From the Church Times
dated 13 July 1990:
Synod fought shy of imposing any restrictions on hunting and
intensive farming on church-owned land. It rejected specific proposals
by the Archdeacon of Colchester and called instead for a general
statement on Christian stewardship of creation.
In his private member's motion, the Archdeacon, the Ven. Ernest
Stroud, wanted the Board for Social Responsibility to produce a full
theological exploration of human responsibility towards animals. He
wanted the Synod to declare its opposition to all forms of cruelty and
wanton killing, and to call on the Government to assess the
effectiveness of current animal welfare legislation. He also wanted the
Church Commissioners "to review critically hunting for sport and
intensive farming on church-owned land".
Canon Jesse Sage (Canterbury), an agricultural chaplain, said
consideration of man's relationship with animals at the present time had
to be against the background of a changing situation which included the
increase of technology in animal husbandry.
Lt-Col. John Crompton (Newcastle) thought it illogical to call for a
full theological exploration, and then jump to conclusions before the
exploration was done.
The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd Ian Harland, lived at the heart
of a Church Commissioners' estate, he told the Synod, "and there would
simply be astonishment and dismay at a ban on hunting. Last week I saw
eight churchwardens, to discuss a new incumbent, and at the end one of
them said tentatively: 'I hope he won't be anti-hunting. That wouldn't
go down at all well here'." The hunt tested the skill of horse and rider
across rough country, the Bishop said. "Those who follow, on rusty bikes
or on foot, are watching the ancient art of running a pack of hounds.
They are certainly not out for the kill."
Sir Douglas Lovelock, the First Church Estates Commissioner, put the
Commissioners' point of view. "We don't farm ourselves. We have
agreements with our tenants which go back thirty or forty years, and
they say nothing about hunting. Some allow it on their land and some
don't. We can't unilaterally insert a new clause into those agreements."
Michael Oakley (York) said: "We are living in a nanny society. It's
bad to smoke, bad to drink, bad to eat certain things, and now Nanny is
trying to prevent intensive farming in all its forms and stop hunting;
because that is what this is all about. This includes fishing, which
puts a ban on over 20 million people."
Reg Howard (Bath and Wells), a farmer on his own land, told of some
unsavoury habits of "Mr Fox": four cockerels surviving out of 40 after
one night's raid, six out of eight lambs savaged. "I don't care how he's
killed as long as he is." A hen, he said, "a simple bird with a very
small brain", did not object to a battery life. "If I were a hen I know
where I'd choose to live. Intensive farming is a matter of economics.
You are better fed than ever before, at lower prices."
The amendment moved by Canon Sage was carried on a show of hands. It
called on the Board of Social Responsibility "urgently to prepare a
statement of Christian stewardship in relation to the whole of creation
to challenge Government, Church and people to engage in a critical
review of human responsibility to the living environment."
The Church and Animals