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Living relationally with creation: animals and Christian faith.

Human Beings as Animals

Animals represent a diverse taxonomic group, with species ranging from small to large, aquatic to terrestrial, sessile (at least for a part of their life cycle) to motile, limbless to many-limbed. The group is characterized by common structural (multicellular, cell wall-less eukaryotes) and functional properties, such as nutritional requirements. And yet, despite their wide diversity, people recognize among most of the animals a common "animal character." This is evident within the name itself; the Latin origin, animalis, means "having the breath of life." This intangible quality strongly influences our relationships with animals.

Each animal taxon is defined, mostly, by a collection of traits that set the group apart from other animals. For example, birds are feathered, winged tetrapods. But defining a taxon, such as a species, is not a straightforward task. Even the species concept varies greatly and all species definitions have fuzzy boundaries. (1) For instance, one of the more common biological definitions of species is a group of individuals with the capacity for natural reproduction and production of viable, fertile offspring (2)--but this definition does not apply for all species (e.g., brown bears, Ursus arctos, are considered a distinct species from polar bears, U. maritimus, and yet they can interbreed). Delimitation of a taxonomic unit presents a challenging task because it assumes a clear distinction among groups of organisms, whereas, in most cases, nature occurs as a continuum.

Biologically, humans (Homo sapiens) are a species within the kingdom Animalia. Therefore, what separates us from other animals--particularly since nature occurs as a continuum? The question of what it means to be human often arises in the context of evolution. If humans are animals, and if we coevolved with other animals from common ancestors, then what aspects of being human set us apart as image-bearers of God? This raises challenging questions if the image of God pertains to our morphology or human abilities, such as communication or rationality. For instance, some humans do not possess the ability to communicate or act rationally, such as people who have suffered strokes, babies who are not yet able to deal rationally with the world, and adults with dementia, whereas some animals do have the ability to communicate or perform basic problem-solving skills. (3) When exploring definitions of personhood, David DeGrazia points out the challenges when it comes to other hominids, language-trained animals, and other complex and highly functioning creatures such as great apes and dolphins. (4) Some theologians, such as John Calvin in his Commentaries on Genesis, suggest that the image of God reflects our ability to live in relationship with God. (5) Others suggest that the image of God signifies that we have been called to be stewards of God's earthly kingdom. (6) Thus, our relationship with God's creation may be the most accurate reflection of our Christ-like image.

Christians engaged in this discussion would be wise to consider what is the significance of the definition of human species. Does it matter, morally, for humans to be viewed as distinct from nonhuman animals? Jason Robert and Francoise Baylis warn that crossing taxonomic boundaries may present moral confusion regarding social and ethical obligations. (7) Yet, when the rest of creation occurs as a continuum, might there be dangers in viewing humans as uniquely distinct? There are risks in an "us and them" mentality. As all of God's creatures likely evolved by similar processes, we ought to focus more on commonalities and ask, instead, what we can do to reduce suffering on God's earth, rather than unintentionally contribute to it.

Rationality and Consciousness

Philosophical debates about whether animals have the capacity for rationality and consciousness have been ongoing, and scientific investigations continue to provide further insight on the intellectual capacity of various species of animals. (8) Many of the abilities once thought to be uniquely human have been found, in varying degrees, in a range of animals. Thus, for people who feel that the human species maintains superiority, the debate about animal rationality and consciousness is an important one if any of these properties form the basis for characterizing humans as distinct from other animals.

Among many philosophers, rationality and consciousness are tightly connected to moral value. Aristotle, for example, defined humans by their ability for rational thought (i.e., the ability to connect ideas and make decisions in a directed manner). According to Aristotle, if rationality is the basis for intrinsic worth, and only humans possess rationality, then animals do not have intrinsic worth. Christian thinkers, such as Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas adhered to Aristotle's idea that only humans have the capacity for rational thought. Their perspective implies that humans must be treated with dignity and respect and as moral agents, while other components of creation exist for our own purposes (e.g., for food, medicine, or research) and only have value as commodities to improve our own lives (see also the section Contemporary Problems). In comparison, David Hume did not agree with this view and argued that animals do have the capacity--albeit a limited one--for rational thought and basic learned behavior. (9) Thus, according to Hume, both human and animal reasoning can be virtuous and provide moral value. (10)

Descartes used "consciousness" (i.e., an awareness of thought and self) as the key defining principle separating humans from animals. He claimed that consciousness is a property of an immaterial mind, or "soul." Descartes argued that animals do not possess this type of awareness--rather, they respond automatically to stimuli--and, therefore, cannot be aware of anything, including pain. Some philosophers would argue that humans are not so different from animals and that we are also simple machines responding to stimuli. (11) From that perspective, humans are no more capable of consciousness and suffering than animals, and the whole concept of consciousness as the key to human-animal distinctions becomes meaningless.

