The Fellowship of Life
From the Church Times, 12 May 1995
The Bishop of Dover this week joined protesters at the town docks as
lorry-loads of animals passed through on their way to the
slaughterhouses of Europe.
It was the latest move by the Rt. Revd Richard Llewellin in a
personal campaign which began at a pets' service on Sunday, when he
denounced what he described as "this cruel traffic in live animals".
On Wednesday morning, Bishop Llewellin stood with Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok
as one of the convoys of sheep trucks, heavily escorted by police,
turned in through the dock gates. Together they said prayers and then
blessed the animals.
A diocesan spokesman, Donald Witts, said about 200 protesters had
gathered, and they seemed to appreciate the "prayerful protest" staged
by the two religious leaders. "Some of them were in tears," he said.
During his address at St Andrew's Church in Buckland on Sunday,
Bishop Llewellin said he believed it would be irresponsible of him to
speak at a pet service without noticing what was going on in Dover and
other ports around the country: "the trade in live animals to mainland
Europe in conditions which we know do cause unnecessary suffering".
He congratulated those government ministers who were trying to get
the European law changed; but, he said, "we are part of Europe, and we
can give a moral lead by saying that we will have no part in this cruel
Bishop Llewellin said the pets brought to the service should be a
reminder of people's responsibilities for all God's creatures, including
livestock. "Indifference to their fate is, in the end, an insult to our
own domestic creatures," he declared. "It is also an insult to God
Support for the Bishop of Dover's stand came from the Bishop of
Colchester, the Rt Revd Edward Holland, who also has an animal-export
centre in his area, at Brightlingsea. "It is something I have cared
about for a long time," he said.
Bishop Holland believed the Government could try to stop the trade if
it wanted to. He acknowledged that ministers had been told they couldn't
because of European law, "but if they had any spirit in them they would
try. They might lose, but at least they would have stood on the right
The Bishop of Chichester, Dr. Eric Kemp, with the animal-exporting
port of Shoreham in his diocese, has spoken out against the trade in the
past. This week he was quoted as saying that while the Bible taught that
animals could be used by humans, this must be done in "a proper, humane
The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt. Revd William Westwood, also sided
with Bishop Llewellin. He thought the important thing was the way in
which animals were kept and killed; he couldn't see why animals could
not be reared properly and then slaughtered closer to home. "I think we
have offended against God," he said.
Professor Andrew Linzey, senior research fellow in theology and animal welfare at Mansfield College, Oxford, said: "I am delighted that the bishops are at last speaking out on animal exports, I think they deserve warm congratulation."
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