Is God cruel to animals?

People concerned about animal rights often object to God's commanding animals to be sacrificed and allowing them to be eaten and killed for other purposes. Yet does this mean that God hates animals? On the contrary, God intentionally created all the animals and continually provides for them and cares for them.

O Lord, you preserve both man and beast. (Ps 36:6b)

He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. (Ps 147:9)

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. (Mt 6:26)

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. (Lk 12:6)

While the Old Testament laws commanded animals to be sacrificed, there were also injunctions against animal cruelty. Animals were not to be overworked (Ex 23:12) or underfed (Dt 25:4), nor were they to be hunted to extinction (Dt 22:6-7). Even wild animals were provided for, since they were given leftover food (Ex 23:11). In addition, Proverbs 12:10 says, "A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal."

Other passages where God expresses concern for animals or uses love for animals as an illustration:

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