From the Christian Herald
dated 16 October 1999:
An international animal rights group will next week place one of its
most controversial images - Jesus and the Sacred Heart - on a billboard
in the Falls Road, Belfast.
The move, on Wednesday (20 October), promises to attract massive
media and public attention for the Jesus Was A Vegetarian campaign
organised by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The billboard had already been seen widely in the United States, most
recently during the Pope's visit. Organisers deny that it is in any way
tasteless or offensive, saying that anything which prompts debate on the
issue of vegetarianism has to be a good thing.
Toni Vernelli is the European campaign co-ordinator based at PETA's
London office. She said this week: "The campaign as a whole has been
running for about two years but this will be its debut in Northern
Ireland. The image is obviously a very Catholic one, and we thought it
was a good idea to put it in a Catholic area to stimulate debate.
"It's not controversial to ask people to examine their diet and see
whether what we say does fit in a biblical approach to healthy living.
We certainly don't see it as offensive - after all Jesus was the Prince
of Peace, not a butcher."
The group had originally written to some of the most well known
evangelists in the United States, including Billy Graham and Pat
Robertson, to advocate vegetarianism and back their campaign. None of
On PETA's website, the Rev Andrew Linzey outlines its ideas on why
Christians should be vegetarians: "Animals are God's creatures, not
human property, nor utilities, nor resources, nor commodities, but
precious beings in God's sight...Christians whose eyes are fixed on the
awfulness of crucifixion are in a special position to understand the
awfulness of innocent suffering."
The site continues: "Jesus mandates kindness, mercy, compassion, and
love for all God's creation. He would be appalled by the degree of
suffering we inflict on animals."
Reproduced with thanks