Please Remember Animals in you Christmas Prayers

prayer-circleJoin up with an international interfaith movement that meditates on compassion for all living beings and prays for animals with ‘Prayer Circle for Animals’.

It is particularly important that we remember animals in our prayers at Christmas time, when so many are slaughtered for the Christmas celebrations.  To share prayers with like-minded people around world please visit:

http://www.circleofcompassion.org/prayers.html

Compassion Encircles the Earth for all Beings.

May All Beings be Free.

Animal Memorial Christmas Tree

aa-tree-1When Rev. Christa Blanke asked me if I would like to decorate a tree for Christmas with her photos of some of the animals from her ‘Animal Memorial’ I felt tremendously honoured and humbled.

Rev. Christa Blanke is the founder of Animals Angels, a European organisation which works tirelessly to follow long distance transport vehicles across the continent to provide comfort to suffering animals on their last, cruel journeys to slaughter and also to monitor them and collect evidence to enable authorities to enforce EU transport legislation.  They also campaign to end long distance transport.

Animals Angels have built up a new website Animal Memorial at:

http://www.animalmemorial.org

Christa has decorated her own tree in Edinburgh and Sam from the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals (ASWA) is also decorating a tree on behalf of ASWA.  We decorated this tree on behalf of the Animal Interfaith Alliance (AIA) and Catholic Concern for Animals (CCA).  I am most grateful to AIA Patron and CCA Scientific Advisor, Dr Richard Ryder for kindly allowing us to use a tree in his arboretum on Dartmoor and for helping to decorate the tree.

JOURNEYS OF COMPASSION – an Anthology of Quaker Quotes

journeyscover

JOURNEYS OF COMPASSION, an anthology of Quaker quotes, poetry, art works and actions, marks a remarkable 125-year journey of Quaker Concern for Animals. It includes Quaker Quotations on Animals, an anthology from the time of George Fox to the present day, compiled and published by the Committee of QCA in 1990.

Quaker concern for non-human animals dates from the 1650s. It has been hard to single out just a small sampling of our voices for animals over the years and we have attempted to base the compilation on a range of concerns past and present. Interestingly, and sadly, some haven’t changed.

In recent years, QCA has joined with those of other faiths, and none, and also our brave, determined, secular animal rescue and campaigning groups. Journeys of Compassion reflects this unity, including quotes and actions from a range of sources connected to QCA.

Journeys of Compassion is in soft cover A5 format, beautifully illustrated in black and white and colour. To buy a copy, please send a cheque for £4.50 (inclusive of postage), made out to Quaker Concern for Animals, to Ann Johnson, 5 Garden Mews, 15 Beachy Head Road, Eastbourne BN20 7QP. Remember to enclose your address.

www.quaker-animals.co.uk

*The Friends Anti-Vivisection Association was founded in 1891.  Joseph Storrs Fry was the first President and Quaker MP Joseph Rowntree was among the first Quakers to sign up for membership. Concern for animals grew within the Society of Friends and the Association became the Animal Welfare and Anti-Vivisection Society, then Quaker Concern for Animal Welfare and, in 1978, Quaker Concern for Animals.

Young Indian Vegetarians Organise 36th Annual Vegan Christmas Lunch

yiv-xmas-dinner-2016

The Young Indian Vegetarians (YIV)  organised their 36th annual Vegan Christmas lunch on Sunday 11 December 2016.  Around 110 people enjoyed a variety of mouth watering dishes. Representatives from local churches, voluntary organisations and local school teachers were present. The leader of the Council and vegetarian Tony Newman, MP Steve Reed and councillors were present too. They said the event is a great example of how the Indian community is playing a crucial role in promoting friendship amongst communities in Croydon.  AIA Patron Nitin Mehta, the founder, said that the event was started 35 years ago with the idea of fostering friendship and understanding by sharing food together. The other aim was to introduce English friends to the delights of Indian vegetarian food. The same goals drive the annual lunch. Guests also were given a display of Yoga postures by 7 year old Yoga master Ishwar Sharma.

From left to right: Vinaybhai Kuntawala, Lilaben jethwa, Pratibhaben Jethwa, Pratibha Mehta and Nitin Mehta. 

 

 

Kosher Cruelty in which We Should Want No Part

lara-smallmanBy Lara Smallman, Director of the Jewish Vegetarian Society (JVS)

Last week I watched a horror film I cannot forget. It wasn’t a fictional plot dreamed up by a scriptwriter, but brand new undercover footage from a kosher slaughterhouse in South America.
I watched cows while still sentient being cut into by workers. Kashrut laws prescribe one quick, deep stroke with a sharp knife across the throat, aimed at rendering an animal instantly unconscious.
The clip I watched shows cows being lifted into the air, each dangling by a hind leg. This awakens their senses, thereby delaying the onset of unconsciousness.
This barbaric practice is called shackle and hoist (SAH), and it is virtually unique to the kosher industry. It violates all international welfare guidelines.
SAH was banned on American soil, yet imported meat produced via this method is available in kosher shops across the US.
The same body which has declared repeated objections to the practice, the Orthodox Union (OU), is happy to continue certifying the products as kosher.
Why? The meat is cheaper because killing time is halved. The OU argues that a ban would necessitate imports from further afield, causing beef prices to rocket.
Never mind money. We ought to be outraged by this flagrant violation of the core Jewish principle of tza’ar baalei chayim, the Torah mandate that forbids us from inflicting unnecessary suffering on an animal.
It is this glaring gulf between our sacred ancient teachings around animal welfare and the modern reality of factory farming that is prompting a growing number of leading rabbis to adopt and advocate a vegan diet.
This includes one of our patrons, former chief rabbi of Ireland David Rosen, who stated last year: “Anybody with eyes in their head can see that factory farming is a categorical transgression and desecration of the prohibition on causing cruelty to animals.”
While the temptation might be to keep schtum for fear of threatening shechita, or making Jews look bad, the truth is the problem is much bigger than SAH. This is one of many scandals emerging from kosher slaughterhouses in recent years.
At Agriprocessors in the US, investigators found workers with injuries so severe they demanded amputations, staff given virtually no safety training and child workers.
Israel’s largest slaughterhouse, Dabbah, was ordered to close by the government in 2015 because of gross abuse, including dragging animals along the ground by their heads.
From our chopped liver to our cheesecake, there is animal abuse at every turn. For our meat, cows are being branded, castrated, and their horns removed using searing-hot irons, caustic chemicals or hand saws, all without anaesthetic.
Often overlooked, there is vast cruelty in the dairy industry too. Cows are caged, artificially impregnated, mechanically milked until they can give nothing more, and killed aged five. Their natural life span would be 25 years.
It is no coincidence that Israel is leading the way, with the highest number of vegans per capita anywhere in the world. These pioneers are fulfilling the moral responsibility we all have as Jews, to call out this industry for exactly what is it is – calculated cruelty in which we should want no part.

