Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

A Farmer's Call to Mercy ~ Harold Brown

A Farmer's Call To Mercy  ~  Harold Brown


My name is Harold Brown and I grew up on a beef farm in Michigan. I was the 5th generation to work on the land and lived near my great uncles farms. Considering the generation of my relatives who owned the farms around me I experienced an older type of agriculture. I also grew up in a typical little one room, white steeple church that sat in a cow pasture. The culture of farming on our farms was closer to the turn of the 20th century than the 21st century. We practiced very little of the “New Agriculture” of post WWII but rather the methods of a generation earlier. During the late 70’s and early 80’s I witnessed friends and neighbors farms being absorbed by corporate interests. It is this first hand experience I have had growing up in a farming community and interacting with farm animals on a family farm, going to stockyards, spending time in slaughterhouses, and witnessing the practices on factory farms that brings me here, to share my evolution and understanding of humankinds relationship to animals we call food.

Now I know that what I am going to talk about may arouse discomfort and dis-ease but I think it is important that, as controversial as this subject may be, we try to understand our relationship to farm animals. I have devoted my life to extending my circle of compassion and to try to help others expand theirs through my experiences. My intention, however, is not to cast judgment, nor to arouse bitterness, but rather to inspire compassion, introspection, and quite simply awe and wonder about the other species with whom we share this beautiful planet.

Growing up on a cattle farm I was indoctrinated to a particular relationship, or mindset with farm animals. The ideas of dominion, stewardship, compassion, mercy and moral responsibility have been, since my childhood, a constant battleground for me, a dilemma that took over 30 years to come to terms with. As a child I performed the usual chores that I think most farm kids did. I drove tractor, operated machinery, plowed, planted, harvested, fed and watered animals, went hunting and looked to my family for validation in the things that I felt were not quite right. I loved driving tractor and my mother said I had an obsession from birth with tractors. I still enjoy tractors and steam shows. But when my concerns turned to the animals, say, in the winter, worrying if they were warm enough, comparing my discomfort to theirs I naturally assumed that they felt the cold every bit as much as I did. I was told that is why they have fur coats and I shouldn’t overly concern myself unless the temperature dropped below freezing. Or when we castrated young bulls I said to my father, “That’s got to hurt.” He said they didn’t feel things like we do--they were less sensitive. I didn’t see the evidence of his observation when the calves were struggling with all their might to escape and bellered as if we were killing them. Nor did I understand as a small boy why I was punished for drowning a cat by mistake when we would kill and butcher so many animals.

At other times life on the farm was bucolic. I especially enjoyed haying season. All of our neighbors would come to our farm and we would spend a couple of days mowing hay. There would be a huge feast at lunchtime followed by a short nap in the cool summer shade. We worked very hard but it was rewarding work and it was the bonding of community. But there was this stark contrast between those things I found pleasant and the horrors. Did all children deal with this dichotomy? At times I felt that I was being split in two. On one hand I was a benevolent care- giver and the next an executioner. I would sit in church and listen attentively to find meaning to this imbalance within myself. In Sunday school I would ask why I had to do things that made my heart feel sick. I was told that that was the natural order of things and I should honor my family and carry on. In other words, stuff my emotions away and don’t ever cry. When I would read Genesis I tried to find my place in this drama.

“And God made wild animals according their kinds...

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth…and there was morning-the sixth day.

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

“And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat; and it was so.” Genesis 1:24-31 NIV

This was Eden, a place of perfect balance, and a harmonious existence. I longed for Eden and at times created an imaginary Eden on our farm, albeit it was mostly in my head. The animals in Eden didn’t eat one another and Adam and Eve didn’t eat them. How far have we fallen? Can you imagine an existence where you are confined in an enclosure not seeing the light of day or having physical contact with your peers? Can you imagine being castrated without anesthesia? Can you imagine standing on wire mesh your entire life? Can you imagine breathing concentrated amounts of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia? Can you imagine having your child taken from you 24 to 48 hours after birth, to never see them again? Can you imagine having a tail, beak or horn cut off without anesthesia? Can you imagine being shocked routinely? Can you imagine being electrically stunned only to regain consciousness while you are being butchered? The animals don’t do these things to each other, we do. These things sound horrific, but they happen millions of times every day and I suppose they are almost impossible to imagine. I think the writers of Genesis would probably find it impossible to imagine this kind and scale of cruelty could be inflicted on farm animals, these accepted normal agricultural practices. But here we are.

