HOW CAN ANIMALS, OR RATHER THE LACK OF THEM, HELP US IN OUR WAR AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE?

ABSTRACT

All responsible and reputable scientists agree that we are not reducing harmful GHG emissions fast enough to prevent devastating climate-induced catastrophes, such as extreme droughts, floods, and unstable climates. With this backdrop it is no wonder that we also hear of increasing anxiety, especially amongst the young, who feel hopeless in the face of the predicted catastrophe. Yet there is one highly empowering step that can result in a quick and consistent fall in harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The question to ask is, are individuals capable or smart enough to transition from the most harmful individual practice – the consumption of the meat/dairy diet – for the greater good?

INTRODUCTION

CONTEXT

Let me place this discussion in real-time context. Sicily is experiencing a severe drought due to a lack of winter rains, which has forced dozens of towns to ration water for both agriculture and residential consumption, with the risk to agriculture in Sicily being considered a “particular concern” by the EU’s crop monitoring service. Meanwhile, in the Po valley in northern Italy, rice farmers are still dealing with the impacts of a persistent drought that began in 2022 and devastated 7,500 hectares of rice fields last year alone. The Po Valley accounts for about 50% of the rice produced in the EU. These farmers have sought to diversify their crops in response to climate change because there simply isn’t enough water for their crop to be viable. The misuse of our water is an important point to remember in my discussion on climate and food insecurity.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF ANIMALS IN SOCIETY

In my book on Eastern Orthodoxy and Animal Suffering[1] I noted that the contemporary debate on the environment[2] highlights how historical theological and philosophical anthropocentricism with its inherent separationist ethos, denied animals the capacity for language, rationality and self-awareness. This resulted in the refusal to extend justice, mercy, personhood and any form of rights to animals, which in turn, determined our relationships and treatment of them. Over time it became increasingly easy to view animals as disposable life and units of production, rather than sentient beings and creatures loved by God. This exploitation and abuse have reached epic proportions since the second world war, as most animals are now produced in the intensive farming system, which as numerous research papers have proven, produces distortions of the animal’s true physiology, and leads to immense physical and psychological suffering because of mutilations, deprivation, and downright cruelty.  Natural behaviours and flourishing were and still are, overridden in favour of increased financial profit and cheap food.

More recently, Ethology has challenged the flawed philosophical and theological views that these abilities were unique to human beings. Informed opinion, which includes senior Orthodox theologians and philosophers such as Zizioulas and Ware, now accept that any differences are a matter of degree rather than absence. In addition, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that increasing numbers of species are sentient beings, who suffer physical pain, psychological distress, and are capable of joy and self-awareness. Legally, animals are still categorized as property although this is now being challenged in courts across the world.

The combination of these historical factors and mindset has led to the immense suffering of God’s non-human creation and resulted in far-reaching consequences for humans and the wider environment, such as water contamination, misuse and overuse, soil degradation and loss, and numerous environmental disasters. Increasingly, scientists in many disciplines recognize that our misuse and exploitation of animals is an important factor in GHG emissions, food and water insecurity, and climate instability. So why does this continue?

FAKE NEWS – DISINFORMATION AND MISDIRECTION

Much of the debate on climate change/instability has centered around the use of fossil fuels for energy, and the waste products of Carbon Dioxide and Methane. The world, in the form of COP treaties, agree on the urgent need for rapid reductions in GHG emissions by transitioning away from fossil fuels to renewable/green forms of energy. Like most of us, I cannot build, nor afford to buy solar panels, build a wind-turbine or nuclear power station, or create other green-energy technologies. We rely on the energy companies, and our governments, to do this on our behalf. Some governments, including my own, are helping individuals by placing caps on the cost of energy, and the energy companies in turn are recompensed by the governments. Yet the revenue for this compensation comes from citizens’ taxes, so we end up paying the energy companies in one way or another. Unfortunately for us and other life-forms on this planet, this deeply flawed process has not, and will not, motivate the energy companies to transition to cleaner energy technologies, or to do so more quickly than is currently the case. As a result, harmful greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.

The equally harmful animal-based diet, however, has received far less attention until quite recently. Nonetheless, both issues have hit the same problem of the vested interests, who use the Tobacco industry’s effective disinformation and misdirection campaign methods, to perpetuate their lucrative yet very harmful businesses. Their refusal to make significant changes to our energy or food systems, brings these problems back to individuals to make changes in their lifestyles and eating habits to mitigate the looming disaster of the predicted Hot-House Earth scenario, the now 2.4 degrees rise in global temperature posited last week, climate instability and food insecurity.

The acceptance of this situation indicates that our governments are more concerned with short-term thinking that prioritises their re-election and short-term biased fiscal systems that favour the few, rather than in reorientating our economies and food production systems to save the lives of their citizens, and the myriad of other species on this planet. Increasingly more people recognise this fact, and various forms of climate anxiety are increasing.

CLIMATE ANXIETY

In their excellent chapter in one of my two books on Climate Crisis and Creation Care[3], Van Susteren and Al-Delany discuss the psychological impacts of climate change. They inform us that all the losses associated with climate change carry with them an emotional toll. They outline the psychological, physiological, and psychosocial impacts of extreme weather events under specific headings such as, wildfires, violent storms and floods, summer heatwaves and drought, sea level rise, new disease threats, air pollution, vulnerable populations, and the processing of disasters. They clearly state that the medical profession is not ready for what is to come, and I suggest that we can make the same charge against our governments, and civil society in general. They also draw our attention to increased violence, much of which can be explained by unaddressed anxiety emanating from fears of impotence and vulnerability.

They explain that denial and inaction on climate-related issues is an attempt to try to control such fears, which only exacerbates the situation. What is needed, they state, is activism and now.

ACTIVISM

In his chapter in the same book on Creation Care, Miller discusses the social role of religions in the climate emergency and advocates the ‘see-judge-act’ model of Catholic social action. He states that ‘all institutions, including religious communities on the local, national, and international level must be open to thinking and acting in unprecedented ways.’ In his section ‘Living in Denial, Living a Lie,’ he offers studies that buttress the science of Van Susteren and Al-Dilany mentioned earlier, when discussing the double reality that arises from the avoidance of discussing ‘truths’ which make others feel ‘guilty, fearful and helpless.’ He argues that in so doing, we are essentially supporting the very systems that perpetuate the evils against God’s creation.

These past few years have seen the rise of student activism and groups like Extinction and Animal Rebellion and XR Elders. Many, including Miller, advocate non-violent direct action by religious groups. However, in response to this type of direct action, the British government at least, are looking at ways to limit legitimate protests, with the dangers to our freedom and liberty becoming increasingly obvious. It is not difficult to predict the banning of these types of protests as various elements of society take to the streets, just as they were doing pre Covid, demanding greater and faster action on climate instability. Such confrontations will be manipulated by malign forces/governments, with the almost inevitable outcome of increased levels of violence.

The question to ask here is what changes are available to us and once identified, will we be willing to make the necessary changes?  Last week a study from Ireland identified that whilst most citizens were concerned about climate change, they did not want to give up their cars, and saw no connection between climate change and their dietary choices. Yet there is a wealth of scientific evidence from numerous disciplines that indicate that by reducing or eliminating meat and dairy from their diets, individuals can produce meaningful reductions in GHG emissions and increase water and food security, without any confrontation or violence. The question remains as to whether we are smart enough to do so.

DIETARY CHOICES

Essentially at this stage in the climate crisis, we have a numbers and efficiency issue. Despite numerous scientific and UN reports consistently informing us that a significant reduction in animal numbers, as a direct result in the reduction of meat/dairy consumption, is a highly effective way of tackling climate change, water depletion and environmental destruction, animal numbers continue to rise. Hundreds of millions of animals are raised, processed, and transported around the globe each year. Such numbers require huge amounts of land for food, most of the world’s water, and vast amounts of energy to produce, process, and transport them.

In efficiency terms, the use of grain and other human-edible food for non-human animal food, reduces the global food balance as livestock inefficiently convert grain into meat and milk. According to the FAO, they convert the carbohydrates and protein contained in grain into a smaller quantity of energy and protein than humans could have gained by directly consuming the grain. These figures are not insignificant and you would not run your family finances in this way. For example, for every 100 calories of human-edible cereals fed to animals, only 17-30 calories i.e., less than one third of the original potential energy, enter the human food chain, and for every 100 grams of grain protein fed to animals, just 43 grams – less than half, enter the human food chain as meat or milk. Similarly, 70 per cent of the wild fish used in animal feeds could instead be eaten directly by humans. The evidence is clear – the less animals we eat, the quicker we will reduce GHG emissions, the overuse of water, the destruction of our forests for grazing land and the depletion of the soil.

The alternative vegetarian/vegan diets are the opposite in all regards. They are economically viable and physically and psychologically beneficial, for they will also reduce our level of anxiety, as they facilitate some form of control and achievable goal at reducing climate instability. They are also entirely possible to follow without violence, conflict, or danger. This will however require an element of sacrifice for an unspecified period and herein lies its flaw.

If we look across the globe at the wars and the suffering that exists, we see a high level of avoidance strategies and tokenism by the richer countries and large corporations, but not only them, by us also. We refuse to make significant changes to adequately deal with the plight of the suffering poor, the suffering animals, and the suffering environment. This is not a surprise for we humans are not generally known for our altruism, but for our arrogance and greed. Norman Russel’s work on early Monasticism found that gluttony was a constant problem and remains so in wider society until today.

The fact that many ascetics were and are vegan/vegetarian ought to remind us of God’s original dietary choice and thus the most appropriate dietary path to follow. It is important to remember that whilst God gave us the dispensation to eat meat, it was just that. He does not command or force us to do so; we retain the freedom to follow God’s original dietary choice for us. It is also important to remember that whilst we may not be killing or rearing the animals in inhumane ways, by our choice/demand for cheap animal-based food products, we are part of the reason why such practices and processes exist and continue.

For those who can do so, and in the richer nations this is most of us, this simple, single action would result in saving the lives of billions of people, other species, ecosystems and resources like water and productive soil. One would like to think that if we were as smart or rational as Aristotle and his ilk would have us believe, we would eagerly grasp this nonviolent, achievable, and effective opportunity but I am not convinced that we will.

A NEW VISION IS THEREFORE NEEDED = EXTENDING JUSTICE, COMPASSION, LOVE

Faith groups can provide an alternative voice and vision for the future where the entire world is viewed as interconnected, delicately balanced, and sacred. They can offer a practical holistic approach, which includes spiritual and ethical guidance on the link between climate change, a flourishing creation, and socially responsible goals for a more balanced and just world. A vision that replaces the existing damaging energy and food production models with an integrated, regenerative, and distributive system that focuses on the intrinsic value and well-being of all created beings working in harmony and balance, and importantly, one that works for all and at ground level. The question of whether we will do so however remains. To end this lecture, I turn directly to each of you. Have you been convinced by my arguments? I suggest to you that if you are not, it is unlikely that enough people will make the necessary dietary transition to combat climate instability and social breakdown in the time left available to us, and the consequences of that is becoming increasingly obvious to all who have ears to hear and eyes to see.


[1] Eastern Orthodox Theology and Animal Suffering: Ancient Voices in Modern Theology. (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2018)

https://www.cambridgescholars.com/product/978-1-5275-1602-1

[2] Arguably, the contemporary non-Orthodox debate on the Church’s responsibility for the environmental crisis began with White’s article in 1967 “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis.”

[3] Climate Crisis and Creation Care: Historical Perspectives, Ecological Integrity and Justice

https://www.cambridgescholars.com/product/978-1-5275-7420-5

Climate Crisis and Sustainable Creaturely Care: Integrated Theology, Governance and Justice https://www.cambridgescholars.com/product/978-1-5275-7421-2

OPEN LETTER – The Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Act 2023 – Activity Regulations

29 February 2024
The Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP
Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Seacole Building
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF


And By Email: defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk and stephen.barclay.mp@parliament.uk
cc: Lord Douglas-Miller OBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
contactholmember@parliament.uk


Dear Secretary of State
OPEN LETTER – The Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Act 2023 – Activity Regulations
Following our letter of 2 February, the undersigned 102 organisations and individuals wish to further express our concern regarding the apparent lack of progress by your Department in developing and consulting on the Activity Regulations that are necessary in order to give effect to the will of Parliament expressed by the Animals (Low Welfare Activities Abroad) Act 2023.
The Act passed into law by Royal Assent on 18 September 2023, more than 5 months ago. At the time, the then Animal Welfare Minister Lord Benyon was quoted as saying:
“The Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Act is an important step in our commitment to
ensure high animal welfare standards both here in this country and abroad, and I encourage
holidaymakers to do their research so they can make informed choices that do not encourage
poor animal welfare practices.”
Angela Richardson MP, who tabled the original Bill which became the Act, further stated:
“This legislation is a world first and will work towards greater protection of vulnerable animals
in low welfare settings from being exploited as tourist experiences.”
The Bill proceeded through both Houses with cross-party support, without amendment or division at any stage. However, this is an enabling Act, and as such can have no meaningful impact until appropriate Regulations have been passed specifying the activities the advertising and sale of which will be prohibited. Until such Regulations are in place the implementation of the will of Parliament, which so comprehensively approved this landmark legislation without division or amendment throughout its passage, is undermined.
We cannot believe that is the Government’s intention. Yet, our efforts over the past several months to seek information on the government’s plans and timetable for the introduction of Activity Regulations have thus far been deflected, most recently in discussions with your officials on 15 February 2024. Given the current electoral timetable, and the time required to conduct meaningful stakeholder consultation on the Regulations and secure approval of both Houses of Parliament, the opportunity to ensure the Regulations are in place before the General Election is fast receding.
The signatories to this letter have been standing ready to help you progress matters. We have already provided your officials with a list of suggested proscribed activities for consideration, for which we can provide abundant and compelling evidence assembled from numerous specialist and expert sources.
We urge you to establish and communicate, without delay, a clear mechanism and timetable for the development and adoption of Activity Regulations, incorporating appropriate stakeholder
consultation, with a view to ensuring that the Regulations will be in place before the end of the current Parliamentary session. The Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Act commands overwhelming public and cross-party support. Effective implementation of these world-leading measures will demonstrate the standing of the UK as a leading voice for animal protection on the international stage and provide an opportunity for nations globally to adopt similar measures for the protection both of vulnerable species and of humans, preventing thousands more people from being catastrophically injured and killed while engaging in unethical and dangerous tourism activities.
We look forward to your response.
Yours sincerely
Save The Asian Elephants
Action for Elephants UK