AIA Welcomes New APPGVV

houses-of-parliamentAIA members were delighted to attend the inaugural meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Vegetarianism and Veganism (APPGVV) on 6th December 2016 at the Houses of Parliament.

The new group is funded by the Vegetarian Society, the Vegan Society and Vegetarian for Life  and the secretariat is provided by NCVO.

At the inaugural meeting Christina Rees MP was elected as chair and the other committee members include Henry Smith MP and Kerry McCarthy MP. 

The first meeting was on the subject ‘What does Brexit mean for vegetarians and vegans?‘ and talks were given by Stephen Pugh on the future of guidance for vegetarian and vegan labelling; Dr Kinesh Patel on the labelling of medicines with ‘lifestyle choices’ and Jeanette Bowley on veganism as a protected belief.

The APPGVV has been set up to look at the issues affecting vegetarianism and veganism.  The group will meet four times a year to hear representations from academics, the food industry, charities, campaigners and interested individuals.  Further information can be found at their website at http://vegappg.org.uk/

In Memoriam – Joan Court

demo1By Marian Hussenbux

I offer the following, including some personal memories, as a few snapshots of Joan’s life.

Joan inspired many demonstrations and protests over the years, several of which Khalid and I attended. Particularly memorable as they benefited from interfaith involvement was the march Meditate to Liberate in 2004 in Cambridge, co-organised with the Buddhist Amida Trust and led by the Dharmavidya, Dr. David Brazier, against the plan to open another vivisection laboratory, which never came to fruition; in Oxford, where a new vivisection lab was later established, the touching silent vigil A Witness to Suffering took place in 2006, again in concert with the Amida Trust; at our meeting afterwards in the Quaker Meeting, refreshments were kindly offered by Sikh friends; Joan’s Fast for Felix, also in Oxford, honoured the monkey who represented the thousands of his kind sacrificed in laboratories. Once again, members of the Amida Trust gave active support.

Khalid’s photo shows her leading a protest in Cambridge, with her Christian friend the late James Thompson, the Animal Padre.

Joan was for many years an active committee member of Quaker Concern for Animals, latterly a life member, and QCA supported the Phone Line Joan had set up in Cambridge, a means by which members of the public who had urgent problems with a suffering animal, or simply a request for information, could get her direct attention and help. She was always generous with her time and energy.

Deeply concerned about how war devastates all species, Joan invited Bruce Kent to speak at our 2003 AGM, after which QCA became an affiliate of his Movement for the Abolition of War.

Joan was made a crew member of the Sea Shepherd Marine Conservation Society, in 2005 joining their expedition to Brazil on a monitoring exercise.

In 2008, the RSPCA’s Lord Erskine Award honoured her work for the animals. This award, which is presented “to an individual or organisation not necessarily directly associated with the RSPCA” commemorates animal welfare pioneer Lord Erskine of Restormel, who, in 1809, successfully introduced a Bill to Parliament “to prevent malicious and wanton cruelty to animals”.

Joan said: ‘I was surprised to get this award from the “Establishment”, but happy to have the opportunity to make a short speech in which I focused on the need for the RSPCA and Animal Rights movements to learn about each other’s activities; at present both are astonishingly unaware of the great work done by both and we need each other.’

Joan had a long and productive life and she will be remembered with admiration and affection as a significant figure in the animal rights movement, innovative, indomitable and tenacious.

A legacy of activism for the animals has been left us which many will carry forward, in particular younger people, whom Joan greatly valued and for whom she has been an inspiration.

The Community of Creation – Book Now!

woodbrookeThe Community of Creation : expanding the circle of compassion

Friday 24 March 2017 – Sunday 26 March 2017

At the Quaker Study Centre – Woodbrooke

Ensuite Fee: £238.00, Standard Fee: £218.00

Course Details

Are you concerned with animal suffering? Do you question the moral justifications for their ill-treatment? Do you have an awareness of them as precious creatures of God? This course will introduce key themes in the field of Animal Theology within the context of the Quaker faith. Looking at biblical, Buddhist and scientific understanding, we will ask how our lives of active witness might realise the common bonds we share with other species, and extend our vision of the peaceable kingdom.

Course Leader Information

Martin Layton is a Senior Programme Leader at Woodbrooke. His interest is in exploring how Quaker spirituality strengthens our lives of active witness.
Steve Palmer is a teacher and a percussionist. The Gandhian idea of ahimsa has inspired him to look for practical ways to extend his own circle of compassion.  

For further details go to:

https://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/courses.php?action=course&id=11319