So how was I to understand dominion, of my place in the scheme of things? I have looked to those scholars who have spent considerable time trying to understand this concept. Rev. Andrew Linzey was asked what dominion meant to him, he said,

“At the heart of the Judeo-Christian tradition is the dream of peace. Many people refer to how humans are given “dominion” in Genesis 1, and that’s true. But if you look at the whole saga: in verse 27, humans are made in the image of God; in verse 28, they’re given dominion; and in verse 29, they’re given a vegetarian diet. Herb eating dominion is hardly a license for despotism. The original author was seeking to describe a relationship, not of egotistical exploitation, but of care for the Earth.”

Dominion can mean something very different to other people. A well known agricultural journalist wrote in a column concerning the then pending horse slaughter bill in Illinois, which he supported, and his horse, “These plants [horse slaughter plants] simply offer an outlet for the people who don’t want to see their aging horses do so in agony and, at the same time, provide a protein source for those who desire it. There is no law that mandates horse owners sell their animals to a processor so that someone in France can eat horsemeat. Forget the argument about the  economics of disposing of these creatures, remember that everything lives and everything dies. Horses, like man, will die and death with a purpose gives full meaning to life. Why is it more comforting that a horse dies and then is consumed by coyotes or ants or bacteria?” He sold his horse to a slaughter facility for about $200.00. A horse that had helped him manage his cow/calf operation for nearly 22 years. While he had the choice of giving his faithful steed a peaceful death with dignity by letting him live his life out naturally he chose to send him to slaughter. I wonder if he is implying that humans are also a protein source, his logic would seem to dictate that being food gives life meaning. This farmer had a choice, as we all do, but he chose to relegate his companion to an unpleasant transport (usually horses that go to slaughter are loaded on double-decker trailers where they are not able to stand upright) and death at a slaughterhouse. I wouldn’t choose that fate for my dog. Is this dominion?

Matthew Scully, a conservative Republican, devout Christian and speechwriter for President George W. Bush offers us this perspective of dominion, “Animals are so easily overlooked, their interests so easily brushed aside. Whenever we humans enter their world, from our farms to the local animal shelter to the African savanna, we enter as lords of the earth bearing strange powers of terror and mercy alike. Dominion, as we call this power in the Western tradition, today requires our concentrated moral consideration…I hope also to convey a sense of fellowship…a sense that all of these creatures in our midst are here with us, not just for us.”

In stark contrast to the idea of “conveying a sense of fellowship” we find many examples from agriculture experts that tell a different relationship. The relationship espoused by these experts is for those who raise the animals, not the consumer. The consumer would, I think, have a difficult time reconciling themselves to this set of mores. Possibly consumers don’t care or don’t want to know. In any case the industry goes to great lengths to hide what it does from the public to provide the public with cheap food. J. Byrnes said in Hog Farm Management, “Forget the pig is an animal. Treat him just like a machine in a factory. Schedule treatments like you would lubrication. Breeding season like the first step in an assembly line. And marketing like the delivery of finished goods.”

This reduction of animals into production machines has always bothered me. Where does mercy come into the picture? When I saw a farm animal in pain or distress I would attend to their needs as best as I could. Not because I had to but that it made my heart ache seeing this pitiful sight. At that moment I was taking mercy on an animal that I eventually needed to force onto a truck or shoot between the eyes. There were limits and conditions to my mercy, my kindness. For many years I struggled trying to understand this internal conflict within myself.

Mr. Scully helps give me insight into this attitude by observing, “In a way, the euphemisms of cruelty do convey a certain blunt candor. They imply an acknowledgement, however obscured, that something has gone wrong. However adamantly we might care to defend certain practices, to press on requires a certain hardness, and it sounds more and more strained to describe the things we do and permit in the language of morality. But theirs is a dominion only of power, with them and not God at the center, all grandeur and no grace.”

For myself as a farmer of animals I definitely was the giver and taker of life which played right to what I had been taught. My role was of master and all of nature could and would be subdued, bent to my will. As spiritual as I believed I was, being an animal agriculturalist put me at the center, as Mr. Scully notes, rather than God. There was no place for mercy toward nature let alone animals. This is the history and very nature of agriculture, a means to subdue nature and make it conform to our needs. Today’s agriculturalist is trained to view the natural world as a form of chaos in need of taming in order to provide humans with food. There is no end to the inventiveness of our intervention. From the plow to irrigation to chemical support of the soil to chemical control of weeds, fungus and insects to pharmaceuticals, to genetic manipulation of animals, we have bent nature to our will.

