Among the groups that believed in humane treatment of animals were the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Persians, some African Tribes, the Hebrews and to some extent the Chinese.
Many of the great religions of the world have taught kindness to animals for thousands of years. For example in the Old Testament, animals are mentioned over two hundred times with admiration and sympathy. The followers of Greek Philosophy were great admirers of animals. For example Pythagoras made a practice of being kind to animals. Aristotle wrote sympathetically of “the sagacity of the noble dog.”
Buddha preached pity. Confucius believed in fairness to all living things.
Genesis VIII: 1, tells of how God ordered that two of each species of animals should be in the Ark at the time of the great flood, to make sure they would survive.
The teachings of Jesus talk of God’s benevolence toward not only human beings but to lesser creatures as well. “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap….yet your heavenly father feeds them.” Love and Kindness for dogs and other animals were exemplified in the writings and actions of many Christian Saints both Protestant and Catholic.
“Every creature is at man’s service in order to better bring man to God’s service,” wrote St. Bernard, the founder of the famed little St. Bernard hospices that rescued travelers. The love of St. Francis of Assisi for all animals is well documented. Many Popes had dogs for companionship, for example Paul V, Paul IX, Leo XIII.
As man’s religious beliefs and spirituality grew, so did their relationship with animals---and that’s a good thing.