Is cruelty to animals a sin?

Where does one draw the line between what is justifiable cruelty to animals and what is not? We have read recently the report of President Obama swatting a pesky fly that was buzzing about and the People for the Ethical treatment of animals raising a storm of protest over the execution of the fly. Now I don’t think that anyone here would say that it is a sin, even a venial sin to execute a fly? Similarly to executing a rat. But what about a fish or a frog or a rabbit or a cat or a dog? As we move up the chain, we begin to see that there is a problem, especially as it may concern one of our loved pets. On the other hand, are we aware of the horrible massacres that take place daily in the slaughterhouses ? Is it a sin to eat meat which has been obtained from an animal killed so cruelly as we read occurs in the slaughterhouses of the USA?

I don’t really know where one draws the line but cruelty to animals is a sin.

[quote=Catechism of the Catholic Church]**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.

But what about setting a mouse trap? Would that not be cruel to animals?
Also, eating meat which is obtained from slaugherhouses, which are terribly cruel.

I don’t really know Bob. I would say that mouse traps are not cruel because they kill quickly. As for slaughterhouses, yes, they are generally quite cruel to animals. I think that one should avoid meat from slaughterhouses if at all possible.

But just about all meat comes from the slaughterhouses. It seems like the only way to avoid the cruelty of slaughterhouses would be to embrace vegetarianism and avoid all meat products. A lot of things are cruel to animals. Take fishing for example. Or hunting and shooting ducks. They are shot and they fall quivering to the ground. Yet, I don;t hear any sermons about avoiding meat products or avoiding fishing or hunting, etc. Why is that?

Cruelty to animals is a sin, not because the animal itself has the right to fair treatment, but because humans should not be cruel period. To anything, man or animal.

Cruelty is to cause excessive and unnecessary suffering to someone or something for the sake of causing pain. Thus, slaughtering animals is not cruel, because it is the only possible way to get meat. You can’t get steak and keep the cow alive. If you could then killing it would be cruel. Slaughterhouses should if they can use the latest and quickest ways to kill animals, since the animal would need not suffer. If they cannot afford to buy newer machines, then they would not be culpable as at that point any suffering caused by the slaughter would be necessary due to monetary problems.

In the case of house rats and flies, these things are pests and carry man diseases (rats especially in their feces). As such it would not be wrong to kill them since you are instinctively protecting yourself against disease and harm. You do not kill the fly simply to watch it suffer, but because it is unsanitary to let it lay on your skin or food. Now this does not mean that you can pin down the fly while it was still alive and pull its wings off one by one and its legs and arms. THAT is cruelty, as the suffering you cause is unnecessary, and that is a sin.

Remember that you are worth more than every single fly on earth.

Interesting topic. I would say that what we’re looking at here is “material participation”. Eating meat from slaughterhouses is material participation in an evil – but is it a grave evil? I would say no. This is not to say that we should do it, but…

The most reasonable tack, in my opinion, is to exert pressure on the industry, in some way, to try and influence it to change. Buying organic meat even once a month would help, but very likely we ought to be doing more.

I wouldn’t worry about killing mosquitoes, though. If animals have dignity, they have dignity because of their higher functions – of which mosquitoes have none.

I do find it difficult to kill mice but I think it’s a man’s job. Also they splatter blood everywhere so I tend to have humane traps.

A cat is better at catching and killing mice than a trap. Traps did not work for us as there were too many mice. We’ve had no mice since we got a cat.

It is a sin to be cruel to animals, and I don’t think just because of what it says about us. Animals also have a certian dignity which God gave them, as does all his creation. All creation reflects God’s nature in some way. Animals feel pain and fear, which should tell us something about how God intends for us to treat them.

Using animals appropriately may mean eating them, but not ever killing them without a valid reason, or torturing them. Now, hunting, fishing, and slaughtering animals always involves some pain - although perhaps less than one might think in many cases. That is, I think, because we are fallen, and all creation is affected by that. There is, alas, nothing we can much do about the inevitable pain of being a living creature.

Modern slaughterhouses are an entirely different story. The whole process, shipping, moving, killing, involves a lot of extra pain, and especially fear for the animals. I would conclude that almost always it is indeed wrong to eat meat from a modern slaughterhouse, or get eggs from battery chickens, and so on.

