A Lent campaign to encourage Christians to give up eating meat for 40 days has been given some heavy weight backing, with four bishops pledging to become temporary vegetarians.
The senior clerics are giving up chops, steaks, and rashers for the whole of Lent, to raise awareness of the social and environmental consequences of excessive meat consumption.
The former Bishop of Dover, Rt Revd Richard Llewellin, the chairman of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals (ASWA) and The Bishop of Monmouth, the Rt Revd Dominic Walker the society’s president, asked the Bishops of Oxford and Chelmsford, to join them in giving up meat in favour of greens, as part of a wider campaign to get members to fast meat for Lent.
And although the prospect was daunting, the Bishops agreed because they recognised that the issue was so important.
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, said: “Our consumption of meat is reaching dangerous levels, and, as countries like China continue to develop fast, it is only set to continue. We need to have more meat-free days.
“I hope that at the end of Lent I’ll be able to make a more permanent change to eating less meat.”
His colleague, the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, said: “What I find intolerable and unsupportable is the way we rob factory-farmed animals of anything resembling a normal life, in order to furnish ourselves with . . . cheap meat.”
The Bishop of Monmouth, the Rt Revd Dominic Walker, is the president of ASWA. “Lent is a good time to think and pray about how we treat God’s world, and the damage caused by today’s exploding and unsustainable demand for meat,” he said.
Over consumption of meat has been linked to environmental destruction, water shortages, deforestation, and animal cruelty. Experts are calling for a lowering of consumption in meat generally, and numerous Christian groups have been campaigning for believers to lessen the amount of meat that they eat.
February 10th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross