With all the concerns many of us share about the welfare of animals in this people-dominated world, I thought it might be interesting to ask readers whether they believe that animals possess a 'soul'.
I know that I can say with some confidence, having grown up with a deep respect for the natural world, that I believe they do.
Hunting, culling, intensive farming and other forms of animal cruelty are the result of some of us convincing ourselves that animals are soulless creatures and incapable of experiencing suffering in the same way that humans surely would in the same situations. This is clearly wrong thinking, isn't it?
While some religions teach that animals do possess a soul, many assert that humans are the only beings whose soul is eternal. That is to say that, while animals might have a soul whilst alive, an animal soul does not carry on in some form after death.
No heaven for animals? It's a suggestion that doesn't sit comfortably with me.
Personally I challenge the idea that mankind is in some way superior to other animals. Certainly we have made more of an impact on the planet than have other creatures, though I doubt that the problematic result of human involvement in this world entitles us to the label of superiority, which by definition implies 'better quality'.
With many people of faith - as well as those without religious beliefs - questioning our appalling treatment of animals, I would like to ask your opinion by way of a simple two click poll.
Please feel very free to comment too!
When all the results are in, I'll share them with you.
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