The WFA Publishes it’s ‘Unveiling the Nexus’ Report

The World Federation for Animals (WFA), representing 48 global animal protection organisations, including AIA, has published a report one year on from the historic United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) where Member States passed the first-ever resolution with explicit reference to animal welfare.

The Animal Welfare – Environment – Sustainable Development Nexus recognised that animal welfare can contribute to addressing environmental challenges, promoting the One Health approach, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is expected to explore these links in a report that draws on the expertise of other stakeholders.

The latest WFA report, “Unveiling the Nexus: The Interdependence of Animal Welfare, Environment & Sustainable Development” is being shared to help policymakers, provide a synthesis of scientific evidence, and stimulate public and open dialogue among stakeholders. It highlights the value of an animal welfare perspective to help tackle the planetary crises and accelerate sustainable development.

Dr James Yeates, WFA’s CEO, said, “There is a critical scientific evidence base demonstrating how improving animal welfare can help people and the environment, including reversing biodiversity loss, mitigating climate change, and ensuring public health. This report is aimed to help decision-makers understand those connections, so they can make sustainable and effective decisions to reverse our current crises.”

Brita Riis, WFA’s President, added, “We hope that by Unveiling the Nexus, we can help others see the potential for animal welfare as a cross-cutting lever for sustainable development. The facts are there. It is time to implement the solutions the Nexus lays out and enable a generational shift in international policy to protect the people, the planet, and the animals.”

CCA Vatican Circus Campaign

CCA have written an Open Letter to Pope Francis to reaffirm the Principles of Laudato Si’ with respect to Circuses.

On February 11th the Papal Almoner, Cardinal Krajewski, organised an ‘entertainment’ for the poor and marginalised of Rome. What he chose to organise as entertainment was a circus, including animal ‘performances’ from elephants, lions, and other animals. This is despite the fact that the use of wild animals in circuses is banned in over 40 countries, including many Catholic countries. You can read a news report of the event at:

Following this we have chosen to write an open letter to Pope Francis to reaffirm the values and principles set out in Laudato Si’, and to assert the opposition of these principles and values to the use of animals for human entertainment, particularly in the context of circuses.

You can read our open letter at:,

You can follow our campaign on the CCA website at:

Chris Fegan
Chief Executive
Catholic Concern for Animals

Millions Revive Ancient Lenten Practice of Going Vegan

Millions Revive Ancient Lenten Practice of Going Vegan: Interfaith Vegan Coalition Offers Resources to Help.

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (Feb 21, 2023) — In Defense of Animals’ Interfaith Vegan Coalition is poised to help millions of Christians and Catholics go vegan for Lent, which begins on Feb. 22, Ash Wednesday, and ends on April 9, the days before Easter. During this time of spiritual reflection, many Christians identify with the 40-day fast and suffering of Christ by giving up eating meat, dairy, and eggs, drinking alcohol, watching television, swearing, or smoking. 

Going vegan for Lent also helps the environment. “Each person who eats vegan during Lent spares the lives of about 40 animals, saves 44,000 gallons of water, helps reduce wasteful agricultural land use by 75%, and prevents 800 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere,” said Candice Kelsey, Faith Outreach & Engagement Coordinator for PETA LAMBS.

“Lent is traditionally a time of abstinence,” said Dave Bookless, a director of theology for A Rocha International, as quoted in the journal Christianity Today. “In quite a lot of Christian cultures, if you look back through Christian history, people were vegetarian during Lent. That was quite a common thing in many parts of the world. And it’s still a common thing in some Christian traditions.”  

Fasting from meat, dairy, and eggs for Lent is more common than many realize. “We encourage all Catholics throughout the world to go Vegan for Lent 2022,” said Chris Fegan of Catholic Concern for Animals. “We believe that this is good for the individual Catholic concerned in many, many ways as well as good news for the nonhuman creation.”

“Nearly 3 million Russians will be practicing being vegans for Lent,” notes Jim Sannes of the Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry.

Eating only plant foods has helped many people grow spiritually during Lent because they are fasting from cruelty. Sharon Bolden received a huge surprise when she gave up meat and dairy for Lent. Instead of feeling deprived, Sharon began to notice many of her physical ills disappearing and her energy, faith, and happiness increasing. By Easter, she resolved to adopt a vegan diet and began teaching the spiritual and healing power of veganism.  

