May 6, 2010

Animal Rights and Animal Abuse

Do animals have rights? Rights are based on persons, and animals, no matter how cute and friendly, are not persons. I will address this topic at length in another post. My concern here, however, is to briefly address man's relation to animals. As Christians, we know from the Book of Genesis that God has given man dominion over the earth. Man has been designated a steward of God's creation. This means, in the first place, that creation ultimately belongs to God, and not man. Secondly, creation is given to man for his use and enjoyment. This is where our responsible stewardship is required.

With the rights of stewardship comes responsibility for the environment. Dominion over creation requires our ethical treatment of animals. Animals exist for themselves and for man's responsible use, such as a means for clothing, transportation, food, pets, and so on. However, corporate farming, especially in America, has been incredibly abusive in its treatment of animals.

The following link is to a video that gives a shocking glimpse inside slaughterhouses, factory farms, live-animal transport and the fishing industry. The film "Glass Houses" is narrated by Paul McCartney and sponsored by PETA. Note that I do not support or have sympathy for PETA with its mixed up ideals. However, every conscientious person must agree that we should not tolerate the kind of rampant abuse of animals depicted in this film.

If you are concerned about ethical treatment of God's creatures, perhaps you can find ways to encourage respect and reverence for animals, and for all of creation, even if it just involves eating less meat, or becoming a vegetarian. I am not a vegetarian, at least not yet, but a good vegetarian diet avoids many of the impurities and other unhealthy factors associated with corporate farming of animals.

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