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Clerical origin and patronage of the RSPCA

23 August 2013


From the Rt Revd Dominic Walker OGS

Sir, - As President of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals (ASWA) and an Honorary Vice-President of the RSPCA, I am naturally disappointed that the Archbishop of Canterbury has not included the Society among the charities of which he wishes to be a patron.

While I fully respect his decision to limit his patronage, so that he can be actively involved with the charities of which he is patron, and in spite of the reassurance from Lambeth Palace of Archbishop Welby's appreciation of the RSPCA, I hope that the decision will not give the general public a false message that the Church is not concerned about animal welfare.

Archbishop Welby is well regarded for his passion for peace and justice issues, and that includes animals as well as humans, because our lives are often interrelated. It is, therefore, good to know that the Archbishop has agreed to be patron of a project concerned with bees, upon whom human beings rely for pollination and food.

One of the marks of the mission of the Church is the integrity of creation, and yet Christians have not always had a high regard for the treatment of animals and the rever- ence due towards animal creation. Prayers for animals tend to be restricted to pet-blessing services and harvest festival, while ignoring the suffering that takes place through some intensive farming methods, laboratories, and appalling breeding conditions.

The RSPCA was founded by an Anglican priest, the Revd Arthur Broome, and our compassion, like the compassion of Jesus, should extend to all sentient beings.

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Monmouth NP25 5DS

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