In contrast to Descartes, Michel de Montaigne argued that if animals can communicate with one another, then they cannot be mere machines. (12) Studies have shown that, in addition to the ability to communicate, some animals possess an ability for problem solving, decision making, creativity, and self-awareness (i.e., the capacity to recognize oneself as separate from others). (13) Evidence also suggests that animals can indicate preferences. (14) If animals can have preferences, then potentially they can suffer pain. From a biological perspective, many animals, and especially vertebrates, likely have the capacity to suffer pain because they, like humans, have specialized pain receptors as part of their nervous systems, and they respond to painful stimuli in similar ways as humans.

How significant are rationality and consciousness in our relationship with animals? As expressed above, our biological and social relationship with animals can reveal a great deal about ourselves. For example, when we study nonhuman creatures--for physiology, psychology, neurology, et cetera--we learn about our own physical nature due to our biological similarities. Thus, our interactions with other animals and our understanding of their rationality, consciousness, and potential for communication and suffering provide a means for learning about ourselves as image-bearers. Again, an attempt to define the differences between humans and nonhumans is proving to be difficult, as our understanding of distinctive criteria continues to shift in the light of ethological scientific advancements.

Animal Rights

The moral status of animals has long been debated. Three major foundational thinkers in this debate are Immanuel Kant, Tom Regan, and Peter Singer. Kant argued that only rational beings have intrinsic moral worth and, therefore, animals do not have moral rights. (15) Kant's assumption is that there are no rational nonhuman animals (see the previous section, Rationality and Consciousness). However, Kant also stated that due to our rationality, humans are morally obligated to treat animals with kindness, and that to fail to do so would adversely affect our own moral standing. (16) On the other hand, Regan--also addressing the inherent value of beings--supports equal rights among animals and humans, asserting that humans and animals share properties that Regan views as essential to moral beings, such as memories, preferences, and a sense of a future. (17) As a third perspective, Singer presents a utilitarian argument to advocate animal rights based on their preference for survival. (18) Although his argument lacks Kant's notion of intrinsic worth, Singer claims that animals have moral status based on their capacity to suffer. He argues that to kill an animal possessing self-consciousness--or, more specifically, an animal's awareness of its preference for its own survival--is unethical because the interests of the "greatest number" are not maximized when the animal is killed, even if the killing does not involve suffering. (19) Thus, even humane rearing or humane killing of animals is not supported by his utilitarian-based argument.

Views and interpretations about animal rights present an important topic for Christian dialogue. Some Christians declare that God's covenants include animals, too, (20) and therefore, animals should be afforded the same consideration as humans. (21) Scripture informs us that "all flesh shall see the salvation of God" (Luke 3:6) and that all of God's creatures (we all who have met God) "are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another" (2 Cor. 3:18). Thus, the questions raised here directly relate to our interactions with animals and how we address contemporary issues, such as food choices, food acquisition, and our reliance on animals. Humans often rely on animals as a component of our own servanthood, such as for feeding and clothing the world, and developing life-saving medical advancements. Yet, is not God's glory diminished when we cause any creature suffering and death for unnecessary purposes, such as our own vanity and recreation?

These are not solely Christian issues, but for Christians engaging these arguments, we have resources in scripture and tradition that can help us navigate. For example, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself" (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27). Do our neighbors include animals? Henry David Thoreau argues that loving our neighbor also involves a love for nature, which Christians could extend to all of God's creation, both organic and inorganic, and of which we, too, are a part. (22) Should we extend our blanket of moral rights across all creatures, including nonhumans, even if they are not deemed to be moral beings?

Contemporary Problems

Animals have long served in support roles for humans. As companions and commodities, in agriculture and medicine, animals have been utilized for our ends. As Christians, we have an obligation to ask, by what right do we coerce them to serve our needs and wants? For what purposes (e.g., biodiversity, food, companionship) are animals intended? Are they meant for our uses at all? Stephen Vantassel suggests that humans should rely on the use of animals within limits, and that our actions should resemble Christ's own treatment of animals. (23) However, critics of Vantassel's position have pointed out that this view favors the use of wildlife for human benefits over the protection of wildlife for ecological benefits. (24) Thus, what roles should animals play in our own servanthood? The issues outlined in the previous sections can shed some light on these questions and how they relate to several contemporary issues facing Christians in our daily lives, as introduced below.


