Treat Animals HumanelySuggested ages: Lower Elementary ageTime needed: 45-60 minutesTeacher Reflection and Subject BackgroundScripture: Proverbs 12:10Proverbs 27: 23-27W ith the advancement of technology, our be known. Proverbs 12:10 says “the righteous know the lives have become increasingly convenient. needs of their animals, but the mercy of the wicked This is certainly true in regard to food is cruel.” When people lose sight of the innate value consumption. We can visit a drive-thru for of animals and regard them only as commodities thata hamburger at the fast food restaurant down the street, can be used for our self-serving purposes, our cruelty isor get a grab-to-go sandwich from the corner conve- often masked as mercy.nience store. We can have pizza delivered to our door- Dominion over the Earth is given to humankindstep or by simply pulling one out of the freezer. While (Genesis 1:26-28) for the purpose of stewardship wherethese options afford some benefits to us, there are hid- the needs of the whole outweigh the needs of only aden costs that should be considered and weighed. few. We are meant to care for all of life, to practice The rise of technology has meant that most of us the Golden Rule even as it applies to animals. Caringhave little to do with producing our own food. Some- for animals, however, can cost money. Since money isone somewhere somehow does it for us. But just what valued so highly in our culture, its grip on us oftenis it that they do to make our food? How are the cows, takes precedence over the welfare of animals. We findgoats, pigs, and chickens raised? Few of us know. Yet, ways to justify factory farms that overpack animals intoProverbs 27:23 gives the instruction to “know the small cages and administer growth hormones so thecondition of your flocks.” In the same way that God animals grow bigger and faster. What do these methodsintends for us to tend and keep the garden Earth, we suggest about our ability to be good stewards? Whatare to “give attention to [our] herds.” To attend to farm responsibility do we all have for the ways in which farmanimals means recognizing the reciprocal relationship animals are kept? What kind of treatment illustrates awe have with them. The key word here is relationship; holy respect for them?we are to appreciate the gifts of the other, to know andSummary of LessonDiscover: Consider our responsibility for the care of Materials Needed: Bibles, animal masks for eachfarm animals using Proverbs 27:23-27. individual (make copies on cardstock of farm animal faces from clip art and glue or tape to paint stir sticksStudy: Facilitate an activity in which the children can or dowels) supplies to decorate masks (markers, glue,explore the needs of animals and how those needs are cotton balls, etc.), supplies for “Ask the Animals” gameor are not met with current farming practices. (see below), laminated copies of The Five Freedoms resource page on colorful paper to be used as place-Apply: Brainstorm ideas about how we can responsibly matscare for farm animals.
Opening Prayer Study 20 minutes Give the group a few minutes to finish coloring or dec- You are the great shephe orating their masks. As they do, read Genesis 2:19-20a. rd, loving God. Ask the children to imagine what it would be like to You look after your shee be the one to name every living thing. Some of us may p with kindness, have pets at home that we gave names. Somebody gave and go in search for ev en one if it is us our names. With naming, our relationship with it missing. grows, especially if we spend time with it observing it, Before you covered the Earth with talking with it, petting it. Point out that the mask they waters, are working on is of a particular kind of farm animal You made certain that ev whose species already has a name. Your particular ani- er y species of animal would survive mal, however, does not have its own name. You get to because You value them all. name your animal and write the name on it. And to us, Your people, You have Ask if anyone would like to share what they heard given dominion over th from the scripture passage, Proverbs 27:23-27. What e animals. You have entrusted us to care for does it say we should know about? Does this instruc- them as You do, with an tion apply to us or only to those who “work” with abiding love. flocks? Read together another verse from Proverbs, Help us to know their ne eds and 12:10. Ask the children what they think it means? How attend to their welfare as they so can mercy be cruel? Play a game called Ask the Animals of ten do for us. to help the children begin to know about the condition Amen. of farm animals and their needs.Discover 15 minutes Playing Ask the AnimalsAsk the group to get into a comfortable seated position.When they are quiet and still, ask them to close their Materials Needed: Need cards, Condition cards,eyes and listen as you read Proverbs 27:23-27. What do 2 poster boards (one labled “Needs Met” and the otherthey hear when they listen to this scripture? Inform the “Needs Not Met”), one copy of The Five Freedomsgroup that an addition has been made to the labyrinth page, tapefor today’s walk; point out the animal masks that areplaced around the labyrinth. Ask each person to select 1. Read out loud the need cards for each farm animals.one of these masks after they have exited the labyrinth. Note: read the top part of a Need card, but not theIt doesn’t matter which one they get, but it is important related Need at the bottomthat they make their selection quietly so that the oth- 2. how them a Conditions card for each animal and Sers can finish their walk with limited distraction. You ask the students if the animals’ needs are being met.may want to allow the children to begin to color or 3. sk them to make their animal noise (i.e. moo Adecorate their masks while they are waiting for every- if they are a cow, cluck if a chicken, etc.) or haveone to finish. Slowly read the passage one more time. them raise their hands if the picture shows thatAllow the group to walk the labyrinth, meditating on their needs are being met. Then tape the picture onthis passage. Remind them that this is a way of pray- the appropriate poster board.ing, of communing with God, of taking time for this 4. sk each child to state what need their animal Aimportant relationship. has. (Note: you can call the kids by their animal’s names.)
