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Poor Sheep!

by Donald Geddes — last modified Jun 07, 2015 08:34 AM
The revelation of animal cruelty in the greyhound racing industry has been universally condemned and rightfully so. But a complaint of animal cruelty lodged with the RSPCA against a shearer for swearing at a sheep is something altogether different.

Shearing sheepThe complaint was lodged by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which had apparently obtained footage and testimony from an undercover operative working at Boorungie Station, 130 kilometres from Broken Hill.

Ken Turner, who operates Boorungie Station, says the complaint suggests the sheep could at least understand English. But this is obviously a matter of debate.

The animal liberation organisation PETA believes the issue is one of animal suffering. They claim that even if the sheep cannot understand English it is aware it is being abused and that it suffers as a result.

The animal liberation movement stems from the book “Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals” by controversial atheist ethicist Peter Singer who claims “All the arguments to prove man's superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering the animals are our equals.”

While Singer seeks to elevate animals to the level of humans, those promoting the Theory of Evolution are seeking to lower humans to the status of highly evolved animals.

But are animals equal to humans or are humans more highly evolved animals?

The Bible clearly states that humans were created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), while animals were not. Man was given the task to rule over the animals (Gen. 1:28) so that man had the responsibility towards animals that was similar to God’s responsibility towards man. Man was to care for animals as God cared for man.

This clearly excludes cruelty towards animals and implies responsible husbandry. Because man was in the image of God, he was to treat the animal kingdom with God-like kindness and care.

However while animals are to be respected, this is not to be at the expense of man. If animals are a danger to man, it is right to destroy them. But there is a difference between killing and cruelty.

Veneration of animals, such as the way Hindus treat cows, is not right because it is not only out of balance but borders on idolatry.

So we are to exercise a responsibility towards animals, not because they are our equal, but because God created both animals and humans and put us together on His earth.

Animals are not created in the image of God and therefore they are not the same as men and women.

God’s concern for mankind is altogether different from His care for animals. It was to sinful man that God sent His only Son to die. This makes man special — the object of Divine love and mercy. This does not extend to animals.

However, at the end of time when God creates a new heaven and earth, there will be a place for animals — Isaiah 11:6-7:

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.