Hello to everyone at All-creatures.org,
I am a resident in the UK who became aware of the plight of Bill and Lou through the Care 2 site and after hunting around for further information discovered your wonderful little site. It makes great reading even for those of us who do not follow any organised religion. After reading your action page I decided to email Provost Throop and would like to share the message I sent with you. Incidentally, I wonder if it might be possible to use the forthcoming Thanksgiving celebrations to further plead for clemency for Bill and Lou.
Dear Provost Throop,
In two weeks time, your nation will celebrate Thanksgiving and as your President traditionally pardons a turkey, I am asking you to pardon your oxen, Bill and Lou, and allow them the chance to live out their lives in peace at the sanctuary offering them a home.
I am asking you to show mercy, and mercy has a very important function. I have read and understood your arguments about sustainability and your belief that your values stand in stark contrast to that of big agribusiness. But the trouble with humans is that we tend to challenge one standard model only to create another one that is just as inflexible. It is mercy, empathy and compassion that allows us think out of the box and challenge dogma.
It was dogma that insisted the only sustainable economic system for the southern United States should be based on slavery. It was dogma in my country that supported child labour and suppressed the rights of women and the poor. Our capacity for mercy and compassion changed these views. We thought out of the box.
I see your website states that you encourage your students to “make connections across disciplines, to explore problems from multiple viewpoints,” That’s good, so why does Philip Ackerman-Leist describe people concerned about Bill and Lou’s fate, as outsiders “telling us how to make decisions for our community and foodshed”? If you will not allow criticism of your own philosophy and practices, on what basis can you challenge the abuses of the big agribusiness that you profess to deplore? He caricatures those calling for mercy as “those with the biggest voice, the most money, or partial facts to make decisions for entire communities to which they have no connection?” Yet most of us have no power, no money and are speaking out of compassion for those even more powerless. We do have a connection to you. Indeed, the concept of sustainability is meaningless without recognizing that we are all connected to one another.
One of my fellow countrymen once said that mercy is “… an attribute to
God himself; And earthly power doth then show likest God’s when mercy
seasons justice.” Think out of the box this Thanksgiving. Show
mercy to two creatures who served you well. Go forward with compassion
and you won’t be alone as many of us will walk with you.
Reply from Frank and Mary Hoffman
Thank you very much for writing to us and for sending a copy of the excellent letter you write.
In the Love of the Lord,
Frank and Mary