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Destroying, castrating or spaying animals
Shalom Travis,

There are several facets to your question. One facet is the prohibition of cruelty to animals; another facet is "baal tashchis," the prohibition of destroying (wasting) something.

For Gentiles, a Torah prohibition of cruelty to animals applies only when the person actively causes the animal pain or torment; if the person is passive, for example not treating a sick animal or not feeding an animal, he is not considered liable for being cruel to animals under Torah Law. (However, civil laws about this might be enacted by the the secular authorities.) In a similar way, we find cases in Jewish Torah Law where an animal dedicated for sacrifice becomes unfit for the Temple alter, but yet we are not allowed to redeem it or benefit from it in any way, so it is put out in a field and not fed, and it is left there to die on its own.

Aside from the uncommon issue of unfit unredeemable sacrificial animals, if one was to actively kill an animal not for the use of its hide or flesh, etc., but just for the sake of killing it to put it out of its misery with no material benefit to a human, then one has transgressed on being wasteful by destroying one of G-d's creations wantonly. Nevertheless if it was a case of preventing the animal from harming others (e.g. if the animal became rabid, or demented and violent in its old age), then one would be allowed, and even obligated, to kill it so that it would not harm humans or human property (e.g. other domestic animals). The owner of an animal is certainly responsible that his animal does not cause harm to others.
Rabbi Yitz

Messages In This Thread
RE: Destroying an Animal - by rabbiyitz - 07-13-2007, 07:06 AM
Destroying pests - by Donny - 07-25-2007, 11:44 AM
RE: Destroying pests - by Director Michael - 07-26-2007, 03:58 PM
Castration of sheltered pets - by bdschuh - 04-11-2008, 03:16 AM
RE: Hunting - by Director Michael - 01-08-2009, 03:32 PM
RE: Destroying an Animal - by Director Michael - 04-28-2009, 08:53 AM
RE: Destroying an Animal - by deldopson - 02-04-2010, 01:34 AM
RE: Destroying an Animal - by Rabbi Moshe Weiner - 09-15-2010, 01:08 AM
RE: Destroying an Animal - by Director Michael - 09-15-2010, 01:25 AM
RE: Destroying an Animal - by Bill - 09-22-2010, 02:12 PM
Pests and my cat - by Director Michael - 07-26-2007, 04:03 PM
Why is it wrong to "fix" animals? - by Nika - 02-29-2008, 08:55 AM
Unwanted Pets - by novanoahide - 04-02-2008, 01:13 PM
RE: Unwanted Pets - by Director Michael - 04-11-2008, 12:28 AM
RE: Unwanted Pets - by Mattityahu ben Noach - 09-12-2010, 04:43 PM
Hunting - by AZNoahide - 01-05-2009, 11:14 PM
Starting my beagle pup on rabbits - by aegd - 03-02-2009, 11:15 PM

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