|Jewish theologists and scientists have,
other than their Christian colleagues, intensively occupied
themselves with the animals. The oneness of Creation in
fact got lost within Christian theology by the absolute
separation between man and animal. In Jewish theology
more emphasis is put on the resemblance both have -in
spite of their decisive difference- as well as on the
responsibility of mankind (being stronger) for the animal
being weaker and entrusted to his care.
The general rule by which man's behavior towards animals is compared, is "make no other living creature suffer from pain", i.e. cruelty against animals is strongly forbidden. He who behaves cruel towards animals, is not considered to live justifiable. For that reason the Book of Proverbs 12:10 says that "the just knows what is due to this cattle". The instructions and prohibitions based on this general rule, can be found in the Halacha.
|The Halacha is a collection of laws and
rules of conduct for all aspects of life, that include
the laws and instructions of the Torah. Orthodox Jews
are subjected to the Halacha as firmly as to the Torah.
Halachic directives, stemming directly from the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, are: Exodus 20: 8-10 where it is also commanded not to put cattle to work on the Shabbat. Exodus 23: 4, 5 that says an animal that lost its way has to be brought back to its owner and one is obliged to unload an over-loaded donkey (even if the owner is your enemy). Deuteronomy 25: 4 it is forbidden that the farmer would muzzle the ox threshing his corn: the animal should be able to eat during work just al freely as a man would do.
The feelings of animals are taken into account in Deuteronomy 22: 6, 7 where it says you are not allowed to empty a nest in the presence of the mother bird.
Leviticus 22: 26, 27: a calf, lamb or young goat is not to be taken away from it's mother before the eighth day and also it is forbidden to slaughter it together with the mother on the same day.
|Other Halachic directives
Killing animals for fashion or out of vanity
In March 1992 on the basis of the general rule "not to harm any living creature or make it suffer", a ban was ordered on production as well as wearing fur, based on extensive study of the Torah, Talmuth and other influential texts.
|Killing animals for "sports"
Hunting animals including hunting them for pleasure,
is considered to be in defiance of the general rule.
Even being in contact with hunters is forbidden on the
basis of Psalm 1: 1 "Blessed the man who does not
walk on the path of the sinners."
|Killing animals for human consumption
As such this is not considered to be a violation of
the 'general rule', provided the killing takes place
painlessly. (The Jewish scientists are convinced, based
on scientific research, that ritual slaughter is as
good as painless. Many non-Jewish authorities however,
oppose this view).
|Experiments on animals
A liberal American Halacha-expert says "that 'progressive'
Jewish Halachic scientists are of the opinion 'that
animals can be used in experiments that lead to the
discovery of new methods to treat diseases. Every provision
that prevents pain and unnecessary suffering has to
be made. Throughout the centuries there have been authorities
whose idea it was that animals can be used for the benefit
of man, even if that comes with some suffering, especially
when the result is regaining health (of people). This
standpoint is generally taken towards medical experiments,
especially when there is an immediate use for man, as
long as severe pain can be avoided and no other methods
It is of course easy and convenient not to worry about
the question if severe pain is indeed being avoided
(cán be avoided), how precise the rules and directions
are and whether or not protocols are strictly being
followed! After all it is only too well-known how the
animals in the laboratories suffer.
Workshop 'Church and Animal' Foundation
|How Muslims treat animals to obtain 'hallal' meat during the 'sacrificial feast', is illustrated here.|