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


Synod delays hunting decision

A motion calling on the Church Commissioners to 'critically review' hunting and factory farming on church land, has been amended to ask the Church's Board of Social Responsibility for 'a statement of Christian stewardship in relation to the whole of creation'.

The original motion which was interpreted as a call to ban hunting and cruel farming methods from the Church's 170,000 acres of farmland and forestry, was submitted to the July meeting of the General Synod, by Archdeacon Ernest Stroud of Colchester. The motion had been supported by a petition of 16,000 names and more than 130 members of the Synod but was strongly opposed by hunting churchmen and the Church Estates Commissioners. Various amendments had been submitted and spoken by pro-hunting and pro-factory farming Synod members at the meeting of the General Synod in York. Mr R. Howard of Bath and Wells assured the Synod that his hens were at their "happiest and safest in battery cages". Speaking of foxes, Mr Howard said, "I don't care how he is killed as long as he is killed". Mr J. Royle of Gloucester then made references to the unemployment which a cessation of hunting would create. The 'wax-jacket industry' was cited as a potential victim.

The compromise amendment was proposed by Canon Jesse Sage, an agricultural chaplain from Canterbury and carried with an overwhelming vote. Leading animal rights theologian, the Reverend Andrew Linzey described the debate as 'theologically infantile' and predicted that 'many people in the animal rights movement will now think the Church is among their worst enemies.'

A Working Party to be chaired by Professor R.J. Berry, has now been formed by the Board for Social Responsibility and a statement is expected to be ready by April next year, presumably in readiness for the July 1991 session of General Synod.

The League Against Cruel Sports will be co-ordinating the responses of various animal welfare groups. The League's Executive Director James Barrington says, "The press have been reporting the Synod decision as a defeat of the Anti-hunt motion. This is not true. The issue is still very much alive and we welcome the Synod's decision to fully investigate the Church's position on major animal welfare concerns."

From Wildlife Guardian #14, Summer 1990 - journal of the League Against Cruel Sports.

Reproduced with Thanks.

See Article: The Church and Animals .

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