The Pope also calls on us all to be better stewards of all creation, noting that “each organism, as a creature of God, is good and admirable in itself.” He condemns the view that humankind has “absolute domination over other creatures” as a misinterpretation of God’s grant of “dominion” over creation.

The Pope notes that “our indifference or cruelty towards fellow creatures of this world sooner or later affects the treatment we mete out to other human beings. We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people. Every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity’. ”And the Pope directly addresses animal testing, noting “the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that experimentation on animals is morally acceptable only if it remains within reasonable limits [and] contributes to caring for or saving human lives… human power has limits and that it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. ”I asked Dr. Charles Camosy, Professor of Theological and Social Ethics at Fordham University and author of For Love of Animals, for insight into the significance of this encyclical. Here are some excerpts from our conversation: What moral limits should we consider placing on the market and technology to protect people, creation, and animals? Should price and efficiency continue to drive animal agriculture?