Our treatment of animals

Hi. I’m Bob, a former journalist and PR executive and consultant. For many years I was a keen and active member of Anglican communion but then returned to the Catholic faith and graduated with a degree in Theology and Anthropology.
Hi. My topic here concerns the Christian attitude towards animals. In the past few weeks there has been much in the British medial about the way humans treat animals. There was the woman caught on Security camera briefly stroking a cat before dumping it in a ‘wheelie’ bin. Then there was the ‘splash’ story about “hal hal” meat being secretly sold in one or two popular restaurant chains. The story I read on this topic was accompanied by a vivid account of how animals are killed in this way. I had been under the impression that the animals were strangled, and was not easy with this, but having read the press reports I was quite horrified.
Animals are also God’s creatures so have we not at least a responsibility to be considerate and humane towards them? It seems that in our abattoirs animals must be stunned by use of a bolt gun before they are killed.
Therefore what ought our attitude be towards the growing practice of slaughtering animals by other means i.e. in the Islamic ‘hal hal’ way?

  • If anyone wants to know more about how animals are killed the ‘hal hal’ way from the reports I have read I can elaborate.

I am curious. Can you elaborate a little? Also, what is a wheelie bin & why is it bad to put a cat in one? Thanks

The Halal way of slaughtering animals and the Kosher Jewish way are essentially the same. Since God handed down these regulations to the Jews in the Old Testament, I would have to say that it is morally permissible, but I agree, it does seem like a sad and gory way to go :frowning:

To me the whole subject is like a bad science fiction experience, that is, to find a planet where one species of animals routinely breeds other sentient beings to kill and eat, when an acre of beans produces more protien than an acre of cattle. My opinion: brutal and ineffecient.

Your freind

While I beleive it is God that originally allowed animals to be used by Man, I believe that we will be held accountable for any mis-use or abuse of them.
At the very minimum, it is a sign of ill-will, which is not how we come closer to God.

Bob, I too have wondered this. I know that we condone the use of meat in our diet because it was not disallowed by our examples in the OT and the NT, but I still worry about the modern-day treatment of animals via mass slaughter. The documentary “Food, Inc.” showcased some very inhumane treatment of our little friends. One farmer in the doc had a clever means of killing his animals, and it did appear to alleviate any suffering on their part. But the majority of the time, such precautions are not taken.

It’s interesting too that you posted your question right as I was recalling something specific from my Catholic School days. In another thread here on this forum, I’ve been engaged in a discussion with members regarding my departure from the Church. It seems I’ve misconstrued some of the teachings I received in my school days. It’s made me sit and ponder various memories of those teachings.

One such teaching was indeed about God’s smaller creatures – animals and insects. We were “practicing” for Reconciliation in our Religion Class one morning. Each of us took turns standing in front of the class and reciting a few sins that weighed on our souls, with the teacher acting as a proxy priest. We would be formally making our first Reconciliation in a week’s time.

I confessed that many times I had killed ants for no reason – had stomped their ant hills – or had in other ways killed or tortured insects. I started crying because I felt so badly. I was sent to the principal’s office because I wasn’t taking the exercise seriously!

The episode taught me that in Catholic doctrine, I hadn’t committed any sin – but I still feel to this day that what I’d done was wrong. I know that in my heart. I don’t know the official stance of the Church regarding such things – certainly being sent to the principal’s office might have been a mistake by the teacher – and would like to learn more about this.

In the film “What’s eating Gilbert Grape?” young Leo DiCaprio, who plays a mentally challenged young man, goes into an hysterical sobbing fit because he had a habit of decapitating crickets. He suddenly feels the error of his ways all at once, and he cannot be consoled. I was moved by this display as I too felt such remorse. At times it appears to me that the mentally challenged can grasp the bigger picture in a way the mentally competent cannot. And as a young child (inexperienced; unaware) I had felt the same pain. Are we both wrong??

The best thing God did with animals was make them delicious. :cool:

The incident received quite a bit of news attention a few weeks ago. Here is the security camera video:

A wheelie bin seems to be a container for garbage collection. The cat was trapped inside the bin for about fifteen hours before its owner discovered it.

A wheelie bin is a receptacle on wheels and with a lid in which rubbish/trash/waste is placed (picture: wheelie bin). Once you know that the rest: “why is it bad to put a cat in one?” becomes self-explanatory.

Well if this Muslim method is the same as Kashrut (which prohibits the slaughter of an unconscious animal) then I actually do not have a problem with it.
Has anybody ever thought about how we kill animals? Even the electroshocks don’t always work.
Kashrut is practiced by very experienced people and it involves cutting the trachea and esophagus with a sharp, flawless knife while at the same time severing the carotid arteries, which are the primary supplier of blood to the brain. The animal goes unconscious almost immediately because of the loss of blood and the massive loss of blood pressure.
Kosher slaughtering is an attempt to minimize the pain and fear for the animal.

