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



A service for animals?

From the September/October 1982 edition of Outrage! with thanks to Animal Aid:

'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 and humanely."

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.'

Celia Eve

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