Religious Education - Animal Rights

Animal Rights section of the RE course for the AQA board

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How Humans and Animals Are Similar/Different

Genesis 1:28

"Increase in number, fill the earth, subdue it (conquer). Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.


  • Shop for food
  • Build houses and live in them
  • Have money
  • Cook
  • Have thumbs and fingers
  • Have Religion
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How Humans and Animals Are Similar/Different


  • Hunt for food
  • Camouflage
  • Can live in water
  • Can be food
  • Hibernate
  • Pets


  • Reproduce
  • Eat
  • Feel pain/emotion
  • Move
  • Communicate
  • Fight
  • Sleep
  • Get rid of waste
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What is a Soul?


  • Tells you what is right or wrong (morality)
  • What makes you YOU
  • Conscience
  • In your head or heart
  • Neuroscience thought they found something in the brain.

Soul: it gives people feeling, thought, conscience and morals. Its spiritual and is believed to survive death. 

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Different Religions and Eating Meat


Will not eat pork because they believe God said that pigs are unclean and carrying diseases.


Will not eat beef because they believe the cow is sacred. They worship a cow goddess and think of cows as mothers. 


Generally are pescetarians because they believe all animals have souls.


Eat all meat accept on Good Friday in respect of Jesus.

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Buddhism & Animals

  • Buddhism is an animal friendly religion
  • Buddhists try to do as little harm to animals as possible
  • They believe in the Doctrine of Karma which means you'll pay for it in a later life.
  • They believe in the Doctrine of Lively Hood which means no killing animals.
  • Animals and humans have equal respect
  • Animals testing should only happen for a good reason and if there's no other alternative.
  • Living things live in fear of being beaten and put to death.
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Judaism & Animals

  • Jews believe God created all animals and you cannot hurt them
  • You can only hurt animals to save your life
  • You can kill to eat
  • You cannot hunt for fun
  • If you kill an animal you cannot kill its baby in the same day
  • Animal testing is allowed if it benefits humans
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Hinduism & Animals

  • Cows are sacred and you cannot eat them
  • You cannot kill for food
  • They believe in the Doctrine of Ahisma which means you cannot mistreat animals
  • Hanuman is the monkey God that they worship
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Islam & Animals

  • Cannot whip animals
  • Cannot cut the mane or tail of a horse
  • Do not overwork animals
  • Cannot hunt for fun
  • Can use animals if it benefits you, for example transport or food
  • Example in the Koran; Profit Mohammed caring for animals. 
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Christians & Animals

  • Christians are stewards and believe you have to look after the animals.
  • Christians are sympathetic to animals
  • Animals are for human use
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Animal Testing

Reasons for Animal Testing:

  • To discover new medicines for diseases 
  • To test drugs before prescribing to humans
  • Better to test on animals than humans
  • Saves lives

Reasons against Animal Testing:

  • Animals can't express pain
  • Cruel and inhumane
  • Ineffective
  • Can use other methods of testing
  • Animals are born just for testing which is unfair.

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How do we use Animals?

  • Circus
  • Sport
  • Furniture
  • Entertainment
  • Sacrifices
  • Breeding
  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Adverts
  • Fighting
  • Luggage Carrier
  • Transport
  • Zoos
  • Animal Testing
  • Counter Terrorism
  • Help for disabled
  • Sniffer dogs
  • Racing
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Sports and Animals

  • Bullfighting - is bad because bulls get killed for entertainment
  • Fox Hunting - is bad because foxes get killed for fun
  • Dog Racing - is good because it makes the dogs healthy
  • Horse Racing - it can be good because it makes the horses healthy but it can be bad because the horses die
  • Fishing - is good if the fisherman throws the fish back into the water again because the fish do not get hurt
  • Dog Fighting - is bad because dogs can fight to death and its cruel to train dogs for this cause
  • Polo - is good because it makes horses healthy and doesn't harm them
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For and Against Zoos


  • Can see animals from other countries
  • They look after animals
  • Can reproduce more, preventing extinction
  • Can get more educated about the species and their natural habitat


  • It takes animals out of their natural habitat
  • Animals might feel crowded
  • Animals might get tormented
  • Animals might behave different
  • Cannot be released into their natural habitat because they will be too tame and will not be able to survive
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Genetic Modification

Genetic Modification is when a living organism is inserted with a modified gene or a gene from another species to change the way it looks or behaves.

Christian Views

  • Prevents problems like starvation
  • Eases the suffering of others
  • If God wanted it that way he would have made it that way.
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Fur and Ivory Trade

It is when animals are killed just for their fur or ivory.

Christians think its wrong for clothes and jewelry and think you should respect animals and that animals should be left in the wild.

Hindus agree with Christian views and think cows are sacred

Buddhists don't eat meat and think you should respect animals and think they'll come back as animals

The Born Free Foundation help to ban the fur and ivory trade and campaign against poachers.

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