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Rav Sa'adia Gaon states the following regarding ritual slaughter of animals:

I will make this matter understandable and say: the Creator has decreed that every animal will die, and has given every human an allotted time of life, and He has made allotted times of life for the animals until the time of their slaughter, setting up slaughter in place of [natural] death. If there were in the [act of] slaughter a greater pain than the pain of [natural] death, [God] knows this; and therefore it is proper that He compensate the animal for the amount of pain that was greater than in [natural] death. We say this is so when the case of additional [suffering] is known from the intellect and not from prophecy.

Source: From Judah Hadassi to Elijah Bashyatchi, Brill, p. 203.

I had never heard this idea before. Most people talk about how it's simply the animal's purpose to be slaughtered and eaten by us. This opinion of Saadia's is almost a reverse of that, like God has to make up for the fact that we slaughter animals.

Do any other Rabbis agree with or disagree with him on this idea?

  • have read somewhere that their compensation is the pleasures they feel during life. such as eating – ray Jun 14 '16 at 19:37
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    Ok. But I think asking if a Rabbis opinion is correct is still unanswerable. Who would know? Did someone ask Hashem? Would we believe that someone? The other part about if other Rabbis agree with him is somewhat more productive. Just for the record, I did not downvote this question. I almost did by your first draft, then didn't after your original edit. But there is still work that needs to be done. Your title also asks a question that you yourself answer with a source. I would reword that as well along the lines of 'who agrees with this chidush'. That would all be assuming people will accept – user6591 Jun 16 '16 at 18:57
  • Back to the topic.... Animals lack metacognizance. They experience pain, but they have no ability to watch themselves think so they cannot experience their own experiencing pain. After all, if they could think about thinking, they could change their decisions based on old decisions and would have free will. Only humans have free will. So, their pain is more like an avoidance stimulous than going through the quale of suffering. – Micha Berger Jun 17 '16 at 19:33
  • People tend to think of the identification of the human soul as "medaber", a speaking spirit, in terms of our ability to communicate with each other. More to the point is that it gives us the ability to think in an internal monologue, a stream of thought. – Micha Berger Jun 17 '16 at 19:35
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; the conversation about Karaites has been moved to chat. – Monica Cellio Jun 19 '16 at 3:05

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