Q: As Seventh-day Adventists, we know about clean and unclean animals, and we know that dogs and cats are unclean animals. What is our stand about having these animals as pets in our homes? And what about having a pig for a pet? — John
A: From the food laws given in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 we understand how to define clean and unclean animals for eating; furthermore, the Bible is very clear in forbidding touching unclean animal carcasses (see Deut. 14:8).
There is no biblical law, however, against having these animals as pets (just don’t eat them!).
Research has shown that there are many benefits to having a pet—both physical and emotional. Interacting with an animal, such as a dog or cat, has been shown to “reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. It can also release endorphins that produce a calming effect. This can help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve your overall psychological state” (see “Healthline”).
For more specific information about the benefits of having a dog or cat for a pet, see this helpful website.
Choosing a pet is a personal decision and may be based on any number of factors, such as personal preference, allergies in the family, size of the animal and living area, and financial considerations.
Having a pig for a pet is not something I would choose, especially since “filth is its natural element.” Read this counsel in the book “Ministry of Healing”:
“The tissues of the swine swarm with parasites. … Swine are scavengers, and this is the only use they were intended to serve. Never, under any circumstances, was their flesh to be eaten by human beings. It is impossible for the flesh of any living creature to be wholesome when filth is its natural element and when it feeds upon every detestable thing” (p. 313).