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



Bishop speaks out against animal cruelty

From the November/December 1983 edition of Outrage! with thanks to Animal Aid:

'Having accepted an invitation from Bournemouth Animal Aid to address a local meeting, the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt. Reverend John Baker, launced a vehement condemnation of man's cruel exploitation of animals. He told a packed audience of approximately 140 people that 'the Church should be in the forefront of the campaign against all matters such as factory farming' and then went on to attack 'appalling duplication' of animal experiments, labelling the testing of cosmetics in particular as 'an obscene monstrosity'. He added that there is no natural basis for experimenting on animals because the animals' metabolism is very different from our own.

The Bishop could find no argument to defend hunting. He believed that 'if it gives people pleasure, that is a condemnation in itself, and as a pest control, it is expensive and inefficient'. Zoos and dissection also came under fire, not only on the grounds of animal abuse, but also because they are likely to promote a general irreverence for life. The Bishop suggested that 'teaching children to protect animals is important as a means of protecting them against violence towards human beings'. There was no attempt to defend the apathy and 'deafening silence' of church leaders, which the Bishop felt was partially explained by 'too limited a view of religion'. He was saddened that his talk was effectively snubbed by the local clergy. Hardly any of the 150 local churchmen invited by Bournemouth Animal Aid bothered to attend, though more encouragingly, one local vicar who did turn up, told a reporter that the evening had 'given me much food for thought'. At the end of the meeting, the Bishop told his audience that, having seen the strength of feeling on these issues, he knew that he must now do more to help the cause.'

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