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



Catholic Times' debate (1998)

Greed at the Root

It is quite surprising to read, practically weekly, the tirades and rudeness from one of your journalists in 'Looking for Christ in Westminster'. I suggest it would be more in keeping with Christ's teaching if he were to look for Christ in his own heart.

Unable to stick to facts, he asks us to conjure up in our minds a scenario at the Ministry of Agriculture (December 14). For a moment let us examine the reference to farmers - normally the most conservative people you say. Who's idea is that? You would not agree if you had been on the dock sides at many English and Welsh ports. They behaved like a rabble.

The whole BSE and CJD business was started by some farmers, who were greedy and not satisfied. To use your own words, they, "abused nature by turning bovine herbivores into carnivores by feeding them polluted animal remains." These are the same, "placard waving", farmers that Graffius referred to. They were demonstrating because meat products were being imported cheaply. Farmers have every opportunity to produce food cheaply enough for us to purchase and eat with safety. Some farmers do it, others are greedy.

If there is any doubt about the safety of the food I buy, I want to know about it at once. Then I can make up my own mind.

Bernard P. Nunan

Farmers are not to blame

May I register a protest at the prominence given to the letter from Bernard P Nunan headed 'Greed at the root' (Catholic Times, January 11).

A great many farmers disagree with the the explanation, supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), that BSE was caused by contaminated feed.

The public at large were presented by MAFF with its glib reason so that they were led to believe that the outbreaks were all the fault of the farmers, without any mention of the fact that farmers have no means to identify or control the ingredients of manufactured foodstuffs.

It has not been proven that contaminated feedstuffs was the cause of BSE and there is very strong evidence that the probable cause was the use of organo-phosphate insecticide, applied along the spinal column of cattle, to combat warble fly during the '80s.

This procedure was made compulsory by MAFF who warned that some cattle might die!

They have been exceptionally quiet about treating for warble fly in recent years whereby before farmers were continually bombarded with leaflets.

Of course should this theory be proved MAFF would be most embarrassed to say the least!

Possibly this is why we hear nothing of work being done to find the real cause of the BSE outbreak.

Gemma Wright


May I correct Gemma Wright in her reply to my comments (January 11) regarding farmers and the cause of BSE. In my comments I particularly referred to some farmers, not all farmers.

I, like Gemma, am following closely the progress of scientific research into the causes. I used to enjoy a bit of British beef, when I could afford it.

Bernard P Nunan

Country folk are so smug*

I'm getting rather tired of the smug recitations of people like Rosamund Ridley, who, in the midst of professing their Catholicism, pen odes to the delights of hunting down wild animals with dogs.

Contrary to popular belief, and to reassure those readers who are not of our faith, not all Catholics condone cruelty to animals.

It's a good job that "badgers take only one" from the hen house. No doubt otherwise Rosamund would be out there doing her best to overturn the laws protecting badgers.

It's no coincidence that, as we destroy for commercial purposes, the natural land that wild animals would normally inhabit, as we rip up hedgerows, cut down woods, intensively farm and remove the natural green sources, predators like foxes come looking for other means of survival.

Humane methods exist for the control of the native fox population. But then that would leave a tiny minority of the human population without a good day out, right? Right.

To paraphrase: badgers take just one, but huntsmen seem to go berserk, leaving a horrible trail of blood and intestines.

So enjoy your nice, safe, comfortable and well-fed life in the country, Ms Ridley, and be thankful for it.

Francisca Martinez
* reply to 'Country Journal' feature in March 22 edition

We must protect planet

I read your article 'El Nino hits poor hard' (March 22), about how climate change is causing floods in some parts and droughts in others.

This is one reason we have to take care of the environment and curb pollution. Environmental care is not just about saving a tree or a lizard (although this is very important because God created them) but if we abuse our world then humans suffer.

For instance, man-made chemicals in the environment are thought to be responsible for decreasing fertility in men. If this continues at the same rate then men in industrialized countries may no longer be able to have children in 50 years' time.

Pesticides and plastics are thought to produce oestrogen mimic hormones which disrupt the human immune system and may be responsible for the large increase in prostate, breast and testicular cancers. Experts state that in 20 years' time half our population will get cancer. This was never God's intention.

Caring for the environment is very much care for humans and we fail to listen at our peril.

C Wells

We care for the country

In Francesca Martinez's letter, I was horrified to realize the extent of the ignorance of those whose ideas of the countryside are gleaned from sources obviously far away from reality.

Country folk are, on the whole, animal lovers because they know how to care and manage them. They do not, for example, like to see dogs housed in city flats.

Woodlands were planted for the purpose of hunting and without hunting the copses and other retreats for foxes (which also provide habitat for other wild animals), would become unnecessary and too costly to maintain by landowners.

It is laughable to blithely suggest that "humane methods exist for the control of foxes". What methods? Shooting? (Foxes don't stand still to allow a clean shot). Snaring? Gassing? Poisoning? As a country woman I know these alternatives are cruel.

Hunting provides a humane and effective method of keeping a healthy, well-managed and controlled fox and deer population.

I suggest that anyone seriously interested in the welfare of wild animals should stop looking at carefully edited and usually very ancient pieces of film cobbled together by the animal rights lobby and consult members of countryside organisations who really do have the welfare of animals at heart.

Mrs Joan C Franklin


Francesca Martinez (Letters, April 5) regarding Rosamund Ridley's Country Journal prompts me to reply.

I feel on occasions Ms Ridley to be rather biased, somewhat with her comments. British wildlife belongs to us all, and we humans have been entrusted with stewardship over the rest of creation. Never forget, all life is precious and the smaller the creature the more we should care.

May one remind Ms Ridley that those of us who have been privileged should remember (Luke 12:48).

Mrs E. Hodd


Thank you for the coverage given to the evil of the Abortion Act. However, I was sad to read the article by Lynette
Burrows 'Loving foxes, hating babies'. Believe me, those who engage in blood sports have no compassion for God's creatures. It is evil. I find her remarks offensive. We are not all sentimental fools because we love animals. I pity the women who have an abortion. I am sure many of them regret it.

Margaret Kelly

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