Eating (including eating other living things) is an embedded component in creation. Animals and all other heterotrophic creatures exist by consuming other life. For humans, eating also has deeply important cultural, relational, and symbolic roles. Emotionally, food can revitalize memories, hopes, and happiness. Christians utilize food to nourish us spiritually by fostering fellowship and, for those in the Roman Catholic tradition, through the transubstantiation of the Eucharist. As omnivores, we do not typically eat all types of edible foods available to us, but rather a subset that is based largely on tradition and values. Among different cultural and religious groups, we see diverse philosophies about eating patterns and diets. An important question that follows, then, is, does the type of food we eat matter?

Traditionally, the moral and ethical debates around vegetarianism have centered around two main issues: the issue of inflicting suffering and the issue of causing death. (25) Recently, environmental stewardship has surfaced as a third contending issue. The environmental issue is primarily based on reducing pollution (26) and preserving resources. (27) In 2010, a UN report from the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management urged that a dietary shift toward veganism would significantly reduce contributions to climate change. (28) However, some argue that animal production is necessary to prevent desertification, (29) although the issue is contentious. (30) Furthermore, although monoculture plant cropping is economically efficient, it also leads to serious environmental problems (e.g., soil depletion, increased pest loads, and loss of biodiversity). These perspectives impart important dialogue for Christians. In what ways do our Christian responsibilities play a role in the food we eat? We can find insight to these questions and problems through both scripture and biology.

Interpretations about scriptural dietary guidelines vary. In the Old Testament, we read that all life was created vegetarian (Gen. 1:29-30; 2:9, 15-17), and then after the Flood, humans were permitted to consume meat (Gen. 9:3). In the New Testament, Jesus fed the five thousand with bread and fish (Matt. 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; John 6:1-14), and consumed fish himself with his disciples after the resurrection (Luke 24:41-43). Some believe that meat is only permissible to eat depending on how or from where it is obtained (e.g., "Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood," Gen. 9:4; clean and unclean foods, Leviticus 11). Many theologians argue that the sacrifice of Jesus freed humankind from the dietary restrictions of the Old Testament, particularly with reference to Peter's vision on the rooftop (Acts 10:9-16). Some people view these biblical messages as though we are encouraged to eat meat, while others believe that we are permitted to eat meat, although vegetarianism would be preferred.

Biological evidence suggests that human physiology is suited for the consumption of meat. From a biochemical perspective, protein is an essential component of our diet. Nutritionally, meat provides a complete range of essential amino acids (those amino acids that we must obtain from our diet and cannot be synthesized de novo). However, meat is not the only way to obtain a full range of amino acids, and a vegetarian approach simply requires a greater diversity and range of vegetables, pulses, and grains. Therefore, meat provides merely a convenient protein source. From a physiological perspective, humans possess short digestive tracts and canine teeth, both of which are characteristic of carnivorous lifestyles. Canine teeth, for example, are well structured for tearing tough tissues, such as meat, and resemble the canines of carnivores. Humans appear to have evolved to be omnivores.

With this range of guidelines and interpretations, how might a Christian engage the topic of vegetarianism? To what extent is it acceptable to rely upon animals to provide us with food, either as beasts of burden or as meat?

Food Acquisition

If one is to accept that one need not be a vegetarian, a subsequent question emerges about how those animals should be raised and killed. Two options for acquiring animals for food are hunting and farming. These two approaches to food procurement differ by how they influence--and are influenced by--the relationship between humans and animals.

In what ways might hunting affect how we live in right relationship with the earth and all its resources? Traditional hunting forces people to spend time in creation, potentially leading to a deeper appreciation of God's world. Some Christians have referred to hunting as an opportunity to recognize patterns and cycles in nature. (31) In this way, hunting provides the possibility of bringing us into closer relationship with wild animals within their habitat. However, the face of hunting has changed considerably over time, occurring initially for subsistence and utility (i.e., for tools, clothing, and protection), and more recently, for recreation and wildlife management. Does the change in purpose over time also reflect a shift in our relationship with animals?