Here is another euphemism from L.J. Taylor, quoted in National Hog Farmer to remind us of the role of the factory farmed sow, “The breeding sow should be thought of, and treated as, a valuable piece of machinery whose function is to pump out baby pigs like a sausage machine.” This disconnect of empathy is not limited to pigs. Farmer and Stockbreeder magazine writes, “The Modern layer is, after all, only a very efficient converting machine, changing the raw material-feedstuffs-into the finished product-the egg-less, of course, maintenance requirements.” How did agribusiness come to this place where humans can casually regard animals as something less, something of complete utility? The industry would blame us. Consumers are the culprits in this drama of reducing God’s sentient creatures to “machines”. For example, market research has shown the industry that consumers demand animal products of consistent quality and at the cheapest reasonable price. To meet this demand the animal industry has adopted the model of industrialization producing animals as quickly as possible at the lowest possible price. They are now economic units, commodities to fill a demand in the food market.

While the consumer isn’t explicitly aware of this connection it nevertheless exists. The industry says “economies of scale” necessitate factory farming practices. The argument goes that if we didn’t practice intensive confinement agriculture the country and the world would go hungry. Quite the contrary, American agriculture consistently overproduces but the food does not find its way to the hungry. If we are party to this massive suffering then how did we get here? Consider for a moment the millions of dollars that are poured into focus groups and advertising to convince us that animal products are an absolute necessity. What are the vested interests of these corporations that
daily assault us with every type of media to program us to buy their products? We rarely look beyond our impulses, our desires. We want to live well! We want others to know we have affluence! We want to treat our guests to the best and a prime rib is how we demonstrate our standing in society. What of the standing of those that are lying on our plates? How does God look upon the slaughter of his creation for the sake of our societal positioning? Mr. Scully makes an astute observation in noting, “Into your hands are they delivered,” says Genesis. Delivered alive.” I would say that dominion doesn’t exist from man down but rather we are in dominion, the Dominion of God. Our egocentric arrogance has placed us above all else when this, by objective observation, is not the case. Just because we do not share a common language we assume to know better than the animals what should or shouldn’t be done to them. This assumption negates any consideration that their lives matter to them and creates a greater distance from them making mercy nigh unto impossible. Farmed animals like many other higher mammals can suffer pain and psychological distress and therefore, in my opinion deserve our mercy. That is to say if animals matter in and of themselves, then we are obliged to consider their pain and psychological distress. If they matter to God, then cruelty to animals is wrong primarily because it is disrespectful of God.

I believe we have an obligation in our dominion over animals that were created by God to care for them as God intended. Superiority of human beings is attributed to human free will. Only human beings are both good and evil. As such humans are regarded as more central to the divine drama than either animals or angels, neither of whom are both good and evil, although both are constrained by their innocence to be actors in the drama. This demands of our free will to act responsibly towards animals for no other reason than their innocence, humans solely determine the fate of animals. In my experience animals act with more consistency and with greater integrity than nearly any person I know. Compassion is our obligation to animals. How can we act otherwise? These gentle creations of God that are good and not evil ask nothing from us and I think the least we can do is be compassionate toward them and show mercy whenever possible. Allow me to share with you a story about Hope the pig. Hope was found lying at the unloading dock at a stockyard. Like many factory farm pigs who have endured factory farming, Hope was lame. She was unable to walk, and had been left to slowly die of starvation and dehydration. She was rescued by Gene and Lori Bauston, the founders of Farm Sanctuary, a rescue and rehabilitation farm in Upstate New York. Hope was placed with Johnny, another pig at the sanctuary. The two immediately bonded, they played together, bathed in the pond together, slept together and followed each other everywhere. Eventually, Hope died of old age. Although Johnny was much younger, and was in perfect health, within a week he died too. Is Johnny’s response to Hope’s death the reflex of a dumb animal? Time and again we witness the inner lives of farm animals at Farm Sanctuary and have come to understand their complex and unique personalities. Unfortunately, too few people have the opportunity to experience these unique individuals, these creations of God.

