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Animal cruelty of any kind is wrong

This question probably came up after the infamous case of ex-NFL quarterback Michael Vick and his dog fighting operation. Sorry it's taken so long for someone to answer this, because it is an important issue.

There are not many civilized and morally conscientious people who would argue that animal cruelty is acceptable, certainly not the kind of cruelty that was uncovered in the Michael Vick case, where dogs were forced to fight and punished if they didn't. But is animal cruelty restricted to the harsh treatment of domesticated animals, like dogs and cats? Or does it apply to all living creatures?

Early in the Bible, right after God creates Adam and Eve, He tells them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every other living creature that moves on the ground" (Genesis 1:28).

The word "subdue" means to bring something under total subjugation and authority. The word "rule" means to have dominion, to be responsible for. What God intended for those created in His image--that is, all human beings--was that they treat the Earth and all living creatures living on it as a steward would treat his or her master's possessions. The Earth and everything in it is the Lord's, and as His representatives, we are to treat His creation in the same way He treats us--with love, justice, and goodness. In other words, we are to treat God's creation humanely.

Any animal--whether our pet or a creature living in the wild or an animal we have domesticated to be used primarily for food--should be treated in this way. It's our responsibility as God's human stewards.

Comments

I also agree that animal cruelty is wrong, and try to instill that concept in my children.

To be fair, let's also ask what the definition of "animal cruelty" is, and then who's doing the defining. The Bible points to humanity as stewards of the earth, but also having dominion over the earth. Many of the fringe groups you mention who are the loudest, are loud (and often violent) because they do not view earth, animals, plants and humans within a Biblical worldview. If you are a member of the Earth First movement, or the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) for instance, you might shriek at the idea of Noah building a massive ark from tons and tons of "innocent trees" felled at the hands of man. The popular show "Whale Wars" is a perfect example too. As a Christian, I may agree that whales should not be killed this way, but when I ask the people on the GreenPeace boat why they are sabotaging japanese vessels, they invariably will say that whales in the end are more important than even people (a direct quote from the show, by the way).

I personally like to remind my family about how important it is to take good care of the earth, but you will not find me alongside protestors in PETA. I believe I can assist and advocate in many ways, but the rub comes when people elevate the earth, or animals to the same or higher level than the immortal souls of people. Then the reason for avoiding animal cruelty becomes corrupted.

I am in total agreement with PEOPLE (by the way, are made in the IMAGE of GOD), are the highest, most loved and most important part of this world. God gave us DOMINION over EVERYTHING. We lost that to sin, but Jesus gave it back to us when He fought Satan and brought us back the keys of dominion and authority. He made animals (which don't have a soul) for our use, like for food, warmth, entertainment and general pleasure. Everything God put on this earth is here to SUSTAIN human beings. We are to be good stewards of everything he has given us, because in the end, it's all His and He is blessing us with what we have.
The final authority is ours, and we are NOT to put anything above a human soul, because a born again Christian is THE BODY of CHRIST and He is the Head of that body.