INTERFAITH ALLIANCE FOR ANIMALS
On January 7th 2014, animal advocates from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, Judaism, together with Unitarians and Quakers, pluralists and secular ethicists, met at Golders Green Unitarian church in London, kindly hosted by the minister and member of the Quaker Concern committee, Feargus O’Connor.
Principal matters on the agenda were:
A peaceful world where people of all faiths and all those who believe in a compassionate world, work together to treat all animals with respect and compassion.
To create a united voice for animals from all of the world’s faiths and spiritual beliefs based on their founders’ teachings, to lead the world in the humane treatment of animals.
- To provide a stronger voice for animals through the interfaith group than can be provided by many separate voices from individual faiths;
- To create a co-ordinated approach across the faiths to educate people on the humane treatment of animals;
- To create a strong and co-ordinated campaigning organisation;
- To provide a forum to learn from and share the wisdoms of other cultures and traditions;
- To disseminate that wisdom through literature, including a regular newsletter, books and orders of service and though the internet, including a website and social media, which can also be used as a campaign tool.
- To inspire others through interfaith conferences and services with a major event celebrating World Animal Day on 4th October.
- To promote a vegetarian/vegan diet which also embraces the issues of environmental protection, healthy lifestyles and ending world hunger and to end animal exploitation.
The organisation would aim to engage the following faiths as a minimum, although others would be encouraged. In alphabetical order these include Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Sikhs, Spiritualists, Taoists and Zoroastrians. There should also be representation from secular ethicists.
The main organisations to be invited as members would be the animal concern groups of individual faiths.
Interfaith groups would also be invited to join.
We discussed governance, and appointments of administrator/director, patrons, board members and an Animal Forum.
Founding members of the alliance are:
Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals
Catholic Concern for Animals
Hindu Forum of Europe
Jewish Vegetarian Society
Quaker Concern for Animals
Young Indian Vegetarians
Richard Ryder was nominated and accepted as Patron.
The Board Members:
Anant Shah (Jain) André Menache (Jew & patron of QCA) – Bharti Tailor (Hindu) – Chris Fegan (Catholic) –Feargus O’Connor (Unitarian and committee member of QCA) – Shirley Labelda (Jew)
We also discussed subscriptions, the setting up of a web site/social media, and production of an e-newsletter.
We agreed that Barbara Gardner, who has carried out much important research and organisational work on the proposed organisation, should be temporary Administrator and take matters further prior to convening a meeting of the Board.
~ Report by Judith Wilkings and Marian Hussenbux, Quaker Concern for Animals.