“You have made him to have dominion over the work of your hands; You have put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yes and the beasts of the field”
– Psalm 9:6, 7
Earlier this year the live export of cattle to Indonesia went belly up (literally). A TV report showed some horrific footage of how our cattle were being slaughtered overseas. They showed cattle being killed in a simply awful and unnecessary way. My Dad is a vet, who flies around the stations of the Top End region. Pretty much all of his cattle work involves this live export trade, so we were following the government’s response pretty closely. The government and other animal-friendly parties and lobbies were shocked at what they saw, like most people were, and the government quickly reacted in a way that would guarantee that no more cattle were killed like this, by temporarily shutting down the live export trade, which in turn put people’s jobs – including my Dad’s – on hold as well. Without the export, vets, farmers, port workers, and musterers would all be put out of work. During this turmoil, an animal-loving party attempted to ban all live stock export completely, but that didn’t get very far. Just in the last couple of weeks the first boats went out again, but it took a bit of effort to reconcile the two countries. *
I don’t think the Indonesians needed to kill the cattle in the way they did, but I also think that a political party fighting for all live export to be banned completely is going too far, and the knee-jerk reaction of the government, to temporarily ban live export didn’t help. A state representative for our electorate wondered in an article if people have forgotten that the meat we buy at Coles or Woolworths was actually alive at one point! Yes, the ‘blood’ that makes a rare steak was at one point, circulating through a cow’s body and in fact keeping him alive. 😉 I don’t know about America, but in Australia we are getting more and more touchy about our animals’ rights and I wonder if people have forgotten the hierarchy God ordained.
This morning I read Psalm nine, and these two verses really excited me:
“You have made him to have dominion over the work of your hands; You have put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yes and the beasts of the field.“
– Psalm 9:6, 7
Man has dominion over animals – even the sheep and cattle! That dominion means we are in charge of the animals and God places us more important than them (see Matthew 10:29-30). It reminds me of Acts 10, where Peter had a vision and God said, ‘rise, Peter, kill and eat’ animals that the Law had said were unclean. Starting with Noah offering a sacrifice to God after the flood (Genesis 9:3), and continuing through the Bible, God has provided for us to eat meat. Right back in Genesis chapter one God gave man dominion over the earth, and not animals’ dominion over us humans (see Genesis 2:15). We need to care for animals and the world, but we’re not its slave. As Christians we need to understand that – and enjoy that steak.
*Thankfully, my Dad wasn’t put out of work at all, really. If the governments hadn’t pulled everything back together when they did, lots of people could have lost their jobs.