“And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you.” (Genesis 6:19)
The floods that God has announced will not just wipe out humans, but also most animals. Only those who can swim, have a chance of survival. However, God does not want the animal world to die out. Therefore, He orders Noah to bring a male and a female animal of every sort into the ark, “…to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth…”. Of the ritually clean animals that will serve as food later and that will be sacrificed to the Lord, Noah has to bring seven pairs.
Later, when the flood is over, God promises that He will never again cut off all flesh by the waters of a flood. He makes a covenant with Noah and his descendants, but also with the animals! “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth” (Genesis 9:9-10).
This story illustrates that animals suffer from the consequences of human sin, but also that God cares for them.