To those who have signed the petition to Pope Francis and are following its process we thank you for your support and will continue to update our work in this regard.The petition was initiated on November 19th 2013 and within a month gathered more than 10000 signatures. During this time we put together a document representing a small fraction of the heartbreaking petitions that reflect the vast and tragic range of animal abuse in order to illustrate the urgent context from which the call to his Holiness emerges.
We attached the document to our petition in the hope that it would convey the enormity and urgency of an intervention by Pope Francis.We are deeply grateful to have received the full support of prominent South African leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ela Gandhi, the Green Bishop Geoff Davies and Linda Tucker of the White Lion Trust.
The Glitch: All went well, other than the fact that in the time crunch, we sent the document from Cape Town by courier to the Vatican so that it would arrive prior to Christmas. A few days after Christmas, we were told by the courier service that the document was stuck at customs …. So hopefully the Christmas miracle in the making may only have been delayed for a short while by the postal service. While Pope Francis may have been aware of the existence of the AVAAZ petition over the month that it has been active online, he had not yet received the document that we sent him by Christmas. With the Christmas and New Year mailing rush – it may still take a few days. In the meantime we are finding other avenues to ensure that he receive the full petition and document directly and will continue to update on what evolves.
The Gift: In the meantime we are profoundly grateful to Archbishop Desmond Tutu for his powerful and unambiguous statement in a press release issued on the 30th of December 2013. “Our dominion over animals is not supposed to be despotism. We are made in the image of God, yes, but God – in whose image we are made – is holy, loving, and just. We do not honour God by abusing other sentient creatures. If it is true that we are the most exalted species in creation, it is equally true that we can be the most debased and sinful. This realization should give us pause … There is something Christ-like about caring for suffering creatures, whether they are humans or animals.”He concludes that “Churches should lead the way by making clear that all cruelty – to other animals as well as human beings – is an affront to civilized living and a sin before God.”
Once again Archbishop Tutu leads the way for other leaders to take the strongest of stands in this regard and for all citizens to expand our circle of compassion and do all that we can and must to protect the most vulnerable from the cruelty that we as humans are capable of.
In addition we were delighted to learn that Andrew Linzey, the director of the Oxford Center for Animal Ethics is currently calling for humanitarian organizations worldwide to “collaborate in setting up an international court to judge cases of animal cruelty and specifically to assess the culpability of governments”.
We are currently articulating our campaigns for this year that are intended to support the work of all those working to make 2014 a year of real achievements in protecting animals from human abuse. We will update as we go and look forward to hearing from you. With many blessings for a year of joy, kindness and honoring of all sentient beings.