Starting with the establishment of the S.P.C.A. in the 1870’s there has been an ever increasing awareness by many that animals are in need of protection from cruelty at the hands of human beings. While great improvements have been made in many nations involving medical research, and living conditions on farms, it is clear that we have a long way to go. Blatant cruelty to animals can be found in every nation of the world.

In the Garden of Eden following the creation of the heavens and the earth, God’s SON created all lower forms of life, including the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle of the ground. When he created man he instructed that he have dominion over the animals. (Genesis 1:26-31). As the keeper of the Garden of Eden the first human being Adam was to be a steward of the earth. Sadly, over time sinful men have distorted man’s “dominion” to mean that we are allowed to treat animals in any way that we see fit. As a result over the many centuries since man’s creation millions upon millions of animals of all kinds have fallen victim to gross cruelty at the hands of human beings. What is man’s responsibility to animals? Do they have rights? According to the Holy Bible the answer is a resounding YES!

The first animal protection laws are to be found in the Mosaic law of the Old Testament. Through Moses, the Creator laid down strict instructions to the Israelites as to how they could and could not treat their livestock. The farmers were not allowed to muzzle their ox while it treaded for grain. (Deuteronomy 25:4) Why? Because just like any other laborer the ox was worthy of his wage. If it became hungry while working it was to be permitted to eat. The animals were to rest on the Sabbath day “Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant, and the stranger may be refreshed.” (Exodus 23:12) The Israelites were instructed to look out for others animals as well. “If you see your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden and you would refrain from helping it, you shall surely help him with it.” (Exodus 23:4:5) The law also dictated that the ox and the mule were not to plow together. The reason for this was the reality of the vast difference in the two animal’s strength would be cruel to the weaker one.


Many people who in their hearts love animals are guilty of the most common form of abuse. Due to the fact that so many pet owners are irresponsible by either not confining their dogs and cats, or else failing to have them spayed, or neutered, millions of dogs and cats are destroyed every single year due to over population. It is truly a sad sight when you visit a local animal shelter and see numerous household pets living out their days in tiny cages. As one passes by their cages dogs are seen begging the visitors to take them home! They have been bred over the centuries to be man’s friend and servant. They often place their bodies up against the side of the cage in an attempt to have the person outside pet them. Only the hardest of hearts cannot be touched by this. Domestic cats are an even greater problem. Felines are capable of producing up to six litters of kittens a year. A very revealing poster can be seen at many animal shelters that shows a basket of cuddly kittens gazing out at the camera. In bold print below the message of “pick one, kiss the others goodbye” stands out at you. There are simply not enough homes for all of the millions of dogs and cats and as a result they are put to death and disposed of. This problem was not created by some adverse force of nature mind you; it is caused by you and me!

Other people who keep pets do not provide a safe and healthy environment for them to live in. It is cruel to chain a dog to a tree or post. Most responsible animal shelters will not permit adoption if they know this is the intention of the potential owner. It is important that your dog has a fenced yard, or an inside dwelling to spend it’s time. Regular walks are crucial to the animal’s mental as well as physical well-being. Cats that are permitted to run loose outside of ones house on average have a life span of around three years. Those that live on the inside can live to be fifteen to twenty years. Another common form of domestic animal abuse is when owners have a complete misunderstanding as to how to discipline their pets. Inflicting physical pain upon an animal to get a point across is NEVER the answer. Professional animal trainers don’t recommend the use of a rolled up newspaper to spank a puppy. Pet owners should never hit their pets with a bare hand. Newspaper is used to hit one’s own hand to create a load popping noise to get the attention of the dog.

Most of all domestic animals need a lot of love and affection. They crave physical contact with their human families. Praise when they do something good is essential to your pet’s happiness. Remember they have been bred to have these needs; domesticated animals have a fierce desire to please us. It is very gratifying to them when they know that they have given us joy. Rewards of treats of some sort are most effective in showing our appreciation. Most of all, love them as much as they love you!

In todays “present evil world” there are demented individuals who get some sort of pleasure in torturing animals, the stories are numerous. In 1993 two Texas teenagers decided it would be fun to beat a horse to death with baseball bats! One dog owner in New York put his young Cocker Spaniel inside a burning gas oven for wetting on his floor. A Texas vet proudly boasted of killing a cat and posted a picture of herself holding the dead cat by the arrow she shot threw its head! Thankfully, she was fired from her job and is in the process of having her license revoked. You can read the article here. Thankfully there are now laws in most states that send people to prison if they are convicted of these types of atrocities.