“Those 40 days of being vegan changed everything,” said Sharon Bolden. “My body, mind, and spirit had begun to heal. I had transformed to veganism and I wasn’t going back. People saw the changes in me, and I saw them in myself. I was on a new path of living vegan and was determined to stay on this vegan path for the rest of my life.”

Going plant-based for Lent can lead to a lifetime commitment to vegan living and to an uplifting and radical connection to the Divine. 

“When we stop our participation in the killing of God’s precious children, no matter what species they may be, we are acting in harmony with our true hearts, our highest ideals and our deep connection to all sacred life,” explains Judy Carman, co-founder of Circle of Compassion and the Interfaith Vegan Coalition and author of Homo Ahimsa: Who We Really Are and How We’re Going to Save the World. “Our own bodies respond with renewed health, because we are no longer eating the suffering, fear, and agony of animals who have been abused and killed.” 

“When our personal sacrifice alleviates the suffering of others, we move closer to God,” said Barbara Gardner, founder of the Animal Interfaith Alliance. “This is what Lent requires of us and what can be achieved when we give up harmful practices at Lent.”

“There is no greater gift you can give in repentance and habit-breaking than to abstain from the culture of violence for 40 days by researching, learning about, and then undertaking a 40-day fast from the torturous products of animal use and agriculture by eating as we were originally designed by the Lord in Genesis 1:29 — to consume plants, nuts and seeds,” said Tams Nicholson of, who reminds us how important the Lenten season is for Christians to recognize our faults as human beings, and how incredibly valuable it is to use these 40 days to break worldly habits that bind us. 

Nicholson explained, “My own experience in going vegan for Lent, over a decade ago, broke an underlying current of death running throughout my life that I had not been aware of. It made me a better steward, improved my physical and mental health, increased my zest for life, and even changed my dreams. Breaking those violent worldly habits has been a blessing from God. 

Pastor Frank and Mary, founders of, have been sharing their Christian Vegan recipes and much more since the 1990s. Today, ‘plants, nuts, and seeds’ includes everything from fast food to five-course meals, luscious desserts, and so much more. When eating this way, we only give up cruelty while we gain variety, taste, satisfaction, and better health.”

“In Defense of Animals’ Vegan Starter Guide can help with your Lenten promise, as well as the Interfaith Vegan Coalition’s Christian and Catholic Vegan Advocacy Kits, which contain quotes, books, articles, videos, hymns, songs, prayers, websites, rituals, and spiritual support,” suggests Lisa Levinson, of In Defense of Animals and co-founder of the Interfaith Vegan Coalition. “We created these resources to make it easier for everyone to go vegan for Lent and beyond!”

Quotes from Interfaith Leaders

“There is no better time than now to go vegan! Lent is a perfect time where we really want to focus on our spiritual lives. We can give our souls a Holy infusion of joy and love by choosing a peaceable vegan diet. A vegan diet will not only help us in our love for God and neighbor (all living beings) it will also contribute to our physical health and well-being. Go vegan for the 40 days of Lent! There are many vegan websites that offer balanced, nutritious and delicious vegan meals! You will quickly discover for yourself that this compassionate way of eating will go beyond the 40 days of Lent!” 

– Father Donatello Iocco

“For me, Lent is a time to reflect on Jesus’ ministry of compassion, peace, and reconciliation. Choosing a vegan diet for Lent breaks the cycle of violence between humanity and the natural world. Doing so not only spares nonhumans great suffering and misery, but it also helps human relationships, because we cannot find peace in our hearts if a central component of our lives – eating – is filled with violence. Many people, upon experiencing the sense of peace and connection that arises from being vegan during Lent, choose to stay vegan.”

– Stephen R. Kaufman, MD, Chair, Christian Vegetarian Association

“We know from Genesis 1:29 that God commanded us to eat only plant-based foods. And we know from Isaiah 65:25 that that is still God’s intention. So do we want to do God’s will or not?”

