In an article on, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is quoted in his first major statement on animal welfare. He is already known for his anti-apartheid activism and his outspoken support of LGBT rights.

His remarks were made in his foreword to the Global Guide to Animal Protection edited by Oxford theologian Andrew Linzey, Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. We have reviewed five books by this prolific and passionate defender of animals.

"Our dominion over animals is not supposed to be despotism," said Tutu. "We are made in the image of God, yes, but God – in whose image we are made – is holy, loving, and just. We honor God by not abusing other sentient creatures."

We commend Tutu for this articulation of the spiritual practice of reverence for animals. When Christian believers talk about the pivotal verse in the Gospel of John, "For God so loved the world," they usually do not include all the creatures of the earth. They also often forget that many saints (such as Francis of Assisi) championed the cause of animals. In our view, all religious and spiritual people should reverence non-human animal companions on earth and stop viewing them only as commodities, resources, tools, and food.

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