Skip to comments.Catholic Word of the Day: CRUELTY TO ANIMALS, 06-15-10
Posted on 06/15/2010 9:12:54 AM PDT by Salvation
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Causing unnecessary pain to animals. Man has no duties toward animals because they have no independent personalities. They may therefore be used for any ethical purpose. It is sinful, however, to cause an animal needless suffering. The sinfulness does not lie in the violation of an animal's rights but in a person's irrational conduct, since reason forbids causing unnecessary pain and death. Moreover, cruelty to animals has a brutalizing effect on the tormentor.
I wasn't going to post it until I saw this line:
The sinfulness does not lie in the violation of an animal's rights but in a person's irrational conduct, since reason forbids causing unnecessary pain and death.
So what about the pain and death caused through the abortion process? (You all knew I would get there, didn't you?) Humans have a soul; animals do not.
Is it a greater sin to kill (abort) a baby or kill an animal?
The church goes with killing the human baby -- automatic excommunication.
I can't even imagine the brutalizing effect that killing humans has for an abortionist and the people under his/her employ.
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Didache (Teaching of the twelve Apostles)
Council of Trullo
Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem
Cruelty to Animals
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I’m afraid I have yet to see (And thus agree) a soul-less animal.
My cats, my dogs, even my Hamster have had decent character (Mothering unquestionably, defending without hesitation, and sharing resources with others of even different species (Like bringing me a dead bird, for instance)). They definately have personality.
No soul ? Really ?
I’m sorry, the Roman Catholic church can never be
taken seriously as long as the church allows someone
like Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry remain active in
their ranks- in good standing. Remember the sot, adulterer,
and murderer Teddy K.? Did he have good standing in
the RC church? Yes, I think he did. Hmmmm.
I would also point out that many domesticated animals that are pets DO have independent personalities and do not live totally on instinct. Anyone who’s owned more than one dog, cat, rabbit, etc realizes they have their own unique personalities.
And if we do decide to buy a pet, we do have responsibilities to provide adequate care, shelter and food for that animal, as it is 100% dependent on us for their needs.
This whole attitude of “it’s lesser life (because it’s not made in the image of God), therefore we can disregard it, treat it badly without much worry” is not a proper Christian stewardship mindset. For those that possess this mindset it is very telling of their own morality. If you’re weaker or lesser in their eyes, you are going to be treated worse, and that’s fair to them. The danger is having this mindset for anything and anyone that person deems to be lesser than themselves. Why do we treat it more poorly just because it’s lesser than you?
God loves the animals He creates. Wild and those that become our pets or service animals. Often He compares how he feels towards us with references to parent animals taking care of their offspring. In 2 Samuel when David is confronted by Samuel for getting Uriah killed to be with his wife, Samuel talks about a story of the rich and poor man, and the poor man having a little lamb he loved so much he held it at the table and let it eat off his plate and drink from is cup, raising it as if it was like a daughter to him. The rich man has a guest and instead of killing his own lamb, he takes the poor man’s lamb and kills it, at which point David gets furious at the rich man (not knowing he’s the rich man in the metaphor) and calls for the rich man’s blood.
I really am disappointed at the logic in these statements as being so cold and indifferent and un-stewardly in their nature. But this is what we see from churches today.
Causing unnecessary pain to animals. Man has no duties toward animals because they have no independent personalities. They may therefore be used for any ethical purpose. It is sinful, however, to cause an animal needless suffering. The sinfulness does not lie in the violation of an animal’s rights but in a person’s irrational conduct, since reason forbids causing unnecessary pain and death. Moreover, cruelty to animals has a brutalizing effect on the tormentor.
I disagree this for three reasons:
1. Is intent, if the person isn’t trying to torture the animal it shouldn’t matter if the method of dispatch is cruel. Who decides what is cruel anyways?
2. Some animals require what may be regarded as cruelty in order to harvest. Example: Crabs and other seafood are boiled alive.
3. Conscience, this matters. The person will know they are doing something wrong and unnecessary. This definition mentions unnecessary but not conscience as if it is up to another man to define this. Should we sedate all animals before we dispatch them? Is this the standard?
Indeed. In simple creatures, there is “somebody” in there. Even plants can exhibit a personality of sorts. In every living thing, there is a Divine spark.
Such attributes as a “soul” or a “personality” were not invented with homo sapiens. We are NOT the Almighty’s Chosen species. If we mess up, the world will go on quite nicely without us.
