Caring for animals is a huge source of joy and wonder. And with over 1.5 million animal species on our planet (and many more yet to be described), there’s plenty out there to love — especially if you’re fond of insects, which account for more than half of all known living organisms.
Wild animals are certainly fascinating and undeniably beautiful, but most humans reserve a special place in their hearts for their pets, which often become part of the family. Dogs are the most popular pets worldwide, closely followed by their archrivals, those capricious creatures known as cats. Fish, reptiles, rabbits, rodents, and birds are also kept as pets, albeit less frequently.
Here are some quotes from famous animal-lovers, from heavyweight philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Arthur Schopenhauer to animal conservationists including Jane Goodall and David Attenborough.
Love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.
— Charles Darwin
We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment to animals.
— Immanuel Kant
Love the animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and untroubled joy.
— Fyodor Dostoevsky
Since compassion for animals is so intimately associated with goodness of character, it may be confidently asserted that whoever is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.
— Arthur Schopenhauer
I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd, I stand and look at them long and long.
— Walt Whitman
We patronize [the animals] for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man.
— Henry Beston, writer and naturalist
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
— Mahatma Gandhi
If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.
— James Herriot, veterinarian
How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it.
— Frances Hodgson Burnett, novelist
It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us.
— Carl Sagan
I had a wonderful teacher about animal behavior — my dog Rusty. He taught me that animals have personalities, minds, and feelings.
— Jane Goodall
If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.
— Steve Irwin
Animals are sentient, intelligent, perceptive, funny, and entertaining. We owe them a duty of care as we do to children.
— Michael Morpurgo, author
I’ve always felt that animals are the purest spirits in the world. They don’t fake or hide their feelings, and they are the most loyal creatures on Earth. And somehow we humans think we’re smarter.
Never be embarrassed by how much you care about animals and how they're treated.
— Stephanie Feldstein, author
Look after the natural world and the animals in it and the plants in it too. This is their planet as well as ours.
— David Attenborough
Photo credit: Suzan Johnson/ iStock