Signatories
Karl Ammann – conservationist, wildlife photographer, author and film producer, TIME Magazine Hero of the Environment
Animal Ahimsa
Animal Aid
Animal Defenders International
Animal Interfaith Alliance
Animal Protection Agency
Animals Asia
John Arnold, Roman Catholic Bishop of Salford
Lord Black of Brentwood FRSA
Bob Blackman CBE MP
Blue Cross of India
Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary, Thailand
Born Free
Deidre Brock MP
Catholic Concern for Animals
Cheetah Conservation Fund UK
Christian Vegetarian Association
Christian Vegetarians and Vegans UK
Professor David Clough – Professor in Theology and Applied Sciences, University of Aberdeen
Compassion in World Farming
Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA)
Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation
Helen Costigan – sister of Andrea Taylor (victim of fatal attack by brutalised tourism elephant)
David Cowdrey FRGS – conservationist
Tracey Crouch CBE MP
Giles Crown – lawyer and ambassador for STAE
Crustacean Compassion
Professor Cathy Dwyer – Director of Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education
at Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh
Peter Egan – actor and animal welfare campaigner
Egypt Equine Aid
Ethix Digital
Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE, Bt. – polar explorer and conservationist
FOAL Group
Baroness Foster of Oxton DBE
Four Paws UK
Freedom For Animals
The Gandhi Foundation
Dr Marion Garnett – CEO of Thinking of Animals CIC, organiser of Ealing Animals Fair
Ricky Gervais – comedian, actor, writer, director
Patricia Gibson MP
Lord (Zac) Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Wera Hobhouse MP
Humane Society International UK
Indian Vegetarian Society
Institute of Promotional Marketing
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Stanley Johnson – conservationist and author
Satish Kumar – Indian British former Jain monk, peace pilgrim, founder of Resurgence Trust
League Against Cruel Sports
Professor Phyllis Lee – Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling
Rula Lenska – actress and campaigner
Caroline Lucas MP
Dame Joanna Lumley DBE FRGS – actress, TV presenter and producer, activist
Evanna Lynch – film, TV and stage actress (Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter series), animal welfare and vegan activist
Alexander Macmillan, 2nd Earl of Stockton
Clara Mancini – Professor of Animal-Computer Interaction, The Open University
Sunita Mansigani – animal welfare activist
Megan McCubbin – zoologist, conservationist and TV presenter
Stuart McDonald MP
John McNally MP
John Nicolson MP
Wendy Morgan – actress
Naturewatch Foundation
Dr Christina Nellist PhD – theologian, former Visiting Research Fellow at Winchester University
OneKind
Pan-Orthodox Concern for Animals
Partido Animalista (PACMA)
Andrew Penman – journalist
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
Protect All Wildlife
Quaker Concern for Animals
Ian Redmond OBE – wildlife biologist, Head of Conservation – Ecoflix and Ambassador for UN’s
Convention on Migratory Species
Andrew Rosindell MP
Carol Royle – actress and animal activist
Dr Richard D Ryder – conservationist, author, animal rights advocate, past Chairman of RSPCA
SARX – Christian Animal Advocacy Charity
Save Elephant Foundation and Elephant Nature Park (Thailand) – founded by Lek Saengduean Chailert, Woman Hero of Global Conservation, holder of Legion d’Honneur of France
Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Jenny Seagrove – actress and owner of the Mane Chance Sanctuary
Virendra Sharma MP
Shellfish Network
Alex Sobel MP
Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall (world’s largest Sikh Gurdwara organisation outside India)
Peter Stevenson OBE – lawyer and animal welfare campaigner
Linda, Countess of Stockton
Touchpoint Group
Professor the Lord Trees FRCVS, FMedSci, HonFRSE
UK Centre for Animal Law (A-LAW)
Dr Madhulal Valliyatte – Asian elephant specialist, conservationist and veterinary consultant
Viva!
Rick Wakeman CBE – musician, composer, activist
Dr Clifford Warwick PGDip(MedSci) PhD CBiol CSci EurProBiol FRSB – biologist and medical scientist
Whale and Dolphin Conservation
Ann Widdecombe DSG – politician, author, TV personality
Wild Animal Welfare Committee
Wild Futures
Wild Welfare
Jay and Katja Wilde – UK’s leading organic vegan farmers, stars of “73 Cows”
World Animal Justice
World Animal Protection
Correspondence to: DuncanMcNair@stae.org

Called to Unity: Towards and Ecology of Relationships

Webinar on March 2 organized by Together4Europe

With the participation of Dr. Nikolaos Asproulis, deputy director of the Volos Academy for Theological Studies and Chair of POCA. Dr. Asproulis will deliver a talk on the ontological interdepedence among all creatures of God and the need for Christian theology to reconsider the content of the imago Dei doctrine so as to include non-human creatures too.

REGISTRATION IS OPEN UNTIL FEB 27 here: Together for Europe Workshop Ecology  02.03.2024       9.30 – 12.30 / 15.00 – 18.00 (office.com)

New Appointment at POCA

It gives us great pleasure to announce that the accomplished Orthodox theologian and philosopher, Nikolaos Asproulis will join Pan Orthodox Concern for Animals as its new Chair. Dr Christina Nellist will remain President and relinquish the Chair, to become its new Treasurer, following the death earlier this year of Father Simon Nellist.


Our Charity began in 2017 not only with the blessing of the then Archbishop Gregorios, but with the blessing, involvement, and patronage of Met. Kallistos of Diokleia. We have achieved a great deal since then – see our 2023 and 2022 reviews on our website panorthodoxconcernforanimals.org, and with this new appointment, we believe the Charity will go from strength to strength. Met. Isaias of Tamasou and Orinis in Cyprus remains our Patron, and Fr John Chryssavgis and Archimandrite Jack Khalil remain our theological advisors.
To give you a brief background, Nikolaos Asproulis is currently Deputy Director (2017- today) of
the Volos Academy for Theological Studies, Volos, Greece, and Lecturer at the Hellenic Open
University, Patras, Greece. He graduated in Theology (University of Athens, 1997). He
obtained MTh (2007) and PhD degrees (2016) in Theology at Hellenic Open University.
Asproulis’ research focuses on the history and development of contemporary Orthodox
theology (20st – 21st century), a field in which he approached several research avenues:
systematic theology, ecclesiology, political theology, spirituality, hermeneutics, and animal
theology. During his doctoral research, he specialized in the study of contemporary Orthodox
theology with a special focus on the neo-patristic movement and its main figures (Florovsky
and Zizioulas). His dissertation was entitled “Creation, History and Eschaton in Contemporary
Orthodox Theological Hermeneutics: From Georges Florovsky to John D. Zizioulas.”
He published articles in peer-reviewed journals like the Review of Ecumenical Studies,
Communio Viatorum, Participatio, et. al., while he serves as reviewer in journals like Critical
Research on Religion (Sage), Open Theology (De Gruyter) and Review of Ecumenical Studies
(De Gruyter).
Asproulis was an academic associate of the official scholarly theological journal of the
Orthodox Church of Greece, Theologia (2009-2016). He is currently an official representative
of the Church of Greece in CEC thematic group on Economic and Ecological Justice (2017-8,
2019-2023), Coordinator of the Network of Ecumenical Learning in Eastern and Central Europe
(Nelcee – http://www.nelcee.org/); WP5 Volos Academy Team member of RESILIENCE
(https://www.resilience-ri.eu/) ; and project manager of the Ecotheological project and
activities of the Volos Academy for Theological Studies
(https://churchgoesgreen.acadimia.org). Furthermore, he is competent in Greek (native),
English (excellent), French (reading, understanding). Despite the demanding work to organize more than 15 international conferences at Volos Academy between 2009 till today, Nikolaos has not ceased publishing since the start of his doctoral trajectory with the resulting list of numerous contributions to international journals and book chapters. Nikolasos has published over 73 articles, written 5 books, edited, or coedited 15 books and translated 7 books. He is expected to publish in 2025, a first systematic contribution to Animal Studies from an Orthodox perspective under the title: Eastern Orthodox Christian Animal Theology: God, Animals and Creation in Dialogue (Lexington Books, forthcoming 2025).
We are sure you will agree that this is an excellent appointment and join us in congratulating
him on his appointment.

2023 REVIEW

Our ‘Review’ of last year’s work was so well received that we thought we would do another for this year.

Throughout the year we continued to work on highlighting various Animal Protection issues on our Facebook and Twitter group/pages – (6) Facebook ; (2) Dr. Christina Nellist, B.ED, P.HD, FOCAE, (@orthodoxanimals) / X (twitter.com);   Facebook . Please do look at them as we often put live petitions from various groups on specific issues, such as the ongoing work to prevent the Importation of Hunting Trophies, Saving the Asian Elephant, or the work to replace the discredited animal testing model with alternatives that are available for ‘Big Pharma’ to use.

We also put articles/papers related to animals on our website see panorthodoxconcernforanimals.org.

January

Pan Orthodox Concern for Animals organised a special session on Creation Care Christian Responsibility at the 2nd International Orthodox Theological Association in Volos, Greece. This consisted of Fr Bassam Nassif as Chair; Dr Christina Nellist who spoke on ‘Creation Care: Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia’s Teachings on Orthodoxy, Animals and Nature’; Fr Simon Nellist who spoke on ‘The Mission Fields of Compassionate Activism’;

Dr David K Goodin who spoke on: ‘“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”: John Chrysostom and the Anaphora of Creation in the Hallelujah Psalms’; Dr Nikolaos Asproulis (absent for photo) who spoke on ‘Animals, animality and the human being: An Addendum (or correction?) to Christian Anthropology’;  Fr. Filotheos-Fotios Maroudas  who spoke on ‘The Dominion as a Fraternal Responsibility to Animals rather than a Supremacy’; Ms Elizabeth Rotoff,  who spoke on ‘An Eastern Orthodox Perspective On A Whole Food Plant-Based Diet’ and George Nassos who spoke on ‘Moving Towards the Image of God: The Urgent Need for Parish Engagement in Responsible Creation Care’. The session was well attended by both clergy and laity from around the world. We thank our panel members for their presentations.

We were delighted to hear from Fr Antony Vrame at SVS that Animal Blessing Services are increasingly common in Orthodox Parishes across America. Hopefully, the UK and other regions will soon catch them up!

Fr. Simon and Dr. Christina attended the presenting of a one million plus signed petition, organised by the Save The Asian Elephant group https://stae.org/  to our Prime Minister asking for support for: a) Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end Pajan and ensure the proper treatment of captive elephants. These magnificent creatures should either be released into the forests or kept in genuine sanctuaries.

b) Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Former Prime Minister David Cameron to urgently fulfil their Government’s Manifesto commitment to “support the Indian Government in its efforts to protect the Asian elephant.”

c) The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) to press its members including Virgin Holidays, to remove elephant attractions from their itinerary in India and the rest of Asia. Only visits to genuine sanctuaries and wildlife reserves where tourists observe elephants at a respectful distance (and do not ride them) should be permitted.

February

Dr Christina organised a session on ‘Creation Care Christian Responsibility’ at the European Academy of Religion Conference at St Andrews University in Scotland, to be held in late June.

Fr Simon and Rev Rob organised and conducted an Animal Blessing Service in Kent on World Pet Day.

March

 Our President was interviewed by Paula Sparks of The Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law (ALAW) and was the first podcast by a theologian for their group. https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/talking-christian-orthodoxy-animals-and-law/id1578444621?i=1000615102578  or

https://www.alaw.org.uk/podcast/

They discussed among other topics how Trinitarian theology and Justinian Law could provide a platform for better defining ‘person’ in UK and International Law in the 21st century. Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law

She also attended as an observer, the Suprasl Orthodox Youth ​Environmental ​Leadership Program. This was an online educational ​program focused on providing basic knowledge and ​understanding on the theology and spiritual teaching of the ​Orthodox Church on ecological matters, teaching about ​modern environmental challenges, and raising the capacity of ​Orthodox youth to respond in a practical way to those ​challenges. Suprasl is a world fellowship of Orthodox youth founded in ​2022 following an international meeting of Orthodox youth at ​the Monastery of the Annunciation in Suprasl, Poland. Its aim ​is to provide opportunities for Orthodox youth from around ​the world to meet in prayer and fellowship, to encourage each ​other in their faith and love for Jesus Christ.

April

The Animal Interfaith Alliance, of which POCA is a member, was represented on a zoom panel for the Charter for Compassion’s Golden Rule Day, on Wednesday 5th April, to discuss “The Golden Rule and Compassion for All Animals” – The Golden Rule and Compassion for All Animals for Golden Rule Day 2023 – YouTube

May

Dr Christina’s article ‘Wizards, Prophets, and the Archbishops and Bishops of the Christian Church,’ was published by Fordham’s Public Orthodoxy online platform. Wizards, Prophets, and the Archbishops and Bishops of the Christian Church – Public Orthodoxy

As you will remember, by this time it was clear that Fr Simon was seriously ill. He died on 29th May. His burial took place on 13th June.

June

In early June we were approached by the Non-Human Rights Project in the USA, who had been litigating in California on behalf of three elephants confined at Fresno Chaffee Zoo, to write another Amicus Curia brief on their behalf. This was undertaken and again, other Orthodox theologians and ethicists co-signed the letter. We are happy to report that the NHRP were successful in achieving permission to proceed with the case.

On June 15th we highlighted an investigation into groups of people across the world showing Monkey Torture videos on social media. It is interactive and people can write in on how the monkey babies can be tortured and killed! It is not on the Dark Web but available for you and our children to see. I noted on our website that this is why we do our work and that morning had shed the same tears of sadness for these fallen, darkened souls who enjoy and inflict such horrors, as I do for the poor innocent creatures who suffer unspeakable horrors and suffering at their hands. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew rightly teaches that ecological evils have their root both in a “destruction of religious piety within the human heart” and a too narrow definition of sin in the individual’s sense of guilt or wrongdoing. Calls for Christians to widen our concept of sin to include the abuse and exploitation of animals and the wider creation, and of the need for transfigured lives, clearly have relevance for animal suffering and our work. This is why we continue to encourage our church and others, to include animal suffering and protection into their education programmes, both at seminary and parish level.

Representatives of Pan Orthodox Concern for Animals charity chaired and spoke at a session on ‘Creation Care Christian Responsibility’ at the European Academy of Religion Conference at St Andrews University in Scotland. Fr Simon was to present a paper on ‘Creation Care as Mission,’ but due to his repose, another Orthodox presenter at the conference took his place.

The session was full of excellent and varied presentations from three Orthodox theologians and philosophers and one Catholic theologian. Dr Olga took the place of Fr Simon, and we are grateful to her, both for her willingness to engage with us and for her valuable contribution.

