The purpose of the life of each animal is just as it is for us – to give glory to God. Whilst we may, under strict conditions, use certain animals, they do not exist for us, but for themselves and for God. As each creature reflects the likeness of God, so it also receives the love of God—as expressed in the preface to Eucharistic Prayer IV ‘You…the source of life, have made all that is, so that you might fill your creatures with blessings’.
The way we are to treat all creatures is in terms of our obligation to our merciful, compassionate God. In the words of Cardinal Manning:
“We owe a seven-fold obligation to the Creator of those animals. Our obligation and moral duty is to Him who made them and if we wish to know the limit and the broad outline of our obligation, I say at once it is His nature and His perfections, and among these perfections one is, most profoundly, that of eternal mercy…”
(From The Zoophilist, London,1 April 1887).