That might mean a person became, for practical purposes, a vegetarian. There is nothing wrong with being a vegetarian for that reason, just as it would be ok to be a vegetarian because you could not afford meat, or didn’t like the taste.

Another option is to look into finding a humane producer. I get my meat and eggs from a farm with it’s own slaughterhouse, so there are no shipping issues, and I know humane slaughtering, as well as farming in a sustainable way, is very important to the farmer.

Most Westerners also eat far too much meat for a sustainable diet, so that it another consideration as far as eating meat goes.

Well of course animals have a certain dignity to them. They praise God in everything they do.

But this does not mean they are worth as much as we are. Every single cow on earth is not worth a single human life. It is not so much about what the animals are entitled to, but about what we humans are not allowed to do. We are stewards of the earth, but our souls are of infinite value since they are immortal.

If these slaughterhouses have the means to make sure their animals are treated well before they are slaughtered then they are obligated to do so, but if they do not then they cannot be blamed. It is easy to say ‘just buy a new facility’, but even if you have the money the bureaucracy behind it is a lot more complicated.

Would it be a sin if you ate a hot dog or hamburgher and you knew that the meat came from an animal slaughtered in a cruel fashion, such as we know is true about American slaugherthouses?

I expect so, it would be like participating/benifiting in any other injustice. There are occasions where it is difficult to weigh things - in one’s own home it is easy to eat what you choose to buy, as a guest, for example, one eats what one is given under most circumstances. But generally, I’d say yes, it’s wrong to eat meat that was raised or killed in a cruel manner, just like it’s wrong to by clothes made by slave labour.

This makes no sense on so many levels.

First of all, Christianity does not teach us that each human soul is of infinite worth. It teaches us that each human soul is of itself worthless.

All responsibility for how the animals are treated at slaughter cannot be put on the facility that does the work, though they obviously bear responsibility for much. If a facility is cruel, intentionally or unintentionally, then the customer also bears responsibility for buying the product.

It may well be that many abattoirs work on a model, that of the North American industrial food system, that makes it impossible to treat the animals properly, as well as having other serious stewardship issues. That does not mean that they should carry on and accept that, or that their customers should. If they cannot “afford” to operate properly, they shouldn’t operate at all. We don’t let them operate if they can’t afford to upgrade to whatever the health regulations are.

There are places in the world where the production of certain products has terrible effects on the workers - they spend their time being sprayed by pesticides as they pick fruit, or small children are forced to work long days in dangerous conditions. Would you suggest that if there was no other way to get these products, we should continue to support that way of producing them by buying them?

Meat is not something we need to have or we will die. It is, for much of the world, a luxury product. If you can’t find it produced in an ethical way, don’t eat it.

Would it be a mortal or a venial sin to eat meat from animals killed at a cruel slaughterhouse?

According to a book, History of the Jews, Kosher laws were established to eliminate crude and cruel practices when killing an animal. I thought that was very interesting considering Kosher laws were probably put into effect 5,000 years ago.

Yes, I believe it is a mortal sin to be cruel to an animal. If you hunt for food, fine but the animal must be tracked and put out of its misery. If you want a pet, know it is a life long commitment. Know also it is cruel to keep a dog or cat locked up all day. They need interaction with humans in order to survive and have a stressless life. Buying from puppy mills promotes cruelty.

People and children who are cruel to animals show a flaw in their psychological make-up that should not be ignored. Big red flag on that behavior.

Would that also apply to eating a hamburgher or a hot dog from an animal that has been killed in a cruel slaughterhouse? I haven’t heard any sermons on this question.

i dont know if it is a sin to be cruel to animals, but it’s a really, really, really stupid thing to do around me…i love animals and wont tolerate the abusers…fd

Yes. But what conerns me is that meat-eating people can be cruel to animals without realising it. The slaughterhouses are incredibly cruel to animals, and this is where most of our meat comes from.

While we have not had any live ones–in the past year or so, I’ve had my cats bring back their deceased gift.:eek:

Nothing like opening the door and finding a dead rodent.

They say its the thought that counts.

It’s comical when after I remove said dead rodent that when the cat is ready to play with her kill–she can’t find it.

We try to buy organic meats as they tend to more humanely raise and care for their animals and then humanely slaughter them for their meat.

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