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



Why a bishop said 'no' to fur

Sir, - As both an old friend of Bishop Montefiore, whom I greatly admire, and one of the "Forty-one against fur", I wonder if I might take up just one or two points in his column of 31 December.

The fact that there are many forms of cruelty surely does not mean that one can never speak out against one particular form on its own. There may be objections in principle to farming wild deer, but we do not have to mention that before pointing out the inhumanity of keeping in small cages mink which in the wild roam territories a mile or more in length.

And yes, of course, most of us are inconsistent in some way, not least as Christians. But even if we do wear leather shoes that does not make it wrong to point out the viciousness of the leghold trap.

"What is wrong with shooting rabbits or foxes?" the Bishop asks. Nothing, if it is humanely done. But you won't do it if you want the fur unspoiled. And many rabbits in this country are not humanely killed; they are snared.

What are we to use to ward off the cold in Kazan? If we can ward off the cold on the moon without fur, we certainly don't have to use it on earth.

"The Bible is in favour of wearing skins." Dear Hugh, since when have you of all people wanted us to accept every practice the Bible takes for granted?

There are a lot of folk in our country who have turned away from the churches because we seem to care nothing about animal abuse. I know Bishop Hugh is as much against cruelty as anyone. I just feel it is a shame he should have used his column to denigrate a proper human concern of many people, and one which there is plentiful evidence to justify.

John Sarum
Bishop of Salisbury

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