Fund for Animals: The Bible Condemns Hunting

In September, the Fund for Animals called on the Special Youth Challenge Ministries of Dallas, Georgia, to end its sponsorship of hunting trips for terminally ill and disabled children.

According to its website, the Special Youth Challenge Ministries,

. . . is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), national volunteer ministry to reach people for Jesus Christ through Christian lifestyle witnessing by teaching physically challenged youth ages 13 ? 19 how to overcome some of the obstacles of shooting and hunting through special training and events.

The Fund for Animals spiritual outreach director Norm Phelps, however, claimed in a press release that the Bible specifically condemns hunting. Phelps said,

Killing animals for sport is a form of animal abuse that teaches cruelty instead of love and mercy, is contrary to the gospel of Christ, and is condemned by the Bible.

The press release went on to provide the following justification for those statements,

Phelps, the author of Dominion of Love: Animal Rights According to the Bible (Lantern Books, 2002), pointed out that while hunting is never mentioned in the New Testament, Jesus taught kindness to animals on several occasions. Noting that people are prosecuted for doing to dogs and cats what hunters do to deer and geese, Phelps called hunting “legalized cruelty to animals.” In the Old Testament, Genesis describes Esau as “a skilled hunter” and his twin brother Jacob as “a peaceful man” who did not hunt. (Gen. 25:27) The prophet Malachi says that God “hated Esau and loved Jacob.” (Malachi 1:2-3) According to Phelps, “The condemnation of hunting could not be clearer or more vehement.”

But, of course, neither in Malachi nor elsewhere in the Bible does it say that God hated Esau because he was a hunter. Rather, God seems to have hated Esau because he sold his birthright and failed to repent (Hebrews 12:16-17: “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”)

The only thing clear and vehement here seems to be Phelps’ distortion of the Biblical text.


The Fund for Animals Calls For An End To “Sick” Hunts. Press Release, The Fund for Animals, September 9, 2003.

Karen Davis: Slaughterhouses Cause All Known Social Problems

In September, four Georgia Southern University students were arrested and charged with burglary and cruelty to animals after they broke into a chicken house and decapitated several animals. The students videotaped their actions which apparently was motivated by a desire to learn if chickens really can continue to move after their heads have been cut off.

In a news story on the arrests, Bulloch County Chief Deputy Gene McDaniel was asked what he thought an appropriate punishment for the students might be and he replied,

I?d like to see them put in about 40 hours at a poultry plant and see if it?s that much fun killing chickens for a living.

This brought an angry retort from United Poultry Concerns’ Karen Davis,

The seven young men and women who reportedly abused chicken and videotaped the abuse should get the maximum punishment for their crimes, as well as counseling. However, putting them to work in a chicken slaughterhouse, as proposed by Bulloch County Chief Deputy Gene McDaniel (perhaps in jest), is an inappropriate punishment if the goal is to rehabilitate them. Killing chickens for a living does fuel cruel and sadistic impulses in many employees, how vent hatred of their jobs on the chickens, their spouses, their children, their neighbors and themselves. Torturing the chickens at the plant becomes a job-related pleasure for many frustrated poultry workers, whose relationships to the birds is, after all, a completely violent one.

Alcoholism, amphetamine use, mental illness, assault with deadly weapons, manslaughter, child endangerment, child abuse, domestic violence and animal abuse are endemic to the slaughterhouse milieu.

For some reason she forgot to blame slaughterhouses for poverty, world hunger and the AIDS crisis.


Chicken killings traced to cues in spring kids to be cruel. Press release, United Poultry Concerns, September 12, 2003.

Conyers Teens Charged In Chicken Killings. Barbara Knowles, Rockdale Citizen, September 4, 2003.

Researchers Explore Ways to Reduce Animals Killed in Environmental Testing

Scientists at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory recently reported on a new toxicology study that might reduce the number of animals killed to test how much of an environmental contaminant remains in animals living in environments where the contaminant is present.

