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A Publication of
Catholic Concern for Animals


Selections From The Ark Number 202 - Spring 2006


No apologies need to be made for including articles in this publication which concern the environment, rather than animal welfare directly. This beautiful, complex planet is the environment for all living creatures – so that what affects one species, affects all. As the species responsible for most of the damage to this planet, we owe it to the animals to do all in our power to reverse the destruction and restore the delicate balance on which all of life depends. Some disasters, like earthquakes, are entirely natural, whilst others, like warfare, entirely human. Yet others, such as floods and storms of unprecedented severity, can be partially the consequence of global warming – which it is in our power to control, if we take radical and life-changing steps now. Without some intervention, whole species will disappear from the earth, forever, by failing to adapt to changing climate conditions.

While it is important to think of the long-term consequences, immediate relief is demanded for present disasters – and this issue provides inspiring examples of animals being both rescued and helping in rescues. Battle-torn Darfur, earthquake-shattered Pakistan and hurricane-flooded New Orleans provide examples of the interconnectedness of human and animal relief campaigns – while El Arca in Spain describes the on-going rescue work needed for animals subject to human brutality and neglect. Let us give praise to God for the people who work tirelessly for the good of animals everywhere.

Over one hundred and twenty years ago a famous Oxford professor resigned his Chair because the University was introducing vivisection. Today, the construction has resumed on a new animal research laboratory in Oxford. How much moral progress have we made in the intervening years? Where does society look today for moral leadership, if not the Church? If the Church is silent on the cruelty to animals involved in much of factory farming, scientific research, trade and transport, field sports and racing, fur farming and a thousand other activities – what message does that give to the secular world around us? If only, Ark readers sigh, church leaders would say something – yet even documents and speeches are not enough. As Mary Colwell says in her article, good words are fine, but need to be turned into action and taken into the heart of the worldwide Church. Then the billions of Catholics around the world will make a real difference.

To borrow the words of Blake’s poem – we shall not cease from mental strife ... till we have built a Jerusalem for all God’s creatures ‘on England’s green and pleasant land’ and that of all the world.

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