by Jose Parry - Co-ordinator of the Christian Consultative Council for
the Welfare of Animals
Readers will recall the article "Synod Delays Hunting Decision" which
appeared in Wildlife Guardian, Summer 1990. A year on, the Church of
England has published its keenly-awaited statement on creation -
Christians and the Environment, to which the League Against Cruel Sports
contributed evidence. The report was circulated to members of the
General Synod for its meeting at York, in July, as a miscellaneous
paper. It was therefore not on the agenda and was not brought forward
for debate. The Archdeacon of Colchester expressed his concern over the
inadequacy of the report during the debate on the agenda.
The contents of the statement and the way it has been "launched"
demonstrates once again the Church's nervousness about frankly and
openly debating animal welfare issues. League members were very
disappointed by events at last year's summer session of Synod, when the
Archdeacon of Colchester's Animal Protection Motion was out-manoeuvred
and replaced by a vaguely-worded amendment focusing on the 'living
environment' instead of animals and their welfare.
The Christian Consultative Council for the Welfare of Animals (CCCWA)
organised a fringe meeting at the Synod to mobilise support for action
on animal protection matters and in a small way to make up for the
absence of a debate in Synod itself. The occasion was a first step
towards getting another more precisely-targeted motion brought before
The fringe meeting entitled "God's Covenant: The Duty of the Church
Towards Animals" was held on July 13 at York University and was attended
by some fourteen Synod members together with a number of other guests.
At the invitation of the CCCWA the Bishop of Salisbury and the
Archdeacon of Colchester spoke most cogently to the meeting.
The Council is currently preparing proceedings of the fringe meeting
which will be a transcript of the presentations by the guest speakers
and of the discussion which followed. They will be available shortly.
Such was the interest among those attending the meeting that it was
agreed that the Council should shortly organise another such event to
foster further debate and to carry the cause forward.
If animal issues are to be properly debated by Synod and action taken
to stop animal abuse on Church-owned land then it is essential that a
fringe group of Synod members be established. The sense of the meeting
was that it will be necessary to identify a confident, energetic and
committed Synod member to take up the baton from the Archdeacon of
Colchester, who has informed us that he must reluctantly give up his
leading role but will of course continue to give the matter his full
support. Tactically there may well be a need to address each of the
specific animal issues, one at a time.
Forthcoming changes in the chairmanship of the Church's Board for
Social Responsibility and its environment Sub-Group open up
opportunities for influencing changes in policy. The Archdeacon of
Colchester is following up suggestions made to him by the Bishop of
Gloucester, who is relinquishing the chairmanship of the Board. The
proposal is that the Board should consider holding a consultation day
with the new chairman of the Environment Sub-Group (Revd. Dr. John
Polkingthorne), the secretary of the Board, interested and appropriate
members of Synod and representatives of animal welfare groups.
The CCCWA, from now on, will be holding regular fringe meetings and
one-day seminars. The Council is very grateful for the support of the
League and hopes for similar support in its continuing campaign to bring
about change within the Church of England on animal protection issues.
From Wildlife Guardian, Autumn 1991 - journal of the
League Against Cruel Sports.
Reproduced with Thanks.