I'm going to comment on this article:
i) First thing I'd ask: whose the editor of By Faith? Why is online magazine of the PCA pushing this politically correct rubbish?
It's like Invasion of the Body-Snatchers. Your neighbors are replaced by pod people. Alien lookalikes. When did By Faith become infiltrated by contributors like this? I'd note in passing that the previous article takes the Jim Wallis view on illegal immigration.
Here's a better idea: do an article on why Peter Enns is still a PCA elder in good standing.
ii) The article is written by a vegetarian. What a surprise.
Billions of animals are thus negated each year, denied the environment and context in which to live out their lives in the manner in which their Creator designed them: running, foraging, grazing, ranging, scratching, breeding, socializing.
That's very idyllic–like a Disney film, with fawns, butterflies, chipmunks, and bunny-rabbits. Of course, for those of us who watch nature shows, life in the wild typically consists of prey eaten alive by predators. Is that more humane than "factory farms"? Some species practice filial cannibalism. Is that more humane than "factory farms"?
CAFOs are the “factory farms” that produce the overwhelming majority of today’s animal-based food. To many people concerned with animal welfare, including some Christians, CAFOs are notorious. More than simply being locations where animal cruelty takes place, CAFOs themselves are a systematized form of creature abuse. Matthew Scully calls them “negation” — negation of cows, pigs, and chickens as created beings and affirmation of them only as units of production.
i) Like atheists who hyperventilate about the (alleged) problem of animal suffering, Mobley treats all animals alike, as if one species is interchangeable with another species. But animals range along a continuum of sentience.
Not only are some wild animals naturally stupid, but livestock are bred to be stupid. That makes them more manageable. More docile. Less likely to escape or attack the farmer or rancher.
Chickens aren't very bright–to put it mildly. What's the emotional life of a chicken?
Likewise, cows are awfully dumb. And they are bred to be dumb. If milk cows and beef cattle had the intelligence or temperament of Cape Buffalo, they'd be extremely dangerous for farmers and rangers to work with.
Pigs may be smarter than cattle, although that isn't saying much.
ii) In addition, we need to distinguish social animals that bond with humans (e.g. dogs, horses) from animals that don't bond with humans.
For instance, I think dogfighting should be illegal, but I don't think cockfighting should be illegal. I think cockfighting is depraved. It reflects very badly on the humans. But let's face it, chickens are really dumb. Honestly, what's a chicken's capacity for mental anguish?
iii) Consider the OT kosher laws. That involves slitting the animal's throat (shechitah). Animal rights activists have lobbied to have shechitah outlawed because they think it's inhumane. Did God command animal cruelty?