Eastern Orthodox theologian Dr. Olga Sevastyanova opened the ‘Creation Care Christian Responsibility’ session with her excellent paper entitled ‘The Breath of God in Creation.’ Her paper explored the three scriptural Hebrew terms נֶפֶשׁ (nephesh), נְשָׁמָה (neshama) and ר֣וּחַ (ruah) rendered into English as soul, breath, or spirit. Dr Olga demonstrate that in the Scriptures, there is no clear distinction between God’s immortal breath /spirit (neshama/ruah) and the breath/spirit (neshama/ruah) within creatures. The whole of creation participates in the life of God by the very fact of its living. It is always God who animates the creatures, both physically and spiritually. She brought attention to the fact that the breath of life (nishmat hayyim), breathed into the human nostrils at Creation according to Genesis 2:7, does not constitute the difference between humans and other creatures. Both animals and humans are animated by God’s breath. She explained that this raises the question about the place of animals within Orthodox Theology. She also explored two questions: Where does the sharp theological distinction between the animal world and the human come from? For what reasons did Orthodox theology displace animals from participation in God? Her paper interrogated these questions using the theology of St. Gregory of Nyssa.

Eastern Orthodox philosopher Natalia Doran (above) then gave her presentation entitled ‘Animal theology in the writings of St John of Damascus.’ Natalia explained that as someone who wrote the nearest to a summa theologica that the Christian East possesses, St John of Damascus can be relied upon to provide a sophisticated and consistent conceptual framework within which a variety of issues, including issues to do with animals. She explained that the terms that are of particular interest are ‘nature’ and ‘hypostasis.’ While it is generally accepted that there will be some type of animal life in the ‘Age to Come’, it is by no means certain that it will be the same animals whom we know and love here, in this space and time continuum. However, following the logic of the ontological priority of the hypostasis that St John adheres to in his exposition of the Orthodox faith, she argued that, since creation is fundamentally particular, it will be animal individuals (hypostases, or persons) who will share eternity with such of us who are worthy of it.

The third member of our team was the Catholic theologian and founder of the Animal Interfaith Alliance (AIA), Barbara Gardner, who gave her presentation on ‘The Golden Rule and Compassion for All Beings.’She explained that the Animal Interfaith Alliance, is a unique alliance of faith-based animal advocacy organisations which represents the major faiths and focuses on what we have in common and on what unites us, rather than what differentiates us. We recognise that the Golden Rule, “to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself” is common amongst all faiths and traditions, dating back millennia. We also recognise that all faiths and traditions have included animals in their definition of “others” in the Golden Rule. She reminded us that sadly, many of the followers of those faiths and traditions today, and for hundreds of years in the past, have forgotten that the rule applies to all sentient beings – beings who can feel pain and suffer, and who can experience pleasure and happiness. In our ever more human-centric world, animals have become excluded from our circle of compassion. They have become reduced to mere commodities for our use, with little or no regard for their complex emotional, social, and spiritual lives. She went on to explain that the AIA aims to educate people on the original teachings of their faiths and to reinstate the fundamental principle that we must extend our circle of compassion to include all conscious, sentient beings, and that we must extend to them also, the golden rule and treat them as we would wish to be treated ourselves.  All member groups believe in a lifestyle which does not harm others. Animals are sentient beings who have the right to live freely and not made to suffer by humans and exist for their own sakes and not for ours. We believe that we are part of an interconnected web, which includes the Earth and all its inhabitants, both plant and animals. By abusing part of that web, we damage the rest of it, including the environment and ourselves.

Finally, Eastern Orthodox theologian and Chair of the session, Dr Christina Nellist gave an outline of the ‘Creation Care Christian Responsibility Course.’ She explained that this course, originally written for an Orthodox audience, is easily adapted for use by other Christian denominations. It is for use in Christian parishes, youth groups, seminary institutions or for individual study. It may also provide a useful framework for homilies. The course, consisting of eight lessons, establishes that concern and compassion for animals is not a modern phenomenon, but one found both in the Bible and in the earliest teachings of the Christian Church. It provides an anamnesis of a lesser-known Christian tradition, where all animals are loved and protected by God and that their suffering is against God’s will. It reminds us that in our role as Image, we should strive to reflect the Archetype in our lives. At times, it also highlights the soteriological implications of our abuse and exploitation of God’s non-human animal beings and the wider creation. It reminds us that by causing harm to animals or by our indifference to it, human salvation is in jeopardy. It is written to facilitate Christian Church engagement with the subjects of animal suffering and care for the environment/creation.

July

In July we received this word of encouragement from someone across the globe, who like so many others, know of our work and appreciate what we do. It said:

‘Hello, Dr. Nellist! I am an American college student and a catechumen in the Orthodox Church. I am also a vegan and was delighted to find out about the POCAC! I wanted to thank you for the work you have done in this field; it is my hope that Orthodox Christians will lead the charge toward a more compassionate treatment of animals. May the Lord bless you in your endeavors,…’

May the Lord continue to bring us people willing to help us in our work on His behalf.

In early July, Dr Nellist taught sessions at the Volos Academy of Theology’s Summer School on ‘The Interdependence of Animal and Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development,’ and ‘The Creation Care Christian Responsibility Course’ and its uses for the audience, which consisted of Orthodox Priests from Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Georgia.

She also participated in a workshop on this subject, with her colleagues Dr Chris Durante, and anthropologist, Francis Kostarelos.

As you know POCA is against testing on animals, not only because of the extreme suffering and death of millions of God’s creatures but because it is bad science. It was not difficult therefore, for us to attend and promote the online book launch of Rat Trap: The Capture of Medicine by Animal Research – and how to Break Free by Dr. Pandora Pound, Research Director at Safer Medicines Trust in the UK. We have in the past promoted scientific articles on this subject such as this Sage Article: ‘The Use of Human Tissues for Research: What Investigators Need to Know.’https://journals.sagepub.com/…/10…/02611929221107933… and others will be forthcoming, so that our readers can be better informed on the subject.

August

Our President Dr Christina was invited by the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics to attend their Summer School on ‘Animals and the Media’ at Oxford.

We at last received the edited Met. Kallistos videos from our dear supporter James Hyndman. These were made in late 2019 to specifically raise funds for POCA. We intended to write a series of short children’s books, which would include a supporting video. This project is something we wish to proceed with when time allows. If you would like to help with this project by participation or through funding, please contact us at panorthodoxconcernforanimals@gmail.com with the heading ‘Met Kallistos books’.

September

Our President attended the Faith in Europe ‘Concern of Young Christians in Europe: Key Perspectives’ zoom conference.

We also received great news that the Bill to protect the Asian Elephant had received Royal Assent by King Charles 111. This was Duncan’s response:

“Save The Asian Elephants and the millions who have supported our campaign hope the passing into law of the landmark Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill will prove a momentous day for animals everywhere. The measures, resolutely implemented and enforced, will help protect endangered and vulnerable species across the world from extreme exploitation, harm, and death in tourism. They will also save many lives of humans too, turned upon by maddened elephants and other creatures provoked by torture. Save The Asian Elephants is hugely appreciative of all who have supported our campaign for these changes, of our government, our Parliament across party divides, the charity sector, and the public. All must now set our hand to starting the transition from brutal and dangerous practices to ethical sanctuaries and wildlife reserves.

Britain can take pride in this world-first law, and we must encourage the world to follow suit whilst time remains for so many beleaguered species, our brothers, and sisters in nature.”

Duncan McNair – CEO, Save The Asian Elephants

October

In early October, Dr Christina flew to Lebanon to instruct students and staff at Balamand University on the work of Met. Kallistos, and his lifelong care for all of God’s creatures. The following week she lectured at the Middle East Council of Churches Symposium on ‘Ecumenical Perspective on Climate Change,’ where she was the Orthodox representative. POCA’S Icon of ‘Christ Breaking the Bonds of Animal Suffering’ is shown on the slide in the below picture and was part of Dr Christina’s session, which was broadcast live across the region and well attended both by senior academics and students from across the Middle East.

Hosea 4:1-3 was the only Biblical quote she gave in her presentation, because it is relevant for our era, and sadly more so now with the abominations inflicted in Israel on the 7th October and the resulting war:

‘There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgement of God in the land.

There is only lying, cursing and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds and bloodshed follows bloodshed.

Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying.’

November

We are excited at our inclusion in this book entitled ‘Meditations on Creation in an Era of Extinction’ by Prof. Kate Rigby, who is Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Environmental Humanities, University of Cologne, where she directs the research hub Multidisciplinary Environmental Studies in the Humanities (MESH), and are  humbled at her kind words relating to our work. https://orbisbooks.com/products/9781626985506…

Practicing an ancient form of theological reflection, Kate Rigby returns to the biblical narrative of the six days of creation in the horizon of accelerating climate chaos, biodiversity loss, ecological unravelling, and environmental injustice, and shares inspiring stories of faith-based initiatives to respond to the entangled cries of the earth, our fellow creatures, and the poor. Meditations on Creation in an Era of Extinction is acclaimed by Mary Evelyn Tucker of the Forum on Religion and Ecology as “a brilliant weaving of Christian theology, personal reflection, and environmental action” that is “destined to become a classic.” In her reflections on the sixth day of creation, Rigby highlights the work of Orthodox theologian,

Dr. Christina Nellist, and of the organisation she co-founded with Met. Kallistos of Diokleia – Pan Orthodox Concern for Animals Charity, as an outstanding example of Christian advocacy for fellow animals, nourished by the legacy of the Eastern church fathers, several of whom made a major contribution to the hexamoral tradition that Rigby revivifies in this book.

On 12th November, Prof Martin Henig and Dr Nellist conduct/attend the Animals in War Memorial Service, which was as beautiful and thought-provoking as ever.

On the 30th Dr Christina gave a talk on ‘Orthodox Prayers for Animals’ at the Interfaith Celebration for Animals Ceremony.

We were contacted by Fr Jacob Siemens, editor of the on-line Orthodox Exchange Magazine, who requested an article. ‘Animals on the Orthodox Agenda’ was sent to them in early December – see the magazine here https://www.orthodoxexchange.net/magazine 

December

As you know Dr Christina is also on the Board of the Orthodox Fellowship of the Transfiguration in America. This is the appeal for the poor of Zimbabwe that was posted recently:

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This letter invites funds for Christmas food relief for the extraordinarily poor Orthodox Christians of Zimbabwe. The number of Zimbabweans in extreme poverty has reached 8.3 million as the pandemic in that country has delivered an economic shock to the country. These are most likely among the poorest people on earth.

No other Orthodox organization provides help to the situation in Zimbabwe. The United Nations World Food program calls their predicament a “Full-Blown Humanitarian Crisis.” Global climate change is one of the multiple causes of the record drought in Zimbabwe. Food which farmers might normally produce is drying up in the fields.

According to a World Bank’s economic report, about half of Zimbabwe’s population fell into extreme poverty last year, with children bearing the brunt of the misery. Hunger has a ripple effect on desperately poor families. If they can buy food, they will likely forgo health care as they are unable to pay for medicines. Then they will also keep children out school to avoid education costs, such as for school fees and books. For those of you who are able to send a donation, your name and ALL of your donation will be sent directly to HE Archbishop Seraphim [Kykotis] in Zimbabwe. He will in turn distribute these funds equitably across the parishes of the archdiocese. Please send donations to: The OFT, c/o Food Relief for Zimbabwe, P.O. Box 7348, Santa Rosa, California 95407 USA

Give what you can. No donation is too small. 100% of your donation goes to the people of Zimbabwe. Your contribution for Food Relief is 100% tax deductible. Yours in service to God’s good earth, Fred Krueger see the OFT and its work at www.Orth-Transfiguration.org

In December, the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics published its Report on predator control. As a Fellow at the OCAE, our President co-signed the Report. Here is the Press Release:

 “Predator control” on Scottish moors causes tremendous, unjustifiable suffering to animals, say academics. Over 120 academics worldwide have backed a report that calls for an end to snaring, trapping, and poisoning animals on Scottish moors. Animals are killed in order to artificially inflate grouse populations for shooting.

“The best available estimates indicate that as many as 260,000 animals are killed as a result of legal ‘predator control’ practices each year in Scotland” maintains the Report.

The Report is signed by numerous ethicists and philosophers, including Scottish academics from the universities of St Andrews, Edinburgh, Stirling, and Aberdeen, and the Nobel Laureate, J. M. Coetzee.

Titled “Killing to Kill,” the 71-page Report by the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics graphically details how each method of control “causes suffering, or prolongs suffering, or makes animals liable to suffering.”

Snares are condemned because they “inevitably mean that animals can struggle for hours in considerable pain and distress.” Even the supposedly most humane trap, the DOC (Department of Conservation) trap, only kills 80% of its victims quickly, while the remaining 20% are left to suffer appalling injuries, with no requirement for inspection. And poisons mean that animals suffer for days.

“This is a major moral issue” claims Centre director the Revd Professor Andrew Linzey, “it simply cannot be right to cause tremendous suffering for non-essential purposes. When we began the Report, we knew hardly anything about these control measures, but we have been staggered by the degree of suffering. Few people are cognizant of the situation. It is a much neglected and overlooked area of animal cruelty.”

The Report concludes by calling for a new charter for free-living animals. “Scotland could lead the way in pioneering legislation that encompasses not only domestic animals, but also free-living ones. This legislation should begin with the recognition of sentiency and enshrine in law the value and dignity of free-living animals such that their right to live unmolested is respected.”

The Report is written by a fellow and the directors of the Centre, Dr Katie Javanaud, Dr Clair Linzey, and the Revd Professor Andrew Linzey. It was commissioned by the Scottish charity, the League Against Cruel Sports, but is an entirely independent report and at no point did the League seek to influence the Report’s findings or conclusions.

Director of the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland Robbie Marsland, commented: “The League Against Cruel Sports is not surprised that many people believe Scotland’s “grouse moors” are an animal ethics free zone. Polling shows that 76% of Scots do not support the practice of ‘predator control’ to kill hundreds and thousands of animals so that more grouse can be shot for entertainment. This report clearly outlines the ethical case against this uncontrolled killing. The biggest surprise is that any suggestion that this killing should stop is met with incredulity by the shooting fraternity. We hope the report will open the eyes of politicians considering the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill to the enormous ethical issues before them.” The Report can be viewed online here. league_scotland_grouse_ethics_final.pdf

The Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics is an independent Centre which pioneers ethical perspectives on animals through research, teaching, and publication. It comprises a fellowship of more than 140 academics worldwide. The Centre collaborates with Palgrave Macmillan on the Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series which has published more than forty books to date. It also publishes the Journal of Animal Ethics in partnership with the University of Illinois Press. The Centre organises the Annual Oxford Animal Ethics Summer School each year, held at Merton College, Oxford. The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain’s leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused, and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. It carries out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. The League also works to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).

We are delighted to inform you that in early December one of our team, Natalia Doran, flew to Georgia to speak at the annual international conference of the Orthodox Research group of St John Chrysostom. ‘Reading Scripture as Orthodox Theologians’ being the over-arching theme of the conference, Natalia chose to focus her presentation on Psalm 103 (the creation psalm, numbered 104 in Western reckoning), hoping to make her paper an instantiation of Orthodox interpretation. Verses 29-31, and their significance for the wider issue of animal immortality, were carefully considered. Those verses happen to be directly quoted and commented on by St Maximus the Confessor and St Gregory of Nyssa. Do look out for a new entry on our website and let us know in the comments on our FB site if you are interested in Natalia’s take on the Tbilisi street dog situation, including a visit to a local shelter.