Christian perspectives on hunting are influenced by interpretation of scripture, views on ethics and animal rights, and scientific research. The Bible tells us that hunting arose after the Fall. While the Bible does not forbid hunting, we encounter some guidelines and cautions about permissive approaches to hunting (e.g., Gen. 27:3; 21:20; Acts 15:28-29). In 1 Timothy 4:4, we are reminded that "for everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving." Hunting involves similar ethical considerations as vegetarianism, raising questions about animal death, suffering, and environmental impact. Death is an embedded component of life, but as image bearers, can we purposely kill a part of creation? In what ways do we respect our God-given gifts by minimizing animal suffering as a component of hunting practices? Christian proponents of hunting remind us that hunting offers a means to become active, respectful participants within God's creation and the cycles of life. (32) Similarly, conservation research has shown that hunting can serve as an essential part of creation care in the form of wildlife management. (33)

Thus, the issue of hunting is not straightforward and demands consideration of some deep questions. Is hunting permissible in the eyes of God if it brings enjoyment? Or is it better if remorse is felt over the intentional death of one of God's creatures? To what extent do underlying reasons and personal response to hunting matter if hunting contributes to ecological stewardship of God's creation?

We belong to an interconnected biological community, and we must be reminded of this network when we consume food. Yet, the reality is that most of us are at a distance from our food production. This shift away from a close connection with our food and its source becomes particularly evident when we look at farming.

Humans have been farming for thousands of years. Traditionally, farming primarily occurred for subsistence, thus placing great importance on each farm animal as an essential commodity. However, humans' relationship with farm animals has shifted as the face of farming has changed drastically, particularly during the past century. In 2014, animal production in the USA was valued at over $100 billion. (34) To achieve these levels, most animal products in the developed world are now produced in factory-style systems, referred to as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The shift toward factory farming was largely driven by economic forces, but in close concert with increasing demand from population growth. By farming animals in a factory-style system, animal products can be produced rapidly, cost effectively, and in large quantities, thus resulting in vastly reduced labor and stricter control of livestock. Presumably, this approach to farming could assist a nation to feed more people. Unfortunately, despite the lower costs, widespread hunger persists. Most CAFOs occur in regions where people have abundant food, and production often far exceeds their consumption needs. As people in developing countries increase their meat consumption, demands on CAFOs will intensify. But our diet and desire for meat far outstrips our needs and, more importantly, the capacity of the planet to produce enough for the growing demand.

As the industry has grown, so too have the problems, including excess animal wastes, reduced water and air quality, increased risk of infectious diseases (of both livestock and humans), and increased animal suffering (e.g., due to cramped living conditions, restricted diets, lack of fresh air and sunlight). In recent years, in recognition of these problems, several improvements have been made to mitigate some of the human health concerns caused by factory farming (e.g., bovine growth hormones have been banned in several countries, certain antibiotics have been phased out, some fast food chains claim they will no longer purchase animals treated with antibiotics). In addition, improved regulations have been established and alternative management measures have been researched and developed in response to concerns about animal welfare. Nonetheless, arguments against factory farms continue to be numerous and persuasive, often centering on animal rights and suffering, human health, environmental stewardship and conservation, resource use and distribution, employment, and economics.

As James MacDonald and William McBride point out, factory farms essentially substitute technology for land and labor. (35) Thus, the human-animal relationship has been drastically changed by these developments. Jim Mason and Mary Finelli claim that farmed animal production is disconnecting us from our proper relationship with nature and the earth's creatures, and that humanity and environmental concern have retreated, particularly as developments and "improvements" are sought by technologists. (36) Within these circumstances, value is no longer placed on individuals, but rather on certain coveted characteristics; individuals are reduced to the equivalent of a mere commodity. What should be the Christian response to a system that makes vulnerable our ability to live relationally with the rest of God's creation?

With such a multifaceted issue--especially one so tightly linked to the economy--how might we respond while also recognizing that factory-farmed animal products are heavily ingrained in our daily lives? There exists a complex entanglement of our view of animals and our approach to economics, food distribution, and dietary habits.

We are quite possibly living at a pivotal moment in history. Two decades ago, Bill McKibben proposed that our actions regarding animal farms will have dramatic effects on humanity, the earth, and its climate. (37) Thus, the discussion must continue. For Christians, this dialogue can teach us something about our own brokenness. We have an opportunity to carefully evaluate our views about the utility of animals. Are animals intended to nourish us? Should they be viewed as commodities that contribute to the Christian mission, such as feeding the world? How does our response to this issue influence our ability to live in relationship with animals and the rest of creation?

Laboratory Animals

Stephen Webster proposes three foundations for discussing the use of animals in laboratories: the suitability of animal use, the significance of animal use, and the importance of human suffering. (38) For Christians, on what basis should decisions about animal experimentation be made?

