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.