We have been asked to write a short article for The Wheel, on Mets Ware/Zizioulas’ concern for animals, which will include a critical comparison of their relative texts.

Now for some housekeeping and exciting news.

As a result of Fr Simon’s death, our President has relinquished the Chair of the charity to an exceptionally talented and well-respected Orthodox theologian. She will take on Fr Simon’s role as Treasurer, whilst remaining its President, and continuing to write articles and attend conferences on behalf of POCA. We shall be announcing the newest member of the team in early January, so keep your eyes on our FB and website!!

Finally, we thank you for your continuing support and love, and it gives us immense pleasure in wishing you all a wonderfully spiritual and loving Christmas, and a happy New Year.

PSALM 103 AND ANIMAL THEOLOGY

by Natalia Doran

The superscription of psalm 103 reads, “A Psalm of David, on the Creation of the World”, or, literally, on the “genesis” of the world, referring the reader to the first book of Scripture. The superscription gives the key to the interpretation of the psalm: it essentially covers the same ground as the Book of Genesis, but in the form of praise.

The place that psalm 103 occupies in the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church can hardly be exaggerated. It is known as the Introductory Psalm, opening, as it does, the service of Vespers, which itself begins the liturgical day. (The Orthodox liturgical day begins in the evening, with reference to the Book of Genesis, e.g. “There was evening and there was morning, the first day”, etc.). It is not a mere reading of Scripture in a church service, but rather part of a solid structure of public worship that leads from Creation, via the Fall, to the Incarnation and ultimate redemption and participation in divine reality through the Eucharist.

There are two texts in psalm 103 that were directly quoted and commented on by authoritative patristic source, and that are relevant for animal theology.

St Maximos the Confessor, whose cosmology is now more influential than ever, comments on verse 31 (“The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works.”). In his Chapters on Love St Maximos writes: “God, full beyond all fullness, brought creatures into being not because He had need of anything, but so that they might participate in Him in proportion to their capacity and that He Himself might rejoice in His works, through seeing them joyful and ever filled to overflowing with His inexhaustible gifts”. It is noteworthy that all creatures, not just humans and angels, participate in God, according to their capacity.

The other direct commentary relates to verses 29-31 of psalm 103:  Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works.” St Gregory of Nyssa, one of the extremely influential Cappadocian Fathers, draws our attention to the sequence of these actions – death, then creation, and renewal. In his book On the Soul and the Resurrection, St Gregory writes, “He (the prophet David) says that a power of the Spirit which works in all, vivifies the beings into whom it enters, and deprives those whom He abandons of their life. Seeing, then, that the dying is declared to occur at the Spirit’s departure, and the renewal of these dead ones at His appearance, and seeing moreover that in the order of the statement the death of those who are to be thus renewed comes first, we hold that in these words that mystery of the Resurrection is proclaimed to the Church.”

It is significant that this text on the Resurrection appears to refer to all God’s creatures, not just humans. It is clear, first of all, from the immediate context; up to verse 29 the psalmist writes about various birds, land animals, humans, and finally sea animals, praising God for giving all these creatures their sustenance. Then they die, and are created, and renewed. The wider context also confirms the reading of verses 29-31 as referring to all creatures: psalm 103 is very much about the whole of creation, whereas the psalm that deals specifically with humans comes immediately before it, it is psalm 102, which starts in exactly the same way as psalm 103 (“Bless the Lord, oh my soul”), but praises God for his goodness specifically to humans.

The idea that death is going to be overcome not only for humans, but for all creatures that are born, is confirmed in modern theology in the writings of Bishop John (Zizioulas), of blessed memory. He writes: “When death is abolished at the end of time it is thought that people’s souls will live on, and though the bodies of these souls might live on too, the rest of the world would die. But this view is mistaken too. Death is a biological phenomenon, which, if it is to be transcended at all, must be transcended by creation as a whole.”

The Crisis of Modernity and the Climate Crisis

This statement was made by the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Irene in Sep 2020.

Modernity confronts us with many dilemmas. Man must answer challenges, and not
only those for which his teachers in his educational-upbringing process prepared
him, but also totally new and different problems that life places before us. And it has
always been so. Sociologists, pedagogues and culturologists generally agree that
today’s world is changing at a significantly faster pace than ever before. The
technological progress and social innovations of the 20th century have transformed
the world much faster than, for instance, the entire process of development during
medieval times. This process is characterized by a loss of values. Today’s world
functions as a marketplace, meaning that the market economy principle is seeking to
impose itself as the general norm.


The person is the central notion of Christianity: the person is the measure of all
values because it expresses the very designation of the human being, its possibility
and its goal to be in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1,26). To be sure, the
concept of person is not only a Christian category: more precisely, it is possible to
also find it in other theological conceptions. Nevertheless, only Christianity has
produced an integral ontology of personality and established a corresponding
personal pedagogy on its basis. It should be seen as the living experience of the
Church, founded in Christ’s Theandric personality. In that way – through an
Christological steadfastness of being and faith – as partakers in the new soteriological
existence of Redemption and Integration we can meet the challenges of modernity.


But, egotism encourages us to view the world as an opportunity for acquisition
and enjoyment. At every Divine Liturgy, St. John Chrysostom reminds us to
“commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.” A Man
who is captive of egotism is not able to build the right relationship either with God or
with other people: “when there is a feeling of higher worth, it does not only damage
relations between people, it clouds the relationship with God… egotism undermines
all life, which is why it is worth applying oneself towards its eradication.” That is
why the entire Liturgy is one great reminder to overcome our own “I” in order to
achieve communion in the life of the New Creation, in the future Kingdom.

Where must we live in the contemporary world? Only in the place where truth
resides – in Christ’s Church, in its dogmas and its worldview that is, before all –
liturgical. Truly, as a cosmic event, Liturgy cannot “fail” to witness to the world its
true designation in communion with God.


The Church has never avoided facing the crisis of the world that it is supposed
to change, due to its experiential knowledge that crisis – is the ontological state of
the world until Christ’s Second Coming. There is no other world than the “world in
crisis”; it is a world that the Church loves, that it does not anathematize for its
sinfulness but, rather, lavishes it with “works of love in Truth.”


Respected theologians of the Serbian Orthodox Church began to raise serious
concerns about environmental crisis and urgent problems of global warming, floods,
risk of forest fires, sea pollution from plastics, climate changes, etc. Pastors and
theologians of the Church, as well as Christians in general, have always erred, missed
and betrayed their ecclesial task whenever they argued and matched wits with “this
world” and their epoch using methods and arguments of “religious reason,” straining
to prove the world’s sinfulness and condemning it, from the heights of their supposed
“salvation,” to eternal perdition while, in fact, completely and irresponsibly
abandoning it to the power of anthropolatric ideologies and manipulations. And, on
the other hand, Church pastors and theologians have always triumphed over the
world and won it over for Christ’s “easy yoke” (Matthew 11,30) whenever they have
witnessed to it Christ’s Love for the life of the world, liturgical love and sacrifice “in
all and for all.”


What is expected of contemporary Christians, as members of Christ’s Church,
is neither aloof diagnosing of spiritual “illness” nor pronouncements of the “ruination
of the world,” nor panicked anathematizing of “this world” and its apostatic
modernity, but a responsible witnessing of the Truth of God-Man Christ, and an
unmasking of all the anthropolatric ideologies, falsities, misconceptions and
injustices through the love of Christ. The basis of Christian witnessing in the modern
world must be a liturgical love for that world, a love prepared to sacrifice for the life
of the world, instead of a dualistic puritanism that, from the heights of its righteous
self-satisfaction, abhors the “world (that) lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5,19) and
anathematizes it, hating, along with sin, the sinners themselves, contrary to the
example of Christ, Who came into the world for the sake of the sinners, to call them
to repentance (cf. Matthew 9,12-13).


The loss of the Christian experience of life, worldview, criterion of everything
and value system is the mark of the modern fall of the “Christian historical world.” After twenty centuries of her baptismal-resurrectional history, the Church finds
herself once again in a situation of existing in a world that is no longer “hers,” that is
no longer a Christian world, that defines itself as a “post-Christian” world, a “world
after Christianity,” a world that no longer bases itself on Christian foundations and
assumptions, that is either indifferent or openly rejects the Christian theory and
practice of life, thought and action, i.e., Christianity as a whole, together with its
theology and anthropology, ontology, ethics and esthetics, cosmology and ecology.
We have a crucial role as Orthodox Church in encouraging the world’s response to
the climate and ecological crisis through Church as Body of Christ. We give a clear
message for Orthodox climate leadership, focusing primarily on the Balkan Peninsula
and Mediterranean, which is facing mounting challenges caused or exacerbated by
climate change and the broader environmental crisis.


The experience of the entire creation (the World) as Home, is possible
exclusively and solely from that which is the Wholeness of Heaven and earth, history
and the Eschaton – from the Body of Christ and in the Body of Christ, Christ’s
Church, which is larger and higher and more encompassing than the world, “which
surpasses Heaven itself,” which contains within herself not only the entire cosmos,
not only the visible but also the invisible world, “all worlds” “life, immortality and
eternity, and theandricity.” That is because graceful ascetic knowledge of God is the
source of all other human knowledge – self-knowledge (anthropology) as well as
knowledge of the world (cosmology, ecology).


The ascetic experience of the Fathers, i.e., the “renunciation of the (fallen)
world,” commanded by the God-Man Christ Himself (“If any man will come after
Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me…” (Matthew 16,24),
“lies in the very nature of the Christian philosophy of life and means a radical change
of relationship with the world and with oneself, and a change of the way of life,
behind which lies a demand for freedom that only the Holy Spirit can grant.”
Let us all recall the commands of God regarding our use of the earth as Our
Home. Let us respond to the divine commandments so that the blessings of God may
be abundantly upon us in Liturgy and prayers. And let us responsibly discern the
right, holy and proper way to live in this time of change and challenge, as a life in
Church as a Body of Christ.

Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Irinej (†)

Belgrade, Serbia
September 2020

God and St Francis discuss lawns

God to Saint Francis Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.

Saint Francis It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

God Grass? But, it’s so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms. It’s sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

Saint Francis Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

God The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

Saint Francis Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it-sometimes twice a week.

God They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

Saint Francis Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

God They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

Saint Francis No, Sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

God Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

Saint Francis Yes, Sir.

God These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

Saint Francis You aren’t going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

God What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. It’s a natural cycle of life.

Saint Francis You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

God No!? What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?

Saint Francis After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

God And where do they get this mulch?

Saint Francis They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

God Enough! I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

Saint Francis ‘Dumb and Dumber’, Lord. It’s a story about….

God Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

A Sustainable Environment: Our Obligation to Protect God’s Gift

George P. Nassos

In Addition to Climate Change and Our Natural Resources, Think About Water

I have talked about the increasing problem with climate change and our natural resources, but another major environmental issue is the decline in quality and quantity of fresh water in the world. Roughly, 97% of the water on the planet is saltwater while only 3% is freshwater, what is needed for human consumption, industrial use, and agricultural use. But how much of this freshwater is truly available for use? Not very much. According to the Bureau of Reclamation, only 5% of all the freshwater on the earth is available which is only 0.15% of all the water on earth. The rest of the freshwater is in icecaps, glaciers, and groundwater. And how does this freshwater use break down: roughly, 60% is for agricultural use, 30% for industrial use, and only 10% of the freshwater is for human consumption. That means that the available water for human consumption is only 0.015% of the water on this earth. And as the population continues to grow, the amount of available water per person will continue to decrease.

The biggest consumers of freshwater are the agricultural fields around the world. According to an estimate in National Geographic, the agricultural demand for water is expected to increase by 50% by 2050. Here in the United States the biggest decline in water for agriculture is probably in the west, mostly affecting Arizona, California, Colorado, Neveda, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. This decline is primarily due to the droughts affecting the Colorado River which supplies water to these seven states. They are currently trying to decide how to reduce water consumption. Some of these states have already imposed laws against the installation of lawns for new homes.

One way of reducing agricultural water consumption is to move quickly to urban farming, also known as vertical farming. This refers to growing fruits and vegetables in some high-rise buildings using hydroponics. The major benefits of urban farms include the use of at least 90% less water than in agricultural fields. In hydroponics the water is fed directly to the roots of the plants and not spread over agricultural fields where only 5-10% of the water reaches the plant. In addition, you can grow crops 365 days per year and transportation costs go way down because the building can be in the middle of the market demand. Another benefit is the much lower requirement for fertilizers and pesticides. Since the plants are all indoors, there is a need for artificial lighting, but this can be supplied by renewable energy to keep the cost down. Now is the best time to add more urban farming with the availability of empty office buildings, thanks to more people working from home.

Water for industrial use is primarily needed for manufacturing such as fabricating, processing, washing, diluting, or cooling. A large amount of freshwater is also used for power generation in coal-fired and gas-fired power plants as well as nuclear energy plants. In these cases, the water is heated to produce steam which is needed for the electrical generators. With a continued increase in solar and wind energy, the demand for these other forms of power generation should decrease.

Although human consumption of water is the smallest portion of the use of freshwater, we each have a personal requirement to manage it as best as possible. We have relied on groundwater for many years, but this source of fresh water is depleting quickly. One example is when Nestle, the world’s largest bottled water company, was filling bottles with freshwater in Michigan until the groundwater source was completely depleted. The company received approval from Washington to switch to Lake Michigan for its bottled water. Now, the Nestle plant consumes water from the lake and ships most of this bottled water to Asia. On top of that, we really shouldn’t be consuming bottled water as it takes almost twice the content of the bottle in water just to produce the plastic bottle. In addition, only 10% of these plastic bottles are currently recycled.

Something else to think about is that the water we use to flush a toilet is of the same quality as the water we drink. Does it have to be that clean? When remodeling, we should consider installing a toilet with a sink above it. This way disposed water from washing our hands or face will go into the toilet tank and used for the next flush. There are even urinals for men’s restrooms that have a small sink above each urinal. When the person is through using the urinal, he can remain there to wash his hands and have the wash water be used to clean the urinal. Again, using water for multiple applications.

As mentioned earlier, several states are preventing new homes from being built with lawns on the property. The reason is obvious because of the quantity of water that most people feel is necessary to maintain a nice lawn. I have not watered my lawn in over 20 years, and it doesn’t look any worse than some of my neighbor’s who do water their lawns. One of the reasons is best explained in this story of St. Francis talking to God about lawns. God and St Francis discuss lawns – ABC (none) – Australian Broadcasting Corporation If you have been watering your lawn, I am somewhat confident that you won’t do it anymore after reading this conversation.

Let’s all be cognizant of the value of this critically important resource that is so limited.