Animals are used in laboratories for a range of purposes, both medical and nonmedical. Experimentation on live animals for the purpose of scientific progress can be useful for learning anatomy, practicing surgical techniques, assessing medical treatments, and examining animals' functioning (such as studying brain lesions, assessing the use of chemical or biological agents, manipulating diet or living conditions, and psychological testing). Animals are also used to supply humans with appropriate products for various medical treatments, such as skin grafts, heart valves, and hormones (e.g., insulin).

Scientists rely on animal models because animals are genetically, morphologically, and physiologically similar to humans. However, some Christians, who perceive a discontinuity between humans and other animals, dispute the suitability of animals as "human models." Thus, one's perspective on humans as animals (discussed in the first section) influences the role animals may play in medical developments. Beyond morphological similarities, what other ways might animals reflect our image back to us? What else can we learn about ourselves from animals?

Proponents for the use of laboratory animals argue that animal experimentation saves human lives. Over the past few centuries, substantial medical advancements and improvements to human welfare have occurred. Some argue that these improvements owe much of their success to the use of animals, while others have questioned how significant the role of animals has actually been in these improvements. For example, better sanitation, nutrition, and living conditions may be equally, if not more, responsible for such achievements.

Even if human suffering has been alleviated via the use of laboratory animals, is it acceptable to inflict suffering on animals to prevent our own? This question brings us back to the issues of animal rights and an animal's capacity for suffering, rationality, and consciousness (discussed in previous sections). What are our Christian responsibilities? Where do animals fit with our own servanthood, or, more importantly, within God's covenants?


The story of pet ownership begins with our intentional relationship with the rest of creation. Our perception of pet ownership reflects how we know, understand, and value nonhuman creatures.

The history of pets is intertwined with the history of animal domestication. Domesticated animals provide a source of nourishment (e.g., milk, meat) or helpful companionship and labor (e.g., herding, riding, carrying loads). In the past, pet ownership was limited to wealthy families who had resources to keep animals for pleasure rather than solely for food or work, because feeding pets required resources that would otherwise have been used to feed family members.

The close rapport between people and their pets reflects a reverence and affection for animals that does not characteristically transpire in the same manner with other creatures (e.g., plants, fungi) or inorganic entities (e.g., rocks, water). According to Katherine Grier, different types of pets provide different emotional and psychological benefits for their owners, such as aesthetic (e.g., fish) or ideological appeal (e.g., birds, due to their harmonious music, monogamous reproduction, and parental care).39 Working and service animals are appreciated for their love, loyalty, and duty.

The pet industry may be, in part, a substitute for a more holistic relationship with the rest of creation and the rhythms of life. Historians suggest that growth in pet ownership served as a substitute for rich human community, particularly during times when society became increasingly impersonal and adversarial. (40) Thus, growth in pet ownership might signify some of the brokenness that has resulted from our disconnection from the natural world.

Disputes about pet ownership are complex and intricately connected to debates about animal rights, human distinctness, and whether animals have souls. In support of pet ownership, many Christian pet owners and several prominent Christian thinkers (e.g., C. S. Lewis (41)) believe that animals can be received in Heaven. Might our understanding of eternal life be influenced by beliefs about the existence of an afterlife for animals?

One common argument against pet ownership states that we cannot morally appeal for expenditures of costs and energy toward animals when human suffering persists. (42) That is, if animals are soulless then these costs are misspent because time and money attributed to pets could be better used to alleviate human suffering. But, arguably, human suffering and nonhuman animal suffering are deeply connected. As discussed above in the Animal Rights section, scripture informs us that all creatures--not just humans--are transformed by the redemptive power of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18), and we are promised salvation for all flesh (Luke 3:6).

The Bible commands us to exhibit dominion over creation (Gen. 1:26, 28). In what ways do caring for and "owning" pets exemplify this dominion? Acts of dominion should be healing and freeing, rather than oppressive and disabling. In his book Christianity and the Rights of Animals, Andrew Linzey advises us to view all of nature as a gift from God and treat it accordingly. (43) He argues that we infringe on God's rights when we alter the natural state of life. This, too, applies when humans repress or modify a pet's natural behavior. How might we achieve equal consideration and respect among all gifts from God? In our actions as the "servant species," (44) what level of importance should we afford the distinction--biological or otherwise--between humans and other animals?


The questions and issues raised in this article outline some of the key themes and controversies in biology and specifically touch on our responsibilities as Christians and as scientists. While the specific issues pertaining to nonhuman animals are numerous and varied, we find common threads throughout. Most especially, there is the theme of our relationship with the rest of creation. Throughout the articles that follow, we engage the foundational matter of how Christians, in expressing their faith daily, should live relationally with other animals.

