Is it sinful to mistreat animals?


In regards to "What about those farmers who torture their animals?"

"There are laws in every state opposing cruelty to animals. I daily read about accounts where they are being enforced. Farmers who mistreat their livestock would not stay in business. Mistreated animals don't make good breeders or good food."

If we want to know about human laws we'll ask a lawyer. Is it sinful to mistreat animals?

Actually, mistreatment of animals in endemic to American agriculture. This is why a dairy cow who should have a 10 to 15 year lifespan only lives to 3-4 years of age. It is why most pigs and chickens have to be drugged up in order to stay alive. Of course this goes beyond animals to the poisoning of our soils, water, and ourselves. And no, they don't make good food, but the commodity market doesn't care and most food you find in grocery stores is of poor quality, lacks nutrition, and is unsafe.


So glad to know that the given answer bothered you. It is not unusual that when no answer can be given against a reasoned response, an attempt is made to discredit the speaker. This is what was done by the rulers against Jesus. "By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?" (Matthew 21:23). The charge was that American farming is cruel to animals. I merely pointed out that the charge was false both because the United States has laws against cruelty toward animals and because those laws are enforced. I can't help it if you don't like the truth.

In regards to the biblical teaching on cruelty toward animals, God told the Israelites, "A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel" (Proverbs 12:10). Cruelty to animals is not a national or cultural problem; it is one of many symptoms of wickedness. Teach people the ways of God and cruelty will naturally decrease.

The last paragraph is a list of similar false statements.

  • Dairy farmers only keep their cattle while they are productive producers. Since the peak milk production is in the first five years or so of a cow's life, older cows are sent to the slaughtering house. Milking a cow doesn't reduce a cow's lifespan. By the way, the typical lifespan for cattle is 25 years, but since they are raised for food, they are not kept that long.
  • Antibiotics are used to keep animals healthy so that they reach their full and marketable potential as food. It was considered cheaper to over treat animals to avoid dangers of diseases. It became clear this wasn't a good idea and it has been scaled back drastically in recent years.
  • Humans as a rule are generally concerned about the environment. In the United States, the air, water, and soil is far cleaner than it was 50 or 100 years ago. It is definitely better than most third-world countries.
  • If the American food supply was so unhealthy and unsafe, then why are we living longer both in comparison to the past and to third-world countries?

It is easy to lay charges, but such broad sweeping generalizations do not tell the truth nor, if there is a problem, help to identify and solve the particular problem. It is merely reviling, which Christians understand to be harmful:

"If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself" (I Timothy 6:3-5).