Species Protection

calf 3232I am about half way through reading Terry Tempest Williams’ newest book, Finding Beauty in a Broken World.  In this book she writes extensively about the decline in numbers of prairie dogs in North America.  Reading her book has reminded me how important it is to preserve as many species of animals as we can.

There is certainly a biblical background for species protection.  The one that comes first to mind for most people is Noah’s taking the animals aboard the ark so that they would be saved from the Flood.  There is, however, another well-known biblical story that also reveals God’s concern for animals.  It is the story of Jonah.

At the end of Jonah’s story he is frustrated and angry that God did not destroy Nineveh.  After he vents at God it is God’s turn to address Jonah.  He chides Jonah for being more concerned about his own comfort than for the city of Nineveh. His final word to Jonah is “But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well.  Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

This passage reveals that God’s reason for not destroying Nineveh was not just the many people who lived there but the cattle as well.  For some reason many people have never noticed the part about the cattle in this story.  It is, however, another reminder that God is concerned about all of His Creation and that we should be as well.