The relationship between humans and God's earthly kingdom is complex. The resources are God's, yet he also created physical and ethical dimensions of his creation. While we aim to live in proper relationship with the rest of creation, we should be humbly aware that the ways in which we give power to science and the alienation we experience from the natural world have created many of the problems and questions that are raised in this article.

We should honor God by caring for all his gifts and making decisions that reflect Christ's priorities. In the end, Christianity is about love. Our actions should manifest love, stewardship, and humility. In what ways might this be achieved? A first step should be to recognize ourselves as part of a larger community. A second step should be to continually strive to notice the ways in which our actions are not reflecting love, stewardship, and humility. For example, we would do well to remember that many animals are best left alone. Furthermore, with ongoing accumulation of scientific information, we should engage continual shifts in our understanding and knowledge about animals--their phylogeny, rationality and consciousness, rights, and roles in our contemporary society. We should rely on scientific information in the way it is intended--as a factual way of knowing about our natural world and learning about ourselves. We should rely on our faith as a source of moral guidelines. Our moral responsibility can be manifested through humans forming respectful relationships with other animals and recognizing animals as sentient beings, rather than viewing them as secondary to our superiority. We also must acknowledge that human encroachment and intrusion--albeit unintended in many instances--have been primary sources of harm for other animals. We ought to view ourselves as servants to--rather than masters of--a wider community. Only then can we cease our actions that cause harm and exploitation. Overall, we must allow other animals to provide glory to creation in their own way.


I am grateful to H. Looy, J. Peterson, and D. Jones for their careful review and feedback on early versions of this invitational essay.


(1) Reviewed in Kevin De Queiroz, "Species Concepts and Species Delimitation," Systematic Biology 56, no. 6 (2007): 879-86.

(2) Theodosius Dobzhansky, "Mendelian Populations and Their Evolution," American Naturalist 84, no. 819 (1950): 401-18; Ernst Mayr, Systematics and the Origin of Species (New York: Columbia University Press, 1942); and Sewall Wright, "The Statistical Consequences of Mendelian Heredity in Relation to Speciation," in The New Systematics, ed. Julian Huxley (London: Oxford University Press, 1940).

(3) See, for example, Wolfgang Kohler, The Mentality of Apes, trans. Ella Winter (1917; Oxford: Routledge, 1999); Vicki G. Morwitz, "Insights from the Animal Kingdom," Journal of Consumer Psychology 24, no. 4 (2014): 572-85; http://; Alex H. Taylor, Gavin R. Hunt, Felipe S. Medina, and Russell D. Gray, "Do New Caledonian Crows Solve Physical Problems through Causal Reasoning?," Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 276, no. 1655 (2009): 247-54; and Sabine Tebbich, Amanda M. Seed, Nathan J. Emery, and Nicola S. Clayton, "Non-Tool-Using Rooks, Corvus frugilegus, Solve the Trap-Tube Problem," Animal Cognition 10, no. 2 (2007): 225-31.

(4) David DeGrazia, "On the Question of Personhood beyond Homo sapiens," in In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave, ed. Peter Singer (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006), 40-53.

(5) John Calvin, A Commentary on Genesis, ed. and trans. John King (Calvin Translation Society edition of 1847/1965; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975).

(6) See, for example, Joshua M. Moritz, "Evolution, the End of Human Uniqueness, and the Election of the Imago Dei," Theology and Science 9, no. 3 (2011): 307-39; and Andrew Linzey, Animal Theology (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1995).

(7) Jason Scott Robert and Frangoise Baylis, "Crossing Species Boundaries," American Journal of Bioethics 3, no. 3 (2003): 1-13.

(8) See, for example, Vicki G. Morwitz, "Insights from the Animal Kingdom,"; Taylor et al., "Do New Caledonian Crows Solve Physical Problems through Causal Reasoning?"; and Tebbich et al., "Non-Tool-Using Rooks."

(9) David Hume, "Of the Reason of Animals," in A Treatise of Human Nature (1739; Project Gutenberg EBook, 2012), 1.3.16, /4705-h.htm.

(10) Deborah Boyle, "Hume on Animal Reason," Hume Studies 29, no. 1 (2003): 3-28.

(11) See, for example, John A. Bargh, "The Four Horsemen of Automaticity: Awareness, Intention, Efficiency, and Control in Social Cognition," in Handbook of Social Cognition, 2nd edition, ed. Robert S. Wyer and Thomas K. Srull (Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1994), 1-40; and John A. Bargh, Peter M. Gollwitzer, Annette Lee-Chai, Kimberly Barndollar, and Roman Trotschel, "The Automated Will: Nonconscious Activation and Pursuit of Behavioral Goals," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81, no. 6 (2001): 1014-27.

