For those of us who love all creation, we always look forward to
any good news on the animal front. You may think - what about
humans? Of course we care about the human condition. but by and
large, many of us are more concerned about the animals because
there are s o precious few of us who are in this camp. I find it
so sad that when I read Australia's Philip Wollen's excellent piece
on why we should take meat off the table, t hat I couldn't think of
anyone among all my fellow parishioners to give it to -including
the parish priest. My sister said she would give a copy to her
priest. More power to her!
They are so wedded to the utility principle of St. Thomas Aquinas-
that eating meat for them is in accord with their view of God's
designs. How can God approve of what we are doing to animals in
the cruel confines of CAFOs where animals cannot breathe fresh air
or feel the rays of the sun? But I and others have written about
this many times before. It doesn't seem to phaze a lot of people.
And sadly, it doesn't seem to phaze the Catholic Bishops or the Pope
I was happy though to read an HSUS blog which reported that the
Presbyterian church leaders have written Congress asking them to
pass any laws which would make conditions better for the poor
incarcerated hens. I had hoped the Catholic church would have made
some compassionate moves in this direction, but sadly have not.
Since I did not feel free to pass out the copies I made of Wollen's
impassioned plea for the animals to fellow parishioners, I fell back
on the 9-11 Bishops who had responded to my letter re animal concerns
in 2001. I think all of them are retired now. Two of them have gone
to God, so I sent a copy of Wollen's speech to 7 of them who I believe
are still living. I hope that they will again respond compassionately,
but more, I hope that they will do something positive in this regard.
It was said that the response to Philip Wollen's 10 minute speech in
the St. James Ethics Centre in Australia on May 16, 2012 shook the
rafters of the auditorium. He was one of 6 speakers, three who made
the case for getting animals off the menu and three who made the case
against it. I was quite surprised that someone of his stature - a
former VP of Citibank and an Australian philantropist cared so much
about animal suffering. I t hink he is the first wealthy person that
I am aware of to be so.
I remember writing the Gates Foundation asking for monetary help for
suffering animals and I received a negative though kind response.
Obviously, Bill Gates and his wife Melinda care only about people.
I wanted to post Wollen's entire speech on Oped, but sadly did not know
who to ask about posting it. However, one little paragraph may spark
your interest and you may want to find his entire speech on the internet.
His first paragraph:
"Animals must be off the menu because tonight they are screaming in
terror in the slaughterhouse, in crates, and cages. Vile ignoble gulags
of despair. I heard the screams of my dying father as his body was
ravaged by the cancer that killed him. And I realized I had heard these
screams before. In the slaugherhouse, eyes stabbed out and tendons
slashed, on the cattle ships to the Middle East and the dying mother
whale as a Japanese harpoon expodes in her brain as she calls out to her
calf. Their cries were the cries of my father. I discovered when we
suffer, we suffer as equals. And in their capacity to suffer, a dog is
a pig is a bear....is a boy. Meat is the new asbestos - more murderous
He continues with some amazing figures about our dying oceans -one reason
being that 90% of small fish are ground into pellets to feed livestock.
Ironically he notes - that "vegetarian" cows are now the world's largest
Re earth's population - he states that only 100 billion people have ever
lived and that 7 billion are alive today. We kill and torture 2 billion
animals EVERY WEEK and 10,000 entire species are wiped out every year
because of our actions.
I was pleased that he considers Animal Rights now the greatest Social
Justice issue since the abolition of slavery. He also believes that
despite the massive footprint of 600 million vegetarians world-wide that
we are still drowned out by the "raucous huntin', shootin', killin'
cartels who believe that violence is the answer when it shouldn't even
be a question."
I think you will have to admit that this snippit re his take on vegetarianism
is refreshingly different and persuasive. I hope you will be inspired
to read more of his thoughts in their entirety on the internet.
Personally, I would like to thank Philip Wollen and all the other
compassionate people who believe that all animals have rights. Certainly,
they have the right to be treated compassionately, and looking at the world
at large, we know that the vast majority are not and even not in our own
And now if you have come to the end and want to do something constructive,
I would like to share something I read from a positive thinker who was
quoted in the Guidebook I just received today. It comes from Echart Tolle,
author of the best seller "The Power of Now."
He wrote: "Accept--then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept
it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. This will
miraculously transform your whole life."
When I read Philip Wollen's talk on the Catholic Vegetarian Facebook site,
I accepted it and then I acted. I printed it for my sister and the Bishops.
I condensed it for oped. If you felt anything when you read some of his
thoughts and were inspired by them, I hope you will act on them. To start -
look up the whole speech on the internet, copy it, and share it. No, this one
act may not transform your whole life necessarily, but it may lead to humane
changes in it. One never knows.