Russian photographer Elena Karneeva has taken this photograph of a young girl with a young bear. When we are little, animals are our heroes: they have secret knowledge, they are magical and inspire our first books, we interact with them lovingly, they are friends whose company we enjoy. Then at some point, animals become the enemy, and we can start killing them, abusing and being violent with them. Perhaps this reflects the Adam and Eve story where Adam is so close to the animals, he even names them. The story doesn't tell us, but after taking up with the tempter and eating from the forbidden tree, did he become indifferent to the animals or worse?
Here is a prayer for the animals written by Albert Schweitzer.
Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals, especially for animals who are suffering, for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry; for all that must be put to death. We entreat for them all thy mercy and pity, and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words. Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals and so to share the blessings of the merciful. Amen.*
*Matthew 5:7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."