(12) Michel de Montaigne, "An Apology of Raymond Sebond," in The Essays of Michel de Montaigne, trans. William Hazlitt (1865; Cambridge, MA: Harvard College Library, 2010).

(13) See, for example, Marc Bekoff, "Awareness: Animal Reflections," Nature 419, no. 6904 (2002): 255; Donald R. Griffin and Gayle B. Speck, "New Evidence of Animal Consciousness," Animal Cognition 7, no. 1 (2004): 5-18; Helmut Prior, Ariane Schwarz, and Onur Gunturkun, "Mirror-Induced Behavior in the Magpie (Pica pica): Evidence of Self-Recognition," PLoS Biology 6, no. 8 (2008): e202; and Carolyn A. Ristau and Peter Marler, eds., Cognitive Ethology: The Minds of Other Animals (New York: Psychology Press, 2014).

(14) See, for example, B. A. Baldwin and D. L. Ingram, "Behavioural Thermoregulation in Pigs," Physiology & Behavior 2, no. 1 (1967): 15-21; Marian Stamp Dawkins, "The Scientific Basis for Assessing Suffering in Animals," in In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave, 26-39; Marian Stamp Dawkins, Paul A. Cook, Mark J. Whittingham, Katherine A. Mansell, and Amy E. Harper, "What Makes Free-Range Broiler Chickens Range? In situ Measurement of Habitat Preference," Animal Behaviour 66, no. 1 (2003): 151-60; B. O. Hughes and A. J. Black, "The Preference of Domestic Hens for Different Types of Battery Cage Floor," British Poultry Science 14, no. 6 (1973): 615-19; and J. M. Kennedy and B. A. Baldwin, "Taste Preferences in Pigs for Nutritive and Non-nutritive Sweet Solutions," Animal Behaviour 20, no. 4 (1972): 706-18.

(15) Immanuel Kant, "Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals," trans. Thomas Kingsmill Abbott, in Environmental Ethics, 6th ed., ed. Louis P. Pojman and Paul Pojman (1873; Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2012), 60-61.

(16) Summarized in J. B. Schneewind, "Autonomy, Obligation, and Virtue: An Overview of Kant's Moral Philosophy," in The Cambridge Companion to Kant, ed. Paul Guyer (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 309-41.

(17) Tom Regan, "The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism," Canadian Journal of Philosophy 5, no. 2 (1975): 181-214; and_, The Case for Animal Rights (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 1983).

(18) Peter Singer, "A Utilitarian Defense of Animal Liberation," in Environmental Ethics, 6th ed., 71-80.

(19) Peter Singer, "Utilitarianism and Vegetarianism," Philosophy & Public Affairs 9, no. 4 (1980): 325-37.

(20) See, for example, David Dillard-Wright, "The Third Covenant: People, Animals, and Land in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures," Journal of Scriptural Reasoning 10, no. 1 (2011): e06, http://jsr.shanti. /vol-10-no-1-august-2011-people-and-places/the-third -covenant-people-animals-and-land-in-the-jewish-and -christian-scriptures/.

(21) See, for example, Christine Gutleben, "Animal Welfare and the Church," Q Ideas, /animal-welfare-and-the-church/; Editorial, "Not One Sparrow," Christianity Today 53, no. 7 (July 13, 2009): 19.

(22) Henry David Thoreau, Walden; Or, Life in the Woods (Boston, MA: Ticknor and Fields, 1854).

(23) Stephen M. Vantassel, Dominion over Wildlife? An Environmental-Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2009); and Vantassel, "Book Review Response Letter," Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 62, no. 3 (2010): 231.

(24) Rolf Bouma, a review of Dominion over Wildlife? An Environmental-Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations by Stephen M. Vantassel, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 62, no. 1 (2010): 62.

(25) Tom Regan, "Utilitarianism, Vegetarianism, and Animal Rights," Philosophy & Public Affairs 9, no. 4 (1980): 305-24; and Peter Singer, Animal Liberation: Towards an End to Man's Inhumanity to Animals (New York: HarperCollins, 1975) and reviewed in Thomas Young, "The Morality of Killing Animals: Four Arguments," Ethics and Animals 5, no. 4 (1984): 88-101.

(26) See, for example, Eric A. Davidson, "Representative Concentration Pathways and Mitigation Scenarios for Nitrous Oxide," Environmental Research Letters 7 (2012): 024005, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/2/024005.

