The plight of animals is a legitimate concern for the Anglican Church and goes hand in hand with care for creation, to which the Church is committed.
There is now a growing number of people who will fight for the animals until they achieve the changes to give animals a decent life.
Find out more about Animal Welfare in the Anglican Church:
Support from the Rev’d Professor Andrew Linzey, Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics Congratulations to the Bishop and the Diocese. It was Archbishop Robert Runcie who said that in the light of the “interdependence of creation”, exclusive preoccupation with human welfare is increasingly parochial. So glad that the Newcastle Diocese is pioneering attempts to put animal welfare on the Christian agenda. The Revd Professor Andrew Linzey Director, Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics
The inspirational and insightful words of many famous people encourage us to do all we can for those who have no voice to change the horror of their lives. Here is a small selection:
- St Francis of Assisi 1181-1226 Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission – to be of service to them whenever they require it.
- The Rt. Rev’d Austin Baker, Bishop of Salisbury, 1982-93, is a Patron of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals. It is in the battery shed that we find the parallel with Auschwitz….To shut your mind, heart and imagination to the sufferings of others is to begin slowly, but inexorably, to die. Those Christians who close their minds and hearts to the cause of animal welfare, and the evils it seeks to combat, are ignoring the fundamental spiritual teachings of Christ himself.
- The Rev’d Professor Andrew Linzey, Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. What rational grounds have we for supposing that animal suffering is not as important for the animals as human suffering is for humans?
- Andrew Linzey, Animal Gospel, Westminster John Knox Press, 1999. “Animals are God’s creatures, not human property, nor utilities nor resources nor commodities, but precious beings in God’s sight…..Christians whose eyes are fixed on the awfulness of crucifixion are in a special position to understand the awfulness of innocent suffering. The cross of Christ is God’s absolute identification with the weak, the powerless and the vulnerable, but most of all with unprotected, undefended innocent suffering.”
- Cardinal Newman 1801-90 Now what is it that moves our very heart, and sickens us so much as the cruelty shown to poor brutes? I suppose this: that they have done us no harm: next, that they have no power whatsoever of resistance; it is the cowardice and tyranny of which they are the victims which makes their sufferings so especially touching …. There is something so very dreadful, so Satanic, in tormenting those who have never harmed us, and who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power.
- Albert Schweitzer Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to humankind.
- George Bernard Shaw The biggest threat to animals is not that we hate them, but that we are indifferent. That’s the essence of inhumanity.
- Professor Peter Singer All the arguments to prove man’s superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering, animals are our equals.
- Jane Goodall, D.B.E. Only when we understand, can we care. Only when we care, can we help. Only when we help, shall they be saved.
Important Christian voices speaking up for Animals
Pope Francis, in his recent message to the world, Catholic or not, recognises that our treatment of animals and the environment reflects our treatment of each other. He appeals for change beyond the influence of the church: “I wish to address every person on this planet.” He speaks of our lack of care for our home – the earth – and our disregard for the creatures who share it with us. The message of particular relevance to animal advocates and to us all, is “To every person on Earth:: be kind to animals.”
Anti-Apartheid icon and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has called for the world to fight injustice to animals in the same way as it fights injustice to blacks, women and homosexuals.
In a Press Release by the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics on 28 December
2013 (see below), Archbishop Tutu is quoted as saying:
“I have spent my life fighting discrimination and injustice, whether the victims are blacks, women, or gays and lesbians. No human being should be the target of prejudice or the object of vilification or be denied his or her basic rights.
“But there are other issues of justice – not only for human beings but also for the world’s other sentient creatures. The matter of the abuse and cruelty we inflict on other animals has to fight for our attention in what sometimes seems an already overfull moral agenda. It is vital, however, that these instances of injustice not be overlooked.
“I have seen firsthand how injustice gets overlooked when the victims are powerless or vulnerable, when they have no one to speak up for them and no means of representing themselves to a higher authority. Animals are in precisely that position. Unless we are mindful of their interests and speak out loudly on their behalf, abuse and cruelty goes unchallenged.”
He adds: “Churches should lead the way by making clear that all cruelty – to other animals as well as human beings – is an affront to civilized living and a sin before God.”
Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals The mission of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals is to promote within the Anglican Church and wider human community thankful awareness of God’s animal creation and practical and prayerful concern for its well being.
Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics The Director, the Rev’d Professor Andrew Linzey describes the centre as a theological and ethical think tank on animals.
RSPCA Aims to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection.
Animals Australia The peak body for 40 animal-related organisations in Australia.
