This exchange took place on Snowbrush's blog and I decided I would respond. I can't speak for anyone but myself, obviously, but Christianity gets a bad rap and it is a pity because it is the Christians rather than the Christ who let the show down.
"This woman who tried to get her church people to help with 60 kittens and cats she found abandoned, and none would..."
"I've never known of a church to do anything to help animals. I think it safe to say that, as an entity, the church regards animals as unimportant, probably because they aren't perceived as having souls (and therefore emotions much like our own), and partly because the Bible describes them as being put here for the use of the human species. Help a person, and you might save a soul from everlasting torment (or at least oblivion). Help an animal, and it will be forever dead in 5-10 years anyway."I believe that the church as an institution should primarily be busy with the concerns of humanity and that those needs are so extensive that we need to direct limited resources towards people. I don't believe that animals are unimportant, lacking in souls or immune to physical or emotional suffering, therefore it is the responsibility of all Christians, as private citizens, to be responsible for their own treatment of animals, both in their direct interaction with animals and indirectly through their spending habits. The bible is clear on it's instruction for us to be stewards of all we are given and it is also specific about the need to show compassion to our animals.
I learnt compassionate treatment of animals as a child in my parent's home, I very much doubt that Mum or Dad regarded it as a specifically Christian compulsion, more one of general decent humanity but of course, nobody can lay claim to Christianity if they are unable to achieve a life of basic decency.
As I have extended my awareness of all sorts of things I have realised that it is not just the animals I come into direct contact with that need my consideration but also the ones I am responsible for by way of how I spend. I can't say that every animal product I buy is completely ethical. I am aware, for example, that male calves born in the dairy industry are often quickly and wastefully disposed of, yet I continue to enjoy dairy products with (mostly) little thought of the calves. I ease my conscience on this matter by sometimes substituting dairy products with plant based alternatives and acknowledging that even small changes in habit are great when multiplied by repetition and lasting change is better achieved when one enters into it slowly but with full commitment.
I buy free range chicken at times and always barn laid or free range eggs, I also cook one or two meat free meals every week for the purposes of killing less animals, lessening our family's environmental impact by way of meat production and teaching my children to regard animal products more as a luxury than some kind of inalienable right. Now that my conscience has demanded these actions and believing that conscience is God's instruction, tailored to me personally, it becomes a sin for me to revert to any old habits.
I started this post by referencing sixty abandoned kittens and cats and while I have no inclination to add to our current menagerie, if I were faced with an immediate need like that one, I would have no hesitation in giving foster care to a homeless cat or two and would then try to rehome them myself or find a reputable shelter to leave them in.
Speaking of shelters, my charity dollar is sometimes directed towards animal welfare but with limited funds my donations are limited so I also use the commercial side of RSPCA operations as vet care providers for my own animals, that way an unavoidable expense has some value to an animal welfare charity.
I would never buy an animal from a puppy farm or pet shop while there are shelters full of rescue opportunities and I regard the spay/ neutering of any animal I own as an essential part of responsible pet ownership.
You may argue that my efforts towards animal welfare are merely efforts at ethical behaviour, in no way related to Christianity and i would agree that I don't need to be Christian to have ethics, ultimately the difference is in accountability. If I am to identify as an ethical human being I am responsible to myself and the animals. As a Christian I am bound by my own conscience in tandem with written biblical instruction to be compassionate and a good steward, with these factors in mind I become accountable to God Himself for my actions in these matters.