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God’s Animals: Sentient Creatures or Mere Commodities?
Monday, June 6, 2011 Blog
God’s Animals: Sentient Creatures or Mere Commodities?

1. Book Recommendation

2. Famous Quote – Peter Singer

3. Chickens as Commodities

4. Bible verse – Jeremiah 17:9-10

5. Consumers Decide the Fate of Farmed Animals

6. This Week’s Video – Gary Yourofsky’s Presentation


1. Book Recommendation

Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), is the author of a fantastic new book titled "The Bond", which explores our kinship with animals and the obvious inconsistencies of our treatment toward them. Although the book offers some personal glimpses of Pacelle's relationship with animals, it mostly focuses on his argument that we should protect animals from the monumental exploitation by humanity based on genetic, societal, historical, ethical and even economic arguments. To learn more please search online for Wayne Pacelle's The Bond explores human-animal kinship

2. This Week’s Famous Quote

"Those who, by their purchases, require animals to be killed have no right to be shielded from the slaughterhouse or any other aspect of the production of the meat they buy. If it is distasteful for humans to think about, what can it be like for the animals to experience it?"

~ Peter Singer (1946 - present) Australian philosopher, Professor at Princeton University, USA

3. Chickens as Commodities

The recent storms that devastated many parts of the US are being felt also by the chicken industry. According to Alabama officials up to 25 percent of the poultry houses in the state were destroyed, killing millions of birds. Since chicken farming is a multibillion-dollar industry in Alabama, where a typical poultry house contains about 20,000 birds, the damages are still being assessed. However, this disaster "isn't enough to disrupt chicken supplies nationally. The state usually produces about 21.5 million chickens in a week, while the US produces roughly nine billion chickens annually" as reported in the article. To learn more please search online for US Storms Kill Five Million Chickens

This story and the way it’s being reported, should appall all of us! Nowhere in the article the suffering of chickens is mentioned or even a hint of sadness for the loss of those millions of God’s creatures is conveyed. Instead, the only mention is the value in dollars that these chickens are worth to humans and the small effect this might have for the supply of chicken meat in the US. If the way we reduced God’s farmed animals to mere commodities does not tug at our hearts, we may indeed be leading Creation to total degradation: physical and spiritual.

4. This Week’s Bible Verse

(RSV) Jeremiah 17:9-10

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it? "I the LORD search the mind and try the heart, to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.""

Jesus teaches us that what is in our hearts is what counts. We should relate to all of God's Creation with a compassionate heart that shows love and reverence.  

5. Consumers Decide the Fate of Farmed Animals

Tom Laskawy, blogger on food policy for Grist.org and Beyond Green, makes the valid argument that unless consumers show that they care about the treatment of farmed animals, their fate is very grim. Laskawy rightly points out that state and federal regulators have done nothing to prevent the wide-spread abuse of animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Moreover, he highlights that the food produced with the flesh and by-products of animals that are laden with antibiotics and hormones is diseased and unhealthy. "I am often struck by the oddity that the sport of baseball is too pure for the use of performance enhancing substances -- but the food we eat isn’t," said Laskawy. To read the article please search online for It's Up to Consumers to Care

Indeed, if consumers don’t care about how their food is produced and how God’s animals are treated, then it’s evident that we are failing miserably in our task of being good stewards of our bodies and animals. Supporting the animal agriculture industry does not accord with Jesus’ teachings of compassion, mercy and love. There is hope as long as our actions are aligned with our Faith.

6. This Week’s Video – Gary Yourofsky’s Presentation

I had the pleasure to listen to one of Gary Yourofsky’s presentations several years ago at Georgia Tech. To say the least, I was impressed! As I understand, he has one of the most effective lectures on veganism so far. Now you have the chance to watch one of his most powerful presentations and also share it with friends and family. Please search online for Gary Yourofsky at Georgia Tech, July 8, 2010 .

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