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Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion

Animals, Religion and the Environment
The Bible’s Teachings on Protecting Animals and Nature
by Lewis Regenstein

Part 4: Forbidding Cruelty to Animals

The Bible clearly decrees that cruelty to domestic animals is forbidden. The ox, we are also told, is entitled to the fruit of its labor: "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn" (Deuteronomy 25:4). Moreover, Deuteronomy 22:10 tells us "Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together," suggesting that pairing animals of different sizes and strengths would cause a conflict and would place a strain on the weaker of them or perhaps on both.

The books of Exodus (22:29) and Leviticus (22:27-28) require that a newborn animal remain with its mother for the first week of its life before being sacrificed, so that the young creature can have at least seven days of warmth and nourishment from its mother. And “ye shall not kill it and its young both in one day,” presumably to avoid the trauma of having the mother see her infant slain before her.

Contrast these ancient and remarkably humane laws of a primitive people of three to four thousand years ago to modern-day factory farming practices. Today, veal calves are usually taken from their mothers at birth, denied mother’s milk and other nutrition, deliberately undernourished and kept their entire lives in a small crate in which they cannot move around. These circumstances produce an anemic, muscle-free condition in the calf that gives the meat its tenderness and light appearance.

Go on to Part 5: A Righteous Man Has Regard for the Life of His Beast
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