The Fellowship of Life
From the November/December 1982 edition of Outrage! with thanks to
Animal Aid (www.animalaid.org.uk):
A Proclamation of Animal Rights was nailed to the door of Guildford
Cathedral by Animal Rights campaigners from many different Surrey towns
on Sunday, October 3rd - the nearest Sunday to the 800th anniversary of
St. Francis' birth.
Over the years Animal Rights campaigners have tried repeatedly,
without success, to open up a dialogue on the subject of animal abuse
with the Dean of the Cathedral, the Most Reverend Tony Bridge; these
attempts have proved futile.
This action is therefore seen as an act of last resort to force the
Dean to speak up unambiguosly and in public of his attitude to animal
exploitation, and declare his position as a Churchman.
There is an historical precedent in our action of nailing the Animal
Rights Proclamation to the door of the Cathedral - in 1517 Martin Luther
nailed no less than 95 'Statements of Belief' to the Chapel door of
Wittenburg Castle, his local church, where they could be aired and
debated by other theologians. This dramatic gesture sparked off the
St. Francis of Assisi was born 800 years ago in the year 1182. To
mark this celebration of the Saint the 4th day of October (or nearest
Sunday) has for some time now been designated World Day for Animals and
Christian churches have traditionally offered prayers for animals on
St. Francis foresook all the world had to offer and in so doing came
to understand the beautiful and wondrous relationship between all living
things and the Creator.
Eight hundred years on this relationship is poorly understood and the
plight of animals is appalling. The true facts about animal exploitation
are kept from the public and the Church remains, in most cases, silent.
We are glad the Church is willing to pray for animals but saddened,
and indeed some of us angered, that this is where the concern stops. We
feel the Church, to be truly humane, has an obligation to extend its
circle of compassion to all living creatures. We believe the Church
should be as outraged as we are at the way animals get treated in this
'Nation of Animal Lovers'.
In the Proclamation, the group aim to:
Direct the attention of the whole of the Church to the suffering
caused to animals by their ruthless exploitation in vivisection
laboratories, factory farms, circuses, the fur trade, in bloodsports,
and in many other ways too numerous to mention.
Focus thought on the speediest means of abolishing these moral
Inspire action from the whole of society, Christians included, to
help eliminate animal suffering by adopting a cruelty-free lifestyle,
and also by supporting Animal Rights and Animal Welfare societies.
The groups are not asking for more prayers, but demand that the
Church takes a lead in, firstly, promoting understanding of the plight
of animals, for surely they are all at our mercy. Secondly, we demand
that the Church condemns from the pulpit this wanton exploitation and
oppression of the animal kingdom for science, food, sport, clothing, or
any other commercial profit or human gain.
Originally published in the October 1982 newsletter of Stop Animal
Inasmuch as there is ample evidence that many other animal species
are capable of feeling, we condemn totally the infliction of suffering
upon our fellow creatures and the curtailment of their behavioural and
other needs save where this is necessary for their own individual
We do not accept that a difference in species alone (any more than a
difference in race) can justify wanton exploitation or oppression in the
name of science or sport, or for use as food, for commercial profit or
for other human gain.
We believe in the evolutionary and moral kinship of all animals and
declare our belief that all sentient creatures have a right to life,
liberty and natural enjoyments.
We therefore call for the protection of these rights.
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