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Humane Religion Magazine

May - June 1996 Issue

FROM THE PULPIT

Right Revd. John Chandler White, Bishop, Church of God. (1946)

As a Bishop of the Church of God, I am ashamed to say that the Church as an organisation has never made any official pronouncement on the subject of the care and treatment of animals that I am able to find. I am more and more amazed as I have studied the matter to find that the Church has almost completely ignored the animal kingdom......... It is time, fully time, that all Christian people awake to the necessity of taking an active part in the fight against what I dare to call the Crime of Animal Cruelty. Everyone who loves God and animals should help bear the burden of the fight against this insidious evil.

Cardinal Heenan, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster. ( 1970)

When I was young I often heard quoted a piece of Christian philosophy which was taken as self-evidently true. It was the proposition that animals have no rights...But they have very positive rights because they are Godís creatures. If we have to speak with absolute accuracy we must say that God has the right to have all his creatures treated with proper respect. Nobody should therefore carelessly repeat the old saying that animals have no rights...Christians have a duty not only to refrain from doing harm but also to do positive good.

National Assembly of the Church of England. (1970)

The Church Assembly is of the opinion that the practices of hare-coursing, deer-hunting, and otter-hunting are cruel, unjustifiable and degrading, and urges Christian people in the light of their Christian profession and responsibility to make plain their opposition to activities of this sort and their determination to do all in their power to secure their speedy abolition.

Dr. Donald Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury. (1977)

I am happy to follow the lead given to the Church some 150 years ago by the London vicar who called the meeting in 1824, which led to the Societyís [RSPCA] foundation and who was subsequently its Secretary for a number of years. There have always been and still are many Churchmen, both lay and ordained, who have seen it as part of their Christian profession to work for animal welfare. I want to offer my support to the RSPCA [Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] because without their constant vigilance and devoted work the level of unnecessary animal suffering in this country would be so much higher. Animals, as part of Godís creation, have rights which must be respected. It behoves us always to be sensitive to their needs and to the reality of their pain. #

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