Animal Welfare Or Animal Rights?

In Dominion Over Wildlife, Dr. Stephen M. Vantassel instructs the Evangelical Christian to consider the biblical, ethical, and scientific issues before adopting an animal rights position. Dominion points out Evangelicals are biblically mandated to protect animal conservation. When reviewing the chapters of this book, one is convicted of the vast expertise of the author in fighting for animal welfare (as opposed to animal rights), while using Biblical foundation to drive the point home. The author laments that ‘since humanity’s lethal use of animals is so diverse; he has narrowed the topic on the issue of humanity’s treatment of wildlife’.

Dominion Over Wildlife is meant for contemporary readers and debaters of morality from both the secular and Christian circles. The book supports its position with a detailed analysis of Biblical references regarding animals. Rather than supporting an animal rights position, requiring humans to refrain from animal use, Dr. Vantassel, argues that God entrusted humans to with the responsibility to steward animals. In other words, he contends that God permits humans to hunt, trap, and, eat animals as part of God’s command to rule over the earth. Although it may sound absurd for a theologian to pursue such advocacy, it is, nonetheless, worthy to note that his advocacy for the consumptive use of wildlife is made within the context of ensuring wildlife conservation.

Although written from a theological perspective, embracing the Old and New Testament teachings, the author provides a whole chapter on ethics to show that the consumptive use of animals is ethical and does not contribute to world hunger or environmental decline. He also shows that vegetarianism and veganism also contributes to animal deaths so that these lifestyles are not free from killing animals. Vantassel holds two vocations; theology and wildlife damage management, and demonstrates a high level of skill and charisma in both.

The scientific segment engages the controversy over trapping as a tool for capturing wildlife. Dr. Vantassel discusses trapping because it stands as the most controversial of all the hunting tools (shooting, and fishing being the other two). Readers will learn that, contrary to popular belief, trapping is not the cruel and destructive practice to the environment that its accusers claim it is. Readers will find this part interesting and pertinent to the questions the author raises. Through this discussion, Dominion Over Wildlife has provided the advocates of animal rights much to consider.

In conclusion, I encourage reading Dominion Over Wildlife, for it discriminately highlights tangible facts and ways on advocating for animal use while encouraging species protection and coexistence with human beings. Specifically, I recommend this book to those who attempt to distort the scriptures, ethics, and science in order to fulfill certain selfish interests with respect to the animal rights movement.

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