Animal Rights vs. Human Rights

By Jeff Asher

If you have been watching the media over the past month or so, you have noticed the tremendous “play” that has been given to what are called “the animal rights activists” in this country. They have protested against everything from laboratory testing upon animals to fur coats and cage eggs.

When these “activists” protest they use such terms as “torture,” “maim,” “bash,” “burn” and “suffer.” America’s animal husbandry industry has been accused by them of cruelty to animals because chickens, hogs, cattle and other animals spend their entire “lifetimes” in cages or stalls where their hooves or feet never touch the ground or anything but concrete which is regularly hosed and sanitized.

The most recent outrage, in my mind, occurred in Aspen, Colorado this week. The mayor of that city with the help of the national animal rights activists legislature committees managed to get before the public for a vote an ordinance which would have prohibited the sale of fur coats. Had this lobby been successful in passing the ordinance fur businesses which sold furs exclusively would have been forced out of business and over 100 other retail outlets that handled fur items would have been restricted.

Fortunately, the measure was defeated by a two to one margin; however, not without the cost of an election and $250,000 spent by various special interest groups in this little town of just under 4,000.

Yet, the most appalling thing to come out of this was the statement made by Katherine Thalberg, the mayor’s wife and co-founder of the Aspen Society For Animal Rights. She said: “The real issue is whether it is all right to kill animals to make fur coats.” These folk are questioning the morality of making and wearing fur coats.

Now, I do not own a fur, do not desire a fur, nor can I afford a fur. But, these kinds of statements concern me because they represent a warped picture of morality and actually demean something much more precious, Human Life.

Recent letters in our own local newspaper exemplify what I am talking about. A gentleman associated with the local chapter of the SPCA wrote and referred to animalkind as our “fellow living beings” and “companions on this planet,” leaving the impression that their existence and purpose on this earth were equal with our own. Now, friends, I’ll be the first one to condemn kicking dogs, drowning cats or pulling wings off butterflies, but the fact is there is no animal equal in value to a man, and there is nothing immoral about using animals to feed, clothe and enrich human existence on this planet.

What Ms. Thalburg, and others like her, have forgotten, or perhaps just do not believe, is that God created man in his own image (Gen. 1:26) and gave him dominion over all the rest of creation. Animal life and human life are valued differently by God. Solomon wrote: “all go unto a place; all are of the dust; and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth” (Eccl. 3:21). That which is in the likeness and image of God is man’s immortal spirit which God values above all else upon this earth. Jesus said: “for what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26)

God has decreed that it is immoral for one man to take another man’s life (Exod. 20:13), that those who do so are worthy of death themselves (Gen. 9:6), and that civil government has the duty to execute God’s vengeance on such murderers (Rom. 13:4). However, it was God himself who made the very first fur coat (Gen. 3:21) and gave animalkind to mankind for food (Gen. 9:2,3). Therefore, I am certain that is is right for man to raise animals for food, clothing and labor.

However, God did legislate proper treatment of animals – but this did not exclude killing for food and clothing. Notice some of these laws:

(1) In the seventh year animals were allowed to graze in the fields (Exod. 23:11; Lev. 25:5-7).

(2) On the Sabbath beasts of burden also rested (Exod. 23:12).

(3) The nesting fowl were free from capture (Deut. 22:6,7).

(4) The working beast was to go unmuzzled (Deut. 25:4).

(5) The Law prohibited killing a cow and calf in the same day (Lev. 22:28).

(6) The Law prohibited boiling a kid in its mother’s milk (Exod. 34:26).

The design and intent of these laws were to instill in mankind a respect for the creation and restraint against its abuse. God intended man to “dress and keep” the creation, i.e. to properly manage earth’s resources.

Yet, what is most troubling about this issue is the tremendous inconsistency of the animal rights activists when it comes to moral issues such as capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia and basic ethics. For the most part you will find the animal activist aligned with the “liberal left” and pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, anti-capital punishment crowd who favor lax laws on marriage, homosexuality, drugs and alcohol.

This point was well made in a recent letter to the editor from Dr. Robert Bauman, Jr. of Amarillo. He wrote:

I think that [those] who have written to express concern over the use of animals have at the same time presented eloquent arguments against elective abortions! For instance by inserting the words “fetus” and “abortion” into [their] argument we have: “Fetuses that are subjected to agonizing and painful abortions deserve our compassion and protection. Abortions that bash, burn, and maim the fetus while it acutely feels the full effects of the ‘torture’ show just how far we have not come in our advancement of civilization and compassion for our fellow living beings.” I believe that we have an immense responsibility to love and care for our companions on this planet, over which we hold the ultimate power of life and death. After all, the question is not can they reason or can they talk, but rather can they suffer?

Folks, its time to “wake up” and do some clear-headed thinking in this country and see if we can’t get back on the right track morally and spiritually. If we continue like we’re going now the day will come when the old, the aged, the infirm, the deformed and the just simply unwanted will be casually destroyed and discarded, but the furry and four-footed will be protected by municipal ordinance, state law, and constitutional amendment.

Something is seriously wrong with a nation that opposes research on animals that can cure disease and make products safe to use, but allows aborted children to be sold to cosmetic companies for the manufacture of collagen. Where has our sense of morality gone when cities allow “pet cemeteries,” but the mutilated carcases of aborted babies are thrown into a Dempsey Dumpster?

Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 14, pp. 436-437
July 19, 1990