The Fellowship of Life
From the Church Times of September 30, 1983:
As preparations go ahead for a World Day of Prayer for Animals on St.
Francis's Day - which falls on Tuesday - the Bishop of Salisbury, the
Right Rev. John Baker, has spoken out strongly against the Church's
silence over animal welfare.
Bishop Baker told a group of animal-rights campaigners at Westbourne,
Dorset, that he could not offer much defence for the Church's "almost
invisible role" - though there were religious people who cared.
But Church members often never thought about the issues at all, or
were too conservative to break away from the dominant patterns of
culture, or held a too limited view of religion, the Bishop claimed; and
this, he thought, accounted for the Church's "deafening silence."
Assuring the campaigners that he, too, was campaigning for changes in
the law to stop the abuse of animals, the Bishop said he would press for
a debate in the General Synod. And, asked if he would take part in a
protest march to Porton Down next year, he agreed to consider it.
Battery hens, vivisection, road-research, crash experiments with
animals and the "appalling duplication of experiments for no benefit"
came in for the Bishop's strong criticism; so, too, did hunting and
dissection in schools and zoos. "Regent's Park Zoo, for instance, makes
me sick. It doesn't teach reverence for anything, let alone the
animals," he told his hearers.
Not everyone was a vegetarian, the Bishop conceded; but, "if animals
are used for food, it is our minimum duty to see they have conditions of
contentment, light and dark, air and freedom of movement."
The Bishop himself would not "go around breaking into places," he
said; but, on the subject of illegal animal liberation, he was happy
about people who rescued animals "as long as they know what they're
doing" - though he did not think their method was particularly
Tuesday's World Day of Prayer is being organised by the Christian
Consultative Council for the Welfare of Animals, of which the Dean of
Westminster is the chairman.
See also: Church's silence
This site is hosted and maintained by The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation
Thank you for wisiting all-creatures.org