In Genesis we are told that animals are created by and for God. Perhaps, then, we should consider dominion as it was given to Adam. Adam’s dominion was a sacred stewardship, which we should aspire to. So are animals ours? I think we need a larger frame of reference, animals are God’s creation and in the beginning they were meant to be our companions. Our first responsibility should be to care for these sentient beings as God originally intended. That would be the highest ideal and consistent with the Will of God.

Unfortunately, I have witnessed and been party to the modern practice of dominion. We exploit animals in factory farms in ways that are beyond the comprehension of our forefathers. They are not viewed as creations of God but rather as economic units. Man has genetically altered most of the animals that are used for food production to be mere caricatures of what God had created. Today’s modern pig, milk cow, beef cow, chicken are so far removed from what they were just a mere 100 years ago. How we treat these poor creatures is without conscience, we do whatever is necessary to expedite the growth and slaughter of food animals. We deprive them of normal social interaction, of day light, of fresh air, and breaking the bonds between mother and children. We slaughter them while partially or fully conscious. When those in the animal industry are confronted with the inherent inhumanity of their actions they deny that they act cruelly and what they do is necessary to provide cheap food. No rational person ever says that they deliberately cause suffering to animals but nevertheless the suffering exists and continues. We truly have devolved from Eden. 

In Good News for All Creation, Stephen Kaufman and Nathan Braun very clearly and succinctly give reasons why Christians should be vegetarians treat animals better. Their case can be summarized in their statement: "By attempting to show the greatest possible respect for Creation, we believe, we magnify and glorify the Creator, we participate in God’s sanctification of all life, and we assist God’s reconciling all Creation to a peaceful, vegetarian world. Because meat eating contributes to environmental degradation and harms creatures whose spark of life, we believe, comes from God, every meal in which we abstain from flesh becomes a prayerful expression of love and respect for God."

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, leader of the Catholic Church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was asked, "Are we allowed to make use of animals, and even to eat them?" [God and the World, Ignatius Press, 2002]. Even though he does say that we can, he also says: "This is a very serious question… we cannot just do whatever we want with them. ... Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible."

Rev. Andrew Linzey observes, “In God’s eyes, all creatures have value whether we find them cuddly, affectionate, beautiful or otherwise. Our own perspective-in a way-is neither here nor there. Theology, at its best, can help to liberate us from our own anthropocentric limitations.”
I find this insightful in that it poses the idea that our perspective is what skews the reality of our relationship with animals. Our perspective, our filter is what determines the value of a farm animal and puts us either at the center of the universe or part of creation. If our only experience with farm animals is through advertising and under cellophane we have a very limited understanding of the farm animal as an individual, as part of Gods creation.

But to a slaughterhouse employee (taken from Gail Eisnitz's book Slaughterhouse) - "Animal abuse is so common that workers who've been in the industry for years get into a state of apathy about it. After a while, it doesn't seem unusual anymore. In the wintertime, there are always hogs stuck to the sides and floors of the trucks. They go in there with wires or knives and just cut or pry the hogs loose. The skin pulls right off. These hogs were alive when we did this. Animal abuse … is so commonplace nobody even thinks about it." Becoming numb is a very easy path to take. I was taught as a child not to be overly concerned about the animals. To be able to do what was deemed necessary required a discipline of emotional numbing. I had to develop the capacity to care then not to care. I had to be sensitive to the feeding and weight gain of beef cattle and to recognize when they were in distress from illness only to do whatever was necessary to get them on the truck or slaughter them. I have observed that this sliding scale of caring is not reserved exclusively for farmers, stockyard employees or butchers. It seems to permeate our society.

Another example is what a former ranch hand said, (Interviewed by Marjorie Spiegel The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery) - "Sure we used to throw ‘em on the ground and cut their balls off with a pen-knife. Didn’t give them any painkiller, are you kidding? And that’s not all; at the same time, we’d brand ‘em and cut off their horns. And you know what? It didn’t bother me [. . .] I never felt anything for them."

“I never felt anything for them.”

St. Francis of Assisi said, “Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission--to be of service to them wherever they require it.” If we become bound up to the utilitarian idea of animal use that some people attribute to the Bible we run into some problems. If we are to accept, literally, all that we read then many of us have some major problems in our dietary practices. In Leviticus chapter 11 we find that eating anything that has a cloven hoof but does not chew its cud is an abomination and unclean, or any animal that does not have a cloven hoof but chews its cud, or anything that comes from the sea that does not have fin or scale. These few directives from God forbid the consumption of pigs, rabbits, horses, cat fish and calamari to name a few. St. Francis releases us from this conundrum. If we live our lives in service to animals then we are at a place of living in peace with them.

