The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973


All creatures great and small

Georgina Rand asks just how much we really care for God's creatures
Why is it that anyone who speaks out against cruelty to animals is automatically accused of not liking humans? I would agree with Alexander Solzhenitsyn who commented: 'Nowadays we don't think much of a man's love for an animal; we laugh at people who are attached to cats. But if we stop loving animals, aren't we bound to stop loving humans too?'
There is no way I would support the wickedness of so-called animal lovers who send letter bombs. But I do support the people who complain vociferously about the trade in veal calves. All animals know pain and fear - battery hens packed onto metal racks who never see the outside world, performing animals in a circus, dancing bears in Turkey, laboratory animals - the list is endless.
We are supposed to be an animal-loving nation but the annual report from the RSPCA would give lie to that legend.
Year in and year out it is a harrowing catalogue of man's inhumanity to animal.
It is a tale of deprivation, neglect and downright wickedness. Animals we are supposed to care for - cats, dogs, rabbits, ponies, donkeys - are starved, beaten, tied up in fields or in the back garden in all weathers with no shelter.
They are covered in sores, lice, matted fur, and ribs are clearly on view through the thin skin covering them. It's as bad or worse in Ireland where there is scant respect for animals.
Form of cruelty
Youngsters in Dublin's housing estates on the way to the airport are tearing around on horses and ponies bought at fairs. It seems that hopefully something will be done in the near future to put an end to this form of cruelty.
Tinkers - or Travellers - are a disgrace when it comes to the way they treat their dogs and horses. No one seems to care though.
A lovely doggy friend of mine - a gentle creature who is mostly Irish wolfhound - was owned by Tinkers and rescued in the nick of time as they were about to throw him out into Bantry Bay with a stone tied round his neck.
Finn McCool - that's his name now - lives in some style in Glengarriff with Kelly, Willum, Moppet, Chloe and their beloved John and Kate Graves who would do without themselves rather than see theirs critters wanting. A happy ending for the McCool.
Wild mammals law
To return to UK animal cruelty, a Bill cleared the Commons recently - The Wild Mammals Protection Bill - which with a bit of luck will become law. This will make it an offence to kick, beat, impale, burn, crush or drown wild mammals - punishable by six months in the slammer.
For some strange reason, the clauses that would have banned hunting were thrown out. Allied to that, the Bill allows dogs to injure wild animals.
A country which has absolutely no compassion for animals is Spain. I was sixteen when I saw my first - and last - bullfight. My sympathy and sorrow were for the poor old horse and the bull bleeding and weakened by the lance of the picador. I wasn't remotely interested in the fate of the matador.
Suffering saints' days
In those days we were unaware of the Blood Fiestas which take place on saints' days and holy days with the Spaniards shouting, bawling ole-ing as they hurl metal darts at bulls who are run through the fenced off-streets of villages and towns until they are covered in blood, and mad with terror and pain. Their suffering finally ends when they are shot dead on the steps of the local catholic Church.
Chickens, ducks and pigeons are strung up on lines so that the revellers have more fun as drunken yobs on horseback rush up and down pulling the heads off these living creatures.
It was at one of these Fiestas that Southport's Vicki Moore was gored by a bull - it didn't know that she was the only one in the crowd with compassion for the animals and screaming birds being mutilated.
Vicki and her husband, Tony, have investigated and made videos of the blood lust, which can only be described as barbaric, in this Catholic country. They do it in the hope that pressure can be brought on the Spanish government through the European Parliament and the Catholic Church.
Hospital bed
Vicki was gored 11 times - through the chest which went right through and grazed her spine, another bad wound in her foot, and the bull's horn also went through the back of her knee and came out at the front. The extremely pretty former actress is now home but badly shaken still.
I was talking to Una Loy who also lives in Southport. A member of the Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, she is a friend of the Moores. They travelled together to Brightlingsea to protest at the calves being loaded onto a ferry en route to the continent.
Una is part of an animal welfare group which helps the local dog warden with a neutering scheme for dogs. To raise money they run bookstalls, antique fairs and have lunches and raffles.
So far as the Church is concerned, not a great deal is done for animals. We do, however, have The Ark, a quarterly magazine costing 80p published by the Catholic Study Circle.
Love and respect for animals should be taught in childhood and we should all support organisations and groups who want to make life a little easier for the other creatures who share the planet Earth with us.
From the Catholic Times dated August 6th, 1995

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