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SHINING A LIGHT
IN MEETING FOR WORSHIP
we experience an awareness of the unity of all creation. However, interpreting the vision in terms daily life is not always easy. We need to be reminded of the vast numbers of non-human animals cruelly exploited in laboratories; in the production of food and other commodities; in ‘sport’ and ‘entertainment’; and who suffer as a result of war and military activity. We consider our Testimony to Justice should include our fellow species.
QUAKER CONCERN FOR ANIMALS
founded in 1891, seeks to remedy this situation by directing light and love into the dark corners, not only for the sake of suffering animals and the people who work with them, but also for the integrity of Quakers themselves. Our Peace Testimony should extend to all living beings.
We seek to work with persons of all faiths, and none, who share our Concern, in all parts of the world.
QCA ENCOURAGES QUAKERS
to try to live to without dependence on cruelty and to support efforts to bring in effective legislation to protect non-human animals. Strong witness from the Society as a whole, both in the UK and overseas, could make a real contribution to the success of the work of the many animal organisations active today. It would, moreover, add greatly to the development of compassion, sensitivity and awareness on which our spiritual growth depends.
Our Testimonies in their fullness
Equality and justice
Quakers believe everyone is equal. This inspires us to try to change the systems that cause injustice and that stop us being genuine communities. QCA hope to foster recognition that ‘everyone’ includes our animal kin, our fellow travellers on this earth’s wondrous journey.
Quakers are perhaps best known for our peace testimony. It comes from our belief that love is at the centre of existence and that all life is of inestimable worth. It has led Quakers to refuse military service and work creatively for peace, and to denounce, too, the millions of animal lives lost to human conflicts. Tens of thousands of non-human animals are subjected to weapons testing every year, including explosives, gunfire, biological and chemical agents.
Truth and integrity
Quakers try to live according to the deepest truth we know, and we connect most deeply to this in the stillness of worship. This means speaking the truth at all times, including to people in positions of power. Living with integrity means living compassionately.
Simplicity and sustainability
Quakers are concerned about excess and waste in our society. We want to make sure our use of natural resources – which do not belong to humans alone but to all creatures – is sustainable. We try to live simply and to find space for the things that really matter: the living world and our experience of stillness. QCA maintain that nothing is more contrary to these intentions or more damaging to our well-being than the global north’s over-consumption of the cheaply sold flesh of non-human animals.
Since its beginnings in the 17th century, the Religious Society of Friends has had an instinctive concern for animals.
Our founder George Fox condemned hunting and hawking. John Woolman, the 18th century American Quaker and anti-slavery pioneer, wrote;
“To say that we love God and at the same time exercise cruelty toward the least creature is a contradiction in itself.”
- In 1891, the Friends’ Anti-Vivisection Association was founded, with Joseph Storrs Fry as its first President and among its members, the MP and former Editor of The Friend, Joshua Rowntree.
- Later, as animal concerns grew, the association became the Friends’ Animal Welfare and Anti -Vivisection Society.
- Finally in 1978, the association changed its name to Quaker Concern for Animals.
WHO WE ARE
Advices and queries number 42 reads:
Show a loving consideration for all creatures and seek to maintain the beauty and variety of the world. Work to ensure that our increasing power over Nature is used responsibly, with reverence for life.
Quaker Concern for Animals activities include:
- Supporting our members, practically and spiritually, as they work to help animals and to raise awareness of human impact on non-human life
- Providing literature, articles and newsletters
- Supporting conferences and religious services
- Cooperating with other national and international animal protection groups, including ecumenical and interfaith groups
- Lobbying of organizations, media and politicians
- Protesting against animal cruelty
- Funding animal charities, especially smaller, specialised ones.
- Day to day activities are managed by the clerk and a committee, meeting twice a year.