Animal Welfare: Does it matter?

Animals are pets. Animals are food. Why the extreme differences between the treatment of the pets we love and the animals we eat? Should we care?

Animal welfare is one of the worst problems that many Christians know nothing about. Each year, eight million animals enter shelters and as many as four million sheltered animals are killed.

Additionally, more than 25 million animals will be used in laboratory experiments this year. When the testing concludes, almost all of them will be killed. Christine Gutleben and Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of The United States, say Christians should care.

Hear their surprising insights from scripture and Christian history as they ask us to consider our non-human neighbors.


Christine Gutleben is the senior director of the Faith Outreach program of The Humane Society of the United States. Since joining The HSUS in March 2007, Gutleben has attracted hundreds of religious leaders and individuals to the cause of animal protection, securing their support for animal welfare policies, campaigns and programs. And, she hosts annual meetings for faith leaders at HSUS headquarters to form partnerships that address the widespread abuses of animals in the U.S.

She also co-produced the powerful film, Eating Mercifully, which examines Christian perspectives on factory farming. The film garnered the attention of religious and mainstream media nationwide and was premiered at the Washington National Cathedral in September 2008. She has presented at notable conferences hosted by the American Academy of Religion (AAR), Religion Newswriters Association, Q Ideas and more. She is also a member of the AAR Animals and Religion Steering Committee

Ms. Gutleben received her master’s degree from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif. where she studied theology and the interplay between food and faith, and her bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from the University of California at Davis. During 2004, she spent several months farming in the Central Valley of California.

As President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Wayne Pacelle leads the nation’s largest animal protection organization, with 11 million members and supporters. During his tenure, Pacelle has nearly doubled the size of the organization and, through corporate combinations with groups such as The Fund for Animals and the Doris Day Animal League, built unity and greater efficiency within the animal protection cause.

He has led successful efforts to pass hundreds of new state and federal laws to protect animals, expanded The HSUS’s animal care operations, and worked with dozens of corporations to enact operational changes that benefit animals. The NonProfit Times named him Executive of the Year for his leadership during The HSUS’s response to Hurricane Katrina. He graduated from Yale University in 1987.