I would like to hear your thoughts about the following extracts from the Catechism:
2418* It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.*
I am passionate about animal welfare, and am now wondering if by donating money to animal charities I am commiting a sin. Also, I am going through a difficult bereavement after the death of my beloved pet kitten. I loved her with all my heart. Am I right in thinking that the part which states “one should not direct to them the affection only due to persons” simply means that we should not put the life of an animal before the life of a human? Surely it cannot be wrong to love our pets as we love family members?
2416 *Animals are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory.197 **Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals. ***
I find this slightly contradictory. If we owe animals kindness, then surely money spent to allieviate their suffering is money well spent?