Indeed, many competent and experienced trainers of dogs and other animals are very wary of, and strong in their admonitions against anthropomorphism, or ascribing human thoughts and emotions onto animals...not from a religious or theological perspective, but from a practical and biological standpoint. To read human attributes onto a dog, for example, will inevitably result in a misinterpretation of the dog's motives, instincts and drives, and ultimately, can be very psychologically unhealthy for the animal.
Thanks for including rabbits! :-)
But that is a circular absurd argument. You might as well just say we owe animals nothing because they aren't people. To say they lack "individual personality" to me implies that they lack individuality. That they are automatons. It's observably false.
I understand your point about inappropriate projection of human characteristics onto animals. That's not what we're talking about here.
Unnecessary cruelty to animals is against God's law.
How so? As part of God's creation we owe them a proper amount of respect and dignity, but one that is subordinate to that given our fellow humans. Certainly we give our pets a greater deal of respect than we do a flea or a tick that we find in their coat...ergo, there is a hierarchy or strata in which we place animal life. All I'm stating is that they should never be on par, or equated with that we give our fellow humans. It can be very difficult, I know...especially when there are humans who insist on living and behaving like feral beasts...
They don't have personalities because they aren't people is a circular argument. It's a word game.
As part of God's creation we owe them a proper amount of respect and dignity, but one that is subordinate to that given our fellow humans.
I don't know about that. I respect the average grey squirrel more than I respect the average American. He works harder, faces more adversity, and displays far more physical ability and tenacity. He doesn't create anywhere near the problems that people create. I wish people were more like squirrels. There. I said it.
Certainly we give our pets a greater deal of respect than we do a flea or a tick that we find in their coat...ergo, there is a hierarchy or strata in which we place animal life.
That's definitely true. Then again, a tick is a threat to health. It's like a disease. If they would leave me alone, I'd leave them alone too. Further, while I am convinced beyond any doubt that mammals display individual characteristics--'someone in there'--I am not convinced that insects share this trait. I've observed insects most of my life. It's possible.
I'm not arguing for equality of all living things. Hell, I don't give chain pickeral the same respect I give large mouth bass. That's my business. I'm just saying that justifying how we treat animals by claiming they are automatons is bogus.
All I'm stating is that they should never be on par, or equated with that we give our fellow humans.
I agree. In many ways, people deserve less respect than animals. The average chipmunk deserves more respect than the average member of Congress, for example.
Your url doesn’t work.
I don’t dispute that torturing an animal is against God.
I dispute that labeling something cruel without evaluating the intent is in error.
Do you think that trapping is cruel? Maybe you do, but does that make it a crime against God?
I say no, the intent is what is important. The intent is to harvest not to torture the animal.
The leftest have penetrated the Catholic Dictionary.
25And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and cattle, and every thing that creepeth on the earth after its kind. And God saw that it was good. 26And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. 27And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. 28And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth. 29And God said: Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind, to be your meat: 30And to all the beasts of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to all that move upon the earth, and wherein there is life, that they may have to feed upon. And it was so done. 31And God saw all the things that he had made, and they were very good. And the evening and morning were the sixth day.
I'll stick with God. I'd suggest that you do likewise. He knows His creation better than anyone else.
To hold a book written and edited by men as the Word of the Almighty is blasphemy.
It's only a word game for people that wish to twist and redefine words to suit themselves. "Personality" refers to the qualities and traits that make a person a person. As I stated, individual animals have their own physical and behavioral qualities, but they are not persons. They may exhibit traits that suggest personality but that's merely an analog to make it easier for us to describe and communicate...it's like saying a person has a "wolf-like" appetite...we don't mean the person would literally chase down an elk with his pack and eat it raw, but there are elements of his appetite that remind us of a wolf. When we say a cat has a great "personality" we might simply mean that it's gentle, people-friendly, and calm, but those characteristics in and of themselves do not ascribe it personhood.
“I dispute that labeling something cruel without evaluating the intent is in error.”
We have to be careful about the end justifying the means.
“Do you think that trapping is cruel? “
Not if the trap is a humane one. For instance, steel jaw type traps can be cruel and in many states they are illegal.
The CONCEPT of trapping animals for their food and fur is no in itself cruel. Some of the MEANS of doing so CAN be.
“I say no, the intent is what is important. The intent is to harvest not to torture the animal.”
