Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. Many of us bought beloved animals at pet shops or from neighborhood friends and kept beautiful birds in cages. We wore wool and silk, ate McDonald’s burgers, and went fishing. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved.
So why should Christians be vegan?
The answer is: Everything about using animals for human profit flies in the face of what it means to be good stewards of God’s creation.
More than 27 billion animals are killed for food in the U.S. every year. Taking meat, eggs, and dairy products off our plates and replacing them with healthy, sustainable, plant-based alternatives is the best thing that any Christian can do to stop cruelty to animals and care for God’s creation.
Anyone who lives with an animal will tell you that each animal has a unique personality and strong needs and desires. When we treat animals like unfeeling commodities, we undercut God’s original design. God created animals with the ability to suffer in the same way and to the same degree that humans do. The Bible writers saw that each animal could feel pain, pleasure, fear, frustration, loneliness, and motherly love and wrote of it.
“When it comes to pain, love, joy, loneliness, and fear, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. Each one values his or her life and fights the knife.”
Christians who are vegan believe that animals are not ours—they’re God’s, and they have value far beyond their perceived usefulness to humans. But sin allows us to marginalize the suffering of others and to oppress those who are weaker than us. Oppression and cruelty are wrong. If you wouldn’t eat a dog, why eat a pig? Dogs and pigs have the same capacity to feel pain, but it is species-based prejudice that allows us to think of one animal as a companion and the other as dinner.