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


'PETA Campaign Coverage'
Go 'veggie' for Christ

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 them replied.

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."

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