– Virginia Bell, Catholic Action for Animals

“Years – too many – passed between cutting flesh out of my diet, and going vegan. One word enabled me to make the change: Slavery. For people who want to make the transition but find that cheese still has them in its grip, I suggest they decide to give up profiting from slavery for those forty days. To develop a habit in which you truly follow your heart turns out to be truly liberating.” 

– Gracia Fay Ellwood, Quaker Animal Kinship

Quotes from Interfaith Organizations

“What better way to worship the Prince of Peace than leaving the violence off our plates, and eating the ideal diet that God prescribed for us in Genesis 1:29. Going vegan for Lent is a great way to honor Jesus, while also blessing the planet, our health and reducing the suffering of innocent animals. And it’s a wonderful opportunity to test drive a non-violent lifestyle that not only brings us more in alignment with our true compassionate nature, but has the potential to transform our lives if we choose to continue down its path.”

– Thomas Wade Jackson, Director of A Prayer For Compassion

“Going vegan for Lent provides for not only the purification of the soul, but for the uplift of creation. In choosing foods from the plant kingdom in the weeks leading up to Easter, a believer actively chooses peace on earth and acknowledges the sanctity of all life. And many who do this find that they feel so good, physically and psychically, that they never go back to the way they used to eat.” 

– Victoria Moran, author, podcaster, and co-founder of Compassion Consortium

“Whether in France, Switzerland, Canada, Poland, members of the Church are talking and showing some concern for animals. The time is right, as Lent approaches, to consider a spiritual journey without animal consumption and to discover the virtues of a compassionate diet.” 

– Estela Torres, Fraternitè pour le Respect Animal

“Lent is the daily spirituality of vegans honoring the sacredness of all life. The energy from the sun enters our bodies through the Son of God. This spiritual transformation enlightens a state of consciousness that all seekers yearn for. Ash Wednesday is the remembrance that no sacrifice of an animal was needed for our Salvation. During Lent, many Christians observe a period of fasting, repentance, moderation, self-denial, and spiritual discipline, the essence of veganism. The purpose of the Lenten season is to set aside time for reflection on our self-righteous indignation of animal slaughter. Jesus Christ came to put an end to the suffering of all animals, including human animals by his sacrifice, his life, death, burial, and resurrection.”

– Frank Lane, 

“The decision to eat or not to eat animal products is not a mere personal food choice. This perpetuates the view of animals as material objects, rather than as fellow beings with precious lives of their own. It hides the fact that in choosing to consume animal products, we choose a life based on slavery and violence. Peace activist, Helen Nearing, said that one can assume a degree of sentience in plants and still recognize that ‘There’s clearly a distinction between a newborn baby lamb and a newly ripened tomato.’”

– Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns

Quotes from Religious Scholars

“Christian traditions teach that humans are to assist God in reconciling creation to a peaceful, vegan world. The Christian commitment to end suffering is fundamental to Christian teachings… Imagine Jesus walking through a slaughterhouse, a vivisection lab, or a poultry farm, ‘How would the Prince of Peace feel about contemporary exploitation of pigs, mice, and hens? Would he justify these institutions as readily as we do?’”

– Lisa Kemmerer, PhD, author of Animals and World Religions

“At their essence, Jesus’ teachings are about love. Knowing that God so loved the world to give us the gift of life, Jesus stood against animal sacrifices and for love – loving our neighbors as ourselves…including the ‘neighbors’ we were socialized to exclude from our sphere of compassion. Jesus welcomed the social outcasts and placed no limits on love. Many modern scholars believe Jesus was a vegetarian and we can certainly agree that to live as love, as Jesus taught, would mean to live vegan nowadays. There is no physical need for animal products in our diet, so granting our ‘animal neighbors’ the dignity to live lives of freedom and joy simply makes the most sense if we want to live Jesus’ teachings of love to their fullest extent.”

–  Charlotte Cressey, religious scholar 

Lenten Resources by Interfaith Vegan Coalition Member Organizations & Allies

40-Day Plant-Based Lent Challenge: CreatureKind offers this new challenge along with this free course to support your reflection.

40 Days With God’s Creatures: Sarx has organized its Lent guide for millions of Christians worldwide who seek to draw closer to the heart of God and celebrate the redemption of the world in Jesus Christ at Easter.

40 Days of Lentils: PETA LAMBS encourages readers to spread compassion for Lent and provides 40 scrumptious vegan lentil recipes to help.

