The first interfaith service for animals in Manchester was held at Cross Street Unitarian Chapel, Manchester on Sunday 30th September, based on the original interfaith celebrations for animals started by Rev. Feargus O’Connor at Golders Green Unitarians in London.
Representatives from eight of the major world faiths spoke about their religion’s teachings on animals. It was amazing: the speakers (in order of speaking) were Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Unitarian, Sikh, Quaker, Jain and Buddhist, and yet the message was basically the same – treat animals (and of course all beings) with kindness and compassion.
The main speaker, from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), gave an inspirational talk about the work of IFAW, in particular in Africa where the organisation is devoting its efforts to the fight against the elephant poachers. IFAW have also established sanctuaries to raise the young elephants rendered motherless by these poachers.
Afterwards everyone tucked into vegan refreshments, sponsored by local and national organisations. One young visitor was heard saying gleefully, I didn’t realise that vegan food could taste so good!
The event was deemed a great success, many of those attending saying how wonderful it was to get together with people of other faiths, all having similar beliefs and all working towards the eradication of cruelty and the promotion of compassion.