Owning a Pet Isn’t “Speciesist”
From the beginning, God entrusted humankind with caring for His creation:
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth’” (Genesis 1:26 NASB).
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) made news for declaring “the term ‘pet’ derogatory, claiming that it patronizes the animal.” According to PETA’s senior media officer:
“A lot of people at home who have dogs or cats will call them pets and refer to themselves as owners and this implies that the animals are a possession, like a car for example.”
To correct this alleged wrong, PETA is advocating for “animal owners to stop using the word [pet] claiming it's a patronizing term comparable to the treatment of women before feminism... Instead, PETA is calling on people to use words like ‘companion.’”
Apparently animal rights are now just as important as women’s rights. Advancing their case even further, PETA produced a Super Bowl commercial decrying “‘speciesism’...a ‘supremacist worldview’ that allows humans to mistreat other species.” Although the ad was “banned from airing,” PETA still tweeted the video to the reception of 3.7 million views and counting.
As people of faith, we know the importance of being good stewards of God’s creation. In Proverbs, we are reminded:
“A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal” (Proverbs 12:10 NASB).
At the same time, the hierarchy of creation is unchanging: Humans, not animals, were commissioned to “cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Humans, not animals, were created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27). And Christ died for us—not animals:
“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?...Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” (Matthew 6:26, 28-30 NASB).
As John Quincy Adams observed:
“...when we have attained the conception of a Being Who by the mere act of His will created the world, it would follow as an irresistible consequence (even if we were not told that the same Being must also be the governor of his own creation) that man, with all other things, was also created by Him, and must hold his felicity and virtue on the condition of obedience to His will.”
Yes, God’s will includes caring for His creation—but not elevating that creation to the same level as ourselves or even higher:
“For every beast of the forest is Mine,
The cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird of the mountains,
And everything that moves in the field is Mine” (Psalm 50:10-11 NASB).
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 Deabler, A. (2020, February 5). PETA mocked for calling 'pet' a 'derogatory' term, suggesting 'companion' instead. Retrieved from https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/peta-mocked-pet-derogatory-term-companion  Ibid.  Good morning Britain. (2020, February 4). Retrieved from https://twitter.com/GMB/status/1224611403232948224?s=20  Petter, O. (2020, February 4). PETA says word ‘pet’ is patronising to animals. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/peta-pets-animals-good-morning-britain-piers-morgan-a9316471.html  Calma, J. (2020, February 3). PETA compared ‘speciesism’ to racism in allegedly banned Super Bowl ad. Retrieved from https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/3/21120970/peta-banned-nfl-super-bowl-ad-colin-kaepernick  Ibid.  PETA. (2020, January 31). Retrieved from https://twitter.com/peta/status/1223177758227828736?s=20  Adams, J. Q. (1850). Letters of John Quincy Adams to his son on the Bible and its teachings, letter II, p. 27-28. Auburn: James M. Alden. Retrieved from https://wallbuilders.com/founding-fathers-creation-evolution/#FN20