Animal rights advocates from around the world have exposed even more gruesome acts of cruelty in other nations. In Korea there are millions of people who eat dogs! Dog meat is even served in restaurants. There is a ritual that thousands of Koreans participate in every year. They will obtain a dog and keep it as their household pet for one year. Then they will take it out and tie a rope around its neck, and hang it from a tree. In no way is this a humane hanging, by design the dog is to slowly strangle to death. The reason being? It is believed the animal’s meat will be tenderer when eaten!

In certain third world countries domestic cats are considered a delicacy. Live cats are kept inside cages much like we see lobsters in grocery store aquariums. They are sold in open market places. Once a buyer picks out the one that they want, the vendor takes the cat out of the cage and drops it in a boiling pot of water and places a lid on top. The poor cat desperately scratches and screams in a futile attempt to get out prior to death. These types of abuses are very repugnant not only to human decency, but to the God of the universe! One can easily search for pictures of these atrocities but we spare the reader here from most of them.


In the United States and Mexico dog racing has become extremely popular. The fastest runner among the canines is the Greyhound breed. Millions of dollars are wagered on Greyhound races every single year. Greyhound racing is the sixth most attended sporting event in the USA. To see these magnificent animals run is truly breath taking.

Unfortunately there is a very dark side to this source of recreation for so many people. With few exceptions the dogs are killed once they can no longer be competitive on the race track. Hidden cameras have revealed that many are clubbed to death by their trainers, while many more are shot to death. Animal rights groups have released photos of dozens of piled up dog carcasses following their slaughter.

There are numerous Greyhound rescue societies in the United States however, most are badly underfunded and are able to rescue only a small portion of the dogs. It has been reported that as many as sixty thousand Greyhounds are needlessly killed every single year. To further illustrate how cruel this is consider the fact that these dogs were bred to be pets. They are as meek and gentle as any animal can be. Greyhounds like most domesticated animals have an innocent trust of human beings; it is truly sinful when this trust is betrayed.

Attempts have been made to get the dog racing industry to fund more extensive Greyhound rescue projects. So far with only a few exceptions these pleas have fallen upon deaf ears.


In the industrialized world there is really not much need for hunting. Well stocked grocery stores provide ample access to food for the masses. Hunting by individuals is simply a form of recreation in our day. If one must hunt it is essential that the hunter eat what they kill. The same is so of sport fishing. Some of the Lord’s apostles were commercial fisherman; the fish were caught in nets as a source of food for the population.

Just like with any other human activity there have been abuses when it comes to hunting. In the 1800’s the massive population of American Buffalo came alarmingly close to extinction. These large animals were a source of survival for the American Indians. Not only did they eat their meat, but they also used their skins to keep warm from the cold. When the skins of Buffalo became popular in the white man’s culture these creatures were grossly over hunted and also by killing the buffalo or bison, they reasoned the Indians who depended on them would also die off.. At the start of the 19th century there were over sixty million Buffalo roaming the plains from Mexico to Canada. Today, only because of the efforts of those attempting to save the species there are about two hundred thousand left! Thankfully in the United States and other nations species at risk are now being protected from hunters through endangered species laws.

There are horrible videos of seal hunters clubbing baby seals to death in order to sell their expensive skins. How can anyone not feel horror when they see these harmless creatures being terrorized by the brutality of greedy men? Dolphins, perhaps the most intelligent species on our planet next to human beings are often killed by getting caught into the nets of careless commercial fisherman.

In our world trophy hunting has become a popular form of amusement. In the United States many state laws permit the concept of “canned hunts.” Exotic animals such as lions, and tigers captured from the wild are placed in large fenced compounds where wealthy hunters are willing to pay large sums of money to go in and shoot them! Once they are killed these wonderful animals are stuffed by taxidermists, and displayed in the hunter’s home. This is nothing more than a form of idolatry. It is also a violation of the commandment that forbids us from possessing “graven images.” (Exodus 20:4)


No rational person can argue that mankind has not benefited from animal research. The testing of medical treatments on laboratory animals has been instrumental in finding cures to many harmful diseases. Cancer patients have had their lives prolonged thanks to discoveries that were first tested on mice, rats, and many other life forms. We have learned a great deal about how to treat killers like diabetes, heart attacks, and various blood diseases. Given this, it is clear that a certain degree of animal research had been needed.

The problem comes as a result of an overabundance of needless animal research projects. In the United States there are millions of dollars at stake in government funded research grants. Careful study of these projects reveals a vast amount of duplication of experiments. As a result millions of animals are subjected to needless torture. In 1991 the television news program Sixty Minutes smuggled hidden cameras inside of one of these government funded labs. Not only were conditions deplorable where the research animals were kept, unconscionable cruelty was going on inside. The video contained a live pig being put unconscious by sedatives; following this researcher ran a flaming blow torch up and down the pig’s body for several minutes. When the creature woke up it was in horrible agony. The object of the project was research into the treatment of human burn victims. Another laboratory worker involved in a head injury research project was seen delivering blow after blow with a blunt instrument to the head of a strapped down chimp. Other projects include research into the harmful effects of smoking. Animals such as rabbits and dogs are forced to inhale cigarette smoke into their lungs. Unfortunately, many videos of this kind of experimentation/torture are available on YouTube if the reader wishes to view them. Warning…..they are very disturbing.

