We launched this petition with two objectives : One, at the occassion of Easter to encourage the Christian churches to speak up against the consumption. But also to counter the silence of Christian authorities concerning suffering and injustice to animals.
1- Petition for lambs at Easter : Giving back Easter its true meaning
FRA as a Christian association strongly opposes the practice of eating lamb at Easter, which is contrary to the true meaning of Easter.
Easter is the most important holy day for Christians and it shouldn’t be stained with blood. During Easter christians celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, the victory of life over death, which is the central element of the Christian faith. It is the oldest Christian celebration and it is the central celebration of the liturgical year. Easter has been recovered by meat lobbies and businesses. More and more we are seeing a secularization of this holiday. We no longer know if those who eat lambs are Christians or non-Christians who follow a tradition of commercial origin. For this reason it is essential for the Christian Churches to assume their responsibilities : to detach themselves from this practice which is not Christian and inform their followers. Complicit silence is no longer acceptable in a world tainted with violence. We deplore this counter-testimony that Christians give by associating a feast with death. We hear so many comments from people who do not understand how a religion can allow the slaughter of vulnerable and innocent creatures.
2. Petition to question the Church, to ask for a dialogue concerning all the exploited animals
Some people consider it unlikely that this petition will reach the Pope...after all, how many petitions, letters from people asking him to intervene for animals remain unanswered ? It is still observed today that the non-human animal is not yet a subject on which the Church has sought to deepen and explore (apart from mostly Protestant theologians)
The topic of animals remains a TABOO still today in the Christian sphere especially in the Catholic Church. Michel Damien describes it as follows :
"If in theology something gives an idea of the speed of light is the speed with which questions about animals have been discarded." (Michel Damien "L’animal, l’homme et Dieu, Paris, éd.du Cerf, 1978, pg.120)
Some people mention the Encyclical as a breakthrough. While Laudato Si has caused the Church to reflect on human beings relatonships with their environment , it unfortunately does little to see animals as beings who have a right to exist for their own sakes. It only places animals within nature and adresses them mainly only within that context. Not one word about industrial farming for example. While there are several passages that at first seem to be edging towards consideration for animals , these passages are inevitabley counteracted by something elsewhere in the Encyclical , or even in the same passsage itself. The focus and instruction is virtually without exception brought back to how animas are useful to and can be used by humans. animals are not adressed in their own right. Laudato Si has made the Church advanced in her reflection towards everything that surrounds humans. But it placed the animal on the side of nature and not as a subject in itself.
Animal remains in the periphery and fall into discussions about creatures or biodiversity, but are only given marginal attention attention and without exception discussed in terms of their relationship to and as objects to be used by humans.
But there is not yet room for the suffering animal individual, who is brought into the world only to suffer and die before their time by a human decision. The Catholic Church still sees in the animal, an ingredient, a meal, a thing, a being created by God expressly for mankind.
Ready-made discourses such as "you should be taking care of children instead of animals" come from a limited thinking about lack, about not having enough, on having to choose. There is a blindness in not wanting see animals on the victims’ side with the exploited and the poor and this makes so much harm. Mostly it is not a question of choosing between one or the other, but of including animals in the field of love and the circle of compassion. Love is not something that is limited, and in fact it rather multiplies when it is exercised. Violence and cruelty come from the centering of the Man on himself and the victims are animals as well as humans. Mathieu Ricard responded very clearly when even him was criticized for his book "Advocacy for Animals"
Some excerpts :
"If devoting some of our thoughts, words, and actions in reducing the unspeakable suffering we deliberately inflict on other sentient beings, animals, is an offense to the suffering of humans, what happens then when we to listen to musique, play sports and go sunbathing on a beach ? "
"By loving animals , we do not love less mankind, we love them better, because the kindness is wider and therefore of better quality.The one who loves only a small part of the sentient beings, even humanity, shows a partial and narrow benevolence. "
"For those who do not work day and night to relieve human misery, what harm would there be to alleviate the suffering of animals rather than playing cards ?The sophism of indecency, which consists in decreeing that it is immoral to take an interest in the fate of animals when millions of people are dying of hunger, is most often an easy escape for those who who do not do much for either of them. "
"Animal defenders do not forget the suffering of human beings, to love animals is also to gain in humanity."
Non-human animals will have to wait yet again their turn to have the Church talk and think about them with her full attention. Even though Christianity has everything to give animals their place and their lives.