The Fellowship of Life
Sir, - Experience sadly shows that only man "merits" the concern,
consideration and compassion of a great many Churchmen. If this was not
so, how could there still be millions of God's creatures undergoing
painful experimental proceedures designed "for the health and welfare"
of man, close and unnatural confinement for the production of food for
man, and agonising deaths for the entertainments or clothing of man?
This Association believes it is time the Church's ministers faced up
to their responsibilities with regard to the totality of God's creation
- the land, the sea and the sky, and the creatures that share these
environments with man. Without them, man can no longer exist. For that
reason, if for no other, the ecological nettle must be grasped.
It is a sad and lamentable fact that many people within the Christian
tradition have regarded the right treatment of animals as peripheral or
irrelevant to their Christian faith. However, it is not a peripheral
side-issue but central to a gospel which insists that we are morally
rersponsible and accountable beings.
Those people who dedicate their life to the destruction of animal
life need to be told quite plainly by Churchmen that they are failing in
their Christian profession and endangering their own moral integrity. A
number of eminent leaders in the Christian faith are doing so already;
how much more powerful their voices would be if they had the backing of
the Church as a whole.
(Mrs.) B. E. Hardwick
Sir, - Following St. Francistide I feel that I cannot stress too
strongly that which has already been said in the Church Times by Canon
Arthur Fielder: "So obsessed has the Church become with the plight of
mankind that it has little or no time to explore its responsibilities
towards God's animal creation."
For a long while the Church has been so preoccupied with questions
such as the Book of Common Prayer and the ASB, the ordination of women,
Christian unity, religious education, etc., that animal welfare has been
In the secular world there is a crusade going on for animal welfare
in its entirety. Groups such as Animal Aid campaign against vivisection;
others work to save baby seals or the whale. Chicken's Lib. and
Compassion in World Farming alert society to recognise the plight of
animals in factory farming. The Church remains largely silent on these
This is a theological question. If we despise creatures (and surely
vivisection in laboratories and factory farming are ways of despising
them), we come to despise humans as well. To call a person "beastly" is
to insult both human animal and non-human animal. It is to be hoped that
Christians will take this seasonal opportunity to become aware both of
the wonders of God's animal kingdom and of the darker side of science.
(Miss) Lorna J. E. Hartley
Also see: The Christian and Animal Suffering
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