Ben DeVries of Not One Sparrow flagged up this wonderful resource the other day, and I thought I'd share it with you all. It's a site that catalogues thousands of quotes about animal welfare and features a wealth of interesting perspectives about vegetariansm from all different faiths and philosophical backgrounds:
I only intended to spend a few minutes browsing through the quotes, but ended up reading it for hours! It occurred to me just what a wonderful tradition we have inherited as Christians, since so many theologians and important figures in the Christian faith before us have also seen compassion towards God's creatures as an innate part of what it means to be loving, merciful, and Christ-like. Check out the site and please feel free to comment on this post and share any quotes that particularly speak to you.
I also found a site for a documentary film made about people who used to work in the farming industry but experienced an incredible change of heart and are now passionate about animal welfare. What's really interesting about this documentary is that rather than focusing on the mass cruelty of factory farming, as most animal welfare films do, this documentary features people who try to farm 'ethically' and compassionately, and reveals the way in which they still find that it requires them to do things that go against their conscience and instinctive desire to act kindly towards their fellow creatures.
You can watch the trailer (which is all I've been able to see too, since it has yet to be screened in the UK) here:
Has anyone seen it? I'd love to hear from you!
The injustice of animal cruelty in our society is not only that it happens, but that it happens unchallenged, particularly with regards to the mass scale cruelty of factory farming. If one animal is being treated cruelly, people respond with outrage, and no one would dare defend such behaviour. But when it's millions of animals, people often shut-down emotionally, and argue that it is 'natural' (!) or 'just the way things are'. In this scenario it seems an animal stops being an individual, with thoughts and emotions, and becomes a cog in machine made to serve human appetite. This is the battle we face: to not only end animal suffering at the hands of human beings, but to get this suffering acknowledged in the first place.
'If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.'
St. Francis of Assisi.
Indeed, how we treat those that are weakest and most vulnerable reveals a great deal about ourselves.