- Cruelty often due to thoughtlessness
- The killing of animals for food
In England, the cruel treatment of animals is a crime punishable by law and there is a “Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals” which does good work in bringing brutes who maltreat dumb creatures to justice. The Bible says, “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast”, thus making kindness and justice to domestic animals an essential part of human virtue.
Those animals, such as the horse, dog, donkey and mule, which men have bred and trained for their own use have a special claim on our mercy and justice; the more so as they are dumb and helpless in our hands, and cannot plead their own cause. The man who starves his horse beats his dog or unmercifully overloads his ass is a brute and a bully. He is also a fool for even a selfish slave-owner knows that it is to his own advantage to have slaves well fed and well cared for. And yet when we think of what many of these dumb creatures suffer at the hands of men, it is enough to make angels weep. As the poet Blake said:
A captive Redbreast in a cage
Sets all Heaven in a rage
One cannot here discuss the question of killing animals for food. But if men must have meat to eat, it is their duty to see that such animals are killed painlessly. It makes one shudder to think what tortures sheep and oxen have to undergo at the hands of brutal men in unregulated slaughterhouses.