TEENAGE GENERAL MEETING REPORT
TGM met in Liverpool Meeting House on the weekend of February 22 and QCA was invited to contribute a session on animal issues and Quaker Concern for Animals.
Seventeen young Quakers, aged between 13 and 18, attended the session. After a brief introduction about our group and how we work, the young people split into groups to answer a factual questionnaire on farmed animals, including whether mother hens chirp to their chicks while still in the egg, how fast wild turkeys can fly, whether pigs like to swim and, more searchingly, whether cows need to give birth to make milk. Everyone was pretty well informed.
We watched the Animal Aid DVD Their Lives in Your Hands. This covers a wide range of issues affecting the lives and welfare of animals and is more suitable for the younger age group. The older participants were already aware of the issues raised and some commented that it presented an unbalanced picture. However, the raison d’être of Quaker Concern for Animals is to give the animals’ side of the argument.
The next activity provoked much good discussion. The attenders were asked to discuss a series of statements on animal issues and decide if they agreed, disagreed with these, or did not know enough to say.
The statements included:
~ Animals on farms live good lives until they are killed for food
~ It is all right to take milk and eggs from animals because it doesn’t hurt them
~It doesn’t matter how we treat animals raised for food since they will be killed anyway – unanimous disagreement on this
~Animals aren’t as smart as humans, so they don’t care how they live as long as they get enough food
~Animals have feelings such as fear, happiness, frustration, anger, joy or pain
~Baby animals on farms should stay with their mothers until they are past infancy – unanimous agreement on this
~Animals were put on the earth to provide food, clothing and entertainment for humans
Several of the statements provoked an ‘it depends on the species’ response.
It was encouraging to find a high level of involvement and willingness to listen respectfully to other viewpoints and many topics were discussed and indeed raised by the participants themselves.
QCA newsletters, flyers and purple poppy cards were offered and an invitation extended to contribute to our web site. We hope to hear from them, as QCA is very keen to have input from the younger generation.
I would like to thank Paul Dodwell, Sue Pounder the Convenor, and the other adults attending for their support – and I especially appreciated the very friendly welcome extended by the young people themselves.
~ Marian Hussenbux.
The photo below shows Australian campaigners against live exports: