Animals and Violence

As a Latter-day Saint and as a voluntaryist libertarian, I abhor violence, particularly violence against people and children. But what about violence against animals?

Now, I am not of the opinion that animals have "rights". What I mean by this is that I don't believe men have any right to wield violence against other men who do as they please with animals. Be it dog fighting or sport hunting. Men should be politically free to engage in dog or cock fighting or to hunt wild game for sport. I view animals as a form of property, and I've yet to encounter any argument that would persuade me by it's logic to see animals in any other way.

Having said that, I do think violence against animals for violence sake is extremely immoral, and a sin against nature and nature's God. I loathe sport hunting and, of course, dog and cock fighting. But that's not to say that I wouldn't hunt or exploit animals for my own needs.

I believe this Earth was prepared by God for the residence and dominion of man. I believe men have it within their humanity to use animals in a productive way, ie. for food and labor. But it should always be done humanely, and in the spirit of thanksgiving.

It is also my belief that to treat animals with disrespect, to abuse them, etc., does great damage to our own souls. When we treat living things this way, it desensitizes us to death and violence and chips away at our humanity, piece by piece. And I think we need that sensitivity in order to truly see how filthy we are and how much we need Christ's Atonement.

When we engage in violence against nature in these disturbing ways, we do both nature and ourselves a great injustice. And yes, I include bugs and insects within this analysis. When I find a bug in my home, I take great care, and teach my kids to take great care, to move it safely outside. But I have had too many bugs, say ants, at once and was forced to vacuum them up and then put down repellent (they find lots of goodies in the vacuum, I'm sure). The key is to do the best you can, and teach your kids by your example to respect life. I think we can all manage that.