The thing is, we tend to ascribe to animals feelings that only humans have. We have this desire to remember those who have died. We have this desire for eternal life. We have this desire that the things we loved in this life will live on forever.
But, animals do not have this same feeling. So, upon death, it is not as if they die with regret. When we cut down a tree to make timber, the tree does not die with regret. When we pluck a rose from the garden, the rose does not die with regret. In the same way, animals do not die with regret.2
However, this does not mean that animals do not suffer. Animals suffer like we do. It is terrible that with the one finite life they have, that they are misused and tortured to advance our own desires.3 Commodification of animal products, battery cages, factory farming, animal entertainment, over fishing, and ivory poaching are some examples.
As Catholics, we understand that they are God’s creation and that God loves them. And as Catholics, it is our responsibility to love them, care for them and appreciate them. All the evils perpetrated on animals are against what it means to be Catholic and to respect God’s creation.3
God commanded the following of Adam:
And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” – Genesis 1:28
Animals do not have an infinite soul. The only have this life. It is our responsibility to care for them with great love and compassion.