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Which Torah laws involve compassion for animals?

(1) It is forbidden to cause pain to any animal. Maimonides (1135-1214) [Guide of the Perplexed, 3:17] and R. Judah ha-Hasid (1150-1217) [Sefer Hasidim, ed. Reuben Margolies, No. 666] stated that this is based on the biblical statement of the angel of God to Balaam, "Wherefore have you smitten your ass?" (Num. 22:32). This verse is used in the Talmud as a prime source for its assertion that we are to treat animals humanely (Baba Metzia 32b; Shabbat 128b).

(2) "You shall not muzzle the ox when he threshes the corn" (Deut. 25:4).

(3) "You shall not plow with an ox and an ass together" (Deut. 22:10).

(4) "A person should not eat or drink before first providing for his animals." [based on Deuteronomy 11:15]

(5) Animals too must be able to rest on the Sabbath day. The kiddush (sanctification over wine or grape juice) that is recited on Sabbath mornings includes the following verse from the Ten Commandments:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Lord, thy God, in it you shall not do any manner of work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your man-servant, nor your maid-servant, nor your cattle, nor the stranger that is within your gates. (Exod. 20:8-10)

(6) It is forbidden to sacrifice a newborn ox, sheep, or goat until it has had at least seven days of warmth and nourishment from its mother (Lev. 22:27).

(7) "And whether it be ox or ewe, you shall not kill it and its young both in one day" (Lev. 22:28).

(8) We are forbidden to take the mother bird and its young together. The mother bird must be sent away before its young are taken. (Deut. 22:6-7).

(9) We should not boil a kid in the milk of its mother. (Exodus 23:19, 34:26; Deuteronomy 14:21)

(10) Animals should be relieved from suffering:

If you see the ass of him that hates you lying under its burden, you shall surely not pass by him; you shall surely unload it with him. (Exod. 23:5)

(11) We must be vigilant for the well-being of a lost animal:

You shall not see your brother's ox or his sheep driven away and hide yourself from them; You shall surely bring them back to your brother. (Deut. 22:1).

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