THE EUROPEAN ACADEMY OF RELIGION CONFERENCE 2023

Creation Care Christian Responsibility Session

St Andrews University, St Andrews, Scotland. June 2023

At the end of June, the Pan Orthodox Concern for Animals Charity ran a session entitled ‘Creation Care Christian Responsibility’ at the European Academy of Religion’s conference at St Andrews University in St Andrews, Scotland. It was a session full of interesting presentations from three Orthodox theologians and philosophers and one Catholic theologian, who took the place of Fr Simon who had recently died, and we are grateful to her, both for her willingness to engage with us and for her valuable contribution.

Eastern Orthodox theologian Dr. Olga Sevastyanova opened the ‘Creation Care Christian Responsibility’ session with her excellent paper entitled The Breath of God in Creation. Her paper explored the three scriptural Hebrew terms נֶפֶשׁ (nephesh), נְשָׁמָה (neshama) and ר֣וּחַ (ruah) rendered into English as soul, breath, or spirit. Dr Olga demonstrate that in the Scriptures, there is no clear distinction between God’s immortal breath /spirit (neshama/ruah) and the breath/spirit (neshama/ruah) within creatures. The whole of creation participates in the life of God by the very fact of its living. It is always God who animates the creatures, both physically and spiritually. She brought attention to the fact that the breath of life (nishmat hayyim), breathed into the human nostrils at Creation according to Genesis 2:7, does not constitute the difference between humans and other creatures. Both animals and humans are animated by God’s breath. She explained that this raises the question about the place of animals within Orthodox Theology. Where does the sharp theological distinction between the animal world and the human come from? For what reasons did Orthodox theology displace animals from participation in God? Her paper interrogated these questions using the theology of St. Gregory of Nyssa.

Eastern Orthodox philosopher Natalia Doran (above) then gave her presentation entitled Animal theology in the writings of St John of Damascus. Natalia explained that as someone who wrote the nearest to a summa theologica that the Christian East possesses, St John of Damascus can be relied upon to provide a sophisticated and consistent conceptual framework within which a variety of issues, including issues to do with animals, can be discussed. She explained that the terms that are of particular interest are nature and hypostasis. While it is generally accepted that there will be some type of animal life in the ‘Age to Come’, it is by no means certain that it will be the same animals whom we know and love here, in this space and time continuum. However, following the logic of the ontological priority of the hypostasis that St John adheres to in his exposition of the Orthodox faith, she argued that, since creation is fundamentally particular, it will be animal individuals (hypostases, or persons) who will share eternity with such of us who are worthy of it.

The third member of our team was the Catholic theologian and founder of the Animal Interfaith Alliance, Barbara Gardner, who gave her presentation on The Golden Rule and Compassion for All Beings. She explained that she was representing the Animal Interfaith Alliance (AIA), which is a unique alliance of faith-based animal advocacy organisations which represents the major faiths, and focuses on what we have in common and on what unites us, rather than what differentiates us.  We recognise that the Golden Rule, “to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself” is common amongst all faiths and traditions, dating back millennia.  We also recognise that all faiths and traditions have included animals in their definition of “others” in the Golden Rule.  She reminded us that sadly, many of the followers of those faiths and traditions today, and for hundreds of years in the past, have forgotten that the rule applies to all sentient beings – beings who can feel pain and suffer, and who can experience pleasure and happiness.  In our ever more human-centric world, animals have become excluded from our circle of compassion.  They have become reduced to mere commodities for our use, with little or no regard for their complex emotional, social and spiritual lives. She went on to explain that the AIA aims to educate people on the original teachings of their faiths and to reinstate the fundamental principle that we must extend our circle of compassion to include all conscious, sentient beings, and that we must extend to them also, the golden rule and treat them as we would wish to be treated ourselves.  All member groups believe in a lifestyle which does not harm others.  Animals are sentient beings who have the right to live freely and not to be made to suffer by humans and exist for their own sakes and not for ours.  We believe that we are part of an interconnected web which includes the Earth and all its inhabitants, both plant and animals.  By abusing part of that web, we damage the rest of it, including the environment and ourselves.

Finally, Eastern Orthodox theologian and Chair of the session, Dr Christina Nellist gave an outline of one of her forthcoming sessions at the Volos Academy of Theology in Greece, entitled The Creation Care Christian Responsibility Course. She explained that this course, originally written for an Orthodox audience, is easily adapted for use by other Christian denominations. It is for use in Christian parishes, youth groups, seminary institutions or for individual study. It may also provide a useful framework for homilies. The course, consisting of eight lessons, establishes that concern and compassion for animals is not a modern phenomenon, but one found both in the Bible and in the earliest teachings of the Christian Church. It provides an anamnesis of a lesser-known Christian tradition, where all animals are loved and protected by God and that their suffering is against God’s will. It reminds us that in our role as Image, we should strive to reflect the Archetype in our lives. At times, it also highlights the soteriological implications of our abuse and exploitation of God’s non-human animal beings and the wider creation. It reminds us that by causing harm to animals or by our indifference to it, human salvation is in jeopardy. It is written to facilitate Christian Church engagement with the subjects of animal suffering and climate change, which, though separate subjects, are deeply interconnected.        

WIZARDS, PROPHETS, and the ARCHBISHOPS and BISHOPS of the CHRISTIAN CHURCH

In his 2018 book ‘Wizards and Prophets’, C. C. Mann describes the work and approaches of two of the most important environmentalists of the 20th century – William Vogt and Norman Borlaug. Unfortunately, their ‘blueprints’ are contradictory approaches to the problems of Climate Change. Mann categories those who follow Borlaug’s model of ‘techno-optimism’ (that science and technology will resolve the problems) as Wizards. Those following the Vogt model are described as Prophets – ‘those decrying the consequences of our heedlessness’, those calling for a lighter carbon footprint. Whilst each derided the other’s view, neither are described by Mann in terms of ‘good and evil’, but in terms of ‘different ideas of the good life’.  These group of followers I describe here as groups One and Two. Many in society fall into these two categories and of course, we find them in the Christian Church.

There are however other categories, as Mann acknowledges, though he sees these as part of a continuum of thought – overlapping in places. Group Three, the ‘Climate Deniers’, are those who in my terminology, seem to believe that Climate Change is nothing more than a giant conspiracy. There is a fourth group, those I describe as the ‘Vested Interests’, who know of Climate Change but choose to continue to maximize their wealth and influence, regardless of the damage to the rest of society – likely ‘the principalities and powers’ that the Apostles identified as the opponents to a Christ-like life and human salvation.

Recently, the IPCC gave its latest, probably penultimate warning to the world – a framework for human survival. The first two groups of humans are not surprised at its findings and continue to worry at the lack of action in the timeframe that is available to act. The fourth group is also not surprised, but they are too rich to worry, as they have already bought enough land in enough places to beat the odds, and of course, have super-yachts as a fall-back position, should the time of Noah return. But what of the third group who refuse to listen to those whom God has sent to warn of the impending ‘flood’? Without help from the Christian Church, which ought to offer a different voice to group Four, they are likely to continue to listen to the vested interests. Is it ignorance or arrogant indifference that we find in this group? Whatever it is, they need guidance.

As our governments overall, have ignored the previous reports and urgent timeframe, it is reasonable for a theologian to ask – who will be in the 21st century ‘Ark’? The answer is likely to be two-fold. Firstly, there will be several ‘Super Arks’, with group 4s on board, and perhaps some smaller versions with some group 1 and 2s on board. Secondly, Group 3 will be left floundering and are likely to die of starvation due to food scarcity; or on their exodus from their lands that are underwater or parched dry; or in the civil unrest and war that will arise as societies break down into lawlessness and mass migration, as climate instability, food and water scarcity increasingly manifest, and they realise their foolishness in listening to those in group 4. So, is that it? Is nothing to be done? As the IPCC suggests, there is a still a small window of opportunity available to us.

All four categories of human outlined above are to be found in the Christian Church. Thankfully, most Patriarchs have acknowledged the existential danger of Climate Change and instability, and most have spoken on its perils and of the need for Christians to lead more eco-theologically sustainable Christian lives. However, there remains a gap between what is taught at the top of our Christian Churches and what is happening at parish level, and after decades and decades of prophetic Christian teachings, we must ask in earnest why this is so?

There is a group of powerful clergy in the traditional Christian churches that exist between the Patriarchs and the priests and whilst there are a few Archbishops and Bishops that are actively encouraging their priests to engage with the Climate Crisis unfolding before us, many – too many – are not. The forensic question to ask is why? What is it that prevents them from giving their priests the permission or instruction to engage with the most pressing issue of our time? Maybe some of them belong to group 3 – they hear the teachings, hear the warnings, but refuse to believe them? C. S. Lewis writes brilliantly on this possibility in the ‘Screwtape Letters’, as one of the errors our human race can fall into – that is, in not believing in the existence of the devil – or in modern terms – the powers that work against Christ and us, to prevent us living a Christ-like life and thus achieving salvation:

‘Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head…Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church…Teach him to call it ‘real life’ and don’t let him ask what he means by ‘real’…But the best of all is to let him read no science..’

Whilst we might expect this to be the case in the majority of group 3 ‘Climate Deniers’ in wider society, we ought not to expect these views in our churches.

Maybe some Archbishops and Bishops are under the direct influence of some of the rich and powerful group 4 and feel unable to speak out due to financial pressures, constraints, or threats of defunding? If this is the case, then we must pray for them and keep praying for them until the veils/scales fall from their eyes, and they take on the courage of Christ. Whatever their reasoning – they have lost their way.

The final forensic question, which is set with the backdrop of plentiful material and courses available for use in our parishes is this – will there be a soteriological consequence for those who have been given the privilege and power to act to save their flocks, the wider communities, and the other creatures within them, but fail to do so?

How You Can Help Unwanted Abandoned Pets in the UK *

Sadly, there are many pets that are homeless in the UK. You can help reduce this alarming number by advocating for these defenseless animals, just like Pan-Orthodox Concern for Animals.

Rehome a pet

Rehoming an animal instead of purchasing them from a breeder is one of the ways you can reduce pet homelessness.

Why not pay for a trip to one of the many pet shelters in the UK? There are many different shelters to choose from, so find one in your area or neighborhood that’s trying to make a difference for animals..

Get your home ready for him or her. Apart from making sure you have a dog bed, a harness, dog toys, etc. you also need to pet-proof your home to make it a safe environment for your pet.

Take time to bond with them by implementing routines they can get used to. Also, be sure to set aside time in your day for quality bonding with your pet.

Start a non-profit organisation

You can help the animal society at large by starting a non-profit organisation of your own to be the change you want to see.

Decide on your company’s primary objective. Will it be an animal rescue nonprofit, or an organisation that specialises in rehoming pets?

Make sure you apply for a non-profit status, which will ensure that you get the tax exemptions needed to acquire special grants.

Market your business to generate awareness for your plight. Creating a new website can help you build credibility with the public.

Make use of social media to help build a loyal following for your cause. You can upload a PDF to Facebook in some cases if you want to provide detailed information about your organisation in a succinct format.

Donate if you can

If you have the resources to donate to organisations that need them, then be sure to contact them right away to help animals that are in desperate need of love and care.

Look at different animal charities and donate whenever you can. Charities often cover different things (stopping animal abuse, helping rescue animals, etc.), so find one whose mission statement stirs a fire in your heart.

Another way to help animals in dire situations is by donating items to charity. In addition to food and supplies, you could also donate items like towels, blankets, and bedding.

It is easier nowadays to advocate for a worthy cause, especially if it involves the welfare of animals because people aren’t afraid to speak up anymore. It is even easier to help spread the word about what you’re doing with social media and online tools that can help you get the public’s backing more quickly.

This article is from one of our supporters Mike Nicholson. Whilst Pan Orthodox Concern for Animals is happy to share such articles, the opinions expressed are that of the author.

Animal Blessing Service, 26th February 2023

Earlier today, an Animal Blessing Service took place at the St. Martin of Tours Church in Detling, Kent. It is a very old church and is dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. The building was constructed in the 12th century with 13th and 15th-century additions and restoration carried out in the late 19th century. It is a Grade I listed building.

Brief note on the tradition of Orthodox Animal Blessings

Before we established the Pan Orthodox Concern for Animals Charity, we went and sought permission from Archbishop Gregorios of blessed memory. He immediately gave his permission and blessing. He also told stories of how, when he was a boy in Cyprus, his mother would come back with prosphoron and give some of it to their animals. After he was ordained, he would go into the garden and bless their animals. One might think this unusual until you learn that blessing animals has been an Orthodox Tradition for centuries. Indeed, there are famous prayers for animals from Saints Mamas and Modestos and there are, according to Met. Kallistos of Diokleia, ‘In the Orthodox book of blessings and intercession [Evchologion/Trebnik or Book of Needs] prayers for many species of animals, including bees and silkworms.’ The service today follows in this ancient Christian tradition.

Fr Simon Nellist is the Orthodox priest at The Church of the Annunciation in Boxley, Kent where the Rev. Robert Tugwell is the Anglican priest.

They came together on World Animal Pet Day, to perform a short but beautiful service to a small group of 9 people with 6 companion animals, all of which on this occasion were rescue dogs. (Picures on our FB site (6) Pan-Orthodox Concern for Animals | Facebook )

The service opened with Fr Simon reading the following prayer for companion animals and their owners, which included a section of the prayer of St Mamas:

Blessing for Companion Animals and their owners

Blessed is our God, always now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and God saw that everything was made and behold it was very good. Almighty God we come together to thank you for the beauty and the glory of your creation, to praise you and your holiness and grace, and to acknowledge our responsibility for our companion animals and to thank you for their friendship and the love that they show us. Let us pray with the whole church and in the words of the saints, poets, and theologians, for all those who acknowledge the beauty of your creation and in particular, for those animals in our care. Help us care for them with love and compassion, so that they may lead long and happy lives.

From the Prayer of St Mamas

Yes, O Lord our God, Who made the heaven and the earth, and Whose Word grants all things towards salvation to our people, do not neglect this my prayer, from Your humble and lowest servant; but hearken to me, O Lord Who loves mankind, and this my prayer when read, whether to wild, domesticated or companion animals. Do not let sickness or other temptation come close to these animals, that being always guarded by You, we might offer up glory and worship to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen

The Rev. Rob then asked the congregation to stand and sing the Hymn ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful.’ He went on to give a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the whole of creation, which he reminded us in a short sermon, is suffering because of our sinful ways. We prayed for the lives, companionship, love, and trust that we give and receive from our companion friends. He likened this special relationship to the special relationship we have with God – for it reminds us of the trust, faith and love we have in and for Him, who love and cares for all His creation.

A member of the congregation then sang a contemporary song on the beauty of creation.

The service closed with a blessing for the animals and their owners. There was no barking or mess and the animals were clearly happy to participate.

At the end of the service, doggie treats were available for the animals and the smiles of the owners spoke to the joy in their hearts at receiving this blessing.

