When rainy-season storms caused flooding in a nature preserve in Thailand, seven elephant calves became unlikely victims. As they tried to ford a river at their usual crossing point, dangerous currents swept them over a 250-foot waterfall. Wildlife advocates said the loss could have been prevented. A spokesperson for the Thailand Wildlife Fund complained that the protective barriers, which had been built at the crossing where four other young elephants had died earlier, were useless.
Long before animal rights became a global issue, the story of Jonah shows the attention our Creator gives to all His creatures. As the story ends, the Lord expresses concern not only for the citizens of Nineveh but also for their livestock (Jonah 4:11). And earlier, God gave Moses laws that extended certain protections even to animals (Ex. 23:4-5,12).
Though humans alone are made in the image of God, the story of Jonah and other Bible texts show a link between caring for people and animals. The Creator gives us reason to provide appropriate, though different, attention to both.
The conclusion seems clear. If God cares even for livestock, how can we ignore the needs of any person for whom His Son died?
In trees and flowers of the field,
In creatures large and small,
We trace the watchful care of Him
Who planned and made them all. —King
God cares for us and calls us to care for His creation.