A Biblical View of Animals For Use By Mankind

Often animal rights activists say it is morally wrong for man to use animals for consumtion. When anyone connects rights with morality, they claim a Biblical source.  So, what does the Bible say about animals and man?

In connection with worship under the Mosaic Law, cattle, sheep, and goats were among the animals acceptable for sacrifice. Such animals were to be sound ones, and no castrated animal was admissible. (Leviticus 22:23-25) The use of animal blood for food or for any purpose other than sacrifice was prohibited. (Leviticus 17:13, 14) Worship of any representation of an animal or other created thing was strictly forbidden.—Exodus 20:4, 5.

God permits the killing of animals to obtain food and clothing or to protect people from danger. (Genesis 3:21; 9:3; Exodus 21:28) However, being cruel to animals or killing them just for sport is wrong and shows utter disregard for the sacredness of life.—Proverbs 12:10.

The Bible directs just and merciful treatment of animals. Indeed, God represents himself as the Loving Provider for their lives and well-being. (Proverbs 12:10; Psalms 145:15, 16) The Mosaic Law enjoined proper care of domestic animals. When found straying, domestic animals were to be returned safely to their owner; when crushed under a burden, they were to be relieved. (Exodus 23:4, 5) They were to be worked humanely. (Deuteronomy 22:10; 25:4) They, as well as man, were to benefit from the Sabbath rests. (Exodus 20:10; 23:12; Deuteronomy 5:14) Dangerous animals were to be controlled or destroyed. (Genesis 9:5; Exodus 21:28, 29) Crossbreeding of different sorts was forbidden.—Levitcus 19:19.

God-fearing men see in animals part of God’s generous provision for human welfare. Animals have served man as burden bearers, as sources of food and clothing, as sanitation agents, and as helpers in the vital activities of plowing and harvesting.



Welfare Not Directly Linked to System Choice



The choice for a free range production system does not automatically lead to a better welfare situation for laying hens. This is the conclusion of David Burch, Octagon Services when writing about management in the Veterinary Record Journal.


According to Burch, research shows that the highest hen mortality was found in free-range and organic flocks, closely followed by barns; almost double that of caged flocks. The mortality of hens in cages over a 52-week laying period was 5.39% and the mortality in free-range hens was 9.52%, 77%.

The variability in flock mortality or standard deviation (sd) was also higher, with cages at 3.05% and free range at 7.41%, a 143% increase.

This comes as no surprise, free range hens come in to contact with more potential disease sources. Outdoor risks include a variety of bacteria, such as Salmonella, Clostridium and Brachyspira species, protozoa such as Eimeria species and helminth eggs. Free-range hens have a propensity to drink from potentially contaminated puddles, continues Burch, aiding the transmission of infections.

In a recent survey in Great Britain (Burch and others 2009), free-range flocks developed Brachyspira species infections, the cause of avian intestinal spirochaetosis, as early as 22 weeks of age, soon after point of lay at 20 weeks of age. Caged flocks became infected with Brachyspira species much later, at 36 weeks of age. Free-range flocks were also statistically significantly associated with poor performance (less than 285 eggs per hen housed) in comparison with caged flocks.

Not all free-range flocks are bad, concludes Burch. All systems, if they are well managed and remain disease free, can have low mortality. However, those systems that have outdoor access have additional management difficulties, such as the weather, predators, lack of biosecurity and direct contact with faecal material, which makes the responsibilities of management even greater and more necessary, if they truly want to be considered more 'welfare friendly'.

by World Poultry Mar 26, 2013


Market Pressures Will Dictate Animal Welfare Standards


Market pressures, more so than laws and regulations, are likely to end the use of controversial practices in livestock production. The trend is already becoming visible, with major fast food chains and other restaurants prohibiting their suppliers from using gestation crates in hog production, said Joy Mench, professor at the University of California-Davis. The stalls are intended to prevent aggressive behavior among pregnant sows but are controversial because they restrict the animals' movement. Mench said she expects the hog industry to end the use of crates within 10 to 15 years at the insistence of major pork buyers. "It won't have been done through legislation. It will have been done by the retailers.”

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