Some one asked a question on Catholic.com, “Do animals have souls like human beings?”
Their answer is as follows. “The souls is the principle of life. Since animals and plants are living things, they have souls, but not in the sense in which human beings have souls. Our souls are rational–theirs aren’t–and ours are rational because they’re spiritual, not material. Animals and plants also lack a moral sense. Animal and vegetable souls are dependent entirely on matter for their operation and being. They cease to exist at death. We know human souls are spiritual since humans can know and love.”
Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement clarifies this flawed contention:
Animals are also rational. If a dog enters my room, and I say “Out!” the dog immediately understands and goes away. How can we say that there is no rationality at work? If I place my finger before an ant, that ant will turn away immediately. If you give a cow meat, the cow will not touch it. The cow understands that its food consists of grasses and grains. Animals have rationality, but one aspect of rationality is lacking: an animal cannot think of God. This is the main difference between animals and men. A man’s rationality is so developed that he can think of God, whereas an animal cannot. But we should not think that the souls of animals are not immortal. This theory has given the Christians a basis for killing animals, but they cannot prove that an animal’s soul is irrational or mortal. A man eats, sleeps, defends, and mates, and an animal does the same. So what is the difference?”
Thus we see that religion plays an important role in shaping our attitude towards the natural world. In general, Christianity, and Western civilization as a whole, according to Professor Lynn White, Jr., held a view of nature that separated humans from the rest of the natural world, and encouraged exploitation of it for our own ends.