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

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'Catholic Herald' debate (1983)Letters

Thin dividing line of cruelty and compassion

I have read with interest the correspondence relating to animal welfare. Thank goodness this issue is being courageously ventilated.

All life is created and held in being by an unchanging God, and no species namely human beings - also members of the Animal kingdom, albeit differently endowed - has the right to inflict pain and suffering on other living creatures in order to further its own objectives. Particularly reprehensible is the infliction of pain and suffering in experiments, whose real end is the achievement of commercial advantage and monetary gain by industrial and other "research" establishments.

Modern drugs are notorious for their production of iatrogenic disease - hardly an enhancement of the "quality of human life"; neither is the use of animals for research into more effective nuclear weapons, their storage, bacteriological warfare etc., in fact rather the reverse, since by holding these weapons one dices with total destruction of all life.

As a former medical practitioner, I was appalled that a man, presumably committed to the alleviation of pain and suffering in one species of life, could dare to thank God for the pain and suffering inflicted on other living creatures, especially as the result of such experiments are known to be very often misleading when applied to human beings.

One can only hope that inadequate information and ignorance of the type of experiments being repeatedly carried out lay behind the statement.

It is a sad and terrifying thing to contemplate how narrow is the dividing line between cruelty to animals and cruelty to other defenceless and helpless beings in the name of "research and progress". Belsen and other such camps have shown this only too clearly.

It is high time Christians stood up to be counted in defence of the defenceless and put a stop to this evil.

Sr Michael Shaw, OSB
(Kathleen J C Shaw, MB, ChB, DCH, DPH)
Former Principal Medical Officer - Cheshire Health Dept.
(17/6/83)


I am not enthusiastic about cosmetics, but whilst our wives and daughters use them, I should much prefer that they are properly tested, and if that requires animals then so be it.

The idea of the animal kingdom in the minds of the animal lobbies is more akin to the fluffy toys in a child's nursery than the real drama emanating from the mind of God.

Animals do not die in warm beds, dosed up with pain killers and fortified by the rights of the Holy Church, they die from cold and exposure, starvation and weakness, trapped in webs, untreated wounds, falling from nests, torn apart by predators.

God is the author of the order of creation. Man's contribution to animals' suffering is both late and at worst insignificant, at best infinitesimal.

There may be good reasons to put legal restraint on man's use of animals - man, demeans his own dignity when he is indifferent to the suffering that he causes.

G E Moorehouse
(17/6/83)


I thank sincerely all my very many friends who have supported me in both word and deed in my work to bring an end the wicked abuse of tortured animals in laboratories. I especially thank all the children (so close to God our Father) who have written me some very moving letters and sent me photographs of their loved animals. I pray daily for each of you and for all of those who like myself are working daily to end this evil abuse of God's creatures.

Sr Francis
Talacre Abbey
(17/6/83)


Abstaining from blood was not, as Mr Gem incorrectly states (June 3), a mere dietary regulation. Such conduct involved a moral principle: blood represented life that was from God (Gen 9:3,4).

It is noteworthy that God went on to say that, although an animal could be killed for food, man could not be.

Hence, if animal blood representing life was to be viewed as sacred and not to be taken in to sustain life, obviously human life and blood were to be viewed and treated as even more sacred.

Denis Ward
(17/6/83)

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