The important motion tabled by Archdeacon Ernest Stroud of Colchester at
the Church of England's General Synod was finally debated in July. In
the run-up to the Synod, Compassion In World Farming and the League
Against Cruel Sports had sent a mailing to all the members of the Synod,
in the hope of winning support for the motion which called for an
investigation into hunting and factory farming on church-owned land. A
petition was also circulated seeking support.
The good news is that 128 Synod members put their names to the
motion, so that it had to be debated. The bad news is that the
pro-hunting Synod members made such a fuss that the final motion which
was passed had to be watered down. It reads:
"That this Synod recognising the welfare of animals and their
treatment as an essential part of our responsibility towards creation,
calls upon the Board of Social Responsibility urgently to prepare a
statement of Christian stewardship in relation to the whole of creation,
and to challenge Government, Church and people to engage in a critical
review of human responsibility to the living environment."
CIWF trusts that the resulting "statement" will look to the
Liberation of Life document, published by the World Council of Churches
in Geneva, and that it will take seriously the crisis of faith
experienced by so many Christians who cannot understand how professional
Church people can justify exploitation of animals for food and sport. We
also hope that it will result in action to ban intensive farming and
hunting on Church-owned land.
CIWF would like to record our appreciation of the work of the
Archdeacon of Colchester, who has written to thank us for our support.
We know that he is going to try to keep this issue alive and we will do
all we can to help him.
Sadly we must record one of the less favourable replies to our
mailing which we received from a Synod member by the name of John Selwyn
Gummer MP. Mr Gummer says
"There is no simple link between intensive husbandry and suffering".
He continues, "Furthermore, were the Church or the UK, to ban
particular methods of intensive animal production, the demand which
exists for cheap, high quality food would have to be satisfied by
supplies from other sources. It would therefore be a futile gesture to
take such measures unilaterally..." - and he goes on to state his
commitment to animal welfare.
From the Sept/Oct '90 edition of Agscene, journal of
Compassion in World Farming. Reproduced with Thanks