The Fellowship of Life
Over-grazing in Africa
The African people need to pen their livestock until the existing
grasses fully recover. Otherwise the desert is going to rapidly increase
and extend further southward, which it is already doing at a frightening
In Biblical days the Negeb, like our Lake District, was a vast mixed
forest but is now uninhabited even by Nomads! The same thing will happen
to areas of Africa if the appropriate action is not taken.
Cruelty on the farm
I have been reading about the Animal Welfare Council,
(7th June). I have been a farmer all my life.
With regard to animals in markets it must be appreciated that cattle
drovers have a very difficult job. It is a task sorting cattle out when
they have been grouped together in pens. What would improve the
situation would be some large pens or many smaller pens so that each
farmer's animals could be penned separately.
Regarding using sticks, a man could not handle stock without one, yet
there is no need to use it unnecessarily.
In the previous issue hens in cages, calves on slats, and sows in
crates were mentioned. I kept hens in cages years ago; they seemed very
happy. Although it does deprive a hen of freedom, and of scratching;
hens love to scratch for their food.
As regards artificial food, these foods have been tested and proved,
otherwise calves would not grow fat on them.
But keeping sows in stalls is cruel and needs to be stamped out
immediately. A sow in a stall has no room to move. In the summer time
they get covered in flies, yet can do nothing about it. I would not keep
pigs in this state. It is by far the most cruel thing I've seen with
regards to farm animals.
See Article: PEN POWER: Slow torture down on the
I think it is time Christians woke up to the effect
their apathy in the matter of gross cruelty to animals is having on many
of our caring, compassionate young people.
I wonder too, how many of our missionaries tell converts that it is
not God's will that his creatures should suffer at the hands of man in
the way they do. One hears horror stories coming from South Korea (where
there has been revival) of cats being boiled alive for food, and from
the Philippines of dogs having their legs broken and tied behind their
necks, before their throats are cut and they are killed for food.
It seems that the world is more concerned about these things than the
According to reports it would seem that our own country is not far
behind, for while we have the RSPCA to keep an eye on 'the man in the
street', we hear of much legalised cruelty behind closed doors in
laboratories and on factory farms and also in our inner cities, where
little kittens and puppies are sent down chutes as rubbish while still
The list is endless - but the church keeps silent, except for a few
individuals who are dubbed as cranks!
Apathy on animals
As a Christian and a member of the RSPCA I heartily
agree with Irene Hughes who writes in Your Letters (11th October).
I rarely hear church people protesting about animal cruelty. I have
leaflets from Compassion In World Farming and tried to interest a local
vicar in the subject but I might as well have talked to a wooden horse.
A lot of people who make no profession of Christianity have far more
Animals are like children - defenceless against cruelty. If
professing Christians refused to buy frozen chickens, turkeys and
battery eggs, and bacon from pigs who are chained in factory farms it
would be a stand against cruelty.
Save the badgers
Over the past ten years some 25,000 badgers have been
put to death by the Ministry of Agriculture, despite the fact they are
legally protected mammals.
The Ministry's claim that badgers give cattle Bovine Tuberculosis has
never been scientifically proved and, indeed, expert opinion now
contradicts this belief. The Ministry's own figures show that over 90
per cent of badgers killed were perfectly healthy and the remainder
would have developed a natural immunity if left alone.
In the past, pressure from the public has led to the end of wholesale
badger-gassing in favour of live-trapping and shooting, to the end of
badger-killing away from infected farms and to the abandonment of plans
to kill mother badgers nursing young.
May we now plead with your readers to help us to bring an end to all
badger slaughter by the Ministry of Agriculture. Can we ask them to
write as soon as possible to the Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street ,
London SW, and to their own MP at the House of Commons, London SW,
asking that no more badgers die at the hands of Her Majesty's
We would like to congratulate Irene Hughes, Gloria Hart
and Eleanor Flyde for raising issues relating to animal rights in your
The Church in recent years has taken a commendable stand in defending
human rights, but sadly there has been little attempt to defend animal
Christians wishing to find out more may contact the British Union for
the Abolition of Vivisection at....
Eleanor Flyde is perhaps too harsh in her condemnation
of Christians ('Apathy on animals' - 8th November).
While it is true that far too many church people are apathetic or
even hostile to the cause of animal welfare/rights, others are working
wholeheartedly to increase Christian awareness of the issues involved.
There are organisations such as Animal Christian Concern, The
Christian Consultative Council for Animal Welfare, The Anglican Society
for Animal Welfare and Quaker Concern for Animal Welfare which are
actively working within the Christian community.
Individual members of the clergy are also taking action. For example,
on 28th September the Vicar of North Weald, held a day of concern for
animals at his church.
If only all Christians would take note of the words of the Bishop of
Salisbury, the Right Rev John Austin Baker, spoken during his sermon in
Salisbury Cathedral on 4th October 1986: "Saddest of all, most terrible
of all fates surely, is to have lost that sense of the holiness of life
altogether, to be so unaware of the true nature of the creatures with
which we are dealing that we commit the blasphemy, the sacrilege of
bringing thousands of lives to a cruel and terrifying death, or of
making those lives a living death - and feel nothing."
Reproduced with thanks.
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