The Fellowship of Life
Bishops unite to fight fur trade
From The Church of England Newspaper dated 27th November, 1992:
Agriculture Minister to be lobbied on the issue, reports James Lindsay
More than 41 Anglican bishops have publicly pledged their support to a campaign against the cruelty of the fur trade.
The most senior of them, the Archbishop of Wales, has also written a foreword for a new book claiming animal welfare is becoming a leading Christian issue.
The book, entitled Cruelty and Christian Conscience: Bishops Say No to Fur, is expected to command great political interest and lend authority to the cause of the anti-fur campaigners Lynx.
“The fact that 41 bishops have agreed to lend their names to this will be seen as something very significant,” said Carol McKenna, campaign director.
The prelates who pledge not to wear or buy fur include the bishops of London, Oxford, Salisbury, Worcester, Gloucester, and Lord Coggan, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.
“I think even in today's secular world people look to bishops for a moral lead, and this will also take the issue to people who haven't really thought about it before,” she added.
Lynx has sent an advance copy to John Gummer MP, the agriculture minister and General Synod member, and hopes he will “do all in his power to ban the keeping of animals for their fur.”
The bishops cite their reasons for joining the campaign broadly as the cruelty involved in trapping and rearing animals for fur; the immorality of killing for fashion; the abuse of our stewardship of animals and the senseless destruction of God's creation.
Professor Andrew Linzey, a senior research fellow at Mansfield College, Oxford, wrote an introduction claiming the debate could not be divorced from theology.
He said cruelty, which the trade inevitably involved, was incompatible with Jesus' message of inclusive loving.
The Christian message revolved around the image of needless suffering in Christ on the Cross, and Christians could not be justified in causing needless suffering of any kind, he said.
“What is at stake in the way we use and abuse animals is our own spiritual understanding - or lack of it- of our own place in creation,” he said.
See also: Chapter 14 of Animal Gospel by Andrew Linzey (Hodder and Stoughton, UK; Westminster/John Knox Press, US, 1999)
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