At the end, one of the parishioners sat with her dog, speaking quietly with the priest at one end of the Church and reminded me of how in the ‘When Faith meets Fur’ story on our website, the opportunity arose for fellowship and teaching to one of his congregation, see here  WHEN FAITH MEETS FUR – Pan-Orthodox Concern for Animals (panorthodoxconcernforanimals.org)

A society that treats animals inhumanely is sliding into the Middle Ages and barbarism.

Archpriest Peter Dynnikov at the shelter in 2018

The founder of the first church animal shelter in Russia, which is at the Ilyinsky Church in the village of Lemeshevo near Moscow, Archpriest Peter Dynnikov in an interview with Interfax-Religion correspondent Elena Verevkina spoke about different approaches in different societies to the issue of pets.


– Father Peter, the media spread information that on the eve of the World Cup, funds were allocated from the state budget for the destruction of homeless animals. How do you feel about such initiatives?

You’re asking me a complicated and extraordinary question because I’m a priest, not an expert on such matters. I have loved football since childhood, it is a smart, spectacular game that attracts people all over the world. Especially the World Cups, I haven’t missed any since I began to understand and appreciate football.


The sad thing is that such actions are being prepared. Of course, this is due not only to the World Cup, this situation is permanent, despite the adoption in 1999 of a ban on shooting dogs in Russia. Nevertheless, such a vicious practice exists everywhere and everywhere in our country, and both the authorities and those who oppose such decisions are aware of this. The new law on the protection of animals, according to animal rights activists, turned out to be half-hearted in the sense that it prohibits cruel treatment, but at the same time it is necessary to prove that the treatment was cruel, to open a criminal case. In fact, the ban should be absolute. You can not put the animal on a chain, mock it. Cruel treatment should be a priori punishable. Any murder, no matter how good a deed it is covered up, remains so. Murder is an atrocity. Good deeds should not be done through evil and murder. There is a Commandment , thou shalt not kill. It is very extensive and is not projected only on a person.


On the eve of the Great Chinese Leap From 1958 to 1960, Mao Zedong urged everyone to fight sparrows. The Chinese faced the problem of hunger, and they were told that the cause of their troubles was sparrows. In Soviet times, a documentary was shown before a feature film, and now my child’s heart remembered the terrible footage when thousands of trucks carry the carcasses of these unfortunate sparrows. In 1955, mao Zedong’s call was answered both day and night by people with rattles, with gongs and not allowing sparrows to sit down and rest for a single minute, then the sparrows fell dead. In a short time in Beijing, sparrows were finished once and for all. It would seem that this is a good deed, because people fought for the harvest, but as a result, the grain was poisoned by pests, which sparrows could no longer destroy, and this did not solve the problem of hunger. I remembered this because you can’t designate pets as “extreme” in human problems. All problems are created by a person, the animal itself cannot create problems, especially since we are talking about animals that are called domestic. Both the dog and the cat are pets that have been tamed by man, and tamed means that he must answer. We are not talking about tigers, hippos or wolves, we are talking about those animals that live next to us. As a result of the wrong attitude to the animal world, animals were “to blame” for human problems. Unhappiness only intensifies when this or that campaign takes place, as the Beijing campaign took place then. If a campaign is launched related to some event in which animals should suffer, then this is immoral and unacceptable, from my point of view.


The championship is a temporary phenomenon. Animals can be isolated, caught and placed in shelters for the duration of the championship, and then released into the area where the dog was caught. You can attract volunteers to care for animals for this time. It’s school holiday time! Children can help and at the same time learn kindness, see someone else’s pain and see how even a simple walk with a shelter dog changes the whole world of this dog. Our authorities attract volunteers for the championship itself, and it is also possible to attract volunteers to shelters. It is possible to organize food collection pointsFor these animals, so that shelters are not burdensome to feed them. The money planned for capture and shooting should be redirected to the temporary maintenance of animals during the championship. Yes, it is possible that shelters will be temporarily overcrowded. But that’s temporary. Maybe at this time someone can take the dog to the country? But it also needs to be communicated to people.
I know that abroad nursing homes are combined with animal shelters. I understand that this is impossible here, but it’s a pity.

— How does the Church relate to animal protection issues, in particular to the topic of protecting animals, which throughout history have served as companions of man?

“Since last year, in the Russian Orthodox Church, of which I am a priest, in early September we read a special prayer for God’s creation, for all the creations that god created, including animals.


If we pray for creation, for God’s creatures, the Church suggests treating them as the Bible treats them. The biblical view is that all that the Lord created was created by Him in joy to Himself, the Creator, because He concluded every act of creation with the words: Everything that I have created is good. So the Lord rejoiced in what He had done. On the sixth day, the day of the creation of the world and man, the Lord said that he would produce a living soul, cattle and reptiles, beasts according to their kind. It’s about the living soul. If someone says that animals do not have a living soul, this is incorrect from the point of view of the interpretation of the Bible. This is the same living soul as that of man, with the only difference that man as the highest creation of God on earth stands at another stage of development, he is potentially God-like in the image and likeness of Him. The Bible says that every breath praises the Lord, which means that any form of life in its own way praises the Creator. How can we relate to what the Lord has done with joy? Then the Lord commanded man, as the greatest creature created by God, to give names to all animals and plants. The Lord commanded people to rule over the world He had created, to command and rule over that world. To rule is to manage wisely, to love the creation that God has created for us. This does not mean that we should rape this world and distort it, disfigure it. Ugliness is the absence of the image of God in anything, and when a person deprives a creature of what God has given to this creation, he brings it into a state of ugliness, which, unfortunately, happens to both nature and the animal world.


If we talk about animal protection, then, from my point of view, and I express only my point of view and I emphasize this, Noah, who made the ark at the behest of God to save the human race and the animal world, we can say in modern terms, was a zoo rescuer. In this ark, not only mankind was saved, but by the instructions of God and the animal world. It is amazing that the Lord took care of the animals so that they could be saved! The righteous Noah can be considered the patron saint of animal rights activists. Moreover, with the saved man and animals, the Lord made a covenant as with intelligent beings, it was a covenant not only with man, but also with the animal world, the Bible says this.

If animals have souls, they go to heaven, do you think? Can we hope to meet our pets in another world?

– There is no definitive answer to this. The Lord created a living soul. When it comes to an animal, it is quite the same living soul, only it is not created in the image of God, it is the prerogative of man. Is it eternal? I don’t know, because this is an issue that has been debated for many centuries by the Holy Fathers, there are different opinions on this matter. Whether we will be able to meet animals in the future, there is no direct answer in the Bible, I also do not know, but the prophet Isaiah, who talks about the vision of the future of paradise, wrote that the wolf will graze with the lamb, and the leopard will lie with the goat, and the little child will walk them. The point is that even in the state of the future, the Lord wants to see animals together with man.

— You have a lot of experience with dogs and cats. Do you think there are any qualities in these beasts that can be learned by a person?

Man should learn from them boundless devotion, because only an animal that idolizes man can love man so faithfully. To them, we are the greatest creature they see in front of them. A person can hardly die of melancholy, having lost his neighbor, even if it was the closest person: time passes, which grinds everything, and a person regains his normal qualities, moves away from grief. And the animal sometimes does not, the animal can die of longing for the owner, because for him the master is the Universe, and the loss of the owner is the loss of the meaning of existence. We are talking about tamed pets that love a person and are attached to him. Treating them badly is immoral and undignified. The attitude to the animal world was best expressed by Russian literature. Remember Leo Tolstoy’s famous expression? A society that treats animals badly will always be criminal and destitute. He said it as a humanist and writer. “And the beast, like our smaller brothers, never hit the head,” said the great Russian poet Yesenin. His “Song of the Dog” is so heartfelt! In this poem, the poet revealed the soul of the animal – that it knows how to suffer from the loss of its cubs, to suffer infinitely. An animal that has lost its cubs is in the same grief as a woman who has lost her children. The poet shows this with great force. “Kusaka” by Leonid Andreev… These are the works that should be boardroom in schools, all this should be passed by children without imposition, with the right explanations, then they will correctly relate to the animal world, first of all to those who surround us, to pets.

How did you come up with the idea to create a shelter at the temple? How did it all start?

“It started with the fact that we saw unfortunate animals. The temple was built, it was without a fence, stray dogs and cats were nailed to us, which are often nailed to construction sites. We had such mongrels, and abandoned cats came. Hostesses. You can see when the cat is wild, and when the host. The impetus was the conversion of one parishioner who had departed to another world, the Kingdom of Heaven, before departing for another world, she tearfully asked me to take care of her “children”, as she called them. She had no children, she lost them a long time ago, was already elderly and lived only with her cats, she had three cats. She wondered what would happen to them when she left. And we had nowhere to take, we had to take ourselves to the parish. There were no conditions. There was a small house for the workers, where they lived. There were such special cases when people who took animals and had to take care of them, their tongue does not turn to call the owners, threw us unhappy pets. Once a shepherd dog appeared at the parish, which suffered from oncology, an absolutely unhappy animal, its owners deceived us – they said that they could not keep it, they have allergies. When we took the animal, it was very restless from the loss of owners, the dog was attached to them and was very homesick, having lost them. When we served the service, she looked out the window of the temple with human eyes, we did not have a fence then. When I was doing every day, I saw through the window how she ran to the temple and looked so hard that it was simply impossible to bear, this look cannot be conveyed, so pathetic and suffering. She was not taken care of by these careless people (after such an act I do not want to call them as such), but by mongrels who laid down on her and warmed her. Then the conditions at the parish for animals were absolutely not. The cabin was cold, unheated, and these dogs were lying on top of her, one on top, the other on the bottom: she was getting cancer and freezing. They warmed her to their last breath with their bodies. The animals had more mercy and compassion than those who had to take care of the one he had tamed. This was one of the impulses to create a shelter, although the shelter is loudly said, we do not have any fixed status. It is possible to keep a certain number of cats and a certain number of dogs on our territory due to the fact that it is impossible to build for people there, a high-voltage power line passes through the territory. Much further on, aviaries and warm kennels are made for dogs. Now we have very good conditions for dogs. They live for three, a maximum of four, compatibility is important so that they do not have conflicts. Our dogs have free range, as befits an animal. They run quietly at any time – both in winter and in summer. By winter, the booths are insulated with hay. If someone needs special conditions, for example, small dogs or disabled people, then we transfer them to the room.

Who helps you take care of animals?

– Parishioners. We don’t have any workers. After the emergence of our hospice, it is still a hospice, here the animals live, I met people who helped me to attach some of the cats. They are called animal rights activists, volunteers, I first encountered them then, in a good way they would put a monument on the territory of Russia instead of ridiculous monuments, which can sometimes be found in cities and villages. It would be a monument to mercy and motherhood. There is such a city of Griazi in the Lipetsk region, Valentina Silich lives there, I do not know her personally, but she alone saves so many animals, so many dogs! This suggests that she has a huge human heart filled with boundless love and kindness. This is the right attitude to the animal world, as it should be. Such a humane attitude should finally spread throughout Russia.
As a rule, here in Russia, women turn out to be morally stronger and more resilient than men. They have been fighting for animal rights for 18 years, and they are being slandered in every possible way – for the fact that they do not consider a close creature as a piece of meat for dinner or a potential fur coat, but treat the living soul differently. So it only magnifies them. Europe has long followed this path.

– And why are there no stray animals in Europe? How did they achieve this?

– I read that in Norway there was a period when a moratorium on the sale and breeding of purebred dogs was introduced for ten years. Breeding was strictly regulated and purebred dogs were left only for the police, for search services and guide dogs for the blind. During this decade, all the dogs from shelters were dismantled. Stray dogs were gone.

– How can you influence the consciousness of people so that instead of getting pedigree dogs and cats, they begin to take animals from shelters and from the streets? Should they get dogs as a fashion accessory?

– And how can you influence the consciousness of a person if he treats an animal as a thing? And our laws treat them as a thing, and this enters the consciousness of people. The animal is considered as a fashionable attribute. It is necessary to suggest that this soul is alive and requires the same attitude as to any living soul – that a person should be treated correctly, that an animal should be treated. How to influence in general, I do not know, I do not have a complete answer. It is necessary to change the consciousness of society in relation to the animal world. Books should be read in childhood normal. Remember Leonid Andreev’s about how the dog, which was also treated as a thing, came, indulged, and then indifferently left, abandoning it, and the dog was so accustomed to warmth and affection that it could no longer live without it, because the living soul? “I wanted to be warm, to a loving woman’s heart, the dog howled.” That’s how worried this dog was! And then people from childhood will understand that it is necessary to treat animals as a living being, and not as a fashionable thing. Whoever tames must be held accountable. In prosperous countries, there is a moral and criminal responsibility of man to animals. It is very difficult to buy a dog in Germany, you need to collect a lot of documents, certificates that a person is of sound mind, and so on. They follow the education of the dog, it must be adapted, socialized. Everyone follows these rules. We often encounter the fact that dog owners are inadequate people, and these inadequate people acquire quite serious breeds that injure other animals and people. Where do mongrels come from? Mainly due to the fact that purebred dogs enter the mating without any control. For example, in Poland, strict control and accounting are maintained. This is the only country in Europe where there is a real record of dogs, how many of them and what breeds. They have these statistics, and we have a huge number of animals that run on their own. Shooting is inhumane and unnatural. Then there should be a sterilization program. In India, this is possible, there is a different attitude towards both cows and dogs, in Istanbul they walk calmly: President Erdogan introduced a harsh law – now a person who cruelly treats an animal can get ten years in real prison.


We have sterilized dogs. Despite the fact that the Lord said “be fruitful and multiply”, this is good in natural conditions, and in an urbanized world, where their offspring are doomed to hunger, disease, suffering, it is better to let them live, but with such restrictions. This is my conscious, difficult decision. Here, of the two evils, we must choose the lesser. Initially, I opposed sterilization, but when the problem became tough, there were epidemics, pestilence, I decided to do it and I believe that the decision was the right one. Cats have become more tame, do not go far. Dogs also began to stay closer, and aggressiveness as such in them disappears, because aggressiveness in a dog manifests itself during estrus, when there is a struggle for possession, a natural instinct acts, they begin to “beast”. The human community also knows the moments when, huddled in criminal packs, it beasts. Take, for example, the recent sensational case when it was said that dogs beat a person to death – a dark matter, it is not clear how it really was and how it ended. If this was indeed the case, then such tragedies should not be allowed. But on the eve there was another egregious case, which, however, did not cause much resonance: a pack of angry teenagers beat a disabled person, a izur.leaving his face unrecognizable, and it was filmed. It’s a complete loss of human form, a raging pack. Why didn’t this case cause such a resonance, but only the case of dogs? The dog does not understand, it has an instinct, but a person understands, and only a person with creativity and an abstract vision can do this perversely. The animal does not possess abstract vision, it can attack to protect itself or win back territory. But as a person sometimes does when he enjoys torment and torture, this is a perversion of the mind, and only he is capable of this. Alas, it is. Mikhail Vinogradov, a well-known psychiatrist and criminologist, said that 95% of maniacs and murderers in childhood were engaged in livehood and experienced pleasure from the fact that they tortured animals, and then tortured and tormented people.


