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A Publication of
Catholic Concern for Animals


Selections From The Ark Number  205 - Spring 2007


AFTER A MOST IMPRESSIVE talk at our AGM last October, the speaker, David Allen, the RSPCA’s Head of Education, Information and Advice, provided us with the report The state of animal welfare in the UK 2005. In it are the results of an opinion poll in which people were asked: ‘To what extent do you agree or disagree that “In order for society to be truly civilised, animal welfare must be a key priority”?’ Just over half the sample population agreed, while 24 per cent disagreed and the rest were indifferent.

This depressing result is no doubt reflected in the Christian population. So here is our mission – to convert the 46 per cent of our neighbours in pew and street to see that animal welfare is integral in building a civilised and humane society.

Dr Michael Fox, in his article in this issue, has a name for the attitude of the 46 per cent – he calls it Animal-Insensitivity Syndrome, related to Nature Deficit Disorder. It is a condition picked up early in life and can lead to an indifference to the feelings of other human beings as well as of animals, and can lead to crimes against humanity as well as against the environment that we all share. It is well documented that many psychopaths and sociopaths begin their life of cruelty by inflicting pain on animals. The opposite can be true too. Anyone who is truly gentle, loving and sympathetic towards animals is likely to be the same way with people, especially with the very young, very old or other vulnerable ones.

One would hope the Church would be doing all it could to build up a civilised society of loving, gentle, sympathetic people by encouraging a kindly attitude to animals and a concern for their welfare. It seems not to be so doing. In fact AIS seems rife in large sectors of the Church, including, alas, many clergy. This condition will not be changed by ‘animal-people’ bullying or hectoring, but by the example of such people being in the forefront of parish life, being the first to offer help and support to a whole range of charities and activities. When it is apparent that people can love people and animals, animals and people, well, then maybe AIS may diminish a little and a new respect and concern for all that lives, breathes and suffers, may be generated.

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