Matthew Scully puts the argument to us this way: “Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind’s capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense because they don’t; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us.”

Cardinal John Henry Newman commented, “Cruelty to animals is as if man did not love God.” Indeed, the latter prophets, (Jeremiah, Amos, Mica and Hosea) explicitly link violence against animals to violence against humans, social justice to our treatment of God’s creatures. We see this acted out today. For example, research by Gail Eisnitz, author and slaughterhouse investigator, found many slaughterhouse workers end up abusing their wives and children and usually develop substance abuse problems. Also it was no accident that many of the men who executed people in the Nazi death camps were the local butchers. Unfortunately, the Bible tells a story of regression, not progression. We started with Eden and have been in decline ever since. I think it is our moral responsibility to discipline ourselves to aspire to progression, to leave our barbaric past behind. Rev. Andrew Linzey remarked, “Western culture is inextricably bound up with man’s exploitation of millions of animals as food, as research tools, for entertainment, and for clothing, and for enjoyment and company. The sheer scope and complexity of our exploitation is, I contend, an indication of how far we have accepted the dictum that animals exist for man’s use and pleasure. It is sheer folly to suppose that we can completely extricate ourselves from this complexity of exploitation with minimal disturbance to Western society, as we now know it. Nevertheless, having begun the slow and often tedious task of challenging traditional assumptions, new fields of sensitivity have already begun to emerge, and it is this task of hastening the moral evolution of the consciousness of our fellow humans that we must undertake. The Christian tradition with its vast influence on Western culture has a unique role to play in showing its ability to change perspectives and challenge even its most cherished assumptions.”

It is interesting to note that the beginning of Judaism was marked by the rejection of human sacrifice; the beginning of Christianity was marked by the rejection of animals sacrifice. In Matthew Jesus says, “I will have mercy, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts.” Perhaps we should continue this journey of expanding our circle of compassion. Even in Islamic texts we find a prescription for kindness and mercy. One hadith quotes Muhammad as saying: “A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.” There is a common thread of respect, mercy and compassion towards animals that runs through all major religions. In the east the first precepts are “do no harm”. That is why many Hindus and Buddhists follow a plant-based diet.

If we cannot find it within ourselves to treat those who have the same 5 senses, the same needs for community, who make no demands upon us, have the same needs to avoid pain and suffering with equanimity then how will we ever be able to treat other humans better. As Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Our moral framework is lacking its ethical support. Factory farming isn’t just killing: It is negation, a complete denial of the animal as a living being with his or her own needs and nature. It is not the worst evil we can do, but it is the worst evil we can do to them. It confronts us with the animal equivalent of Abraham Lincoln’s condemnation of human slavery: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” So when piglets are castrated without anesthesia and handled so roughly that occasionally their intestines are pulled out with the testicles, dairy cows have their tails cut off without anesthesia, chicks have the ends of their beaks seared off with a hot blade, male chicks are discarded into dumpsters or ground alive to make feed for other animals, sows spending their entire lies in cages that all they can do is lay down, calves who stand in crates in the dark tethered for their short lives, where is our compassion and mercy? These are normal agricultural practices in factory farming. These are standard agricultural practices. This is what our agricultural universities teach. Mr. Scully puts this attitude best saying, “Where our own fundamental interest is at stake, in short, and our own suffering in the balance, we are moral absolutists, and with animals and their suffering we are moral relativists.”

“Many people when they examine their beliefs about animals will find, I think, that they hold radically contradictory views, allowing for benevolence one moment and disregard the next. And the reality is that we have a choice of one or the other. As a practical matter we are free, of course, to do more or less as we please absent of further changes in the law. As a matter of conscience, however, we must each ask ourselves which outlook is truer, which is closer to our heart, which attitude leaves us feeling better and worthier when we act upon it, and then follow that conviction where it leads. And when we fail to act consistently with our own moral principles, when we profess one thing and do another, we must be willing to call that error by its name. It is hypocrisy.”