Intent is important but again, the ends do not always justify the means.
“The leftest have penetrated the Catholic Dictionary.”
True, but they have invaded everything.
On the other hand, people who think animals have rights, have souls, and should not be mistreated are not by definition leftists.
I like guns and hunting but don’t approve of animal cruelty.
I’m far from a leftist. Check my posts.
I really doubt if many people on this form, including hunters, approve of Michael Vick or bullfighting.
I see Joe’s point here.
“Person” ality. I stand corrected.
I also agree that it is folly to place human traits onto animals and expect a meaningful interpretation. I never got the dead animal gift thing myself.
That was my point in the first place. To say they don't have "personality" is meaningless if all one means to say is that they aren't people. If they think we owe animals nothing because they aren't people, say that.
Most people understand the word personality differently. And why did they qualify it as "individual personality"? Could an animal have collective personality? What is that even supposed to mean?
It is clear when they say "individual personality", they mean individual traits of character, behavoir, likes/dislikes, feelings, emotions, etc. It's pure bunk, and I stated at the outset.
Had they meant to say we owe animals nothing because they are not people, they'd have said that.
Yes, it is wrong to anthropomorphize animals. It is neither fair to them nor to us. And if it comes to a point of choosing them or us, we should choose us.
But to allege that they are things with nobody inside is also absurd.
No kidding...because they have no independent personalities? What kind of ‘excuse’ or reasoning is that?
I am with you there....all my animals, each of my 4 horses and two donkeys and even my chickens, not to mention my 2 cats and dog....they have distinct and independent personalities.
All my animals are like that. Even guinea pigs. Hell, just yesterday I encountered a particularly brave chickadee.
Lordy....my menagerie certainly has unique qualities of individual traits....if not person-hood.
My Rosie (horse) is a rule maker, Sammy (horse)doesn’t trust easily, Bandid (horse), loves everyone, Jack (horse)is playful and energetic. Homer (donkey) is like a grumpy old man but has a soft heart, Jenny (donkey) is like a spoiled whinny child. I have one chicken that loves humans. I had a pet goose for 15 years who was as faithful, dedicated and as loving as any dog. I love them all.
“It is the Prudent man that careth for his beasts,
But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel”
The Father considers kindness to animals to be wisdom, and cruelty to be WICKEDNESS.
When we are Followers of Jesus, and Children of God, we are also called to be Good Stewards of His Creation.
This is from a dictonary compiled by Fr. John Hardon, who was no leftist.
Soooo....just because they aren’t persons/humans we don’t owe them consideration in an act of cruelty as we must focus only on the human perpetrator?
We need to define cruelty.....random acts of senseless cruelty which causes needless pain or death for NO reason at all other than the pleasure the tormentor feels....
That is nowhere in the same category as hunting and killing deer for food, or killing a chicken to put it on the table for dinner.
Torture of Animals for Entertainment is included in what I said.
I think my definition is better.
Just because you have a state that bans steel grasping traps doesn’t mean it is cruel.
God’s Law is timeless, Are you saying we are more religious today than we were 50 years ago? They didn’t think it was a violation of God’s Law back then, and it shouldn’t have changed now.
The Government reflects the norms of sociality and not God. If you are saying that this definition changed with time, that is a function of politics and not God. God doesn’t change, he is timeless.
This is the basis in which I say it is leftist. For only a evil leftist thinks God’s Law should bend to the will of man based on their current society. Only a evil leftist would attempt to bend God’s Law to his will to control others.
This is an aberration of God and is evil.
Even those that are well regarded holy men have been influenced by evil. Even the best written book contains errors or transcribe the errors of others within.
Just where did I even remotely suggest that?
I am sure he didn’t mean to write this in a way that allowed it to be distorted. What he wrote and what he likely was thinking are two different things.
You can write something that allows leftist parishioners to hijack a definition or you can write it precisely to what you mean.
I think if he was on this board and we could talk to him, he would confirm that he didn’t mean this interpretation.
Nope...only persons can have "person"-alities. It's you who are engaging in the circular argument. It's like me making a simple declaration of fact, "The sky is sky-blue" and you saying the argument is worthless. First of all, I'm not arguing; I'm simply making a declaration based on the the simple meaning and definition of the words.
