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Today, we are taught that animals are here for our sport (hunters in the Bible are considered to be rebels against God), our entertainment, our food, and for our supposed benefit in research laboratories. Billions of animals suffer daily in the U.S.A. alone for mankind's desires and the economy. Since our spiritual lives are linked with our relationship with animals, we need to learn about the many issues in the world today to restore the human/animal relationship.
The links between domestic violence and animal abuse have been substantiated. The Humane Society of the United States has the First Strike campaign, which promotes and supports the development of local efforts to reduce violence against all lives. Cross reporting is encouraged when animals are in violent homes. Society and Animals Forum (formerly Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), are making great strides to heal those directly and indirectly involved with animal abuse with education and counseling programs. This group offers community seminars for professionals and a great resource list of organizations that promote healing through the animal/human relationship.
The Delta Society also provides programs on pet loss, pet assistance for the disabled, and pet therapy for nursing homes, schools hospitals, etc. There are many local organizations and individuals that provide such education and therapy.
To expand beyond the domestic animal domain, we need to look at how children are desensitized to animals in general. Are we teaching kindness and compassion by instruction and example for turtles, snakes, lizards, bugs, and yes even fish (the disciples ultimately left their fishing behind to follow Jesus), by allowing them to live stress free in their natural habitat? Are we teaching respect for all life to live as they were created to live?
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine also uncovers many of the myths we have been fed concerning animals used for food and research. The animal products we eat and drink causes us to be a physically (and spiritually) unhealthy society.
Programs and educational materials are available for us to help restore the intended relationship we were created to have with animals. We would all be much more healthier physically and spiritually by following Jesus more closely wherever and however He leads us.
Fredericks is founder of God's Creatures Ministry, chairwoman of Catholic Concern for Animals-USA, a licensed counselor and Christian educator.
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