire to live at the expense of others."
- Acharanga Sutra

"All breathing, existing, living sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away."
- Acharanga Sutra

"If you kill someone, it is yourself you kill. If you overpower someone, it is yourself you overpower. If you torment some one, it is yourself you torment. If you harm someone, it is yourself you harm."
- Mahavira

"Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture or kill any creature or living being."
- Mahavira