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Catholic Dictionary

Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

Causing unnecessary pain to animals. Man has no duties toward animals because they have no independent personalities. They may therefore be used for any ethical purpose. It is sinful, however, to cause an animal needless suffering. The sinfulness does not lie in the violation of an animal's rights but in a person's irrational conduct, since reason forbids causing unnecessary pain and death. Moreover, cruelty to animals has a brutalizing effect on the tormentor.