For example, all gold neck chains have certain qualities that are unique to gold neckchains. They are made of gold and have a chain-like structure. That's not to say there aren't other items that may share some of the qualities...you might have a silver chain that shares the chain like structure, but it's made of another metal. you might have a "gold-colored" neck chain that appears virtually identical, but yet it lacks the innate characteristics that make a gold neck chain a gold neck chain...Personalities (or souls, if you will) are the unique defining characteristics of human persons. Other creatures may share, or appear to share certain attributes of them, but they are not, in their composite human.
"It is clear when they say "individual personality", they mean individual traits of character, behavoir, likes/dislikes, feelings, emotions, etc. It's pure bunk, and I stated at the outset."
Well...if you want to say that a painting or a car have personalities, you're free to misuse the word all you wish...As long as you're going to invent definitions for words to please yourself, it's pointless discussing anything with you.
If you want to call it their own “animality” that’s fine. I think you know what I am meaning here when I used “pesonality” to describe individual, uniqueness of a particular animal.
I just want to be clear many people use the distinction they aren’t people as the REASON they can be mean or treat them poorly and “reserve” better treatment for people. Angels are not created in the image of God, yet they are stronger than us, and at the current time, are HIGHER than us. Do they sit around and believe because we are lower (and currently have sin natures some of us are fighting) we ought to be treated lesser than they are because they are in a higher position? The only ones who treat us badly and encourage us to treat other people and animals badly are being tempted by the evil, fallen angels, appealing to the weaknesses and pain of people. Which ought to tell you why this line of thinking isn’t what God had in mind, to treat the non-human creatures He’s created, poorly because “they aren’t people”. Slippery slope. Treating animals well doesn’t mean you’re treating people worse or somehow neglecting them, or elevating them to people status, it’s not a zero-sum situation.
Scripture says you can find out a lot about a person in how they treat their animals. Because it translates over into how he treats people, especially those he believes are in a lesser station than he is.
The problem is, that's not the way the author of the thread used it...and that's simply the point I'm trying to clarify here since so many felt free to pile on without taking that into consideration.
"I just want to be clear many people use the distinction they arent people as the REASON they can be mean or treat them poorly and reserve better treatment for people."
I suspect that few if any animal abusers make such subtly nuanced philosophical distinctions or invoke such justification. Cruelty is cruelty and rarely is there a whole lot of thought behind it.
I think one reason why we should consider respecting the animals (and I can tell you do) is that the fallen world they are living (living hard in) and often dying in harshly, is not their fault. It’s our fault. Man brought sin and death into the world, and the entire universe was cursed. The ground was cursed. The animals are having to live in a bad situation they didn’t cause. Their innocence in it I think is one reason we ought to consider doing everything to prevent cruelty and punishing it.
We know that God will come back and make everything right, and animals will not have to go through their trials and pain of today for nothing (Romans 8 explains they are waiting - not in vain - for things to be made right), but that doesn’t mean we just let bad things happen to them unabated, especially when Scripture does tell us in multiple places not to be cruel towards animals (God’s animals).
Think about it this way. What kind of treatment can we expect, if we as the higher creature, are intentionally cruel to lesser creatures among us, yet we expect God, who is much higher than us, to be merciful to us? Will we have really learned about grace and mercy if we are cruel towards the lesser/weaker among us, both human and animal? How can we be regarded as understanding mercy and kindness if we treat animals like garbage and treat lesser people poorly and are “nice” only to who we think are equals or better than us?
Well, I don’t know about the author but animal stewardship is about animal WELFARE, not animal RIGHTS. They can’t have legal rights because they can’t understand legal rights. We grant them legal protections under the law in order to prevent cruelty and such from occurring, and if and when it does we can punish the people involved. Domestic animals are owned and generally do better being owned by someone. Domestic animals generally live longer and get better care under an owner than living wild. As owners we not only have rights to protect our animal but we have responsibilities to provide for that animal’s needs.
To clarify any misconception, the word "personality" referred to in the article is not using the contemporary definition of the "distinctiveness of one's character" but rather the classical definition of the "state of being a person". Hopefully no one on this thread would think that animals are in fact people.
This kind of confusion could be avoided if the people who post controversial articles like this one would stick around to defend and clarify them. I am convinced that this kind of post-and-run thread causes far more needless inter-religious strife than any possible benefit.
Second it Joe.
We cannot give human thoughts and emotions to animals. We CAN and MUST take good care of the animal creation God has given to us to take good care of.
