Priest Makes Biblical Case for Animal Rights in New PETA Video

For Immediate Release:
September 20, 2021

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Washington – As the upcoming Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4) will turn Catholics’ thoughts toward the blessing of animals, Rev. Christopher Steck, S.J.—associate professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Georgetown University—sat down for a new video interview with PETA’s Christian outreach division, LAMBS (which stands for “Least Among My Brothers and Sisters” from Matthew 25:50), in which he examines Christians’ obligation to work toward the liberation of animals.

In the video, Steck explains that God cares about animals, both as individuals and as part of the natural world, which He charged humans to care for—and points to the beginning of Genesis, in which God gives humans plants to eat but not animals, and to Isaiah 11, which describes a “Peaceable Kingdom” of all animals living in harmony on God’s holy mountain. “So, there’s nothing in Jesus’ teaching that calls us to act with violence,” he summarizes.

Instead, he says, Christians are charged with the task of making the Kingdom of God present in our world. “My labor for the Kingdom includes not only working for social justice among humans, overcoming inequities, overcoming impoverishment, but it also includes my work for animals—that we have an obligation to see them as creatures that God also wants to bring about liberation,” he says. “In our eating habits, our hunting habits, our fishing habit, we should think about these terms. What does it mean to witness to God’s Kingdom?”

A Jesuit since 1983 and a professor at Georgetown since 1999, Steck is engaged in research examining environmental and animal ethics, and his courses include The Problem of God and Dogs and Theology. He is the author of All God’s Animals: A Catholic Theological Framework for Animal Ethics (2019).

LAMBS—whose motto is, in a twist on PETA’s, “Animals are not ours. They’re God’s”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow PETA on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind