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Religion and Animals
|A CHALLENGE TO ANY AND
ALL WHO SHARE, PREACH, TEACH, BELIEVE IN AND FOLLOW THE TEACHINGS OF THE
BIBLE. HELP YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY AND CONGREGATION TO FIND IMPROVED
MEANS OF PROVIDING THE PROPER AND APPROPRIATE CARE FOR THEIR ANIMALS. STOP
THE UNNECESSARY SLAUGHTER OF OUR PETS. YOU CAN ALL SAY 'IT'S NOT OUR
PLACE' OR 'THE BIBLE SAYS IT VERY CLEARLY' OR WHAT EVER EXCUSE YOU WANT TO
USE. BUT YOU KNOW GOD HAS PLACED YOU HERE ON A MISSION. A
MISSION THAT IS BY NO MEANS LIMITED TO HUMANS, BUT FOR ALL CREATURES - OF
WHICH WE ARE BUT
* What religious
leaders must consider and understand
*The benefits of humane
education to rid our society of hatred and betrayal by
Dr. Jeanette Shutay Ph.d.
Letter to the
'God Squad' by Joseph Pastore of H.E.A.R.T. in NYC
* A Challenge for all
*The Ten Commandments
of Animal Guardianship
I am sometimes asked why I spend so much time and efforts
on animal related issues when there is so much insensitivity towards
man. I answer....."I'm working at the roots"! --
George T. Angell
With the teachings in the
bible that clearly show reverence and respect for ALL living beings,
it saddens me to see so many people - people who
'claim' to be God-fearing and who also consider religion to play a
sizable role in their lives, mistreat, neglect and basically abuse
their companion animals.
I live in Dolan Springs,
Arizona. The local community has it's responsible pet
guardians, but by no means are they the majority. Far from
it. The average Dolan Springs household with pets is
ripe with neglect, ignorant of the pets needs, barron of any
training or even proper restraints for the pets safety.
And don't even get me started on the appropriate identification of
the pets - hundreds of which roam freely with little regard from
their human counterpart as to where they are vs where they should
So, then why in the world,
would the religious teachers, ministers and those who believe the
bible's teachings, refuse to use this incredible tool of faith, to
help clean up our problems of pet overpopulation and especially
IT'S SAD THAT DOGS DON'T LIVE AS
LONG AS WE DO. BUT, I SEE WHY NOW. THEY ALREADY KNOW HOW
TO GIVE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND AFFECTION - SOMETHING IT TAKES HUMANS
7 TIMES AS LONG TO LEARN!!
largest majority of those who are causing harm are not doing it
maliciously, but out of simple ignorance. This is what makes
me believe that the church could and should play a role in the
education of our community. If we had a rash of rapes in the
recent past, there would be a sermon on respect for the opposite
sex. If there were an unusually large number of murders over
the past year, we would hear a sermon on respect for life and so
on. So, why, when God makes it so very clear that animals and
humans are all to be respected and treated with kindness and
compassion, is this topic so ignored when the problem is so
There is a definite
reason why Noah built the Arc for the animals and no additional humans
Education, at its roots, has benefits that are felt far and wide in
improved behavior of students, increased attendance, much more
awareness of others, a noticeably raised level of achievement
scores, more respectful nature of addressing adults and others
around them and gaining a less violent resolution technique when
challenged - not to mention the obvious - the lives that are spared
and provided with the proper treatment that will extend their lives
in a healthier, happier way.
the above reasons do not spur the preachers and priests on to a more
compassionate style of ministries or simple common sense isn't
enough for the local or national ministries to take notice and begin
giving more appropriate sermons to their
listeners, maybe some of the following
articles can convince them to give a humane style sermon at least
once a year. If their followers are truly respectful of God
and his teachings, they will learn how to improve their pets
existence as well - giving the pets a noticeably improved chance of
living out a healthy life in a manner pleasing the man
"I looked at all the
caged animals in the shelter....the castoffs of human society.
I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness and
betrayal. And I was angry. "God" I said, 'this is
terrible! Why don't you do something?" God was silent for a
moment and then He spoke softly. "I have done something'' He
replied. "I created you.
I think all clergy
should read Matthew Scully's book "Dominion."
He addresses all these
issues and very well done.
TO All Religious
by Dr. Jeanette Shutay, Ph.d.
First of all, I want to
make it known that I take neglect of animals, abuse of animals and
all types of this behavior very seriously. I would also like to
mention that fact that those who are physically abusive to animals
tend to be more violent than average, in general (e.g., in all
domains of life). Let me give you some specific examples that
support this supposition.
The Child Abuse Potential Inventory
(CAP) is an instrument which is designed to measure one's potential
for abusing children (Milner, 1986). This instrument has been
referenced as a research tool in the abuse literature. One of the
statements on this questionnaire is ?I enjoy having pets? in which
the person is to state whether he or she agrees or disagrees with
the statement. This particular item is on the questionnaire because
it has clinical significance. In other words, there is a
relationship between one enjoying or liking pets and one's
likelihood to be a child abuser.
