The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
Letters and Responses
A church near here is raising funds by hosting the Cole Bros. circus on church property. Cole Bros. uses elephants and has a long list of USDA violations. A fellow activist and I met with the church administrator for an hour and explained the cruelty of animal circuses to him and supplied him with abundant documentation of that cruelty.
They decided to have the circus anyway, and in subsequent communications to the church, they seem very unrepentant about it. A bunch of us will be protesting in front of the church for the duration of circus, starting tonight and going through Sunday. On Saturday, there will also be pony rides.
I found out they have a page on their web site where anyone can submit a prayer request. The page says that church personnel will pray immediately according to our requests. Here's what I submitted.
I pray that people make kind choices.
I pray that people show mercy and compassion to all creatures who may benefit from our kindness and who may suffer from our callous indifference.
I pray that people choose Cirque de Soleil over animal circuses in which elephants are torn from their families, "trained" (intimidated) with sharp, painful bull hooks, and confined to outrageously small spaces for the majority of their lives.
I pray that people will try products such as "Smart BBQ" instead paying for a slaughterhouse worker to beat a 'non-cooperating" pig with a metal pipe (as documented in the book Slaughterhouse by Gail Eisnitz.
I pray that people will try frozen veggie chicken patties and veggie chicken options at Asian restaurants instead of eating the flesh of chickens who have been engineered to grow so rapidly that they suffer painful chronic joint problems and sometimes die of heart attacks when only a few weeks old.
I pray that people cook a wonderful array of vegetarian (non-animal) dishes at Thanksgiving, instead of eating the carcass of a turkey who was bred to be painfully top-heavy and who was killed at only 14 weeks old.
I pray that people pour soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, oat milk, or hemp milk over their cereal instead of buying cow's milk, so that we do not support an industry that tears two-day old calves away from their mothers.
I pray that people try tofu scramble, to save male chicks at hen hatcheries from being ground up alive because they are worthless to the egg industry.
I pray that we show our strength by lifting the tiny earthworm back onto the dirt.
I pray that our stewardship of the earth is a dominion of love, in which we humbly take care of God's magnificent Creation.
I pray that we widen our circle of compassion. I pray that we sacrifice on behalf of all who are less powerful and privileged than us. I pray that we rid ourselves of an entitlement mentality that compels us to exploit both humans and nonhumans.
I pray that we think twice about purchasing material goods from stores that may have used sweatshop labor. I pray that we think twice before putting chemicals on our lawn that will end up in the Chesapeake Bay and destroy marine life. I pray that we ease up on trying to control nature and cultivate an appreciation for the earth and its inhabitants.
I pray that we keep in mind that on the Sabbath, animals in factory farms, circuses, and fur operations get no true rest, as mandated by God.
I pray that people have empathy for the pony whose days consist of walking in circles so people can ride him.
I pray that churches condemn cruelty in all its forms.
I pray for peace to all living beings.
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