The Fellowship of Life
The other side of religion
From the November/December 1983 edition of Outrage! with thanks to Animal Aid: www.animalaid.org.uk
'The Catholic Priory at Storrington in West Sussex owns a farm in the
village in which up to 750 calves are reared in typical crated veal
The calves are chined by the neck and kept in narrow crates, unable
to lie down comfortably or turn around. They have been taken away from
their mothers only a short time after birth and spend the first six
weeks of their short lives in these crates, standing on wooden slats.
After this period of time, the calves are loaded onto lorries,
exported overseas and fattened up for the dinner table. The Priory have
not disclosed the actual destinations, saying that once they have been
sold, the fate of the animals is not their responsibility. Nevertheless,
the likelihood is that they go to continental veal farms. Between
200,000 and 300,000 calves are exported overseas every year from this
country in a live export trade that has met with continuous criticism,
both because of the long stressful journeys involved and also because of
the conditions found in most continental veal units. At the end of their
miserable ordeal in transit, veal calves are kept for the rest of their
lives in narrow crates and denied the roughage for which they crave.
Instead they are fed on a completely liquid milk diet which helps to
produce the pale coloured 'white veal'.
Defending activities at Storrington Priory, Father George Joy said
that the farm was run in accordance with Ministry of Agriculture
regulations (which is saying nothing), was set up four years ago with
the help of a Ministry grant and is run to high standards of hygiene.
There is no reason to dispute any of these claims, the objection is that
the calves are kept in solitary confinement, denied exercise,
companionship or opportunity to behave naturally.
On Sunday 2 October, Lesley Turpin of Worthing organised a
demonstration. Approximately 100 people handed out leaflets to the
congregation as they turned up for mass. Reaction was mixed. Some
members of the congregation took leaflets and handed us money. Others
were distinctly aggressive and took the demonstration as an attack on
Catholicism, refusing to concede the possibility of their church being
involved in cruelty. One or two individuals even told demonstrators that
they would pray for them!, whilst another reiterated the view put
forward by Father Dominic Kirkham of the Priory, who told a local
reporter that 'on moral grounds, I cannot see any objection whatsoever'.
He added that 'you only have to look in the scriptures...there is talk
of killing the fatted calf for festivals'. Showing a distinct lack of
enlightenment, Father Kirkham argued further that Storrington Priory is
carrying on an age-old tradition of monasteries' involvement in farming,
the only difference being that they were now using modern methods!
Further protests are planned.'
*The farm was eventually closed in 1988. Pastor James Thompson
"This was despite extensive opposition from animal welfare groups
such as Compassion in World Farming who fought a hard legal battle, only
to lose it. But, thanks to the heightening public indignation the case
aroused, the monks had little option but to terminate the unit."
'Cast out of the Ark' - James Thompson, 1994
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