Cruelty to animals
Sir, - I am very shocked that the Church appears to be so unconcerned
about cruelty to animals.
For example, the cruel practice of leaving unwanted puppies and dogs
to roam the streets in the freezing cold when they have ceased to give
pleasure over the Christmas period, or they have been unwanted in the
There are shocking tales and pictures of dogs trussed alive in Far
East countries waiting in the burning sun to be killed.
Animals are also sent to the Continent for slaughter in poor
I have been a Catholic for nearly 12 years now, and I cannot even
remember the welfare of animals being mentioned in any Bidding Prayers
at services I have attended, even on the feast day of St. Francis of
A few years ago, I sent a Christmas card to a priest who thanked me
for it, but added that he did not agree with Christmas cards sent from
It is true, I believe, that no act of cruelty to animals is condemned
in the New Testament, but let us remember that the Gospels were written
nearly 2,000 years ago when man inflicted great cruelty to his fellow
This, of course, still goes on, but at least the Church speaks out
Fortunately there are now many international animal welfare societies
working in the Near and Far East, but the cruelties are still carried
I have travelled quite a lot in the East, so I know what I am talking
We members of the Church, clergy and laity alike, should not forget
that all animals are God's creatures.
Perhaps we should take a leaf out of the book of our Buddhist friends
and have great respect for any living creature.
(Mrs) Yvonne M. Phillipson (15/1/82)
Cruelty to animals
Sir, - I heartily agree with everything Mrs Yvonne Phillipson wrote
(January 15) on cruelty to animals and add to her list intensive factory
farming, the keeping of hens in inadequate battery cages with slatted
floors and the dreadful manner in which they are transported to the food
processing plants and killed by methods which don't bear thinking about.
Also the conditions and treatment in slaughter houses for cattle,
sheep, and pigs are vile and cruelty is rampant. Factory farming is
defended as a social necessity as every social evil of modern times is
Then there is the insatiable fur trade. The price of a real fur coat
is a slow, agonising death for the rightful owner, and completely
unnecessary as all types of simulated furs are available if its warmth
that's required and not kudos.
There is also the wholesale slaughter of whales, seals, and dolphins,
some hunted to extinction. It takes nine ghastly hours for a whale to
die with an explosive harpoon inside it.
There are all the useless, sadistic blood sports, such as hunting,
badger baiting, and bull fighting. Fox hunting has rightly been
described as "the pursuit of the uneatable by the unspeakable". As most
hunts breed their own supply of foxes for killing their claims of
controlling pests are untrue.
Probably the vilest cruelties of all take place in the closed and
secretive vivisection laboratories where over 100,000 animals die every
week, all species of animals, including pets stolen by crooks. In the
name of medical research, and without anaesthesia, preposterous
experiments are carried out and with the specific infliction of pain.
In the multi-million vested interests of commerce animals are
poisoned to death, but not quickly, with weed-killers, paints, oven
cleaners, polishes, lipsticks, shampoos etc.
The latter are tested in animal eyes which can't blink or close
because the lids are removed and nor can the animal move. Dogs are
immobilised and force-fed masses of detergent while fully conscious,
then opened up for the effect on their gastric juices to be noted to
produce the infamous Biological Washing Powders that "digest dirt and
Fr Basil Wrighton, MA, speaking on vivisection and the abuse of
animals in general said: "Cruelty is the most satanic of sins, the least
excusable and the furthest from redemption."
The great mass of Christians are slow to throw in their lot with us
animal loving "cranks", and we are accused of not caring about our
fellow humans which is as untrue as it is unfair.
To me it seems a poor, niggardly heart which can't stretch in
compassion, love and mercy to embrace all God's creatures to the greater
glory of God who did not despise the presence of the animals at the
birth of His Son for they were not driven out, and if He doesn't put
such love for them into my heart I don't know where it comes from and I
can no more forbid this to myself than I can cease to pray to Him.
If anyone wishes to join me in a short prayer for animals daily at
9am and 9pm please write to me.
(Mrs) Gillian Bender, Member of Catholic Study Circle for Animal
Sir, - I was very interested to read in The Universe a letter from
Mrs Yvonne Phillipson regretting the Church's seeming unconcern
regarding cruelty to animals.
Such cruelties must indeed sadden our Maker, particularly as we note
that He chose to be born among animals.
We would do well to note also that He did not choose to put the Sign
of the Cross on any man, but rather He put it on the donkey, which
(Mrs) Nora Barry (19/2/82)
Sir, - I applaud the contents of the letters from Mrs Gillian Bender
and Mrs Nora Barry (February 19).
I have looked in vain in the Catholic press for support for various
pleas in the national press for help for animals in dire distress.
Surely we Catholic animal lovers have a right for our causes to be
highlighted along with the many other worthy causes.
Can we look forward to your co-operation?
(Mrs) Anne Spikker (19/3/82)
Horrible fate of dogs
Sir, - I was delighted to read (Universe, March 26) the publicity you
gave to the horrific plight of the dogs, sold for human consumption in
It is to be hoped that many thousands of letters of protest will go
off to Cardinal Sin. What a wonderful thing it would be, if we Catholics
succeeded in stopping this horror, where everyone else has failed.
(Mrs) Nora Barry (16/4/82)
Article: Appeal to end cruelty to dogs
Cruelty to animals
Sir - I would through your paper like to thank all those people who
have so kindly written to me after my letter on "Cruelty to animals" was
published by you.
It is encouraging to know so many people care. I have since written
to His Holiness Pope John Paul and Cardinal Hume, asking if students in
seminaries could be taught that all cruelty is against the Christian way
of living, and this includes cruelty to animals.
I would like to thank The Universe for publishing this letter in the
(Mrs) M. Phillipson (7/5/82)
Our cruelty to animals
Sir - I would like to draw readers' attention to the 'Animals Film'
(showing at the Gate, Bloomsbury, London).
This documentary demonstrates clearly the extreme cruelty and
degradation that modern man inflicts on millions of animals a year in
Britain alone, particularly through our factory- farming methods where
the proper care of living creatures is completely denied for economic
(Or, as Ruth Harrison writes in her book "Animal Madness", cruelty is
acknowledged only where profitability ceases.)
Most people, even 'non pet lovers' would be disturbed if they knew
their neighbour kept a pet dog or cat imprisoned all its life in a cage
barely larger than its own size. Yet apparently, they have no objection
to the vast business of factory farming in which animals are reared in
similar distressing and miserable conditions in order to end up as food
on our tables.
Perhaps even more distressing is the five million experiments
performed on living animals each year. This includes the blinding,
burning, poisoning, mutilation and the inflicting of electric shocks.
Many of these experiments have little scientific justification other
than that of academic routine, or for endless new industrial and
cosmetic products, and for testing the effectiveness of the latest
discoveries in biological and chemical warfare.
If one was to replace the animals in the 'Animals Film' by human
beings it would make one of the most ghastly horror films of needless
terror and torture.
After all, animals also have nervous systems that enable them like us
to feel pain, get stomach ulcers and behave neurotically if put under
Is it not time we examined our attitudes, as Catholics, to the way we
treat other species in God's creation?
As a recent convert I am dismayed by the apparent lack of any
significant concern or interest in the moral issues of animal welfare
and food production in the Church. If a being suffers how can there be
any moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into
Phillida Ball (14/5/82)
Saving animals...and saving lives
Sir, - While we welcome the discussion of the issues involving animal
experimentation and legislation in your newspaper (Westminster Week)
there were errors and misconceptions in Backbencher's article.
There is a considerable amount of research to develop alternatives to
animal experiments, much of it sponsored by small charities such as this
In testing for drug side-effects for example, one of our
grant-holders is researching the use of human red blood cells for
The thalidomide tragedy did not illustrate the necessity for animal
experiments. Thalidomide was tested extensively on animals by every
method then known, and was passed as safe for human use.
Animal tests of foetal deformities were not carried out, but even
when it was known that damage was being caused to human babies,
scientists failed to duplicate these results in animal experiments until
they had tried several different species and more than twenty different
strains of rabbit.
The moral is that the number of animal tests required to ensure
safety would be too time consuming and expensive.
Alternative techniques, not involving animals, quicker to use and
more relevant to humans, are required. This Trust is helping to develop
Finally, it is indeed the government's fault that a new Bill to
replace the 1876 Cruelty to Animals Act is unlikely to be introduced
this session, as promised.
There is absolutely no need for the government to wait for the
Council of Europe's Convention, for any country may have national
legislation more stringent than that contained in the Convention - which
is likely to be very weak.
Dr. Gill Langley - General Secretary, The Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane
A right to proper respect
Sir, - The late Cardinal Heenan wrote: "Animals have no rights, so to
speak, in their own right, but they have very positive rights because
they are God's creatures. God has the right to have all His creatures
treated with proper respect. Christians have a duty not only to refrain
from doing them harm but also to do them positive good."
On animals St Francis of Assisi taught: "Not to hurt our humble
brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We
have a higher mission to be of service to them whenever they require
Pope Paul VI loved the humble and weak and among those he loved were
the animals. He said at a general audience in October 1972: "Animals are
the smaller part of creation, but one day we shall see them again in the
mystery of Christ."
Countless numbers of well-loved saints gave their protection to
animals and birds and welcomed their companionship, taming the most
timid and the most fierce.
When God gave man dominion over the animals He intended man to
protect them and to use them with a merciful sovereignty, not a
merciless tyranny. We do not have the right to exploit them for our own
Consciences shelter behind 'respectable' fronts like medical research
and scientific testing.
In the mad rush for esteem in organ transplant surgery, doctor
scientists have produced two-headed dogs and performed head swaps on
living dogs and monkeys with the aid of life-support machines.
The nations bow down to the multi-million pound chemical, drug, meat,
milk and dairy industries and their accumulation of wealth and power.
(Mrs) G M Bender, SRN, SCM (6/8/82)
Catholic Concern for Animals:
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