While using animals for clothing should conceptually belong with eating animals, since both are a form of “consumption,” the length of the eating posts necessitates a separate treatment. I will put them with general working animals: animals that one rides or one uses to plow, etc.
It is in this section that we find most of the “missing animals.” We do not see Mary riding a donkey, the Magi riding camels, and the centurion riding a horse, for example, like we would expect. More to the point, Jesus is born literally in a feeding trough. Animals are assumed to be there, but they are not explicitly mentioned in Luke’s narrative – at least not at Jesus’ place of birth. Riding animals and animals pulling carts (which is just as likely an understanding of how Mary reached Bethlehem in Luke as riding the back of a donkey) must have been present, but they are not generally part of the account. But animals that work and animals one wears do show up in the account at key points. In the next couple posts, I will explore animals products and then working animals.