New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
UK >

Can dogs dream of a boneyard?

by Paul Wilkinson

Posted: 30 Sep 2016 @ 12:05


Click to enlarge

Credit: istock

THREE-QUARTERS of pet owners in the United States who believe in an afterlife believe that their animals go there too, a survey has suggested.

In the study Do All Dogs Go to Heaven?, carried out for Anthrozoös, the journal of the International Society for Anthrozoology, in California, dogs, cats, and horses were rated the most likely to experience an afterlife, whereas insects, fish, and reptiles were rated the least likely.

About 70 per cent of households in the United States own pets, and the research, in which 800 participants were surveyed, suggested that women, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Black and African Americans, Buddhists, and residents of southern states were more likely to believe in an animal afterlife. But only 59 per cent of all the owners believed in a human afterlife.

Dr Kenneth Royal, of North Carolina State University, who led the research, said: “Although more pet owners believed in an animal afterlife than non-pet owners, a large number of owners did not believe in an afterlife for pets.

“We speculate that this is likely related to the fact that almost half of our sample claimed to have no specific religious beliefs or faith. It could also point to the importance of cultural traditions and inherited preconceptions towards beliefs about animals over actual animal experiences like pet ownership.”

The report suggested that the findings might explain the backlash on social media in recent years surrounding highly publicised cases of animal killings. “Although there is clear variation in beliefs between people of different demographics, a significant number of people do believe that animal lives really are every bit as sacred as their own”, it said.

The chairwoman of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals, the Revd Dr Helen Hall, said: “In reality, there is nothing new or strange about the idea that animals have a place in God’s Kingdom. Scripture teaches that Jesus came to bring redemption and healing to the whole of Creation: see, for example, Romans 8.19-21, and John 3.16.

“Furthermore, we can reason from first principles that animals must have an afterlife. We believe in a loving and just God. How could a loving and just God create sentient beings able to think and feel, then condemn them to share in the suffering of this present world, without permitting them a share in the joy of the world to come?”

Click to enlarge
Job of the week

Assistant Chaplain & UK Director

London and Home Counties

Zacharias Trust Assistant Chaplain & UK Director Salary: £45,000-£47,500 plus benefits (experience dependent) Oxford (37.5 hours per week) We have an exciting opportunity for an Assist...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

Making money work for others

Making money work for others

Continuing our Lent series on aspects of money, Matthew Bishop explores the links between philanthropy and faith  Subscribe to read more

Top comment

Doing without bacon rolls and paintball

To base ‘men’s ministry’ on tired stereotypes is not necessary, and may be unhelpful, argues Anne Bennett  Subscribe to read more

Mon 27 Mar 17 @ 13:20
Geert Wilders’s party remains a threat, Dutch Christian ministers warn

Mon 27 Mar 17 @ 13:02
Tributes to Martin McGuinness: “How some­one ends their life is much more important than how they begin it.”