In this lecture, David Clough makes the case that Christians have strong faith-based reasons for urgent changes in their practice towards animals, particularly with respect to the ways they are now raised for food. He begins by arguing that despite the many important pressing questions of social justice and environmental responsibility, animal ethics is worth our time both because it is urgent and because it intersects with these other areas of ethical concern. He next provides an outline of where animals figure in Christian understandings of God’s work in creation, reconciliation, and redemption, showing that Christians have faith-based reasons for being concerned for the flourishing of fellow animal creatures. In the third section of the lecture, he provides a survey of how animals are currently being raised for food, which leads to the conclusion that there is a scandalous abyss between a Christian understanding of animals and our current practice in using them for food. In the final part of the lecture, he identifies two clear practical responses to the challenge of this abyss: to reduce overall consumption of animal products and move to higher welfare sourcing. He invites individuals, churches, and other Christian organizations to take action in relation to both goals, and offers resources to guide and support such action.
David Clough is Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of Chester and has just finished a term as President of the Society for the Study of Christian Ethics. He co-wrote Faith and Force: A Christian Debate about War (2007), debating just war and pacifism in a 21st century context, and has recently completed the landmark two-volume monograph On Animals (2012, 2018), on the place of animals in Christian theology and ethics. He is the founder of CreatureKind (http://becreaturekind.org), a project aiming to engage Christians with farmed animal welfare, and Principal Investigator for a three-year UK Research Council funded project on the Christian Ethics of Farmed Animal Welfare in partnership with major UK churches and Compassion in World Farming. He is a Methodist lay preacher and has represented the Methodist Church on national ecumenical working groups on the ethics of warfare and climate change.
PEACEtalks is a monthly event (held on a Thursday or Saturday evening) hosted by Paddington Anglican Church aimed at serving the community by promoting and cultivating deep conversations about life, the world and everything. ‘PEACE’ stands for ‘political, ethical, artistic & cultural engagement’. As such, our events seek to take all of these areas of our shared humanity seriously in a world where such things are often marginalized. We also seek to demonstrate the ways in which spiritual and theological reflection enable us to look at all of these important areas afresh. All welcome! More info – https://paddington.church/peacetalks