Going Vegan this Lent Will be the Kindest Thing You’ve Ever Done: PETA LAMBS provides 5 reasons to go vegan for Lent and take the vegan pledge. 

Try Tasty Vegan Fish Dinners for Lent: PETA LAMBS offers top picks for delicious vegan fish fare to help people abstain from eating land animals on Fridays.

Religion-Specific Vegan Advocacy Kits: Interfaith Vegan Coalition offers quotes, books, articles, videos, hymns, songs, prayers, websites, rituals, and spiritual support.

Christian Vegan Advocacy Kit
Catholic Vegan Advocacy Kit

Vegan Starter Guide: In Defense of Animals’ popular downloadable guide contains recipes, self-care resources, and much more!

### NOTES ###

In Defense of Animals started the Interfaith Vegan Coalition to help animal activists and spiritual leaders bring vegan values to spiritual, ethical, and religious communities. The coalition provides faith-based tools to help all faith and secular wisdom traditions practice the ideals of nonviolence, lovingkindness, and harmlessness toward all animals. The coalition is composed of 39 member organizations, 4 allied organizations, and one partner organization Animal Interfaith Alliance comprising 17 organizations, all working in harmony for a common cause.

Interfaith Vegan Coalition Member & Allied Organizations Quoted Above:


In Defense of Animals, Interfaith Vegan Coalition, Lisa Levinson,, (215) 620-2130
Interfaith Vegan Coalition, Judy Carman,, (785) 887-9965

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in Marin, California, with over 250,000 supporters and a 40-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

The Interfaith Vegan Coalition helps animal activists and spiritual leaders bring vegan values to spiritual, ethical, and religious communities. The coalition provides tools to help all faith and secular wisdom traditions practice the ideals of nonviolence, lovingkindness, and harmlessness toward all animals.

Presentation on the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting

Please join us on Monday 20th February at 19.00 GMT for a presentation by Eduardo Gonçalves, the founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting.

On March 17, MPs will debate a bill which proposes to ban British hunters from bringing home the heads and bodies of animals they have shot abroad for ‘sport’.

It follows a 4-year campaign by Eduardo Goncalves, founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting.

The bill is in danger of being blocked, however. March 17 is a Friday – a day most MPs are in their constituencies. It will not pass if there are not enough MPs in the chamber. Moreover, the American gun lobby is trying to stop the bill – because it interferes with what they say are “hunters’ rights”.

Over 20 of Britain’s leading wildlife charities and animal welfare groups are now calling on MPs to make an exception and come to Parliament on Friday 17 March.

In his talk, Eduardo will reveal how British trophy hunters are responsible for shooting some of the world’s most endangered animals, and are winning prizes from the American gun lobby for single handedly shooting hundreds of animals.

He will show a short film about the attempted rescue of a young tiger cub that had been hand-reared to become a hunter’s trophy – and show how we can help make this historic ban law.

Time: Monday 20th Feb 2023 – 19:00 GMT

Join Zoom Meeting

(Meeting ID: 814 5108 6882 ; Passcode: 961007)

AIA Supports the Animals (Low Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill

We are delighted that the Animals (Low Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons on 3rd February.

Animal Interfaith Alliance Patrons and Directors joined Duncan McNair, CEO of Save the Asian Elephant (STAE) and his team outside Number 10 Downing Street, London on 24th January, to present the world’s biggest animal species petition, containing 1.2 million signatures, to No 10. The petition demands an end to the suffering of Asian elephants in the tourist trade where they are treated with extreme brutality. 

AIA fully supports STAE’s campaign to end this torture. There can be no place for such cruelty in a civilised modern world, and certainly travel companies should not be able to promote tourism that profits from such brutality. 

[From left to right: Fr Simon Nellist (POCA / AIA Patron), Dr Christina Nellist (POCA / AIA Director), Peter Egan (AIA Patron), Judith Wilkings (QCA / AIA Director), Chris Fegan (CCA / AIA Vice Chair) and Duncan McNair (STAE)].

