For many, a divine sanction for animal exploitation is found in the very first book of the Bible:
Genesis (1:26): "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." Never mind that three verses later there appears an apparent mandate for vegetarianism, the damage had been done. Mankind has dominion; animals, though to be treated "kindly," are but resources, a status confirmed by the Catholic Church in its 1992 Catechism:
"Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. ...Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives."
But the Bible also says the following:
Deuteronomy (7:2): "And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them [the heathens] before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them."
Nahum (1:2): "God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.
Deuteronomy (21:18-21): "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die."
Exodus (21:2): "If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve." Exodus (21:4): "If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself." Exodus (21:7): "And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do."
Leviticus (25:44-46): "Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour."
Deuteronomy (21:11-13): "And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife."
Corinthians (14:34-35): "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
Ephesians (5:22-24): "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."
These passages and more have provided (still provide) basis for the worst our species can do. "Collective Jewish Guilt" (for Jesus' death) as attested in the Gospels ("good news") gave rise to virulent antisemitism, culminating in the Final Solution. The Southern plantation class - otherwise intelligent and learned men, but indoctrinated in biblical myths from birth - saw human bondage as heavenly ordained:
"The doom of Ham [Genesis 9:20-27] has been branded on the form and features of his African Descendants. The hand of fate has united his color and his destiny. Man cannot separate what God hath joined." (Congressman James Hammond of South Carolina)
"It is enough for me elsewhere to know, that [slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God, that it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations." (Senator Jefferson Davis of Mississippi)
When "biblical infallibility" fails, as it did with slavery, Church-sponsored scholars advise the masses to read with "context," to disregard, if you will, the Bible's more incongruous passages - the ones in which a tyrannical deity instructs his "chosen" on the finer points of genocide, filicide, subjugation, rape, etc. The Word, apparently, is flexible. To the rational, of course, this is folly, a charade meant to sustain the unsustainable.
Sanity thus applied, the Bible's moral authority is repudiated, the Dominion Defense collapses, and animals move from God's gifts to the autonomous beings nature intended. In other words, a new paradigm emerges, one based on reason and compassion rather than superstition. Imagine that.