Silent witness to animal neglect - another "is it sinful?" thread


#1

During the Y2k scare, my family (mostly mom) became very involved in "prepping" for a time when we might have no power, no way to buy food, etc. As part of the preparation, we purchased chickens and rabbits so there would be a supply of meat. It turned out that I was the only person in the neighborhood who was cold-hearted enough to kill anything, and a few families in our local homeschooling community would occasionally ask me to come butcher something for them.

One family operated a farm. They had good intentions but things were out of hand, and often there was serious neglect. Sometimes they would ask me to come over and butcher inedible rabbits just to put them out of their misery. At the time I thought that I was just helping, but now I wonder if I was cooperating in neglect? I didn't report anything, I figured that the family didn't need more trouble. (I saw this farm a couple of years ago, and the management had improved significantly. There doesn't seem to be the danger of severe neglect anymore.)

I was thinking of mentioning it in Confession anyway just in case, but I wasn't sure if it was really sinful, and, if so, to what degree. Has anyone else experienced this (veterinarians, maybe), and how would you have handled it?

Thanks! :o


#2

You must report it.
Why would you hesitate? Do it today on Good Friday and you will feel better.


#3

[quote="BostonIrish61, post:2, topic:320727"]
You must report it.
Why would you hesitate? Do it today on Good Friday and you will feel better.

[/quote]

I'm sorry if I wasn't very clear; this happened years ago, and since then things have greatly improved. I doubt that it would be helpful to report anything now. :shrug:


#4

My general rule of thumb is that I go to confession whenever I feel guilty about something. If you feel guilty, that's God putting it on your heart. There is no harm in going to confession even if the offense isn't technically confession worthy.

The worst thing that could happen would be a priest would say, "Well, you really didn't need to come here, but I'll absolve you anyway." Don't be embarrassed if something like that happens. 1) The priest won't remember and 2) God just wants to show his love for us in the Sacraments anyway.

Our Church teaches that all life is sacred, although human life is infinitely more sacred than animal life, so I don't think what you witnessed would necessarily be a mortal sin, but it was certainly a sin. In my morality classes in school, there was a distinction made between cooperating in the evil and doing the evil. Cooperating does not absolve you from evil, but it does in a sense mitigate it.

Follow your heart in this issue. If you'd feel better by going to confession, by all means, go to confession! There are far too few people going to confession these days.


#5

tYY

[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:1, topic:320727"]
At the time I thought that I was just helping, but now I wonder if I was cooperating in neglect? I didn't report anything, I figured that the family didn't need more trouble.

[/quote]

I have no idea how old you were at the time or what your knowledge of the options open to you was at the time. I doubt there was sin involved in not reporting this. (I'm not sure who you think you should have reported it to? Your family? A civil authority?)

Maybe I am misunderstanding this post but it seems this whole scenario existed in a Y2k fear culture. That suggests that institutions such as the police and animal regulation would be dismissed as ineffectual. While we never want an animal to suffer needlessly we have to put things in proper order. One human life is infinitely more important than the suffering of all animals that ever have or ever will exist.

I don't think you sinned. But confessing the situation will allow a priest help you clarify when you can and should intervene in matters where someone is either unintentionally or deliberately causing harm to other living creatures, human or otherwise.


#6

I think it could help you to say this in Confession and to ask the priest about it, it would put your mind at rest to confess it. :)


#7

Sorry, it seems that I left out some necessary information (not uncommon for me, unfortunately). I brought up Y2k as explanation for how I got into butchering (I was a minor at the time); it was several years later, as a legal adult, that I encountered the severe neglect.

Yes, I would say there was some degree of paranoia. Not only were we Christian homeschooling families facing (and surviving!) Y2k - we also all, at some point or another, attended a church founded by a prominent End-Times speculator. He had emus, guns, and a huge, secret vault for people to hide in if things got bad (he didn’t believe the Rapture would happen until AFTER the anti-Christ got really mean). It was super-cool. :smiley: (I don’t know what the emus were for.)
But still, we didn’t have the level of weirdness that makes it onto reality TV. We weren’t afraid to call animal control.


#8

[quote="Monica4316, post:6, topic:320727"]
I think it could help you to say this in Confession and to ask the priest about it, it would put your mind at rest to confess it. :)

[/quote]

I did go ahead and confess it today. I had other stuff to bring anyway.


#9

[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:7, topic:320727"]
Sorry, it seems that I left out some necessary information (not uncommon for me, unfortunately). I brought up Y2k as explanation for how I got into butchering (I was a minor at the time); it was several years later, as a legal adult, that I encountered the severe neglect.

Yes, I would say there was some degree of paranoia. Not only were we Christian homeschooling families facing (and surviving!) Y2k - we also all, at some point or another, attended a church founded by a prominent End-Times speculator. He had emus, guns, and a huge, secret vault for people to hide in if things got bad (he didn't believe the Rapture would happen until AFTER the anti-Christ got really mean). It was super-cool. :D (I don't know what the emus were for.)
But still, we didn't have the level of weirdness that makes it onto reality TV. We weren't afraid to call animal control.

[/quote]

Thanks be to God you are home now in the arms of the Catholic Church.


#10

[quote="CB_Catholic, post:9, topic:320727"]
Thanks be to God you are home now in the arms of the Catholic Church.

[/quote]

Thank you. :D


#11

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