For most Muslims, a guiding principle is khilafah. This emphasises their duty to look after Allah'screation and use it wisely. They will answer to Him as to how well they perform this task. Muslims apply this to the question of animal rights in a variety of ways. The Muslim Declaration at Assisi 1986 states:
We are Allah's stewards and agents on Earth. We are not masters of this Earth; it does not belong to us to do what we wish. It belongs to Allah and He has entrusted us with its safekeeping.Muslim Declaration at Assisi 1986
Most Muslims believe that the rules around the ritual slaughter of animals are designed to minimise distress and pain for an animal. The rules include:
Halal meat has been farmed, prepared and slaughtered according to Shari'ah law.
Haram food includes all pork products, animals that eat meat and animals that have not been slaughtered according to Islamic law. Muslims have to be careful with processed foods because some ingredients might be unknown.
Horses, mules and donkeys are not generally eaten in Muslim countries. It is written in the Qur'an:
He has created horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and show.Qur'an 8:8
Some Muslims choose to be vegetarian. They believe that vegetarianism:
Islam allows animal experiments if they are for a justified purpose, eg to develop new medical treatments, if no alternative ways of testing are available. Animals must always be treated well and their suffering minimised.
Many Muslims are generally against testing on animals for cosmetics.
They also believe animal experiments to measure the effects of smoking are wrong because humans are not obliged to smoke.
The role of a khalifah (someone who exercises khilafah) means that Muslims should avoid: