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



'The Universe' - letters (1986)

  1. 'Don't degrade animals' - (Mrs) A. Spikker (17/1/86)
  2. No to circus acts - May Tripp  (31/1/86)
  3. End profit in pain - D.A. Freeman (31/1/86) 
  4. Moral obligation to train animals - Jim MacNamee (7/2/86)
  5. A need to exploit - Name and address supplied (7/2/86) 
  6. Taking positive action - (Mrs) S. Skelt (14/2/86)
  7. Animals do have rights - (Mrs) Patricia Eyre (21/2/86)
  8. No Tests - (Mrs) Nora Bassy (2/5/86)
  9. Flippant on frogs - Bridget Murphy (31/10/86)

'Don't degrade animals'

I was appalled, sickened and disgusted at your front page photograph of the Orfei Circus animals in St. Peter's Square - to give such publicity to such a degrading trade.

I would have hoped that the Pope would have made a plea on behalf of these animals who suffer such cruelty in their training and their captivity.

It seems that Catholic countries excel in their cruelty to animals - Spain, with its bullring, the conditions of horses, etc. exported from Ireland which had so much publicity, several years ago; and now we see the Pope giving his blessing, and apparent approval of the use and degradation of animals in this way.

There must be many Catholics who feel the same abhorrence.

(Mrs) A. Spikker (17/1/86)

No to circus acts

I should like to support Mrs A. Spikker in her view that cruelty to animals is to be deplored, and that all Christians should be thinking hard and long about their responsibility as stewards of God's creation.

Cruelty of any kind is incompatible with Our Lord's teachings of love. Love is indivisible, and cruelty towards any sentient creature is a breach of love.

It is unlikely, however, that John Paul ll, in blessing circus animals is in any way expressing approval of the cruelties and indignities to which they are subjected.

The Pope is quoted, on another occasion, as saying: "It is necessary and urgent that, following the example of the poor man (St Francis), one decides to abandon inconsiderate forms of domination, capture and custody with respect to all creatures."

Until the general public stops supporting circuses which include animal acts, there will be such animals in need of blessing.

May Tripp  (31/1/86)
Animal Christian Concern

End profit in pain

I wholeheartedly support the plea of your correspondent for kindness to animals, so much at the mercy of human beings.

In their varying degrees of intelligence, animals show love, loyalty and unquestioning obedience to man. And how are they rewarded? Often with cruelty - exploited for profit without considering that they are sentient creatures capable of feeling heat and cold, exhaustion and blows, but incapable of protest.

Consider factory farming, battery hens, overladen donkeys sweltering and weary under a tropical sun. Imagine the plight of sheep, cattle and horses packed into trucks and exported sometimes days without water; badger baiting; cruel experiments, often without anaesthetics. The list is endless.

Please spare a thought for all these suffering creatures. God's creation, and loved by him. Raise a voice in protest. If only people would purchase cosmetics labelled "produced without cruelty to animals" much unnecessary suffering would be prevented.

D.A. Freeman (31/1/86)

Moral obligation to train animals

There was a letter in your paper (Jan 17) complaining about the training of circus animals, and there have also been a number of letters lately in The Irish Catholic condemning the use of hares for coursing in open fields.

There are two fundamental points of morality in this matter. Firstly, God gave Man lordship of the material universe and animals are intended for Man's use. Secondly, man must have due regard for his own dignity as overlord of the animal kingdom, and not degrade himself by being cruel to animals.

There is no immorality in permitting or even employing pain in the training or working of animals, provided one does not behave irrationally.

It is the unreasonable extremes which are wrong, namely, exalting the status of animals to equality with human beings on the one hand, and, on the other, indulging in a wanton cruelty to animals. The reason why these two extremes are wrong is that both are degrading to the person practising them.

My wife is personally acquainted with the Orfei family, whose circus was featured being blessed by the Pope, and she vouches for the fact that the circus animals are actually treated with the utmost kindness.

Jim MacNamee (7/2/86)

A need to exploit

People who complain about the mistreatment of animals (January 31) should try and distinguish between wanton cruelty and necessary exploitation.

For example: the reference to "overladen donkeys, sweltering and weary under a tropical sun" merely shows that the writer has given no thought to vast areas of the world where in order to move their produce that is their sole means of support, people must put the stuff on the back of a donkey.

They can't just pop down the road and buy a truck.

Isn't it better to feed people first and think about the animals second? It's pretty pointless talking about the sanctity of human life otherwise.

We talk about places in the world where people are treated little better than animals. One of the reasons is that well-meaning people interfere in things that they don't seem to want to understand.

Name and address supplied (7/2/86)

Taking positive action

With reference to recent letters protesting against cruelty to animals, could I suggest that your readers take positive action and join a society such as the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

It was chiefly responsible for persuading EEC Ministers to ban the import of seal pelts from Canada and is hoping that a law will be passed in the Philippines General Assembly to prohibit the slaughter of dogs.

(Mrs) S. Skelt (14/2/86)

Animals do have rights

What smug letters about "A moral obligation to train animals" and "A need to exploit".

Once again the old argument that it is impossible to have a real love and concern for animals without lacking care for the human race seems to have surfaced.

What a cruel philosophy to say that it is morally right to inflict pain on animals in training or working, and how very presumptuous. I wonder what St Francis would have had to say about it.

There is room in our hearts for love of all God's creatures, and in this very violent world in which we live concern for anything weaker than ourselves can be nothing but praiseworthy.

So come on all you fellow animal lovers - don't be afraid to stand up and be counted.

(Mrs) Patricia Eyre (21/2/86)

No Tests

I read with keen interest, the articles in your paper, portraying the practical love of animals shown by Bishop Agnellus Andrew.

The piteous cries of the laboratory animal does not fall on deaf ears as far as he is concerned, and I for one hope that he will continue to speak out on this subject.

(Mrs) Nora Bassy (2/5/86)

See Article:

Flippant on frogs

I object to the flippant headline - "Hopping Mad" - on Backbencher's (August 29) Surgery regarding the cruel process involved in producing the dish, frogs legs.

The Church already has a poor reputation in its stance about animals, without adding to it. It is about time that we Christians addressed ourselves to the animal question - after all, we acknowledge the animal kingdom as part of God's creation.

Bridget Murphy (31/10/86)

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