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The Deeper Minds Of All Ages Have Had Pity For Animals
Friedrich Nietzsche

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This page is part of the section: Animal Rights:A History

God did not permit Adam and his wife to kill a creature to eat its flesh. Only every green herb shall they all eat together.
Rashi’s commentary on Genesis 1:29  February 22, 1040 – July 13, 1105,

Founded over 3500 years ago in the Middle East , Judaism, the religion of the Jewish people,  is one of the oldest monotheistic religions and is the original of the three Abrahamic religions which include Christianity and Islam. There are a number of scriptures sacred to Judaism including the Hebrew Bible also known as the Tanakh. The Tanakh consists of the same books as the Christian Old Testament, although in a slightly different order and with some minor differences. Another important Judaic text is the
a record of rabbinic

discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs and history.


Judaism is more than a religion, it is a philosophy and a way of life. Many of it's  teachings reflect upon the way animals are treated, although unfortunately at times the scriptures of Judaism are misinterpreted. An example of such is the passage in Genesis relating to man's Dominion over all of creation often interpreted as a license to use and sadly abuse as we will.
And G-d said: 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth'.
Genesis 1:26

Jewish tradition interprets "dominion" as guardianship, or stewardship, not domination: we are called upon to be co-workers with God in improving the world. This biblical mandate does not mean that people have the right to wantonly exploit animals, and it certainly does not permit us to breed animals and then treat them as machines designed solely to meet human needs.

Article: Do Torah Teachings Justify Animal Exploitation?
by Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. and Dovid Sears

In fact many of the teaching of Judaism are profound concerning our relationship with animals placing emphasis on the proper and humane treatment of animals.

Animals are, according to Judaic belief, a part of creation and therefore human beings have an obligation to them and are required to treat them with compassion. The Religion of Judaism expressly forbids cruelty to animals. 

The Torah - the name given to the five books of Moses - mandate not to cause "pain to any living creature.", which in Hebrew, is called tza'ar ba'alei chayim, encapsulates these beliefs.

Moses Maimonides the Jewish philosopher said

There is no difference between the pain of humans and the pain of other living beings, since the love and tenderness of the mother for the young are not produced by reasoning, but by feeling, and this faculty exists not only in humans but in most living beings.
Guide for the Perplexed:

Read more quotations on this website about Jain ideology concerning the treatment of animals:

Why Animals Matter: A Religious and Philosophical perspective Quotations



Photo: Isaiah scroll

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important please note:

I am not an animal expert of any kind just your average person who loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in mind that the information included in this website has been researched to the best of my ability and any misinformation is quite by accident but of course possible.

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