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Jeremy Bentham

The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?
Founder of modern utilitarianism

Jeremy Bentham ( 1748-1832) was an English philosopher and one of the founders of modern utilitarianism.
Jeremy Bentham is regarded as one of the earliest proponents of animal rights and one of the founders of modern utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its utility in providing happiness or pleasure as summed among ALL sentient beings.
Rather than regarding animals as inferior to human beings because of their inability to reason, Bentham applied ethical utilitarianism to animals. He said that because animals suffer, their happiness and wellbeing is relevant and that it is the capacity for suffering that gives all sentient beings the right to equal consideration.
He argued that it was the ability to suffer rather than the ability to reason that should provide the benchmark, or what he called the "insuperable line", of how we treat other animal

Quotes: 
The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?
The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withheld from them but by the hand of tyranny.
Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being? The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes.