From Jesus to the Jesuits, animals afflicted with religious cruelty.
The cat piano developed by Roman Jesuits in the 17th century.
Image: Magia universalis, 1657
The Bible is full of descriptions of cruelty to animals. When Jesus exorcises a demon from an afflicted man (see Luke 8:27, though Matthew 8:28 states there were two men) he sends the spirits into a herd of pigs who he then commands to drown themselves in a lake. Why he couldn't have merely drowned the offending spirit(s) without the intermediary isn't explained. However, the religious interpretation that animals are merely to be used for human purposes meets a truly despicable level in this example from historian Anthony Grafton:
Roman Jesuits "developed the cat piano (a clavier whose keys, when played, drove nails into a set of imprisoned cats carefully chosen for their voices, a musical and non-lethal cat massacre . . . guaranteed to cure the most melancholic ruler of his lethargy).
Ghandi has stated that moral progress can be judged by how animals are treated. How exactly can one claim that the Bible offers great moral lessons when such treatment is condoned?
Anthony Grafton (2002). Magic and Technology in Early Modern Europe, Dibner Library Lecture, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, p. 18