An entry on the Dallas Morning News Religion Blog has sparked a small debate about animal rights. Read the blog entry if you want the whole conversation and links to the larger story about an Obama appointee who has said some reasonable but (to some folks) controversial things on the subject.
Here are my thoughts:
All things have inherent value that is independent of their usefulness to humans. With that inherent value comes certain rights which at minimum include not being needlessly harmed or destroyed. Trophy hunting, factory farming, dog/bull/cock fighting and unnecessary or torturous animal testing are clearly violations of those rights.
This does not mean all things have equal rights – the food chain is what it is. Small creatures are eaten by large creatures who are in turn eaten by larger creatures. Evolution has selected humans to be part of that food chain, and while I respect those who choose to be vegetarians, I prefer to be what I was created to be – an omnivore.
Take what you need – mindfully, respectfully, thankfully; and be aware that one day you will be taken… if not by predators, then by the microorganisms that return our dust to dust.