The Fellowship of Life
From the September/October 1982 edition of Outrage! with thanks to Animal Aid: www.animalaid.org.uk
'The event was organised under the Wessex Animal Rights aegis which
is a new group against all cruelty to animals incorporating vivisection,
factory farming, whaling, shooting, hunting, zoos, circuses, etc.
On Sunday 9 May about 30 protestors assembled at Wells Cathedral. The
Church authorities called the event, at which Johnny Morris was a guest,
a "Service for the Whole Creation".
We arrived to register a two-fold protest, firstly on account of the
animals assembled on the cathedral green. Many of the farm animals,
sheep with lambs, young cattle, geese, etc. were penned up on a hot day
with no shelter or water. A camel was also there from a local wildlife
park; it had been bellowing pitifully in its transit wagon. All of this
was for the benefit of a gawping public, which must have added to their
discomfort. We approached one of the clergy responsible for organising
the event and voiced our concern. He replied that he was in sympathy
with us but couldn't see what was wrong in displaying the animals in
that way. Our second protest was that the truth about animal
exploitation was not being shown.
So our protest group set up photographs showing the usual atrocities
conducted in the vivisection labs, and in factory farms. We leafletted
the public and mingled with the crowd. There was a group of girls from a
boarding school and they were horrified at the leaflets we gave them.
However, the final insult towards suffering animals came during the
service on the green when a vivisector said the following prayer for the
laboratory workers and animals:
"O God, Creator and preserver of us all, we bring before you in
prayer all those who work in laboratories and on research projects, and
the animals who are used in experiments on our behalf. Help us to
eliminate all unnecessary use of animals for testing or research."
A slaughterman was also on the platform! His prayer was as follows:
"O God, you give life to every creature, help those whose work is the
killing of your animals to realise the sacredness of all life, and give
them the patience and ability to carry out their work kindly, quickly
We all held up our banners so that the public watching the service
got the full benefit of our terrible photographs.
What a farce this whole event proved; the usual lip-service being
paid to the poor animals. The clergy must become informed about the
truth. They are appointed to deal with moral issues. Animal and
environmental abuse are two such vast areas which are being fought
almost entirely by those outside the church.'
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