Even if one can look the other way when animals are being tortured in the name of medical research, it is hard to imagine condoning the animal abuse involved when companies test commercial products. Cosmetic companies apply their new products such as shampoo, nail polishes, and perfumes, on animals. Company research scientist drop various chemical products into the eyes of rabbits, dogs, and cats, to see if they are harmful. Fortunately some companies such as the Freeman Cosmetic Company, of Beverly Hills, California are getting away from this type of research. Many of today’s cosmetic products will display a label that reads “Not Tested on Animals.” Even with this new found conscience on the part of some in the corporate world, there is still far too much animal torture in the name of profits.

Ammunition companies have been known to test their bullets on the skulls of live dogs and cats. One company was reported to have killed hundreds of felines while testing new and improved bullets. In many areas of the country animal shelters will allow animals in their possession to go to local research laboratories that participate in animal research. This practice has been outlawed in some states. This is particularly cruel due to the fact that many dogs and cats in city pounds have at one time or another been household pets. They have known what love is, they have felt the kindness of human beings. As a result they have developed a trust that will be grossly violated once they get to the research lab.


Conditions in many of the world’s zoos have greatly improved over the last thirty years. Large animals such as lions, and bears, are often placed in spacious fenced areas that resemble their natural habitats. They have considerably much more room to wander around than they did in the days of small cages. Chimps are seen in spacious confines with plenty of room to climb and interact with their peers. Still, there are far too many stories of deplorable conditions in smaller private zoos. Cases of neglect are reported far too frequently.

Hidden videos have also revealed cruelty to lions, elephants, and other animals in major circus tours. Lawsuits have been filed by various animal advocate groups such as Peta, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, against the owners of Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus, and others to improve conditions. Thankfully much of this is being dealt with by the Circus companies themselves due to mounting public awareness. Still it is tragic to know that only great public outcry can force human beings to treat animals humanly.


Over the years as the human population has grown more and more, rural land has been developed into suburbs. In so many of these areas large animal populations have perished after being driven out of their natural habitats. The site of dead animals that have been run over by automobiles is common in these areas. Environmental advocates have fiercely fought to preserve as many habitats as possible. However, in far too many cases financial profit wins out over human decency. Poorly thought out development is another glaring example of animal cruelty on the part of human beings.

It matters little where animal cruelty takes place. Rather it is by careless hunting, negligent pet ownership, unneeded scientific research, or building development, is not the real issue. In the eyes of the Lord God to be vicious and unmerciful towards any living thing is a sin and those who partake in these atrocities will one day answer for it.


While the scriptures do not seem to offer the promise of eternal life to lower animals, it is clear that the presence of animals will be prominent in the Kingdom of God. According to the book of Isaiah this will be a time of total peace upon the earth. “The wolf also will dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, there young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like an ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the vipers den. THEY SHALL NOT HURT OR DESTROY IN ALL MY HOLY MOUNTAIN, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:6-10)


Clearly it is the Christians responsibility to treat all lower forms of life humanely. It is not necessary for us to become active in animal rights organizations to do what is right. If you see your neighbor’s pet running free in your neighborhood take the time to return it to them. If you find an injured animal do what is required to relieve its suffering. If you own pets see to it that they are given the most loving environment possible. God has made us responsible for their well-being and we must take this obligation serious. If you have a need to hunt or fish than you should see to it that the meat of the killed animal is eaten. Never kill for recreation.

To be humane is even important when dealing with household pests like mice and rats. It very well may become necessary to use extermination methods in the name of sanitation. If you do this make sure that they are killed by the most humane method possible. When you purchase cosmetic products look for the “not tested on animals” label. If possible help to relieve the animal population crisis by adopting a pet at your local shelter and having them spayed or neutered.
We know from scripture that all injustice will be fixed in the kingdom of God. If we are to be true followers of Jesus Christ we must begin to do our part now. This earth, its environment, and all living things are indeed part of God’s “holy mountain.” If we do what we are supposed to do perhaps we can set an example for the rest of mankind. In the meantime pray with all of your might that the time soon comes when thoughtless people no longer hurt or destroy the precious resources of our planet.

Follow Up……

This article was originally written in 1998 for an issue of an online publication, “Restitution” which never got off the ground. It was as painful to write of theses atrocities as it is to read it. Mankind are the stewards over God’s creation. As Christians, we should especially take this obligation seriously!