Traditionally animals are captured, killed and then tested for contaminant levels. University of Georgia researchers Brian Jackson, William Hopkins, and Jennifer Baionno are working on an alternative that involves using a laser to take small samples from the tails of animals rather than killing the animal.

They took a group of banded water snakes, and fed two groups of snakes contaminated fish (they also used a control group that was fed non-contaminated fished). The researchers then used the laser technique on one of the groups of snakes and the traditional method on the other group of snakes, and then compared the resulting data.

The similarity was close enough that they concluded that,

Taken together, the findings from this study suggest that laser ablation of micro-dissected tissue shows promise as a non-destructive technique for conservation-minded exo-toxicological studies.


UGA scientists test less lethal means to determine contaminant uptake. Press Release, University of Georgia, July 21, 2003.

Georgia to Resume Alligator Hunt

According to a story in the Christian Science Monitor, Georgia will join a growing number of states allowing alligator hunting to control that species’ numbers.

This quite a turnaround for a species that whose numbers had dwindled in the 1960s to the point that Southern states instituted bans on alligator hunting. Today, however, alligator numbers have exploded to the point that alligator populations continue to expand even in states such as Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana where commercial hunting of alligators has been restored.

Georgia will not be reinstating serious commercial hunting of alligators, but will instead issue 180 alligator licenses targeting sport hunters. According to the Christian Science Monitor, that’s out of an estimated alligator population of 200,000.

This is the point in the story where we find the obligatory animal rights quote opposing the hunt, this time from the Animal Protection Institute’s Camilla Fox who told the Christian Science Monitor,

It’s better to try to coexist with the animal that is present than remove them and potentially bring in . . . a greater problem.

In a press release on its web site, the Animal Protection Institute expanded on Fox’s sentiments,

The state of Georgia is proposing its first alligator-hunting season for September 2003 — and the hunt will be excessively fierce and cruel.

. . .

By nature, alligators are shy and reclusive, and are typically wary of humans. As people continue to invade their territory, the animals are forced into closer contact with civilization. Loss of habitat, prey, and polluted waters are some of the risks that alligators already face. They do not need the added stress of being hunted as well.

If alligators are so stressed, why do their populations continue to increase? Sounds like it’s API that needs to relax.


The alligator hunt returns. Patrik Jonsson, Christian Science Monitor, June 16, 2003.

Help Stop the Cruel & Unnecessary Sport Hunting of Georgia Alligators. Press Release, Animal Protection Institute, July 24, 2003.

CDC Reports on Two Vegan Children Who Suffered from B-12 Deficiencies

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in January on the case of two infants who suffer from brain abnormalities due to a B-12 deficiency in the diets of their vegan mothers.

The main source of B-12 for most people is meat, dairy products and eggs. Vegan and vegetarian diets tend to be deficient in B-12 and most responsible vegan and vegetarian literature notes this fact and offers guidance on how to ensure and adequate supply of this important nutrient.

The CDC’s Dr. Maria Elena Jefferds reported on the two infants in the January 31st issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Jefferds describes the first case,

During August 2001, a girl aged 15 months was hospitalized for lethargy and failure to thrive. She was born after a full-term pregnancy complicated by prolonged nausea and vomiting. She was breastfed for 8 months, but the extent (exclusivity) of breast milk consumed relative to other food was unknown. Her mother reported following a vegan diet during the preceding 7 years and took nutritional and vitamin supplements. The cobalamin content of the supplements was unknown. When the child was aged approximately 8 months, organic whole-grain cereals and fruit shakes were introduced, but she had a poor appetite and vomited regularly. Her parents became concerned about her growth and development, and she was evaluated by a pediatrician at age 15 months. The pediatrician diagnosed failure to thrive, developmental delay, and severe macrocytic anemia. The child was hospitalized, and cobalamin deficiency was diagnosed (marked elevation [not quantified] of urine methylmalonic acid; serum B12:100 pg/mL.

