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A Publication of
Catholic Concern for Animals


Selections From The Ark Number 207 - Autumn/Winter 2007


DO ANIMALS MATTER? A strange question to put to readers of The Ark. Of course they do. To us. But not, unfortunately, to most other people. Yes, they are fond of their pets, and they would deplore downright cruelty. That is why there was such an outcry about the recent scandal of dog-fighting in both the UK and USA. But they do not really matter to them. Animal life is way down low on their priorities. Don’t waste our time on them, go away. We’ve really important things to think about, like earning an honest living, the Third World, and climate change.

It is not that we are better people, with warmer hearts or cleverer brains. We do not claim a special sanctity. It is simply that, when animals begin to matter to you – frogs and spiders as well as dogs and cats; cattle and mice, as well as horses and pandas – then you feel that something is missing.

Your own universe has expanded – enormously, to embrace the whole of creation – but you realise, sickeningly, that there is a narrowness of vision, a void, a coldness, ‘out there’ in the world, and in the Church. That is the chilly space you feel you have to fill. That is, as Jan Fredericks calls it in her Letter, the gap you need to bridge.

How can we do that? How can we bring the needs of the animal world to more and more people, until the casual practices, the organised suffering, the uncaring attitudes, are no more? We are ordinary people, in ones and twos, scattered across the world. What can our small efforts accomplish?

Hope, work and prayer

One thing we must do is keep hope alive. Reform movements, and even revolutions, take time to succeed. We are living in a world culture of growing awareness to the wrongs committed against animals – see the groups of animal activists beginning to form in countries such as Bulgaria and China. The subject is slowly gaining acceptance in academia.

The media is beginning to treat it seriously and politicians are now aware they have to give acceptable answers. We know that the ultimate goal of the ‘peaceable kingdom’ has been vouchsafed for us in Scripture, so there is no cause for despair. Onwards and upwards!

Then there is the contribution we each can make – for some that includes vital ‘hands-on’ animal caring or lobbying; for others, in giving support to charities and campaigns; in raising awareness of animal creation in our churches and prayer-groups; even just in airing the subject on social occasions.

Finally, there is the power of prayer. We do not have to wait for permission to pray together – and certainly no-one can stop private prayers. This St Francistide, let prayer rise to heaven as we give voice to the voiceless.

Return to: Number 207 - Autumn/Winter 2007

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