Another instrument, which is
intended to detect child behavioral problems, references animals.
The Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 2-3 (CBCL) developed by
Achenbach (1988) specifically asks if the person's child is 'cruel
to animals' in which the person is requested to indicate how true
the statement is for his or her child (0 = not true; 1 = somewhat or
sometimes true; and 2 = very true or often true). In this case the child's behavior towards animals is considered to be a valid
indicator of behavioral problems which later tend to turn into
conduct disorder in the teen years and antisocial disorder in the
Both of these instruments have been found to
uphold high standards of reliability and validity. These instruments
have been used many times as a research tool for empirical studies
as well as for detecting and or predicting child behavioral problems
(CBCL). It is not a coincidence that both of these instruments
reference either one's view or treatment towards animals. Although
these two particular questions do not in and of themselves define an
adult as an abuser or a child as one that possesses behavioral
disorders, they have been found to be highly related to the
dependent variable (e.g., abuse or behavioral
Furthermore, there are numerous studies that
provide empirical evidence of a link between animal abuse and
criminal behavior in general. For example Arluke, Levin, Luke &
Ascione (1999) published an article titled 'The Relationship of
Animal Abuse to Violence and Other Forms of Antisocial Behavior' in
the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, which indicates that there is
an association between animal abuse and a variety of antisocial
behaviors. I mention this article in particular because its
methodology was very robust and the findings, I believe, are based
on highly reliable and valid sources of data.
Now is a
pivotal time in our society and it requires that we make a strong
statement by enforcing the maximum punishment possible for the man
who dragged the dog with his car. We should also consider revising
the current laws so that stricter punishments may be awarded. I will
provide you with two reasons why this is
1. Now is a time in which our society
greatly suffers from an over abundance of hatred, ignorance,
2. And, although there have
been many other times in history dating back hundreds of years in
which the existence of cruelty and all the above can be documented,
we are more sophisticated now than ever. This means that we can
either use our sophistication to become most cruel and commit evil
acts, or we can take our sophistication and become teachers of
humane education and societal problem solvers.
proponents of change and humane education activists make this a
better place to live by sending out a message that cruel behavior,
whether intended for humans or animals, will not be tolerated for
the simple fact that it is unnecessary and terribly immoral. Please
spread my message to everyone you are able to reach. Let's face
it, knowing what we know today, what these people do is
extremely cruel and someone capable of committing such acts is
clearly a threat to society!
Jeanette Shutay Ph.d
Board Member 21st Century Animal Resource
THE FOLLOWING IS A VERY ENERGETIC READ.
It is patently absurd and maddening to partake
in religious services and witness this disgraceful neglect and
ironic distortion of the base fundamental taught in virtually all
major religions, the Golden Rule. Surely if there is a blueprint for
human behavior whether you're religious or irreligious, it's the
Golden Rule! "Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You!"
A child could see that this applies a thousand-fold to innocent,
Perhaps too, the major religions should
consider the words of Socrates, who, although an atheist,
surpassed hypocrisy with his dictum: "There is but one good,
knowledge; there is but one evil, ignorance." The more you
consider that, the more profoundly it affects you.
be interested in this excerpt of an email letter I sent to Rabbi
Gellman and Monsignor Hartman of "The God Squad" some months
back. They work cooperatively to address issues and are seen
periodically in various media outlets. As expected, I never heard
back from them; the silence is deafening! I think many of these
religious leaders are pathetically ignorant on these issues, much
as medical doctors, for so long, were so ignorant and shamefully
uninformed on nutrition issues. At least, however, they woke up
and are much more enlightened today!
"Dear Rabbi Gellman and
Congratulations and thanks for your
Newsday article of 9/23/02 referring to the
religious significance of vegetarianism. You make some excellent
points that at least demonstrate respect and consideration for
animals. I must admit however, that the absence of a strong stand
emanating from the major religions against animal cruelty and
society's mind-numbing failures to fully value and protect our
animals, especially for those of us raised in the Judeo/Christian
faith, is like an ever-present ache in our hearts; a huge gap
waiting to be filled!
It is perhaps the ultimately tragic
irony that humans seemingly are incapable of perceiving what
empathy and compassion for animals could mean to the entire human
race. Although the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and
Islam may not consider animals as having souls (respectfully, if
not sacrilegiously questioned) as one priest commented in The
Tablet, "where there is love there is God." Well put! Humans
experience what we refer to as unconditional love from animals.
Every day, another health benefit is reported to be enjoyed by
humans as a result of associations with animals. The fidelity of
dogs to humans is unsurpassed among all living species; yet our
treatment of them compared to the their treatment of us is a
disgrace to, and a diminishment of, the human
Frankly, religions are missing the boat on this
issue. Consider the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence linking
animal cruelty to human violence. Those of us involved in Humane
Education consider the teaching of respect, understanding, caring
and responsibility toward animals as perhaps the greatest
deterrent to violence against all living creatures that we have.