And the second case,

During March 2001, a boy aged 30 months with failure to thrive and mild global developmental delays was taken to a genetics clinic. He was born after a full-term pregnancy and breastfed exclusively until age 9 months. The mother reported following a vegetarian diet during the preceding 20 years, with negligible amounts of meat, fish, and dairy products. She reported intermittent intake of a vitamin supplement (TwinLab® Stress B Complex Caps, containing 250 mcg of “cobalamin concentrate,” according to the label). When the boy was age 9 months, the health-care provider and his parents became concerned about the child’s growth and development (Table 1). His diet was supplemented with fruit and dry cereals to improve growth. When this was unsuccessful, he underwent a frenectomy at age 11 months to free tongue movements and improve coordination of swallowing and chewing. Despite this intervention, growth was inadequate. His diet was supplemented with soy- and cow’s milk–based formulas. He tolerated neither and started a multigrain nondairy formula (Multigrain Milk®) in addition to fruit, vegetables, chicken, an unknown vitamin supplement, and a product called Greens Plus® (no cobalamin content listed on label). Because of poor motor and speech development at age 11 months, the child was evaluated by a developmental pediatrician, who ordered genetic and metabolic studies and prescribed speech, occupational, and physical therapies. The child had persistent elevation of urine methylmalonic acid on three occasions but received no treatment for cobalamin deficiency until after the third measurement, which was ordered for a genetics clinic evaluation.

The CDC report noted that the prevalence of B-12 deficiency in children under 4 is not known and, “No clinical practice guidelines exist for diagnosing cobalamin deficiency in young children” since said deficiency results in a number of nonspecific symptoms such as lethargy and deficient growth.

The CDC recommended that,

Health-care providers should be vigilant about the potential for cobalamin deficiency in breastfed children of vegetarian mothers. Potential cobalamin deficiency should be included in the differential diagnosis when assessing young children of vegetarian mothers who have symptoms consistent with cobalamin deficiency, including failure to thrive, developmental delay, neurologic/psychiatric manifestations, and hematologic abnormalities (4).

Health-care providers who care for mothers in the preconceptional, prenatal, and postpartum periods and their young children should ask pregnant and lactating mothers about their diets to identify those who are vegetarians. Pregnant and lactating women should eat foods rich in cobalamin or take a daily supplement containing at least the recommended dietary intake of cobalamin (Table 2). For those eating no or very limited food of animal origin or a known cobalamin source, a cobalamin assessment is indicated. If lactating mothers are cobalamin deficient, their infants should be evaluated for cobalamin deficiency and treated appropriately.

Of course more research into pregnant vegan and vegetarian women might also be helpful, but such research is often attacked as little more than an attempt to undermine vegan and vegetarian diets (such as Jeff Nelson’s tirade against the very thought of funding research to examine choline deficiencies in pregnant vegetarian and vegan women).


Babies’ mental delay tied to moms’ vegan diet. Alison McCook, Reuters, January 30, 2003.

Neurologic Impairment in Children Associated with Maternal Dietary Deficiency of Cobalamin — Georgia, 2001. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Centers for Disease Control, 52(04);61-64.

U.S. Researchers Clone Calf From Cells of Dead Cow

Researchers at the University of Georgia announced this week that they had successfully cloned a calf from the cells of a cow that had been dead for 48 hours before her genetic material was extracted.

This is the first time a cow has been cloned from cells of a dead animals. European researchers last year announced they had cloned a sheep from cells taken from an animal that had been dead 18 to 24 hours.

The researchers claim that this will allow cattle producers to select the best beef stock from their herds to clone (since it is impossible to judge how suitable a given cow is for meat until after it has been killed).

Further down the road, this technique could allow for the cloning of cows from meat that is tested for low susceptibility to diseases such as Mad Cow.


Scientists Clone Calf from Dead Cow. Erin McClam, Associated Press, April 25, 2002.