Many conservative evangelicals bristle at the mention of the animal rights movement because they believe it puts humans and animals on equal footing. But the evangelical statement is unequivocal that humans hold a unique status in creation. In fact, it’s this special status that demands humans practice extra care with all of God’s creation. The signatories affirmed the belief that, “all animals ultimately belong to God, are sustained by Him, and exist to bring Him praise and reveal His character.”

Also being announced today is the launch of the “Every Living Thing” initiative, which will begin a year-long effort to engage Christians in dialogue around the biblical mandate to care for animals.

Research commissioned for the “Every Living Thing” campaign by Lifeway research found that 89% of Protestant pastors agree that Christians have a responsibility to speak out against animal cruelty and neglect. At the same time, only 17% said their churches were involved in addressing animal welfare at the local level.

The hope is the “Every Living Thing” effort can help close this gap.