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



Vegetarian protests at Christmas slaughter of animals

From the Salisbury Journal of December 18th 1980:

Click here to see larger image.

Vegetarian David Davies arrived at Salisbury Cathedral on Monday to start a ten-day fast. He will stay there until Christmas day.

He is staging his vigil as a protest against what he calls 'the immorality of the Christmas tradition'.

And when it is over he will return home to a dinner of grapefruit and vegetables.

"There are millions of people starving and we sit here making ourselves sick over Christmas." he said.

"The widespread slaughter of animals is not just wrong but a highly uneconomic method of feeding ourselves."

"If it was not so serious we would laugh at such a ridiculous situation."

The 40-year-old artist and former soldier from Folkestone Road, Salisbury, has been drinking only water and lemon juice since Monday. He has been sitting in the Cathedral for ten hours a day, surrounded by posters decrying the eating of meat.

"I don't mind if I ruin people's Christmas by raising these moral issues," he said. "The suffering they experience is nothing compared to that felt by the animals and the starving people."

Mr. Davies chose the Cathedral for his demonstration because, he said, he particularly wants to make the Church aware of the issues.

Follow-up letters to The Vegetarian

Christian viewpoint

I am writing about your report on David Davies' protest at Salisbury Cathedral (The Vegetarian: March/April 1981).

As a vegan I sympathise, but I can assure him that if he wants to change the Church's attitude (a mammoth task, especially for a non-Christian) he won't do it like that. I totally agree that the Church's attitude to animals leaves a great deal to be desired, but with all due respect, I think that it is best left to those within the Church who are more likely to find an audience.

There are many Christian Clergy and lay persons who do care and are involved, and as just three examples, I cite the Dean of Westminster, Lord Soper and Andrew Linzey (who wrote 'Animal Rights'). There are many Christians who are involved and I know two HSA area contacts who are Christians.

I am organising a prayer meeting for Christians in the movement and if anyone is interested, they can contact me at...

Malc Patemen
(May/June 1981)

Actions speak louder?

David Davies should be commended for his recent protest at Salisbury Cathedral, not criticised. One would hope that others might follow his example next Christmas-time (indeed, why wait until Christmas!) and hold peaceful demos and protests at churches all over the country.

There is no way of knowing just how much Mr Davies' protest achieved, but he did receive considerable publicity, and however little good he did, he will still have achieved more than those who simply pray to God, such as the writer of the critical letter. People have been praying to God for thousands of years, but it hasn't helped the animals (or people for that matter) one iota. Those who genuinely wish to pray can do so by themselves or with their families in the privacy of their own homes - they don't have to make a big production out of it. Indeed, the millions of pounds spent on erecting and maintaining buildings of prayer could be much better utilised.

Well done David, don't let sour grapes deter you!

Sandra Bussell
(July/August 1981)

Prayer or action?

Malcolm Pateman seems to think that the mistaken belief of most churches, ie - that God gave the non-human animals to man for his use - can be changed through prayer. This would be the ideal way of course, but I have yet to come across any practical reform of this nature which has been accomplished by prayer alone, though much blood has been spilled by rival factions in religious fervour or in the pursuit of power/profit.

Very many Christians - who practice the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, not a particular dogma - do abhor cruelty, exploitation, and the callous treatment of animals in general and food animals in particular. They take practical steps to lessen the amount of suffering by the simple expedient of not eating them, but they do this not on the advice of the Churches alas, but rather in spite of their doctrine. For the priests of all time have urged their followers, not to stop exploiting the animals or each other, but to pray for personal deliverance from the results. In other words 'passing the buck' to the Lord. That this has not produced the desired results is only too apparent for the loving, caring omnipotent gods remain unmoved while all kinds of outrage against man and beasts escalates.

I wish I could think, with Malcolm, that the hearts of mankind could be re-sensitised by prayer. I applaud his efforts but it would seem that Jesus the would-be reformer, as well as all the other martyrs who came before and after him, died in vain for representatives of various religions still bless battleships as well as such sadistic entertainments as bullfights etc. I wonder whether the Vegetarian Society, for instance, has ever received such a 'seal of approval'? I doubt it. Not that I believe it would help in the slightest, so, for an each way bet, while those who wish to, pray, all will have to back them up with practical action for results.

V. Dominey
(September/October 1981)

It was Tennyson who said that "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of". Sandra Bussell would have done well to ponder these words before she wrote so disparagingly of one who runs a prayer group for animals and who, judging by the amount of literature which he orders from me, is very active in other ways. He is in fact to be congratulated on getting such a group together.

Who can tell just how much, and in how many ways, the prayers of his group and others like it influenced the fast by David Davies in Salisbury Cathedral? Perhaps Malcolm Pateman himself should give this a thought as well! When there are so few within the Church working for vegetarianism as a Christian ideal (I do not mean animal welfare at which point so many draw the line) then how can we turn away 'outside' help? Though I do not remember any indication as to whether David is 'inside' or 'outside'.

Margaret E. Lawson (Mrs.)
The Fellowship of Life
(September/October 1981)

With thanks to the Vegetarian Society: 

*David Davies' protest included a display of three placards; two of which comprised a photo-montage of animal abuse:

1st Placard

"How much longer can the Church support this bloody blasphemy? These are the open wounds of Christ. What are you doing to heal them."

2nd Placard

"Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature."

3rd Placard

"Calling all Christians

Rise up! Have done with paganism!

Millions of turkeys and other creatures are slaughtered every Christmas in the name of the Lord of compassion, prince of peace.

Would He Himself do it? No.

This year show that you really do love God.

This year make your celebrations wholly holy by enjoying festive fare which no creature has suffered and died to provide. Your love is not complete unless it embraces all his creation.

"Thou shalt not kill".

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