Voiceless The Australian organisation, Voiceless will work to promote respect and compassion for animals, to increase awareness of the conditions in which they live and to take action to protect animals from suffering. Voiceless is particularly active in education of the young, in encouraging ethical corporate practices and is a leader in promoting animal law.
Compassion in World Farming The world’s foremost organisation working to improve the lives of farm animals. This site gives an overview of their work plus trends and developments in Europe and of international significance. In particular, the news archive will allow you to focus on Australian concerns.
World Animal Protection World Animal Protection exists for the sole purpose of raising the standards of animal welfare throughout the world. This organisation works in co-operation withwith over 600 member organisations in more than 135 countries.
Quaker Concern for Animals in Britain has had an unbroken link with The Religious Society of Friends since 1891. We seek to extend our testimony to peace and justice to include our fellow species, God’s creatures too. We value our work with likeminded people of all faiths and none, worldwide.
Animals’ Angels Animals’ Angels was founded in 1998 by Christa Blanke, an ordained minister. The headquarters of the organisation are based in Frankfurt, Germany. Animals’ Angels’ charter in Australia is to monitor activities relevant to the transport and treatment of animals used for commercial purposes, primarily sheep and cattle. Representatives attend sale yards; observe short and long distance transport and live animal export from saleyard to port, to ensure compliance with relevant laws, codes of practise and regulations and to report non-compliance to relevant authorities. Over the last 10 years Animals’ Angels have submitted many reports and complaints to both Federal and State Governments, not only to have incidents investigated but more importantly, to raise awareness and press for meaningful enforcement of legislation.
In 2011 Christa Blanke wrote a book, “With the Eyes of Love”. In this she describes the experiences of the Animals’ Angels as they go about their work. The “Angels” do their best to alleviate the suffering of the animals as they are transported around the world. Sometimes improvements can be made for them and regulations insisted upon. Sometimes it can only be a gentle touch or calming words.
An extract from With the Eyes of Love can be found at the end of this page.
The Humane Society of the United States seeks a humane and sustainable world for all animals, and is calling on all people of faith, as a reflection of compassion and mercy, to take a stand for animals. HSUS is concerned for all animals and their wide-ranging website contains a wealth of information. The organisation produces a monthly online newsletter – The Humane Steward – and you can sign up to receive it.
Mark Pearson, elected to the Upper House of the NSW State Parliament in the April election, is losing no time in getting down to work. He has visited China regarding kangaroos, as that country is considering importation of kangaroo meat. There are many problems associated with the killing, storage and transport of these wild animals. Another issue Mark is working on is the Government investigation into the breeding of companion animals in puppy farms.
Live Exports Due to mounting concern within Australia and internationally about the suffering and cruelty to sheep and cattle exported live from Australia, particularly to the Middle East and Indonesia, a global coalition has been formed, led by the World Society for the Protection of Animals. Among the many groups supporting the campaign, the aim of which is to slaughter on home soil and export only chilled and frozen meat, are Compassion in World Farming, Animals Australia and RSPCA Australia. To learn more visit email@example.com and www.animalsaustralia.org.
Help with the cost of spay/neutering of pets Hunter Animal Watch provides financial help to pensioners and unemployed pet owners for pet desexing. If this service would help you, or someone you know, please ring the Hunter Animal Watch shop, 139A Beaumont Street, Hamilton, Monday to Friday between 10am and 3pm. Tel: 49 616133.
An extract from “With the Eyes of Love: we are there with the animals. Dispatches from the front line”
The following passage is from the Rev’d Christa Blanke’s book, “With the Eyes of Love: we are there with the animals. Dispatches from the front line” (2011, Animals’ Angels Press, Frankfurt) and is printed with Christa’s permission. Christa notes that all the events in the book are described just as they occurred, in the places named and between 1996 and 2011.
The bay had immediately caught Marrianne’s eye.
At the resting station in Hungary.
A heavy workhouse.
A white blaze on his brow.
Alert, intelligent eyes.
Marianne had made friends with him.
At the resting station in Hungary.
She encounters him again in a stable
at a slaughterhouse in southern Italy.
His head against the wall,
tied up far too tight,
he stands there.
One in a row of fifteen horses.
Marianne hides behind a pillar.
But he’s already spotted her.
A big hoof stamps on the concrete floor.
Cool to me!
Marianne stays behind the pillar.
The bay stamps again:
Come to me, I need you!
Marianne goes to him.
He nestles his creamy-white muzzle in her hand.
Marianne looks at him with the eyes of love.
It’s all she can do for him.
On this last day of his life.
This page is the responsibility of Olga Parkes – a Christian and animal advocate.
For information on animal issues please contact her on(02) 49 521358 firstname.lastname@example.org
Olga Parkes is the Australian representative of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals.