As we live in an age where animal hoarding appears on nightly news programs and tales of horrific animal abuse are unfortunately becoming common, some wonder if the Bible speaks about the treatment of animals. While some may not give the matter much thought, others look to the early book of Genesis where it states that man will have dominion over the beast of the field as some sort of blanket coverage for animal cruelty. This is a grave misconception and couldn’t be further from the truth. The Bible makes profound statements regarding the treatment of pets and the dangers of animal cruelty.
Did you know that the Bible even speaks of the type of person that commits violence against an animal as being wicked?
Here are five Bible verses that discuss animal cruelty and the proper treatment for pets. Each verse is taken from the King James Version that is in the public domain.
Bible Verses about Animal Cruelty
1. A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. (Proverbs 12:10)
2. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 3:19)
3. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. (Genesis 1:30)
4. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11: 6-9)
5. What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. (Luke 15: 4-7)
From these verses it is clear to see that the Bible condemns animal cruelty and even refers to those who deal harshly with their pets as wicked. Ecclesiastes specifically points out that mankind should not regard itself as above the beasts of the earth, even though they have dominion on earth. This verse may be one of the most powerful as it infers that mankind is to take the responsibility they have been entrusted with seriously. Finally, the well-known passage in Isaiah speaks of a wolf and sheep, leopard and kid and sheep and lion dwelling together in peace, speaks to paradise without conflict or cruelty.
Click the slideshow player to view photos of some beloved pets including dogs, cats and birds.