This is not to make the case of denying ourselves what we consider a staple in our diet. I think vegetarianism is implicitly a spiritual act. It is not about saying “No” but about saying “Yes”. About enjoying the lives of other creatures on this Earth so much that even the thought of killing them is abhorrent. I think God rejoices in God’s creatures, takes pleasure in their lives, and wants us to do so too. As Rev. Linzey states, “So much of our exploitation of animals stems from a kind of spiritual blindness: if we sensed and really felt the beauty and magnificence of the world, we would not exploit it as we do today.”

The moral concern for the suffering of animals is not a new idea. We find writings from the beginning of recorded history. The ancient Greeks, Romans and others have dealt with the role of animals. Unfortunately, these voices have, by and large, gone unheard.

Perhaps this should be our prayer. Saint Basil in the 4th century wrote this petition:

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness
Thereof. Oh, God, enlarge within us the
Sense of fellowship with all living
Things, our brothers the animals to
Whom Thou gavest the earth as
Their home in common with us.
We remember with shame that
In the past we have exercised the
High dominion of man with ruthless
Cruelty so that the voice of the earth,
Which should have gone up to Thee in
Song, has been a groan of travail.
May we realize that they live not
For us alone but for themselves and
For Thee and that they love the sweetness
Of life even as we, and serve Thee in their
Place better than we in others.

How we spend our dollars makes us complicit to the suffering of billions of animals each year not to mention the environmental impact factory farms have on the earth and those who work on and live near them. According to the USDA over 10 billion farm animals a year and this doesn’t take into account of the millions thousands of baby male chicks who are destroyed. None of it is necessary. Thanks to technology we have synthetics that replace any fiber or leather, we have plant-based foods that have been shown to be far more healthy for the environment, for us, not to mention the animals. I think we are charged with the moral responsibility to extend our respect, consideration, mercy and, compassion to all animals. I would like to close by quoting Rev. J.R. Hyland:

“The decision to live life with respect and concern for all creatures that inhabit the earth is, first of all, an individual choice. But if the human race is to evolve spiritually and morally, that choice must eventually reflect a societal standard. The Kingdom of God promised by the Bible is a kingdom in which humans and nonhumans must live in peace with their own kind and with all other species. It is the world promised by the prophets, in which “the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb…and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.” (Isa. 11:6)

The Kingdom of God, come to earth, is a kingdom in which justice, compassion, mercy and love for all creatures will be a reality. It is the kind of world Jesus told His followers to expect when He taught them to pray:

Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. (Luke 11:2)”

Reading list:

Christian Vegetarian Association, Good News for All Creation

Rev. Andrew Linzey, Animal Theology (Chicago: University Press, 1994)

J.R. Hyland, The Slaughter of Terrified Beasts: A Biblical Basis for the Humane Treatment of Animals (Viatoris Ministries)

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy (New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2002)

Keith Akers: The Lost Religion of Jesus: Simple Living and Nonviolence in Early Christianity (New York: Lantern Books, 2000)

Jim Mason and Peter Singer, Animal Factories (New York: Crown Publishers, 1980)

Vensanto Melina, Brenda Davis, and Victoria Harrison, Becoming Vegetarian: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Vegetarian Diet (Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Co., 1995)

Norm Phelps, The Dominion of Love: Animal Rights According to the Bible (New York: Lantern Books, 2002)

John Robbins, The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and the World (Berkley, CA: Conari Press 2001)

Originally published on the Abolitionist Online Site, which is now unavailable:





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Comment by Stephen on November 21, 2012 at 21:43

Note they're not displaying correctly, so copy everything from http to html and paste into the address bar.

Ms. Vaughan really should preserve this stuff online, although I guess the govt. archive won't be going anywhere fast.

Comment by Carolyn Bailey on November 21, 2012 at 21:23

Thanks, Stephen! I'll check the links out in the morning! 

Comment by Stephen on November 21, 2012 at 21:11
Comment by Stephen on November 21, 2012 at 21:08

Thanks for the reply, Carolyn,

I thought I'd accessed it not long ago. Must have been somewhere else. Anyway, I found that it's archived here, so not all is lost!

Comment by Carolyn Bailey on November 21, 2012 at 20:48

Hi Stephen, 

The Ab-Online website closed down a few years ago. Unfortunately it seems that much of the content was lost. It's a real shame because the site was full of useful and interesting information. 

Comment by Stephen on November 21, 2012 at 15:10

I tried to access this at but the site appears to have disappeared. I'm getting a Server Not Found error. I even tried a proxy server in case it was blocked in this country (Korea), but still no go. Anyone else having problems? Has the site been taken down?


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