by Suzanne Kelsey
The attitude of the churches as a whole to animal welfare was
criticised by the speaker at the annual animal service held at St
Michael at the Northgate, Oxford on Sunday.
Mr Mervyn Bocking, a member of the Catholic Study Circle for Animal
Welfare, spoke about the need for a better lead from the churches.
"Animals are not getting a square deal from the human race," he said.
"That is why we need animal welfare groups to get the church into the
20th and 21st centuries."
Representatives of local branches of a number of animal welfare
groups were in the congregation. Many of the pews were shared by an
animal or two - mostly dogs, but there was also a pair of gerbils.
The service was led by the vicar, the Rev Stephen Pix. After the
final hymn he invited the owners to bring their pets to the altar steps
for a blessing. There were prayers for an end to live animal exports and
for other issues of concern.
The lessons were read by Ms Joyce Smith, representing Compassion in
World Farming and Mrs June Whitehouse, representing the Vegetarian
Society. The collection was given to the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary.
Oxford Mail, October 19, 1995.