(27) See, for example, David Pimentel and Marcia Pimentel, "Sustainability of Meat-Based and Plant-Based Diets and the Environment," The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78, no. 3 (2003): 660S-663S.

(28) Edgar Hertwich et al., Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production: Priority Products and Materials, A Report of the Working Group on the Environmental Impacts of Products and Materials, presented to the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management (New York: UNEP [United Nations Environment Programme], 2010).

(29) See, for example, Allan Savory, "The Savory Grazing Method or Holistic Resource Management," Rangelands 5, no. 4 (1983): 155-59; and Richard Teague, Fred Provenza, Urs Kreuter, Tim Steffens, and Matt Barnes, "Multipaddock Grazing on Rangelands: Why the Perceptual Dichotomy between Research Results and Rancher Experience?," Journal of Environmental Management 128 (2013): 699-717.

(30) See, for example, David D. Briske, Brandon T. Bestelmeyer, and Joel R. Brown, "Savory's Unsubstantiated Claims Should Not Be Confused with Multipaddock Grazing," Rangelands 36, no. 1 (2014): 39-42; and John Carter, Allison Jones, Mary O'Brien, Jonathan Ratner, and George Wuerthner, "Holistic Management: Misinformation on the Science of Grazed Ecosystems," International Journal of Biodiversity 2014 (2014), http: //

(31) See, for example, Mark Sprinkle, "The Purpose of Dogs," blog entry, The BioLogos Forum: Science and Faith in Dialogue (blog), October 16, 2011, /blog/the-purpose-of-dogs; and Dennis Venema, "From Intelligent Design to BioLogos," BioLogos Foundation Scholar Essays, July 20, 2011, /from-intelligent-design-to-biologos-part-1-early-years.

(32) See, for example, Steve Chapman, A Look at Life from a Deer Stand (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1998); Michael Lipford, "Being Fruitful," blog entry, The BioLogos Forum: Science and Faith in Dialogue (blog), June 12, 2012, http://; and Dean Ohlman, "Christians and Hunting," Wonder of Creation (November 5, 2010), /christians-and-hunting/.

(33) See, for example, Andrew J. Loveridge, Jonathan C. Reynolds, and E. J. Milner-Gulland, "Does Sport Hunting Benefit Conservation?," in Key Topics in Conservation Biology, ed. David Macdonald and Katrina Service (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), 222-38.

(34) Kenneth Mathews, "Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook," Economic Research Service (ERS), United States Department of Agriculture (January 16, 2014), http://

(35) James MacDonald and William D. McBride, "The Transformation of U.S. Livestock Agriculture: Scale, Efficiency, and Risks," Economic Information Bulletin 43 (January 2009).

(36) Jim Mason and Mary Finelli, "Brave New Farm?," in In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave, ed. Singer, 104-22.

(37) Bill McKibben, "A Special Moment in History," The Atlantic Monthly (May 1998), /past/docs/issues/98may/special1.htm.

(38) Stephen Webster, Thinking about Biology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

(39) Katherine C. Grier, Pets in America: A History (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2006).

(40) Grier, Pets in America; Kathleen Kete, The Beast in the Boudoir: Petkeeping in Nineteenth-Century Paris (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 1995); and reviewed in Steven Mintz, review of Pets in America: A History by Katherine C. Grier, Journal of Social History 40, no. 3 (2007): 750-52.

(41) Clive Staples Lewis, The Problem of Pain (1940; New York: Harper Collins, 1996).

(42) Charles Colson and Anne Morse, "Keeping Pets in Their Place," Christianity Today 52, no. 4 (April 29, 2008): 80; Wesley Smith, Karen Swallow Prior, and Ben DeVries, "Do Pets Go to Heaven?," Christianity Today 56, no. 4 (April 12, 2012): 66; and Kay Warren, "Puppies Aren't People," blog entry, Her-meneutics Blog, Christianity Today (April 22, 2009), /women/2009/april/kay-warren-puppies-arent-people .html?paging=off.

(43) Andrew Linzey, Christianity and the Rights of Animals (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1987).

(44) Andrew Linzey, Animal Theology (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1995).

Keri McFarlane is an associate professor of biology at The King's University in Edmonton, Canada. She received her PhD in systematics and evolution from the University of Alberta. Her research focus is on conservation and sustainability, with an emphasis on population genetics, biochemistry, and evolutionary theory.
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Author:McFarlane, Keri
Publication:Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith
Article Type:Essay
Date:Dec 1, 2015
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