In Genesis 1:19-25, we learn that YHWH made living creatures (birds and animals, etc.) before He ever made man (in verse 26). Once He made man, He gave him dominion over the animal kingdom. Then, in verse 28, He outlined man's responsibilities. (In ALL of YHWH’s covenants, we see His part, and man's part.) He gave man the gift of dominion, which sets us apart from the animals; and man, in return, had to take on the responsibilities to be fruitful, multiply, fill and subdue the earth, and rule over the animals.
In the next part of the contract, Genesis 1:29, He says, “Throughout the whole earth I am giving you as food every seed-bearing plant and every tree with seed-bearing fruit.” Note that meat-eating is not given! Why? Well, perhaps because in the Garden of Eden, before the fall of man, there was no death! No death meant no meat-eating, no carnivores, no carrion beetles, no flies feeding on spoiled flesh, no mold or bacteria to break down dead organic material, and no disease. The entire environment was different...
In Genesis 1:30, plants are given to the animals as food. Note that when the plants are given as food to the animals and man, there is no corresponding responsibility... they are simply given as a gift. The end result of the covenant is that while animals are tied in to man's covenant in some pretty specific ways, they are not given any responsibilities or rights - just the gifts. Meanwhile, MAN bears some responsibilities for both!
Moving on to Genesis 2:16-17, please note that when YHWH gave man food, he also made some rules about that gift. There are no rules given to the animals, only to man. In verses 18-20, YHWH sets out to find a helper for Adam, and creates the animals - but none are suitable as a mate. (The original language actually says none of them "corresponded" to Adam.) The animals are considered as possible "helpers" - which means they have that capacity - to be helpers and companions, but they cannot be “mates” for humans.
Now let's go on to Genesis 3:14 where we see that one of YHWH’s created creatures – the serpent - played a huge role in Adam’s demise. And as everyone knows, for that, the serpent was cursed! Genesis 3:14 says, “ADONAI, God, said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all livestock and wild animals.’”
ALL ANIMALS are now cursed! Why? Because in the first covenant, man is in charge of them, has dominion over them, is responsible for them... and somehow, this ties them into the curse of the serpent. So we discover that YHWH curses the animals right along with the Serpent and Adam, and Eve…EVERY living creature is cursed because of the Original Sin!
Genesis 3:14 ADONAI, God, said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all livestock and wild animals. You will crawl on your belly and eat dust as long as you live. 15 I will put animosity between you and the woman, and between your descendant and her descendant; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel." 16 To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pain in childbirth. You will bring forth children in pain. Your desire will be toward your husband, but he will rule over you."
17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to what your wife said and ate from the tree about which I gave you the order, 'You are not to eat from it,' the ground is cursed on your account; you will work hard to eat from it as long as you live. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat field plants. 19 You will eat bread by the sweat of your forehead till you return to the ground - for you were taken out of it: you are dust, and you will return to dust." (CJB)
When Adam disobeyed, the whole environment changed! Death entered in, affecting not only mankind, but all the animals as well. (As a matter of fact, one of the very first animal sacrifices we see is in Genesis 3:21, where YHWH killed an animal to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve who suddenly knew “shame” because of their blatant disobedience!) If Adam and Eve had only kept away from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:16-17)! But now, their cushy life was finished – as was the cushy life of the animal kingdom. Suddenly, they all found themselves thrown out of Eden, where lions grazed, where mosquitos drank plant sap (as the males of the species still do), and where nothing ever decayed….
Back in verse 18, we see that even the plants are affected! With death as a possible result of being eaten, plants were now forced to grow protection. Yes, death is now a fact of life. The animals did not sin, but their fate was our fate!
Genesis 3:17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to what your wife said and ate from the tree about which I gave you the order, 'You are not to eat from it,' the ground is cursed on your account; you will work hard to eat from it as long as you live. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat field plants. 19 You will eat bread by the sweat of your forehead till you return to the ground - for you were taken out of it: you are dust, and you will return to dust." (CJB)
Now check out Genesis 8:17- 22. Noah's first act, upon setting foot on dry land was to sacrifice one of every “clean” animal. Then, in Genesis 9:1-5, YHWH makes His covenant with Noah, and here is where we begin to realize that YHWH’s original covenant has not been changed; rather it has been augmented:
Genesis 9:2 The fear and dread of you will be upon every wild animal, every bird in the air, every creature populating the ground, and all the fish in the sea; they have been handed over to you. 3 Every moving thing that lives will be food for you; just as I gave you green plants before, so now I give you everything - 4 only flesh with its life, which is its blood, you are not to eat. (CJB)
Remember, up to now, animals were NOT wild; they were unafraid of man! (This is actually the reverse of what we have been taught by the “evolution” types - that wild animals were tamed and domesticated... but it seems that first, it was the other way around!)
We also see (Genesis 9:3) that YHWH instituted meat-eating which is the reason the animals needed to fear man! It was also the reason for the need of SEVEN of the clean animals on the ark (as opposed to just two of the “unclean” animals)! Man was now to eat the clean animals and sacrifice them to God…
Genesis 9:5-6 establishes that those who commit murder are required to die, and this goes for animals that kill man, as well. Now, after the Covenant has been defined, YHWH states WITH WHOM the covenant is made: Genesis 9:9 "As for me - I am herewith establishing my covenant with you, with your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you - the birds, the livestock and every wild animal with you, all going out of the ark, every animal on earth.”
Again, note that the fate of the animals is one and the same as the fate of mankind! This being true, according to Scripture, we humans are OBLIGATED to take care of the animals because WE are the reason they are in this “fallen” world with us! The animals didn’t sin; MAN did!