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April 6, 2009

The HSUS Applauds Palmetto Family Council for Outreach on Animal Protection Issues

Dominion and Stewardship: A Biblical View of Animals is a Call to Action to Faithful on Animal Cruelty

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States commends Palmetto Family Council of South Carolina for its new publication, Dominion and Stewardship: A Biblical View of Animals, which underscores the Biblical imperatives of compassion and mercy. The publication notes that "the Bible is not silent on animals" and calls Christians to address animal abuse in its various forms. 

"Dominion and Stewardship reminds us of what it means to be stewards of God's creatures," said Christine Gutleben, director of the Animals & Religion program at The HSUS. "We are to care for animals as God would care for them."

The 53-page booklet begins with an introduction from South Carolina Sen. Larry K. Grooms, R-Columbia, then opens into the famous Genesis verses on creation (Genesis 1:26-31a) and goes on to explore common misconceptions of the interpretation of the term dominion.

"The inhumane exploitation of animals for gambling and profiteering violates God's purposes for His creation," said Oran P. Smith, president of Palmetto Family Council. "We believe the stewardship of animals is intrinsically connected to humanity's stewardship in other areas of cultural responsibility as well."

Dominion and Stewardship focuses on animal fighting — dogfighting, cockfighting and hog dog fighting — as well as the problem of neglect and other forms of abuse to pets. In one chapter, the publication narrows its focus on cases specifically in South Carolina.

In recent years, South Carolina law enforcement agencies and officials have cracked down on animal fighting in the state. In 2004, Attorney General Henry McMaster established a statewide task force to combat animal fighting and its associated crimes such as drug and weapon trafficking, illegal gambling and human violence. In 2006, Gov. Mark Sanford signed legislation outlawing hog-dog fighting, making South Carolina the fourth state to pass legislation targeting this blood sport.

In 2007, McMaster joined The HSUS in announcing The HSUS' animal fighting reward program, which awards as much as $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of an animal fighter, and his commitment to spreading the word about the reward program was such that he personally recorded a radio public service announcement about it. The effort to stamp out animal fighting and its associated crimes in South Carolina has yielded numerous victories. Some of the most recent cases include:

 

  • Feb. 27, 2009 — The Darlington County Sheriff's Dept. arrested four men on dogfighting charges and seized 10 dogs.
  • Feb. 15, 2009 — The Aiken County Sheriff's Office interrupted a cockfight and about a dozen men dispersed. Dead roosters and cockfighting paraphernalia were found, but no arrests have been made at this time.
  • Dec. 14, 2008 — Police raided a cockfight in Anderson County. Authorities arrested 19 people and seized 37 roosters. Bleacher seating and crack cocaine were found on the scene.
  • Dec. 4, 2008 — A large drug raid in Gray Court led to the discovery of roosters likely being used for cockfighting. Authorities seized $70,000 worth of cash and drugs along with several chickens. Two people were arrested.

Dominion and Stewardship contains information on the legislative process, and what you can do to combat these crimes in your communities. The booklet includes discussion questions, doctrinal statements on animal cruelty, and recommended reading — all resources which enhance the topic for small group or large congregational discussion. The publication is part of Palmetto Family Council's William Wilberforce monograph series. Wilberforce was an anti-slavery crusader and co-founder of the world's oldest animal protection society.

To purchase/receive a copy of Dominion and Stewardship: A Biblical View of Animals, visit palmettofamily.org.

Find out what the largest religious denominations in the United States say about animals at humanesociety.org/religion.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — on the Web at humanesociety.org.

The Animals & Religion program of The Humane Society of the United States seeks to engage people and institutions of faith with animal protection issues, on the premise that religious values call upon us all to act in a kind and merciful way toward animals.

Palmetto Family Council is a non-profit, faith-based educational foundation committed to defending and strengthening South Carolina families. palmettofamily.org

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