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Prolife Forum: Animal rights

by Catherine Frakas 01 Jun 2002

Animal rights QUESTION from Michael on April 22, 2002 Dear Mr. Martz,
I hope my question doesn't sound daft, but I wondered about pro-life issues for animals. Whereas euthanasia, abortion and sterilization are considered unacceptable options for humans, what about animals?
Is it acceptable to have a domestic animal sterilized, or to put a sick pet out of its suffering? Should we try to avoid killing even an insect?
Just wondered! Thanks for you response.
ANSWER by Mr. Troy Martz on July 1, 2002 Dear Michael:
Though some might say that you question is indeed daft, I would rather point out that it is a result of culture that is unable to see God and thus understand man's role in Creation.
If mankind is truly nothing more than a hairless ape as many of the secular humanists would have us believe, then there would be no difference between taking a human life and an animal life (or microbe & plant for that matter). If you take the animal rights activists' position to its logical extreme, you shouldn't take antibiotics when you get sick since those microbes have as much of a right to live as you do. Usually they draw the line at animals (primarily mammals and birds) because it is easy to portray them as noble or cute and win with emotion arguments that have no logical value. These emotional arguments find hold in Western society primarily due to the utter lack of proper philosophical and theological education for the masses. Those who would argue with the radical animal rights crowd are often either unprepared to make sound arguments from reason and based in a proper understanding on man's role in Creation; or those hearing the arguments are unprepared to understand them.
As Christians, we believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God. Unlike the secularists, we know that we have a unique place in the order of existance. Many Christians, though they know this truth, have no grasp of what this means in regard to the rest of Creation.
In Genesis we have God creating Adam (the Hebrew word for mankind -- male & female), setting him in a garden, and giving him dominion over all of the other creatures. This is the great rub for the secularist: they have no idea what true dominion is, to them it is only totalitarian dominance. The biblical concept of dominion encompasses the notion of stewardship. For example: I have dominion over my children as their father. That does not mean that I am to dominate them as a tyrant, rather I have the vocation of protecting and caring for them and teaching them about God. As a matter of fact, if I am a tyrant then I have failed to be a good father.
I believe that Stewardship is the key to understanding our place with regard to the created order. A good steward guards the resources placed in his care, uses them prudently and wisely to meet his and others needs, and is willing to make a full accounting to the Master when He returns.
As for sterilization or euthanasia for animals -- are we properly fulfilling our role as steward in these actions or are we exploiting our power for our own convience? Since these creatures -- while wonderful creations -- are not made in the image and likeness of God, such actions are not intrinsically moral evils. Sometimes ending the suffering of an animal is less selfish then refusing to let go of a loved pet. This is totally different than helping a fellow steward bear the burden of his suffering since as a human made in the image and likeness of God his suffering can be beneficial to all of humanity (see Romans 8:16-18; Colosians 1:24).
I will close with an important lesson that my grandfather taught me on a hunting trip: Never needless kill anything -- if you kill it you eat it! (Obviously he didn't mean to include insects). The moral is that killing just to kill something is wrong, proper use of the natural resources -- animal, vegetable, or mineral -- is fulfilling our obligations as stewards.
Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men, Troy
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