New RE Materials Launched on the Moral Status of Animals

The Animal Interfaith Alliance and Veganism in Education have been working with RE Today to produce a range of free classroom resources for Religious Education which will enable teachers and pupils to explore, through critical, objective and pluralistic RE lessons, questions around the moral status of animals and ethical veganism as a worldview. 

As RE widens its scope and moves towards a worldviews paradigm, aiming to prepare children and young people for life in a complex multi-religious and multi—secular world, studying ethical veganism offers opportunities to examine the dynamics between religions and worldviews. Ethical veganism, a rapidly growing, practice-based philosophical belief, protected under the Equality Act (2010) and in European law, can be understood as a non-religious worldview, but also, for many people, it is a worldview deeply intertwined with religious belief and practice; sometimes supported by religious teachings and doctrines and sometimes presenting challenges to them. Ethical veganism, and the issues relating to it, provide a rich field of study for children and young people as veganism increasingly becomes part of our collective consciousness in everyday life; whether in shops and restaurants, or in discussions ranging beyond our treatment of animals to environmental responsibility, human health, social justice, and of course, religion and belief.

We believe RE is the best placed subject to teach about aspects of ethical veganism.  Ultimately, empathy and compassion are the principal tenets found in most religious and ethical traditions throughout the ages.  By extending our circle of compassion to all living beings, we can stimulate the development of empathy in children which will help them improve all of their interpersonal relationships. This approach complements school goals of social-emotional learning, anti-bullying initiatives and creating global citizens responsible for ensuring a more ethical, just and sustainable world. 

We hope you enjoy exploring the 6 RE units that span Key Stages 1 to 5 (5-18-year-olds) and the accompanying Teacher’s Guide.  They are designed to be used flexibly and creatively by teachers of RE across the four nations of the UK and beyond. You will find a wealth of activities and ideas for teaching and learning accompanied by supplementary resources and links to external sources too, all of which engage with issues relating to the moral status of animals, and ethical veganism as both a religious and non-religious worldview. 

You can access these free RE Classroom resources on the  Veganism in Education  website here.

World Interfaith Harmony Week

This week is World Interfaith Harmony Week 2023 (WIHW) which runs from 1st – 7th February.  It is based on the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution A/65/5 for a worldwide week of interfaith harmony. 

To celebrate the UN observance, AIA and its partners VinE and RE Today are promoting our new interfaith RE materials which address the moral status of animals and ethical veganism as both a religious and a non-religious worldview, and also our Spirited Arts competition. We have been contacting schools, presenting to groups and will be undertaking a social media campaign.

Further details of the RE materials are here
Further details of our Spirited Arts competition are here.

Additionally, we are celebrating this observance as a Pre-Parliament event on the run up to the 2023 Parliament of World Religions (PoWR).

Teaching the world’s children to show compassion for animals and to treat them with love and respect, is one of the most precious gifts we can bestow upon them and is vital to safeguard the interconnected web of life.

Spirited Arts Competition 2023

Get involved in the 2023 Spirited Arts & Poetry Competition, run by NATRE (the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education and join hundreds of schools from around the world taking part in this year’s competition.

The competition is now open and closes on 31 July 2023.

All God’s Creatures? This year AIA and VinE are jointly sponsoring the theme “All God’s Creatures?” to highlight the importance of animals.

Do animals belong to God? Are they part of a divine plan? Do animals have souls? The beauty and sheer awesomeness of non-human animals with whom we share planet Earth is celebrated in many of the world’s religions. Some worldviews see all living beings as interconnected, yet others emphasise the separateness and superiority of humans over other animals. Animals play a huge part in all our lives, whether we realise or not. How humans interact with other animals and the natural world impacts on all living beings and the planet. This theme invites exploration of ideas and beliefs about non-human animals. Great work will show originality and flare coming from deep consideration of the issues. Challenge learners to engage thoughtfully with scripture, philosophy, and scientific enquiry to write an inspiring passage to accompany stunning images. We are delighted to partner with the Animals Interfaith Alliance (AIA) and Veganism in Education (VinE) to bring you this theme.

NATRE welcomes entries in (almost!) any art form, including:

  • Art (painting, drawing, sketching etc)
  • Poetry
  • Photography
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Drama
  • Sculpture

All entries must be received before Monday 31 July 2023.

Full details can be read on the NATRE’s Website here.