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


'Catholic Herald' debate (1983)Letters

How the Church fails its duty to animals

Friends and I were almost shattered by surprise at the inclusion of letters from Sr Francis and Margaret Moloney, May 6, protesting at the unnecessary cruelty to animals practised by Christians (?) in what some believe to be a Christian country.

In Cambridgeshire there are 23 centres where greedy, curiosity-ridden so-called scientists constantly find reasons for ever more experiments on animals.

One meets sympathy and tolerance from C of E clergy but from the two of many Catholic churches in Cambridge nothing but a blank wall of indifference. The actions of "our" clergy would influence us more than their prayers.

Eleanor Gaetyene

How surprised I was to open the Catholic Herald and read those letters about animals. Letters from Sr Francis and Margaret Maloney. A heartfelt thanks goes out to them and from my friends as well.

In Cambridge there is a nest of laboratories in which animal experiments are carried out. Terrible suffering is going on. I say, like many others, pass the word around, let the people know what is going on.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for printing those letters but the Church is not interested.

Kathleen Wright

I was appalled to read Sr Francis, May 6, and dismayed by a world day of prayer for laboratory animals.

Man is made in God's image and he has predestined us for eternal life with Him and His angels in heaven. This he has not done for animals, plants, fungi, bacteria or viruses.

Research on animals is essential for the advancement of knowledge. How would we have found out, for example, about the physiology of the circulation and the effect of various chemicals on the heart if it had not been for experimentation on cats and rabbits.

It is essential to test drugs and vaccines for safety.

To suggest, as Margaret Moloney seems to, May 6, that "as good and better results can be obtained without using animals" is nothing short of deception.

I would agree that tissue cultures should be used before animals to weed out those compounds which have gross metabolic side effects, but how can one hope to detect side effects such as glaucoma or nerve damage with a tissue culture?

Sr Francis mentioned the Thalidomide disaster. The only thing that this suggests to me is that we might be safer testing all drugs on pregnant rabbits, or (better) chimpanzees before licensing them.

Research on animals is essential for the testing of other compounds. Is there not a need for testing of washing powders, weedkillers and shampoos? I would feel much happier giving a child a shampoo if I knew that it had been previously tested on animals, than to have children possibly blinded.

I tend to agree with the argument against cosmetics, but then, not being a woman I don't use them. There are, however, occasions when they are useful to hide an unsightful birth mark for example, and what about the use of cosmetics on stage, could these not be tested for safety?

Some people (over sentimental to my way of thinking) regard the sacrifice of these animals as too high a price to pay for the benefit involved. Let them abjure the use of cosmetics, agricultural advancements, soaps and all vaccines and drugs, including paracetamol for headache. Let them leave me free to use them - and to continue to treat patients (none of whom has ever refused treatment for this reason).

Sr Francis tries to bring religion into the argument. I wonder what Christ would have said. Would He have been opposed to the killing of animals if it had led to an improvement in the quality of life for the human race. He came to save. We know he was no vegetarian.

As for a day of prayer for laboratory animals. I thank God for the thousands of animals which have died in the development of drugs. Anti vivisectionists have no right to delay such treatment.

Dr F Haine

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