After going through all the cards, show the kids the ConclusionFive Freedoms page. Explain that these freedoms have When we understand that we are part of an intercon-been determined by animal welfare groups to be a use- nected web of God’s creation and that all other partsful checklist for assessing animal farming practices. deserve our respect, we are more likely to live livesWhy are animal farming practices employed that do guided by God’s values, which emphasize kindness,not meet the needs of the animals (economics, lack of justice, and humility. Often this way of living requiresawareness, belief that animals don’t feel pain or emo- great courage and discipline. We can acknowledge ourtions, justification that they’re going to die anyway)? society’s treatment of farm animals for the productionLook again at the two scripture passages in Proverbs. of food and do what we can as individuals to changeWhat do they say about the righteous compared to the our own. It requires education, care of one’s resources,wicked? What do they say about the value of the ani- hard work, and a recognition and appreciation of God’smals compared with the value of riches (money)? provisions. If time remains, read and discuss the following scrip- Hand out the laminated copies of The Five Freedomsture passages with the group. page. Inform the children that they can use these as• Genesis 1:26-28 (What does it mean to have place mats when they eat as a reminder of our respon- dominion? Stewardship?) sibility to care for God’s animals.• Exodus 20:8-11 (What is Sabbath rest?)• Deuteronomy 224 (How do we show care for Closing Prayer animals?) ms: f freedoApply15 minutes re full o r lives a ink, God, ou t and drIf we think of farm animals strictly in terms of sausage, om to ea tion, freed n educahot dogs, scrambled eggs, milk, and hamburgers, then to get a freedom work and play,we will care little about their quality of life. Our own to y in freedom worship the wa tointerests will take precedence over the interests of the freedom e. e choos any mor e, weanimals. We will be less likely to recognize their intrin- which w e and msic God-given value and show them respect. But some- f thes For all o be to Yo u.”thing more is asked of us—to know their needs and say “thanks we can t o do as much as msconditions and show them proper care. What do you May we e freedo nd pr otect thknow about animal farming that you did not know ensure a of ten go anim als who d,before today? Does having this knowledge make you of farm preciatewant to behave differently? If so, what can you do? Let unnotic ed, unapthe group brainstorm ideas about how they can change unloved . strengththeir behavior and what they can do to help stop ani- for cou rage and We ask journey.mal abuses. Some ideas might include eating meat and for thisdairy products that are produced in kind ways (e.g., Amen.free range eggs).
5FR E E DO MS 2 1 Freedom from discomfort by Freedom from hunger and making sure that animals have thirst by providing fresh the right kind of environment water and the right amount including shelter and somewhere of food to keep them fit. comfortable to rest. 3 4 Freedom to behave normally Freedom from pain, injury, and by making sure animals have disease by preventing them from enough space, proper facilities getting ill or injured and by making and the company of other sure animals are diagnosed and animals of their own kind. treated rapidly if they do. 5 F reedom from fear and distress by making sure their conditions and treatment avoid mental suffering.
CO WWhen a mother cow is separatedfrom her calf, she will call to herchild for days.NeedTo have company of familymembersCO WWe like to lie down 40%-50% ofeach day. The rest of the time,you’ll find us standing.NeedFreedom of mobility
CO WWe feel frustrated, as evidencedby our rolling of our tongues andshaking our heads, when we cansee and smell grass, but can’tget to it.NeedFreedom from hungerPI G We do not like to use the bathroom near our living and eating areas! We’re really clean animals! Need To behave normally
PI G We really like to be with our friends and family members. We even sleep together in a “nest” when we can. Need For companionshipPI G Water is the most important part of our diet. Need Freedom from thirst
CH I C KE N We like to use our sensitive beaks for exploring our surroundings, picking up items, feeding, and more. Need To do our thingCH I C KE N We have a particular way in which we like to build our nest. Need Freedom from distress
CH I C KE N We like to take dust baths every couple of days, but we can’t if we’re in cages. Need To behave normally TU R K E Y We like to forage for seeds, berries, beetles and other things. At night we like to roost in a low branch of a tree. Need To be free to behave normally
SH E E P We become more fearful when we are separated from our group. Need freedom from fear and distressSH E E P Our young lambs love to play chase and romp together in fields. Need To engage in normal behavior