Did you ever hear of a person raised in a culture of respect,
compassion and responsible involvement with animals as becoming a
We need a quantum leap in speaking out for
animals by our religions. We don't celebrate our great leaders
who provide great insights into respect and compassion for
animals enough in our religious services, sermons and homilies.
More tributes should be paid to Gandhi, St. Francis of Assisi,
Albert Schweitzer, Albert Einstein, Tolstoy, The Dalai Lama,
Isaac Bashevis, Nehru, Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, Adlai Stevenson,
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rachel Carson and so many others that are
rarely, if ever, referred to in services.
Talk about a
"Prayer of the Faithful"; Dr. Albert Schweitzer's quote, "until he
extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will
not himself find peace" should be urged to be prayed, repeated,
and emblazoned on every house of worship in every religion on
Lastly, when we consider that animals, in their
innocence and as defenseless co-inhabitants of our planet,
virtually liberate us from the imprisonment of self, which
we humans are bound by with our limitations, foibles and
biologically inborn selfishness, it's all the more painful that
our religions fail so miserably in taking a leadership role in
promulgating animal protection as a moral imperative and to the
ennoblement of the human condition.
I will make this
impassioned challenge to all who preach, spread and share the
gospel. Gather some information on you local area by
speaking to your local humane society in detail: contact
your local police as well. You will be amazed at the numbers
and the level of abuse they witness on a daily basis in your own
back yard. Find out what problems they see as crucial to the
beginnings of an improved society - beginning where all larger than
life projects begin - at the root level - the
Then bring this
information to the pulpit one Sunday in the future. Clearly
outline that much of what we do TO our animals are certainly not
beneficial to their existence - such as tying them to a fence
post. Locking them outside in small cages or pens.
The unnecessary restrictions these dogs suffer from, lack of social
interaction and exercise and extreme temperatures lends itself to
uncontrollable behavior and attacks, medical problems that are
usually noticed too late, unwanted litters - adding to the already
overwhelming number of slaughters seen in this
This leads to a life of
neglect, illness and other problems caused by the treatment by
humans - resulting in a life span that is 7 years less than a dog
who sleeps inside the home at night and has proper exercise.
I'm talking about this community where EVERYONE has their dog on a
short chain outside. Between coyotes, rattlesnakes scorpions
and heat strokes, you can see a home change dogs once a year or
more. but they get the next little puppy and tie it to the same
chain. Your community will have similar challenges.
the studies that are out now on so many matters, these issues are
clearly no longer ones of personal opinion, but moreso those of
right and wrong. These people are wrong. the churches could and
should step in, give details and speak out.
Have a list of do's and
don'ts for the congregation to take with them. Many argue that it is
their right to do this and to do that. It is NOT anyone's
right to cause harm to an animal. .
It's clear there will be
animals in heaven as there were animals in the Garden of Eden.
So, when we see clearly that abuse is current in our very own
congregations, why does the church choose to ignore them here on
earth? Remember, '.....not a sparrow shall fall from
Dogs are more of a role
model than we give them credit for. If we learn to listen to
the voices of our pets, it will enhance our emotional and spiritual
growth as well as give new meaning to the phrase, "Man's Best
TEN COMMANDMENTS OF ANIMAL
1. When you adopt me,
remember that my life is likely to last 15 or more years. That is
your responsibility to care for me during that period of time - NOT
to dump me at the pound or on some unsuspecting
2. Please give me time to understand what it is
you want from me. Change can be more difficult for me than for
you. I don't speak your language and need time.
don't be angry with me for a long time, and don't lock me up alone
as punishment Do not throw me outside forever nor tie me to a
I need exercise. love and
I need these things from you. You have your human family, your
friends, your entertainment and I ONLY HAVE YOU!!!
Please trust me and help me to trust you .. . . it is crucial
for mine as well as your well being.
5. Talk to me . . .
even if you think I don't understand your words I understand your
voice and love it when you speak to me and stroke me.
Before you hit me remember that I have teeth and claws and
could easily hurt you but I choose not to bite and scratch you
because I love you..
Also, remember that each
time you strike me, it is only an admission on your part that you
have failed once again to do what's necessary to
7. Be aware, that however you treat me, I WILL
8. Before you scold me for being
uncooperative or bad, ask yourself if maybe something is wrong
and there is another reason for my behavior. Perhaps I am sick,
hot, old or just plain tired, frustrated and weak.
PLEASE TRY TO
UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE ME AND PUT YOURSELF IN
9. Please take care of me when I get old and
don't abandon me, for you too will grow old. Please notice when I
am ill because I need you to take me to the vet for help when I
am ill just as you need to see a doctor.
10. Go with me on
the most difficult journeys. Never say, "I can't bear to watch"
or "Do it when I leave" because I need you with me even at the end
of my journeys. Please always do what is best for me even if it
is unbearable for you to do so because I love you and trust that