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



'Church Times' debate (1984)

Animals: 'day of concern' (19/4/84)

Sir, - Following Ruth Perry's welcome letter (April 6), with which I so fully agree, may I tell (or perhaps remind) your readers of the "day of concern for laboratory animals" that has been called on Tuesday, April 24, by various animal welfare organisations.

The animals who live and die in our research laboratories are of many species and can be numbered in millions. Their treatment and the manner in which they die is becoming a matter of growing concern with the general public, not least because news of what is happening reaches us so spasmodically.

The shooting of animals to test new weapons hit the headlines recently, but such experiments would not by any means appear to be extraordinary. Those that perform experiments on animals that involve acute stress or grievous pain claim that they are necessary for the protection of our health and vital for our general well-being. They justify the sad lives and painful deaths of so many animals while in the care of humans as proper sacrifices to be made on the altar of human progress and prosperity.

I am sure that there is good cause for searching of heart here, and that this whole matter is one worthy of regular prayer to God for his guidance and, if need be, for his correction. It is also, I believe, a matter about which the general public have a right to know the fullest details, for what is done in these research laboratories is ostensibly done in their interest.

Such matters should be made public, like balance-sheets, because they show the full cost of what is being produced. The truth is, however, that, wherever possible, they are kept very secret. They are, I believe, a proper subject for a commission of enquiry; and it would be appropriate if the General Synod were to urge the Government to set up such a commission.

I would like to suggest that April 24 be kept in our churches as a "day of prayer for laboratory animals and the scientists who experiment on them." Ruth Perry has said, it is sad that churchgoers are not obvious leaders in this matter of animal welfare; but let us at least be followers.

P.D.S. Blake,
Hartfield Rectory,
East Sussex

Go on to Welfare of Animals (27/4/84) - Mrs. Margaret D. Boxwell
Return to 'Church Times' debate - 1984

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