Should We Be Allowed to Eat Pets?
Q. Should humans be allowed to eat domestic pets like dogs and cats? In South Korea dog meat is a delicacy though it was
banned by the government 12 years ago because of Western
sensibilities. What is the biblical position?
How should we Koreans respond?
If you are looking for a direct statement in the Bible there isn't one other than to tell us what kinds of animals are kosher and what aren't. Neither have our revelations anything to say on the matter. But the Torah does say that we should treat our animals well. I think the main objections of Westerners are justifiable, but I state that as a personal opinion and not a biblical injunction. It is not without some justification that we have the expression, "a dog is a man's best friend." It is the most domesticated of all animals. If you believe that a dog is your friend, then obviously you don't eat it or abuse it.
This is one of those questions that is a matter of conscience. I will be truthful to you and say that I, personally, am revolted by the practice. On the other hand, there are contradictions in such a position. We don't eat pork, yet pigs can make wonderful domestic pets (if you can house train them). The French, and many others, eat horse meat, yet the horse is undoubtedly one of man's greatest friends. By reverse token, most Westerners cringe at the thought of eating snake, yet these creatures are, in many cases, man's enemy. They are also some people's pets! But they're also unkosher.
The philosophy of New Covenant Christians is this: animals are a gift of God to us to serve us either as beasts of burden, as pets, or as food. We are to treat animals with kindness. A person who is cruel to animals is quite likely going to have social problems with his human neighbours too. In New Covenant revelations hunting is forbidden as a sport but is permitted as a means to obtaining food. The Bible is not a vegetarian handbook but allows for both vegetarianism as well as conventional omnivorous eating habits. It is a matter of personal conscience. We are, at the same time, commanded to be sensitive to our Christian brethren by not setting stumbling blocks before their salvation. This is the principle of self-limitation. for righteousness' sake. Dog-meat is not kosher according to Yahweh's Law so we can't in any cas eat dogs.
As far as South Korean habits are concerned, each believer must ask himself two questions:
As fas as the latter is concerned, they must find out by the Holy Spirit whether it is right or wrong so long as no word of God exists on the subject.
- 1. Is the meat kosher or not according to Torah kashrut rules; and
- 2. If is it kosher, could I in my heart of hearts eat an animal which is a friend?
This page was created on 8 April 1998
Last updated on 19 December 2007
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