At one time, I was reminded of the words of Dmitry Zhmurov, who teaches at the Siberian Institute of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, he said: to kill an animal only to deprive it of life is like killing a person in yourself. I was shocked by these words, he subtly noticed it, as a psychologist. A person who kills an animal deprives himself of his mind, deprives himself of the title of man, because he has deprived himself of the image of God laid down by the Creator for other things, and not in order to torment those whom the Lord has entrusted to us to take care of.

– On December 13, the State Duma adopted amendments to the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes of the Russian Federation, which toughen the punishment for cruelty to animals. Do you think these measures are sufficient to prevent deliberate cruelty?

– Yes, there is the possibility of punishment, and there are already the first examples when several people were actually punished for livestock. But that’s not enough. The very inhumane attitude to the animal world to outlaw is an atrocity. As long as we do not have responsibility for this, there is only responsibility for actions with the intention of causing pain or suffering to the animal, for actions that caused its death or injury.


A dog should not be kept on a chain. Drug addicts, drunkards, deranged people, devoid of reason, should not keep animals. This should not happen, and in this sense the law is imperfect, it is not brought to an end, because there should be punishment for an abnormal attitude to the animal world, and not only for a proven crime. If we observe such an attitude, then a person has the right to suppress this phenomenon. Then society becomes humane and humane.
As a citizen of Russia, I object to the fact that animals are killed with my taxpayer’s money, let them build shelters with my taxes. But shelters should be guarded by the media, animal rights activists, because those that exist now, they cannot be called such, sometimes they resemble concentration camps. There, animals are often tortured, not fed, not watered, kept in cages, in unnatural conditions. Money is allocated for this, which is obviously not so spent if the “maintenance” of the shelter becomes an immoral business. If there are shelters, they should be accessible to the media, so that we know about the state of these shelters, they should be created by loving people. I think there would be animal rights activists in the country who would take on such a function. In the Netherlands, there is a whole police unit that deals with the rescue of animals, and, judging by the fact that people who are not indifferent write on the Internet, many of our animal rights activists would gladly join such detachments. People want to help, they want to realize themselves in the field of animal protection.

— How do animals most often get to you? Are they the ones who are sent to live?

– Different fates, different options. We do not accept animals on a call, when they call, they ask: take it. I would gladly take everyone, but as an abbot I am an appointed person, a mortal at that, and I cannot take on such obligations. I’m going to recruit animals and what’s going to happen to them? Who will come to my place? May God grant that this was a person who would preserve this shelter with the blessing of the ruling bishop. I have an assistant, a graduate of the Kolomna Seminary – if he came to serve me, he could continue this work, he loves animals very much. I can’t take any chances, so we only take a select few. That is, I must know for sure that this animal was once among people, the owner, the owner either died or is sick, he no longer has the opportunity to deal with the animal, and it turned out to be on the street. These animals suffer the most. Those who wandered the streets, they are accustomed to this condition, they do not care, they can, unfortunately, be killed there, or they will be overtaken by hunger or disease. And we took those who suffered for a person. There were, of course, emergency cases when we found crushed dogs on the road, with injuries, without eyes, without paws.

– How many wards do you have now?

– 53 dogs and the same number of cats. It’s a big farm, but we’re coping with it. Some of the Moscow animal rights activists began to help us, they bring food, we would not have coped with it ourselves. Volunteers come from Moscow, bring food, warm clothes for animals, help. Moscow children have repeatedly collected parcels for us, which is a good start in two schools in the capital. They held exhibitions and three times brought us all possible help. Their loving children’s hearts responded. We were very pleased with this, because children are engaged in this.

– Can I come to you with children to communicate with your animals?

– Yes. We have pets, but when people come and bring infections, it’s bad. Some people have pets at home, some bring infections on clothes and shoes. This is a minus, there are serious diseases, when this infection remains for three years in the soil, there is pestilence. We didn’t know that before. Dogs are smaller and cats are very sensitive. Dogs are more persistent, it is easier to communicate with them. I have already received this knowledge from animal protection.

Do you have no veterinary or medical education?

– No, no, what are you! Animal rights activists tell us what can and cannot be done. I want to say that communication with animals is an experience that fills life and makes it full. It is impossible to live without the animal world, life becomes scarce, undue, incomplete.

Did you have pet animals as a child?

– There was a decommissioned service shepherd dog Julbars. Her father took her out of pity, she was a very intelligent dog. There were animals and pedigree, and mongrel. And now there’s a dog I’ve found, I’ve had a French Bulldog living for twelve years. People took it and threw it away. It’s an “after-breath”, she lacked something for the breed. An extremely loyal dog. And the cats I have — mostly the ones that have been affected by humans and that have been thrown away. They become very devoted if a person loves them for the second time. Trusting the person again, they will die for you. I’ve always had animals, and I’ve been read the right books as a kid. I re-read them myself, we had a large library. In those days, there were beautiful films on this topic. “White Bim is a black ear”… How can you not touch this movie! It shows both high spirit and meanness of man. This gradation of people continues.

“Now they are afraid of injuring children, they are afraid of upsetting them…

It is very good if a child is upset, it means that he has the ability to empathize, there is suffering, mercy and pity. Otherwise, no one will be upset about him if he feels bad. We need to comment on these films correctly. What struck me most about the film was the scene that was cut out in the modern version – when the dogs were shown on the livestock, real dogs were filmed there, it was obvious and creepy. They felt that death would soon come for them, they were sentenced. I will never forget this scene of the film, although it has already been deleted.
Cruelty to animals must disappear. Contact zoos should be banned. If society wants to develop, it must treat animals humanely. It is necessary to revise the concept of society’s attitude towards our smaller brothers.

////////

This is an English translation of a Russian article from cleanfuture.ru and permission sought for republication

Book Review

Book Review

Climate Crisis and Creation Care: Historical perspectives, ecological integrity, and justice,

And

Climate Crisis and Sustainable Creaturely Care: Integrated theology, governance, and justice.

Edited by Dr Christina Nellist. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2021

For many, climate change might seem an area which has been over-explored already, plenty of varied tomes have been written, what we need now is surely some action. So, why do we need a two-volume collection of forty-one varied and diverse chapters, covering a wide range of perspectives, with respect to climate change and human relations with our wider creation? Should you be asked, just refer the questioner to this intriguing and genuinely path-breaking collection of essays, edited by Dr Christina Nellist.

Climate Crisis and Creation Care: Historical Perspectives, Ecological Integrity and Justice – Cambridge Scholars Publishing

We should, perhaps admit to some bias when it comes to Dr Nellist and her work, she is, after all, a friend of us here at CCA, and has contributed to our work, not least in this journal. Moreover, we were pleased to contribute to this collection, with a chapter based on our ongoing work on fish, as were other organisations and individuals we work with, including Animal Interfaith Alliance. Indeed, you can find readings of excerpts from these two chapters on CCA’s podcast, and more will be appearing soon.

Climate Crisis and Sustainable Creaturely Care: Integrated Theology, Governance and Justice – Cambridge Scholars Publishing

These books manage to contribute a strong focus on faith-based approaches to creation, and particularly human engagement with creation, alongside a staggeringly wide-range of expertise and perspectives, which is varied to the point of eclecticism. On the one hand this provides a broad, and fascinating overview of current work in the area, and on the other, maintains a strength of purpose and drive. Not the least benefit of these collections is that they confirm that those of us concerned with these issues are not alone, and that we are contributing to debate on a wide front of discussion.

Delving into these texts you will discover an enormous variety. Although edited and presented from Dr Nellist’s position as an Eastern Orthodox theological expert, the editing has been open and inclusive. Different Christian approaches are explored and elucidated alongside those of other great religious philosophies. In fact, the opening, AIA, chapter of the ‘Integrated Theology’ volume provides a run-down of the views of major religions as a preparation for what is to come, but it is not only the theological views which are varied. In these volumes you will find chapters on theory and strategy, others dealing with specific issues and areas of interest, and yet more dealing with practical action in specific countries and area. These latter including countries like Uganda, Brazil, Australia, and Ukraine. There are chapters which contain substantial references to theological texts, chapters packed with scientific figures and plates, chapters stuffed with references to academic and other works, and more discursive chapters narrating opinions. It is difficult to imagine an approach to these issues which is not catered for, in some form, in these books.

Of course, one of the implications of such an open editing of this subject is that not everything here will resonate with, or please, everyone. The readings are deliberately challenging. The purpose here is to begin and foster debate, to allow us to come together and explore the possibilities with which we are faced, without judgement and in rich variety. These books may confirm and reinforce much that you believe, but equally they will challenge and question your beliefs as well.

To bring all of this together, and to provide such an important and rich opening to exploration of human relations with wider creation, and the importance and significance of faith-based perspectives in doing so, is immensely to Dr Nellist’s credit. However, the danger in doing so is that this could end up as a ‘scatter gun’ approach, peppering the area with diverse thoughts but lacking a central clarity. Dr Nellist is obviously aware of such dangers and provides some mechanisms to ensure that the central purpose and drive of the works is not lost. Notably the two volumes contain three commonalities. Each contains a brief Foreword, written by the Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, Archdeacon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and co-founder of St Andrew’s Theological College in Sydney. Both also contain an Introduction by the Editor, but most importantly, and significantly, both volumes contain a common Appendix which invites and enables future study and contemplation.

Typical of the nature of the books in their entirety, Dr Nellist makes no bones in the Appendix that they arise from her own Eastern Orthodox perspective, but immediately she invites and challenges us to engage with debate by stating: ‘I give permission for priests to adapt the material as they see fit; all I ask is the professional courtesy of authorship recognition’. The Appendix then provides a number of themes, materials, and questions for study and exploration which can be used in a variety of context, by groups and individuals, to encourage further reflection and study.

In addition, Dr Nellist states the intention to create video support for these themes, the first of which is currently available on the Pan Orthodox Concern for Animals website. In short, Dr Nellist has provided an important contribution to, and encouragement of, debates around faith, humanity, animals, and wider creation. She has done so in a spirit of inclusion and engagement which invites discussion rather than seeking to instruct. Together the two books provide a dazzlingly diverse discussion of this growingly important area, whilst also providing a structure for reflection, contemplation, and growth. As such these works represent a considerable achievement, an invitation to discovery and debate which I, for one, am looking forward to engaging with for some time to come.

Gerald Taylor

The Ark – Spring 2022

Open Letter to AstraZeneca and Glaxosmithkline Urging the use of Non Animal Testing Methods to Further Human Health

3rd February 2023

We, the Animal Interfaith Alliance, a group of faith-based animal advocacy organisations, write to you in your capacity as CEO to ask you to engage in a genuine dialogue concerning some of the corporate practices of your company.

We appeal first and foremost to your corporate social responsibility, generally defined as the self-regulation of a business model that helps a company to be socially and morally accountable to itself, its stakeholders and the public.  

The specific issue we wish to raise is the use of animals in the development and testing of new pharmaceutical products intended for human use. We fully realise that the use of animals, where there is no other available replacement, is currently a legal requirement, based on national and international regulations. These regulatory requirements can be traced back to the Doctors’ Trial at Nuremberg at the end of the Second World War, 1946 (1).

Science has moved forward since then by 75 years, but the laws have not yet caught up with the science. The result of this legal inertia is a continued reliance on outdated and unreliable animal testing, which can be summed up in the following paragraph:

“In 2004, the FDA estimated that 92 percent of drugs that pass preclinical tests, including “pivotal” animal tests, fail to proceed to the market. More recent analysis suggests that, despite efforts to improve the predictability of animal testing, the failure rate has actually increased and is now closer to 96 percent. The main causes of failure are lack of effectiveness and safety problems that were not predicted by animal tests” (2).

Not only is the continued use of animals responsible for an enormous amount of avoidable animal suffering but it is also responsible for a significant incidence of human adverse drug reactions (3). This is not surprising in view of our current knowledge of inter and even intra-species differences, based on genomics, complexity theory and evolutionary biology (4).

The pharmaceutical industry is best placed to make the paradigm change needed to replace outdated and unreliable animal tests with cost effective human relevant test methods, including human 3D cell culture, organs on chips, pharmacogenomics, and similar 21st century technologies that were previously unavailable (5).

Only the pharmaceutical industry has the resources to scientifically validate human based test methods and steer them through the regulatory framework.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Andre Menache BSc(Hons) BVSc Dip ECAWBM (AWSEL) MRCVS

AIA Chairman, on behalf of the Animal Interfaith Alliance

Dr Richard D. Ryder MA, DCP, PhD (Cantab), AFBPsS, FZS

AIA President

www.animal-interfaith-alliance.com 


References

  1. https://bmcmedethics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6939-13-16
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594046/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9555760/ 
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29783296/
  5. https://www.nature.com/articles/s43856-022-00209-1

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PAN ORTHODOX CONCERN FOR ANIMALS – A REVIEW

As we approach the end of 2022, we thought it was time to review some of the work we have undertaken and having done so, are thankful for the many opportunities God has presented us to share Orthodox teachings on Creation Care with both Orthodox Christians and people from other faiths and no faith.

In 2017 Dr Nellist was given the honour and blessing of the then Archbishop of Thyateira, Gregorios, and Met. Kallistos of Diokleia (Ware) to establish the POCA charity and website. In 2019, the blessing to continue this work was sought and given from the then newly appointed Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain.

Our first major initiative after the establishment of the charity and website was to produce the ‘CREATION CARE: CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITY COURSE’. This is FREE and found on the Pan Orthodox Concern for Animals website –

www.panorthodoxconcernforanimals.org

This is a course for use in Christian parishes, youth groups, seminary institutions or for individual study. It may also provide a useful framework for homilies. This course establishes that concern and compassion for animals is not a modern phenomenon, but one found both in the Bible and in the earliest teachings of the Christian Church. It provides an anamnesis of a lesser-known Christian tradition, where all animals are loved and protected by God and that their suffering is against God’s will. It reminds us that in our role as Image, we should strive to reflect the Archetype in our lives. At times, it also highlights the soteriological implications of our abuse and exploitation of God’s non-human animal beings. It reminds us that by causing harm to animals or by our indifference to it, human salvation is in jeopardy. It is written to facilitate Church engagement with the subjects of climate change and animal suffering, which, though separate subjects, are interconnected. This course was originally written for an Orthodox audience.  Our President was invited to speak at His All-Holiness Bartholomew’s Halki Summit 111 (2019) on behalf of the animal creation, who are frequently overlooked in Orthodox discussions. Whilst there she was asked by Met. Seraphim of Zimbabwe and Angola, to write a program on care for animals for his priests. This was then developed into the ‘Creation Care: Christian Responsibility Course’, which can be adapted by other denominations, as its teachings are universal. There are 7/8 Lessons each containing quotes from early and contemporary saints & theologians and end with discussion questions and quotation references for further study. The Lessons are:

  1.  IN THE BEGINNING: GOD’S GOOD CREATION.
  2.  COMPASSIONATE CARE: IMAGE OF GOD.
  3.  WHAT IS DOMINION?
  4.  BEHAVIOURAL GUIDANCE.
  5.  SACRAMENTAL LIFE.
  6. WHAT IS SIN AGAINST ANIMALS?
  7. A ROLE FOR THE CHURCH.
  8. PRACTICAL EXAMPLES OF RESPONSIBLE CARE.

