The Spanish government has decided to grant 'rights' to certain apes. Now, some may ask, what objection do we have to animal rights? Actually, we DO have an objection to the idea. Not because we dislike animals. Quite the reverse, we like pet cats and dogs, and we love pigs, cows, deer, sheep and chickens. They're delicious. And add Rabbits and squirrels to that second list, they taste good too. But we do not think that people should mistreat animals. Only we think that this is not so much a matter of animal rights as it is of human responsibilities. We have the responsibility to treat animals well, to rule the creation as God's stewards, taking care of it, not abusing it. My dog doesn't have rights, I've got responsibilities towards her.
The distinction between rights and responsibilities is with whom they lie. If we speak of Animal rights, we say that the animal possesses these. But no animal can push its rights, it cannot plead for itself. To say that we, as human beings made in the image of God have responsibilities towards animals puts the full burden on us, where it ought to be. I have a responsibility towards that dog that I might see being abused, the responsibility of speaking up for it. God has made us stewards of His creation, not tyrants over it.
Let's think clearly about this, shall we? Dr. Albert Mohler discussed the subject on Friday 27th June. Well worth listening to.