Ancient Egyptian mummy farms drove baboons and the Horus falcon to extinction: from the Late Period onwards anything up to 70 million animals were embalmed as offerings to the gods.
Egyptologists, fascinated by their material and the excitement of applying new techniques, had presumably not considered the reaction of a horrified public in our modern, eco-conscious age to the mass slaughter and in some cases extinction of whole species of animals, even if it was done with the intention of preserving them for eternity.
It's an undeniable fact that from about 800BC to the end of paganism in the 4th century AD, all kinds of 'sacred' animals were bred in horrendous conditions and slaughtered in their thousands to supply the inexhaustible consumer demand for animal mummies to offer to the gods. So many that, as is widely known, when a huge cache was discovered at the site of the temple of Bast in Beni Hasan, the farmer who discovered it sold approximately 19 tons of mummified Egyptian cats [with a few dogs, foxes and mongooses in the mix] to be shipped to England to be ground down and used as fertilizer. Some of these mummies were saved for science. They and/or their spiritual descendants are now being investigated in Manchester University's research program, which involves 800 animal mummies from across the UK; see here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/11596859/Scans-reveal-the-secrets-of-animal-mummies-some-even-empty-of-remains.html. Details of the research program at Swansea which is part of the same investigation can be seen here [there are lots of pictures]: http://egyptcentre.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/guest-post-by-beverley-rogers-peering.html.
The non-intrusive analysis of 800 still-wrapped mummies - something which has only become possible in recent years - has exposed not only the contents of the mummy wrappings but also the details of a gruesome trade which in its day enriched temples and satisfied the faithful. It has been known for some time that many animal mummies didn't contain whole animals - but many appear not to have contained bones at all, as described in the BBC article 'Egypt's animal mummy 'scandal' revealed' here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-32656743. The animals mummified, where bones are found, are almost all young, and show signs of ill-treatment and starvation - bred merely to be killed and wrapped like a shawarma for eternity. Respect was not part of the package, though the mummified creatures were referred to sometimes as 'gods'.
The background to this curious [late, decadent] aspect of Ancient Egyptian religion can be investigated in Wiki's article on animal mummies, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_mummy and in the article on cats in Ancient Egypt, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cats_in_ancient_Egypt.