Animal Rights - Treating animals like human beings | Tomorrow's World

Animal Rights - Treating animals like human beings

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So-called "animal rights activists" are aggressively promoting this incredibly dumb idea.  Carried out to the extreme, this cockamamie idea means to ascribe to animals the rights and privileges that human beings have.

You have probably heard of the organization called PETA, which is an acronym for "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals." (Its detractors have a more humorous explanation of the name.) This wacko group believes in "recognizing that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment."

What is the source of these ideas? It seems to stem partly from ancient, pagan religions which ascribed a "spirit" to all life, i.e. the belief in reincarnation, etc. Then there is the misguided generation of young people who have grown up watching cartoons and animations with animals talking and acting like humans. And a lot of folks who must have, in my view, way too much time on their hands!

While all of us may have our own opinions on this subject, what does the Bible say about our use and treatment of animals? In Genesis 1:26 we find that man is to have "dominion" over animals, that is, to use them for the purpose intended. In Genesis 3:21 it states that God Himself made clothes from animal skins for Adam and Eve. We also see that in the Patriarchal period and under the Levitical priesthood animals were used as sacrifices in the worship of God. In Leviticus 11:2 the following instruction is given, "These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth." In verses 3 through 19, God tells us which animals, birds and fish are good for food.

Does this mean that we can abuse animal life? No, quite the contrary!

"The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works" (Psalms 145:9) and the Bible has much to say about how the righteous person is to treat domestic animals and wildlife. In Proverbs 12:10, it states, "A righteous man regards the life of his animal…" which means he cares for its welfare. In Deuteronomy 25:4, we see instruction to allow the ox to eat as it treads out grain. In the New Testament, we see the instruction of Jesus as He corrects the Pharisees, telling them that it is permissible to water their livestock on the Sabbath. He said: "Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it?" (Luke 13:15).

Animals and birds in the wild are also covered by God's instruction. For example, in Deuteronomy 22:6 it states: "If a bird's nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; you shall surely let the mother go, and take the young for yourself, that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days."

As we consider these plain instructions, it is obvious that God has given us the animals for our proper use. With that in mind, it is very clear that some of the various animal-rights protests and resulting anarchy are not of God.

Of course, knowledge of God's word is essential to understand these things and to have the instructions we need to live full and happy lives without the distractions of really dumb ideas. Our informative booklet, The Bible: Fact or Fiction, by Douglas Winnail, will help establish the Bible as your guide to living.