Good Point, Holly, Except Lincoln Never Said It

Ohio University junior Holly Jensen, treasurer of the Athens Animal Rights Coalition, recently penned a letter to student newspaper The Post Online. Jensen wrote to complain that The Post Online had unfairly panned People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ habit of comparing animal agriculture with the Holocaust or slavery.

Jensen complained that numerous humanitarians supported animal rights, including Abraham Lincoln who said,

I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.

Of course this quote might actually be a bit more persuasive if Lincoln had ever actually said it. It doesn’t appear in any of his articles, speeches, written correspondence or other utterances. Its very language speaks of a 20th century sensibility rather than mid-19th century.

Although it appears on literally hundreds of animal rights web sites, not one includes a link to a reference where Lincoln is supposed to have said this and none of them seem to think “hmmm, maybe we might want to know if this awfully contemporary sounding sentence couplet really came from the mouth of a 19th century president.”

The worst culprit is In Defense of Animals which for years has sold a t-shirt with the bogus quote on it.

But then this is the animal rights movement we are talking about — it is not like accuracy and truth telling have ever been major priorities.


Humanitarians back PETA’s message. Holly Jensen, The Post Online, October 3, 2005.