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


Letters By Margaret Lawson

Man and the Beasts

Dr. Barclay must be congratulated on his thoughtful and much-needed article on "Man and the Beasts" which will surely do much to arouse Christians to their responsibility to the animal creation.

It was especially good to see his quotations from Isaiah 11:9 and Hosea 2: 18, and the questions he raises at the end of the article. For the Christian there is another important question, viz. Genesis 1: 29, "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat", as well as "Thou shalt not kill." It is obvious from these three or four quotations alone (there are more) that a diet that does not depend on killing and cruelty is the highest and purest one to which man can aspire - all else are intermediate steps towards such a pure and compassionate diet.

Too often when one deplores the slaughter of animals for food one hears the cry "As long as it is humanely done", or "It seems cruel but it is necessary." This may, or may not be right for the uncommitted, but the committed Christian has no choice. Is he not urged in a well-known hymn to "rise-up, have done with lesser things" - the lesser things in this instance being killing and cruelty? Vegetarianism is no new cult - it has been practised all down the ages and those who practise it show far more compassion than those who do not.

Once we make up our minds that we shall no longer kill to eat - other cruelties fall into place - e.g. vivisection (for cosmetics, drugs, food and even household goods), factory farming, circuses, bloodsports, pets and trapping for furs.

The Fellowship of Life, of which I am privileged to be the Secretary, whilst not an animal welfare society as such, although in sympathy with the work of animal societies generally, believes in union with God and the one-ness of All Creation, and that the responsibility of all believers is much more fundamental than simply working for better conditions for animals, admirable and necessary as it is, and therefore aims at teaching and uniting Christians primarily in a new way of life which is beneficial not only to the animals, but to the hungry Third World, the environment, and themselves.

Life and Work
March 1976

See Article:
Man and the Beasts

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