We are to treat animals for what they are: A wonderful part of God’s creation and a resource for our nourishment.

Thank you for that, watching the video left me :eek: and yes, knowing what a wheelie bin was made the 2nd part self explanatory. That woman should be ashamed of herself. I am one who sees animal abuse, as huge breeches of trust. These are helpless creatures who trust that we will do the right thing. I see no reason whatsoever for animal cruelty. Everyone may not like animals but that does not give anyone the right to be cruel. To me, hurting small, helpless creatures just because you can, shows the evil inside you. If someone can do that, it shows me that I cant trust them in other aspects of life.
I do see the difference between animal cruelty like this & worse & eating animals for food. Beans may be a source of protein but they are not the best source of complete protein. Unless we are talking soybeans. I think we dont like to think about treatment of food animals & hope the safeguards in place are sufficient. When they are violations, there should be repercussions. I just dont see it as a reason to go completely off animal products.

hi bob. i personally will not eat meat with blood in it, because the law state that it is the life of the animal, and is to be returned to the earth. also i will not eat veal. i do not believe the way the calfs are treated to make it, is humane in the least. i used to work at a slaughter house. trust me, its quick. the get a spike thru the brain. very humane. are you sure the word is hal hal? and not hal al? im over in iraq, and all the meats are prepared according to this custom. i will have to do some more research on this issue. Peace :slight_smile:

Your point really gets to the heart of the matter. Animals do place their trust in us. Certainly a cat does; farmers who grow intimate with their cattle say the same. It’s sad to think that one moment the animal feels safe, engaged in a relationship based on trust; the next, he is meeting a grim end. If respect is shown and the end comes quick, that is one thing. But if purposeful torture is instated (in some cases not even for the vicarious pleasure of the onlooker, but for ease of disposal) this seems like something we could correct.

Saw a video of a pig slaughterhouse in – Tennessee? I forget the location, but there exists a pig slaughterhouse in the south that is the largest of its kind on earth – truly enormous. They kill something like 30,000 pigs there, per day. In any case, they showed the method of death. The pigs are moved along a conveyor belt, and they grow very agitated. They clearly know what is coming. They are then dumped into an area where they are crushed by the falling of a heavy metal block. Leading all the way up to this they grow very fitful and restless. Pigs are smart animals and they live in grave fear leading up to the end. I do wonder if we can’t land upon some way of keeping them free from fear up to the end, and having the end be quicker and more painless.

I know Jesus said “Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.” I wonder though if this applies to animals as well – to all God’s creatures. Since most traditions do teach that all forms of life are God’s creations, I find it sad we wouldn’t go to the trouble of seeing to it that all his creatures are cared for as we would our own pets.

Jesus wouldn’t eat pork or condone the eating of pork as a Jew. Send them off a cliff, yes.

Truly, I think we ought to look into the animal torture and killing of other animals, and how much pain and suffering goes on that way.

Fish for example, routinely eat other fish alive, condemning them to slow deaths dissolved in stomach acids. Birds will stab worms to death with their beaks. Cats will bite the heads off of birds and mice after toying with them for long periods of time.

Obviously it’s immoral and the only way to stop it is to put every animal in existence in a zoo.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Respect for the integrity of creation

2415 The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity.195 Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.196

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.

2417 God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image.198 Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.

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 vegan.

Here is something that angers me: the argument that because Christ ate meat, it is okay to eat meat. The processes involved in the killing of animals was different then. It was before the industrialisation of the food chain which kills focusing on profit rather than sustenance. Different ball game. We shouldn’t eat meat.

Hi illmatic;: That is an interesting point you bring up. While eating meat was certainly common among Jews in the time of Jesus, so was being married long before the age of 30. So we accept that if our conclusions about the life of Jesus are correct, there were things that were different about Jesus from the common person of His time. So, on that same line of thought, while there are references to Him fishing, are there any references to Him saying anything about eating meat or stories that say anything about Him eating meat? I’m not saying there aren’t any, but I can’t think of any references to Him eating meat. So, I am looking for specific references to Jesus eating meat.

Just curious about all that.

Your friend

If it was not an issue of salvation, why would this be in the bible? Jesus may have said things about the matter that we will never know about. But, we do not know about it. This led to many issues later on as you know. Many issues could have been made clear if only he had mentioned them clearly enough for the ones penning it to make it clear to us.
Anyway, if you keep this line of thought we could also imgine anything in scripture massagable enough. Anything.
For intstance, many of the laws in the hebrew scriptures seemed to be ways of preserving the very small tribe of Isreal from extinction and death.
Are they as applicable now? Perhaps. Were they meant to be means to preserve the tribe?
Who is the “tribe” now?

Dear StrawberryJam: My question wasn’t in relation to salvation, but a matter of curiosity. I’m curious as to whether or not Jesus ate meat.

Your friend

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.