'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
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
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
There is no immorality in permitting or even employing pain in the
training or working of animals, provided one does not behave
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
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.
A need to exploit
People who complain about the mistreatment of animals (January 31)
should try and distinguish between wanton cruelty and necessary
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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