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


General Synod Debate on Animal Welfare

( November 1977 - brief extracts):

"Regarding with all reverence the delicacy, the complexity and the coherence of creation and preservation, I sometimes wonder, as I look at the cat, the tiger, the ostrich, the giraffe, if it may not be part of the eternal role of animals to help man to a deeper understanding of the Trinity and of the nature of suffering and a broader understanding of the purpose, love and even the humour of him who knows all by name and for whom not a sparrow is forgotten."

Mr. O.W.H. Clark

As a countryman, I always have a great suspicion when a townsman stands up and starts to tell us how to run our affairs. I am sure it would be incorrect to say that this is what Mr. Clark is doing, but there is a great danger of this Synod doing just that, pronouncing on something which it does not understand.

. . . I appeal to the Synod to get its priorities right and to consider whether it should spend time in a full-scale debate on animal welfare when so much is pressing on its time and energies which is much more pertinent to the furtherance of the Gospel of Christ in this world.

Mr. J.D. Walker

Mr Walker has implied that it is surprising that the General Synod should spend its time debating animal welfare when there are many more vital issues facing the world and the Church, I find this view quite unacceptable, because I believe that animal welfare is a most proper subject for a Christian body to discuss, and it does not matter whether members of the Synod come from the country or from the town, because I believe that fundamentally this is a theological issue, and that man's attitude to the animal kingdom . . . must be based, and is based, upon certain theological principles.

. . . man is indeed the crown of God's creation, yet, as we all know too well, man has abused his position and has exploited nature for his own immediate gains and his transitory pleasures. He has not seen that the authority that he possesses he exercises under God. As C.S. Lewis pointed out many years ago, man was appointed by God to have dominion over the beasts and everything a man does to an animal is either a lawful exercise or a sacrilegious abuse of an authority by divine right. In other words, I believe that our behaviour towards the animal kingdom ought to display something of the responsibility, the mercy and the kindness which God displays to us, and as Austin Farrer once said, 'When our compassion moves us to relieve animal suffering we are being used by the compassion of God.'

Canon P.A. Welsby

From The Living World, No.17, 1978 - journal of the Crusade Against All Cruelty to Animals.

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