Max Horkheimer – The Dogs’ Declaration of Independence

April 7, 2007




When in the course of the history of living beings, it becomes necessary for one species to dissolve the bands that have bound it to another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the independent and equal station to which the laws of nature and its divinity entitle it, a decent respect for the opinions of all creatures requires that it should declare the grounds on which it acts.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

that all creatures are created equal,

that they are endowed by the creator with inalienable rights, that among these
are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,

that in this respect no difference between human beings and animals obtains,

that therefore, according to the measure of the highest ideals, the proposition holds, all animals are human beings,

that accordingly dogs too may properly claim human rights,

that among the human rights of dogs there are included, aside from eating, drinking and sleeping: sniffing, straying from the path, barking, biting, cocking legs, playing at nonsense and a reasonable measure of general destruction,

that dogs have the divine right and the moral duty to bring about for themselves, among themselves as in their relations to all species, a state in which all those activities and possibilities of happiness are guaranteed, without renunciation, without collar, lead or punishment.

The present state of dogs which on historical, not rational grounds, subjects them to the power of human beings has not guaranteed the human rights of dogs.  Those rights in particular are denied us which derive from human nature as it is concretized in dogs.  Sniffing, one of the dogliest and as such humanest activities, is denounced as beastly.  We are forced to walk straight paths, whereas according to our nature the path is more important than the goal, and hence a wandering path always better than a straight one.  Barking activities, the purest expression of which we are capable, are deformed to human purposes and restricted to the arbitrary occasions that suit our masters.  We are forbidden to bite human beings, even though they themselves yearn for it, and are secretly pleased when one of us succeeds, like my fellow dog Prince did with Miss Garbo. Leg-cocking activity is reduced from our most intimate olfactory language to a lowly matter of regulated health-care.  Human beings make playing at nonsense a privilege of their own, and won’t allow it us since they are too ashamed by the thought that we are as good at it as they are at their bridge.  They don’t even allow us to satisfy our appetite for destruction with polished brown boots and saucily curved chair legs, whilst they themselves with their machines, so hostile to dogs, give free rein to their own appetite for destruction.

In just consideration of all these circumstances and assured of the good nature of our cause, appealing to the public conscience of all creatures, from superhumans to bacteria, we have come to the recognition that it can no longer go on in this way, and so we declare, as a species equal to the human, our independence from degenerate humanity.  But in order to preserve our well considered resolution, founded not upon blind inclination but upon inborn truth, from any semblance of impassioned irritation, ingratitude or enmity, in order that it be recognized as arising out of the matter itself, and not out of self-interested partiality, we deliver this declaration to one whose understanding for all suffering creatures is as certain as his deep and sensitive knowledge of the human nature of Dogs:


whom I have to thank for the possibility of living, for the preservation of freedom beyond the measure otherwise so restricted by human beings, and for happiness achieved.  May he make himself the advocate of our great cause to a less panhumanistically oriented humanity.  The gratitude of all dogdom will be his until the colonization of the moon.

This declaration has been formulated in consultation with the creator of panhumanism, Archibald the Hippopotamus-King.  However, I alone take responsibility for it, in the name of all dogdom, and by the power of my own historically attested name.

Given at

Los Angeles, California, on the fifth day of the month of December in the year one thousand nine hindred and forty-six.

Translated from the German (c) by Marc Hiatt. (11.06-04.07)


2 Responses to “Max Horkheimer – The Dogs’ Declaration of Independence

  1. sam said

    brilliant, brilliant

  2. Halo said

    well spoken!

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