Letters [May 2006]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2006:
A clergyman revisits Animals, Ethics, & Christianity
In response to the review by Chris Mercer and Bev Pervan of
Matthew Priebe’s book Animals, Ethics, & Christianity, published
in the January/February 2006 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE, I share
Priebe’s conviction that God certainly is not only keenly interested
in all his creatures, but also lovingly cares for them, and expects
us to do the same.
However, a few critical remarks should be made re the way
Priebe reads scripture.
For example, on page 9 reference is made to the severe
restriction on the eating of blood made in Genesis 9:4, continued in
Leviticus, and affirmed as applicable also to Christians in Acts
15:28, 29. Priebe goes on to say, “Paul reaffirms this policy in
Acts 21:25.” It was not Paul, but the elders in Jerusalem,
probably including James, who reaffirmed the policy.
As for Paul, I seriously doubt whether he personally felt as
strongly about instructing non-Jews converted to Jesus to abstain
“… from meats offered to idols, from blood, and things
strangled…” We know from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians
that he subscribed to a more liberal approach to the question of
eating meat offered to idols, in contradiction to the consensus
reached in Acts 15. His letters, as recorded in the New Testament,
do not demonstrate any custom on his part to continually command or
advise the young church in Asia Minor and Europe to refrain from
eating the blood of animals.
According to Priebe, God in scripture only allows eating
bloodless meat, and that post-flood humans are supposed to eat such
meat only when the absence of better food necessitates. One wonders
how he understands the following Biblical command: “…and you shall
bestow the money for whatever your soul desires, for oxen, or for
sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatever your soul
asks of you; and you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and
you shall rejoice, you and your household.” This we read in
Deuteronomy 14, where just after listing all the animals and birds
Israel was prohibited from eating, Moses commanded the people to use
their tithes at the end of each third year to go and have a real
whopper of a party, and to just rejoice consuming it in the presence
of the Lord. They were to enjoy the meat.
More instances of a rather superficial reading of Scripture
in Animals, Ethics, & Christianity could be pointed out. Still,
Priebe is correct in his basic contention that God expects us to
treat animals with kindness and deep respect.
I would like to draw attention to one beautiful passage in
the Bible to which Priebe does not refer. In the very last verse of
the book Jonah, who wanted Nineveh destroyed, God asks his
frustrated prophet, “And am I not to have mercy on Nineveh, that
great town, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty
thousand persons without the power of judging between right and left,
as well as much cattle?’
I am indebted to Priebe for his strong wake-up call and his
important message to Christians to be better representatives of the
God of mercy, He who could not bring Himself to just annihilate
Nineveh, because of his love for its citizens, and for their animals.
–Johan van der Merwe
Dutch Reform Church
George, Western Cape
Feral cat-friendly includes TNR
Thanks for being feral cat friendly. More articles about why
some groups are still against trap/neuter/return and believe all
stray cats should be killed would be great. There is no good reason
why we should still have a cat overpopulation problem. I believe the
big groups should provide more publicity about how many cats are
killed. If all groups could find common ground and support
high-volume cat sterilization, we could actually stop the killing.
–Ted & Linda Dennis
Cats/Cat Spay/Neuter Help
1513 N. Cambrian Ave.
Bremerton, WA 98312
The most urgent need for cat sterilization is in developing
nations where the use of TNR has reduced the numbers of street dogs.
As the refuse and rodents remain, cats breed up to the carrying
capacity of the habitat, at a replacement ratio of about three cats
in place of each dog. Sterilizing cats at the same time as dogs,
before feral cats become as abundant as they did in the U.S. and
Europe after street dogs were mostly eliminated, saves having to
sterilize three times as many cats later. Public complaints about
feral cats typically do not begin until they are much more abundant
than dogs, but this is all the more reason to limit their fecundity
now, before cat extermination campaigns gain momentum.
Oral rabies vaccine tested successfully in domestic dogs
I thought you might be interested in this paper, in which
domestic dogs were effectively vaccinated with oral rabies vaccines.
This could be a helpful approach to mass vaccination of dogs.
–Julie Levy, DVM, PhD, ACVIM
College of Veterinary Medicine
2015 SW 16th Avenue 100126
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32608
Phone: 352-392-4700 x5717
“Oral vaccination of dogs with recombinant rabies virus
vaccines,” Virus Research, July 2005; 111:101-5;
Rupprecht, C.E., Hanlon , C.A., Blanton, J., Manangan,
J., Morrill, P., Murphy, S., Niezgoda , M., Orciari, L.A.,
Schumacher, C.L., Dietzschold, B.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Division of Viral and
Rickettsial Diseases, Viral & Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Rabies
Unit, Mailstop G-33, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA; <email@example.com>.
Excerpts of abstract:
The objective of this experiment was to examine the safety,
immunogenicity and efficacy of recombinant RV vaccines administered
to captive dogs by the oral route, compared to a commercial
vaccinia-rabies glycoprotein (V-RG) recombinant virus vaccine.
Animals consisted of naive purpose-bred beagles of both sexes, and
were six months of age or older.
Dogs were randomly as-signed to one of six groups, and received
either diluent or vaccine, with at least six animals per group…
After vaccination, dogs were observed daily and bled weekly, for
five weeks, prior to RV challenge. No signs of illness related to
vaccination were detected during the observation period…Thereafter,
all dogs were inoculated in the masseter muscle with a street virus
of canine origin. All control animals developed rabies, but no
vaccinates succumbed, with the exception of a single dog in the V-RG
group. Review of these preliminary data demonstrates the
non-inferiority of recombinant RV products, as concerns both safety
and efficacy, and supports the suggestion that these vaccines may
hold promise for future development as oral immunogens for important
carnivore species, such as dogs.
This study shows great potential for using oral rabies
vaccines in dogs, including street dogs. This could significantly
reduce fear and abuse of dogs worldwide. Regretably, the research
involved deliberately infecting some non-immunized young beagles with
rabies, to prove that the challenge to the vaccinated beagles was
made with a living, lethal strain. Finding ways to control
experiments without causing healthy animals to suffer is among the
areas with the most potential for achieving reduction, refinement,
and replacement of animals used in scientific study.
On my birthday I asked all guests to donate to ANIMAL PEOPLE
in lieu of giving me presents. I am sending the results. Please use
it as you see fit. Just remember the animals who became victims of
hurricanes. Thanks for doing such a good job.
A gorilla mother and baby on page one of the April 2006
edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE were miscaptioned “chimps.” A chimp mother
and baby appeared with the same article, on page 12.