As of now, will add these words,pray for the people and animals affected in the Gulf by the oilspill. What has happened in the Gulf is a disaster that not only has effect the Gulf of Mexico itself, the people of that area, but also the wildlife there.
I can appreciate what you’re saying, but there is a significant cadre who hold that all other living things have been expressly put here to be exploited by homo sapiens.
This is justified by saying that this has been decreed by the Almighty with scrawlings on paper written by men and subsequently edited by others cited as Divine evidence. It is further justified with the notion that animals are ‘lesser’ while we are Chosen.
Similar rationale is used to justify practioners of one man-made religion raping, pillaging and murdering members of other human tribes wholesale.
This certainly confers a significant political advantage and permits a great deal of atrocity at others’ expense.
Remember this as some of you look down your noses at the Muslims.
Time, space — and most importantly the Almighty’s Divine Will — are too vast for us to presume that we’re Chosen to be anything but a tenuous experiment in its early stages on a small planet in a non-descript sector of a galaxy quite like so many others.
If we fail, life will go on as it did many millenia before we arrived — quite nicely, thank you very much.
Those of us who lack the humility to remember that will contribute to our demise if it comes to that.
I've read through this entire thread, and, me being a dog person, this is a better word -anthropomorphize. Or what that word would mean.
The question here is really about UNNECESSARY cruelty. No decent human being wants to see an animal suffer which is why we take them to the vet for ailments real or imaginary including puncture wounds in the mouth (my late yellow lab), keep a medication schedule for heartworm and fleas, clean their ears every morning when yeast mites get out of control (and with a toy breed, this is no small feat) and, yes, have them put to sleep when they are terminally ill (any human would be kept comfortable until natural death). Just like humans, they are all different in their cognizance and the traits that they display, but they aren't people. Okay, a few have been treated that way because they are REALLY smart, but an animal's way of seeing the world is different than a human's. No human carves out their spot in the world under your bed, willingly carries birds in their mouth or readily agrees to to "gopher" pose on command (okay, for a liver treat).
I thought that the definition at the top of the thread saying "ethical use" was interesting. I guess some people would think of experimentation, but truth be told, at least with dogs, they were bred for specific purposes - hunting, ratting, shepherding, retrieving both prey and humans. Bloodhounds have been bred to follow the scent of a human. St. Bernards and Newfoundlands are rescue dogs. None of this is unethical. Training a dog to tear another limb from limb, now that's another story.
Humans perform tasks in exchange for expected rewards all the time.
Well, okay, not circus stuff unless, of course, you're in the circus. Actually, that little pooch is on my list. She rolled in something dead.
Aren’t we all sinners?
I also believe if you are going to take being anti-anthropomorphist, for lack of a better term, I believe for consistencies’ sake, you also need to stop referring to Jesus Christ as the “Lamb of God”, the Holy Spirit being depicted as a dove, and Christ’s followers as “sheep” - in order to not anthropomorphize those animals in any way. If your goal is to be that strict about avoiding it, to not be hypocritical you need to be that consistent.
Even though God Himself refers to Christ as the “Lamb of God”, even though the Holy Spirit has manifested Himself as a dove.
I believe the vast majority of people can use the term “personality” applied to their domestic pet animals and not infer “human rights/animal rights” as liberal extremists may, just as we call Christ the “Lamb of God”, and envision the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and Christians as “sheep”, and not have that negatively affect how we relate to lambs, doves and sheep and anthropomorphize them more than we otherwise would any other animals.
That's a strictly allegorical usage, and any thinking person recognizes that...see my reference above to a person with a "wolf-like" appetite. Anthropomorphizing an animal is to attribute to them complex human motivations, thoughts and feelings onto the strictly instinctual drives that actually motivate them. Social animals, i.e. dogs, or ants for that matter, will congregate, but it's not to celebrate a class reunion, visit old friends, etc. It's for a completely different reason, and it's actually cruel to the animals to pretend otherwise, and to interact with them on that basis. To see the results of this taken to their extreme, one need only look at the Connecticut chimpanzee incident of a few years back.
"I believe the vast majority of people can use the term personality applied to their domestic pet animals and not infer human rights/animal rights as liberal extremists may..."
That may very well be true, but that was not the meaning used by the author of this thread who used the term "personality" to refer to the unique human quality of personhood. That many chose to alter the author's definition in order to discuss, and vociferously attack his writing, says a lot about their "personalities." I was simply pointing out that they were getting wrapped up in their own definition of the word, and not the writer's.
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