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A Publication of


From The Ark No. 188 Summer 2001


Picture this: two men, brothers, run a pig farm so badly (dead pigs rotting among living, etc) they are evicted from the site.  They start another, thirty miles from their home, and keep over 500 animals in sheds, feeding them untreated swill, in such conditions that they are reported to animal welfare organisations.   Maff inspectors gain access (although RSPCA ones are denied) and make ‘recommendations’.  The pigs are transported hundreds of miles to market where they come into contact with others who travel long miles elsewhere.  And then we wonder why foot and mouth disease afflicts the country!

There has been so much written and talked about the f & m crisis that there is little needed here - only to hope that people will come to their senses and begin to resist the conditions which have brought the situation about, and will do so again unless there are radical changes.  There have to be changes - from the near-monopoly of the supermarkets, resulting in driving down prices for animal products; in the international trade in live animals; in the slavish adherence to the dictates of the World Trade Organisation and Brussles in preventing import controls of meat from countries with poor welfare standards, and so on.  It is folly of the highest order that we import as much meat as we export!

By the time this journal appears I hope there are no more sickening sights of mass slaughter and disposals of carcasses (some not cleanly killed or even dead, according to RSPCA reports) and no more economics-driven prevarication over widespread innoculations.   Let us pray, and work for, a future where, if there has to be meat, it will be a scarce, expensive commodity, suitable only for ‘High Days and Holidays’, and produced to the highest standards of animal welfare on small, organic, ‘free-range’ farms and the creatures killed locally, gently and humanely.

We in the Study Circle cannot be complacent.  The profile of animal welfare issues is rising fast, partly because of mounting food scares and the exposure of abuses by brave undercover investigators.  This makes many people nervous and defensive.  Their life-styles and attitudes are under threat and ‘fight or flight’ mechanisms come into play: just witness the fury of the pro-hunting lobby!  Church-leaders too are being put on the spot by the rising voices of those deeply concerned over animal issues, both for and against.  That is why I consider it important to include in this, and future, issues of The Ark, articles which may appear ‘difficult’ but can offer deep resources of information and argument to equip us all in the struggle to win over ‘hearts and minds’.  We are a Study Circle, after all!

Return to The Ark No. 188

For questions, comments and submissions, please contact:
Deborah Jones at The Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare

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