……….

Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, public meetings during large parts of 20/21 were unlawful. Instead, numerous animal protection and scientific on-line zoom seminars were attended, and other initiatives were put in motion. We maintained our Facebook and Twitter engagement with the public by posting articles on aspects of creation care and related matters such as climate change on our website. www.panorthodoxconcernforanimals.org

We continued our collaboration and partnership with the Christian Ethics of Farmed Animal Welfare Research Project, with Met. Kallistos by collating his works from his private library for the Holy Gardens of Patmos library project; with the Animal Interfaith Alliance in the UK, with both Board and Patron representation, and on the Steering Committee dedicated to the ending of animal experimentation; with the Orthodox Fellowship of the Transfiguration in the USA as Board member and where our President was an advisor on their ‘The Face of God’ film, which outlines teachings from Orthodoxy on Creation Care and Climate Change. https://faceofgodfilm.com/.

Met. Kallistos of Diokleia and friend. St John’s Monastery, Patmos.

(Photograph credit – I. Knights / www.charis-patmos.org)

……….

Another major initiative was to put out a call for chapters on ‘Creation Care and Climate Crisis, Justice and Sustainability’. This resulted in two substantial collections, which feature chapters by specialists with expertise in different disciplines, who wrote from different contexts, cultures, and religions. They came together to write with authority and clarity on various aspects of the climate crisis and care for the natural world. They wrote either from faith-based or secular perspectives but shared a vision and desire to explain why we are in this critical situation, ask difficult questions of us, governments, and civic leaders and explained how we might affect real change. Both were published In October, just before COP 26. Fr John Chryssavgis wrote the Foreword and Met. Kallistos of Diokleia (Ware) wrote the first chapter entitled: ‘An Integrated Theology: Compassion for Animals.’

Climate Crisis and Creation Care: Historical Perspectives, Ecological Integrity and Justice, ISBN 978-1-5275-742-5   Climate Crisis and Creation Care: Historical Perspectives, Ecological Integrity and Justice – Cambridge Scholars Publishing                                  

Climate Crisis and Sustainable Creaturely Care: Integrated Theology, Governance and Justice. ISBN 978-1-5275-7421-2  Climate Crisis and Sustainable Creaturely Care: Integrated Theology, Governance and Justice – Cambridge Scholars Publishing

……….

An invitation for POCA to participate in an intriguing research project and exploration of a contemporary Hexaemeron, was received from Prof. Catherine (Kate) Rigby in her capacity of Professor of Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University and Adjunct Professor at Monash University. Her purpose is to identify and communicate examples of faith-based biodiversity conservation initiatives being undertaken by Christian and /or multi-faith communities and organisations in different parts of the world. Participating in this research provided POCA with the opportunity to share the story of our initiative, alongside Orthodox teachings on Creation Care. It also affords us opportunities for networking with others involved in similar initiatives elsewhere, which we view as opportunities for mission. The book will be published in 2023 and our work will be part of the reflection on the sixth day.

……….

With the blessing of Met. Kallistos, our next initiative was to further develop the POCA charity by including a Theological Advisory Group. After discussion with Met. Kallistos, two senior Orthodox theologians were invited to join POCA, and both accepted. Fr. Dr. John C h r y s s a v g i s is Archdeacon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, serving as theological advisor to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew; the second is Archimandrite Jack Khalil who is Dean of the St John of Damascus Institute of Theology – University of Balamand in Lebanon and Professor of New Testament. This addition to our structure, further enables us to move the subject of animals, their welfare/suffering and place in God’s creation, away from the edges of Orthodox theological discussions and towards a more suitable position in mainstream theology.

……….

In February 2022 our President was invited by Prof. Paula Brugger of the Environmental Justice Observatory at the Federal University of Santa Catanna (UFSC), Brazil, to give a lecture to the students and staff at their annual Summer School about her environmental and animal protection work over the past five decades. She chose as her overarching theme, why theology was an important and often neglected part of animal protection. A video on this talk is available here: https://youtu.be/icEHTPdUcVs         

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In March our President was invited to write an Amicus Curiae brief by Steve Wise of the NoN-Human Rights Project on behalf of ‘Happy’ the Elephant. For those of you who do not know their work, see https://www.nonhumanrights.org/who-we-are/. Dr Nellist used three arguments:

.1) Using early Orthodox Christian teachings on the Trinity, she explained why the original use of the word ‘person’ a) should not have been ascribed to humans; b) nor used to distinguish between or separate human beings from non-human beings. She then argued how a modern contextualization of those teachings can inform contemporary discussions and legal decisions. 2) Using the philosophical tool of False Dilemma, she explained why this debate continues to be unresolved. 3) That laws and the science pertaining to this issue have changed over these past 1500 years, thus setting the precedent for further changes in the law on this issue to better reflect the science and social norms of contemporary society. She argued that these main points offered the court the opportunity to amend the law so that it better reflects the contemporary science and social recognition that differences between human beings and non-human beings is a matter of degree, not of kind. She argued that whichever term the court chooses to use – be it ‘person’, ‘being’ or some other word, it should be applied to both human and non-human animal beings. After writing the brief, Dr Nellist invited some of our supporters who are also senior academics to collaborate with her on the final draft and become co-signatories. These were Dr. Nikolaos Asproulis, Deputy Director, Volos Academy for Theological Studies, Volos, Greece; Prof. Eleni Panagiotarakou, Faculty of Philosophy, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada; Prof. Ekaterini Tsalampouni, Faculty of Theology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and Dr Razvan Porumb, Vice-Principal, The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Cambridge, United Kingdom. The Amici Curiae brief was presented to the Court of Appeals of the State of New York and for the first time, resulted in two significant dissenting opinions.

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Also in March, we responded to the tragedy of the Ukrainian people fleeing from war. We had all been touched by refugees who were struggling to bring their animals out of Ukraine. Sometimes their animals were their only possession. Our question regarding quarantine and what was being done to help refugees and their animals coming to the UK, was asked on the BBC news channel. One respondent gave the usual comment – basically ‘people and children first’. The second response was far more considered and was from the BBC Home Affairs correspondent, who stated that he doubted if the government had even considered the question, which he felt was an important issue. He recognized that many if not most would not have the paperwork. We thanked the BBC for airing this question. We also asked people on our FB and Twitter pages to write to their M.Ps. We established a FB Fundraising page and raised £330, which was spent on food for the Sumy Animal Rescue Centre, where we have supporters. Just as importantly our question was taken up Lord Goldsmith on behalf of the government who within days, streamlined the system. Emergency support was put in place for people fleeing Ukraine and entering the UK with their pets, with the Government covering the costs of any necessary stays in quarantine for the pets of those fleeing Ukraine.

Food at the Sumy Shelter bought with the funds from our Facebook Ukrainian Fundraising Appeal

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In May our representatives attended an Animal Think Tank conference which explored the use of language and the power of narrative as a force for social change. A key tool of narrative exploration is using corpus linguistics, which analyses public discourse and can help determine the language, frames, metaphors, shared values, and mental models that will most activate people’s support of animal protection issues.

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In June, our President was given the honour of presenting at the first conference on “Eco wellbeing: Ethics, Animals and the Environment” at the famous Halki Theological School, on the island of Halki. This was attended by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and many clergy and seminarians. It was organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, together with the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, as part of their MA Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law programme, and the Hellenic Pasteur Institute.  A video of this lecture is here – https://youtu.be/m02UYRh46vM.

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Also in June, our President was interviewed by Paula Sparks of the Cambridge Centre for Animal Law, for their Talking Animal Law Podcast Series. This will be a first time a theologian has been asked to give opinions on animal protection and law. Again, this is another opportunity for us to witness to others from a completely different profession. This is forthcoming in 2023.  

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At the end of June, we were Invited by the Volos Academy to be part of their panel at the European Academy of Religion Conference in Bologna, Italy where our President presented a paper on ‘Creation Care, Christian Responsibility: Practical Proposals for Parish Priests.’  

A video of this talk will be available on our YouTube site when completed.

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At the end of June, we were in the Palace of Westminster supporting the work of Eduardo Goncalves (center) and attending the Parliamentary reception for the first reading of the Ban Trophy Hunting Imports Bill and the publication of the All-Party Report on Trophy Hunting.

In the Palace of Westminster (UK Parliament) with Eduardo Goncalves, Founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting and Judith Wilson from Quaker Concern for Animals and Animal Interfaith Alliance. See www.BanTrophyHunting.org for more information on this important work.

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In August our President attended the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics Summer Conference, which this year was dedicated to discussions and presentation on Animals and Public Policy. We are witnessing a change in attitudes to animals – from the idea that they are tools, machines, commodities, here for our use, to the idea that they are sentient beings who have intrinsic value, dignity, and rights. The Summer School discussed how that change of attitude should be embodied, implemented, and institutionalized in public policy, including legislation, education, business, arts, sciences, literature, and religion. Our President is a Fellow at the Centre and regularly attends and occasionally presents at these conferences.

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In September our President attended the Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law Conference to hear the latest developments in Animal Law.

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POCA’s Annual General Meeting was held this time at midday so that one of our supporters from Australia could attend and speak about the plight of Animals in Australia and her desire to involve the Orthodox Church in meaningful engagement on the subject.

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In October, our President and one of our Trustees attended the Animal Aid celebration of the work XCellR8 laboratory’s project to replace the widely discredited LD50 toxicity test, which currently uses over 80,000 animals per year in the EU alone, despite being widely discredited both ethically and scientifically. POCA President Dr Nellist has written on animal experimentation, denouncing it as a sin and contrary to the teachings of Christ and Orthodoxy. We are pleased to announce that in the USA, The FDA Modernization Act has now been approved by both houses of the US congress. This will no longer require animal testing as a legal requirement. From as long ago as 2004, the FDA recognized the shockingly high failure rate, 90-97%, of the animal testing model. It is also recognized both by the FDA and ‘big pharma’ that from the small percentage that are given licenses, many drugs are withdrawn due to safety concerns to human health, which included deaths. See https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/center-for-contemporary-sciences-ccs-applauds-congress-for-passing-the-fda-modernization-act-that-will-save-millions-of-lives-301709763.html.

This puts the US well ahead of the UK in terms of legislation to actively encourage the replacement of outdated and failing animal testing with human based 21st century technology. We shall continue the fight to end this abomination.

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Also in October, our President was Interviewed by Dr Lois Sprague, President of The Guibord Center in the USA www.TheGuibordCenter.org   They have asked us to produce a short video on our work and our faith for their ‘The Animals, Faith and Creation’ initiative which is focused on the values that different spiritual traditions teach about our responsibility to care for all Creation and to treat it as a sacred gift. See How Different Faiths See Animals and Our Relationship with Them – The Guibord Center

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In November one of our representatives attended the Remembrance Service at the Animals in War Memorial in London, on behalf of Pan Orthodox Concern for Animals and the Animal Interfaith Alliance. This was another wonderfully moving service on behalf of the millions of animals who died and are still dying in human conflict.

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Also in November, it was back to the Palace of Westminster for the Parliamentary celebration of the passing of the Second Reading of the Ban Trophy Hunting Imports Bill. Here our President met with Dame Jane Goodall, who has already kindly agreed to do a short video for us as she was unable to participate as hoped, on our panel on Creation Care Christian Responsibility at the forthcoming IOTA conference in Volos in January. Dr Nellist also spoke again with Lord Goldsmith who will send through some of his short addresses for the website.

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In early December the final interview was undertaken, with Prof Kate Rigby for her forthcoming book on the Hexaemeron, where the work of Pan Orthodox Concern for Animals is discussed in Kate’s reflection of the 6th Day of Creation.

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As December closes, the finishing touches are being made to two papers being presented at the POCA initiative Creation Care Christian Responsibility Panel at the International Orthodox Theological Conference in Volos in January.  Dr Christina will give a short dedication to our inaugural Patron and Founder Met. Kallistos of Diokleia, followed by a discussion of his life-long concern for animals and the environment. Her paper is entitled: CREATION CARE: METROPOLITAN KALLISTOS OF DIOKLEIA’S TEACHINGS ON ORTHODOXY, ANIMALS AND NATURE. Fr Simon Nellist, retired Archpriest of Tanzania, and Treasurer of POCA, will give a paper entitled: THE MISSION FIELDS OF COMPASSIONATE ACTIVISM. At the end of the session Dr Nellist will put out a notice asking for people to contact her with information of groups or initiatives that Met. Kallistos was involved in.

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As you have seen, these past few years have given us many opportunities to promote the important subject of Creation Care both within and outside of Orthodoxy. We shall continue to ask for guidance from our forever Patron, who we are convinced will help us from his new home with the Fathers and Saints in the Kingdom. We have received numerous emails from Orthodox Christians and others informing us of how our work and the material that we have produced on our website, has helped them in a variety of ways and we are profoundly humbled and grateful to have received each one of them. Your help and support will also be vital to our continued progress.

With love in Christ to you all for a blessed and healthy 2023.

How You Can Help Unwanted Abandoned Pets in the UK and elsewhere in the world.

Sadly, there are many pets that are homeless in the UK and elsewhere in the world. You can help reduce this alarming number by advocating for these defenceless animals, just like Pan-Orthodox Concern for Animals.

Rehome a pet

Rehoming an animal instead of purchasing them from a breeder is one of the key ways you can reduce pet homelessness.

● Visit one of the many pet shelters in your country. There are many different shelters to choose from, so find one in your area or neighbourhood that’s trying to make a difference for animals.

Preparation

● Get your home ready for your companion animal. This will be by firstly, making sure you are aware of your animal’s specific needs. Hampsters, for example, have different needs to cats and dogs. There are many sites, such as the RSPCA, where information can be found. Apart from making sure you have somewhere suitable for your animal to sleep, ensure you have a harness/leash/collar and tag with your animal’s name and your contact telephone number, plus toys, etc for stimulation of the body and mind. You also need to pet-proof your home to make it a safe by securing your boundary, putting away harmful chemicals, some house plants and chocolates!

Bonding

● Take time to bond with them by implementing routines they can get used to, such as regular walks, which will help them become housetrained and physically and mentally stimulated. Also, be sure to set aside time in your day for quality bonding with your pet.

Going Further.

Maybe you might want to start a non-profit organisation or a blog on animal protection? If so, there are many sites on the internet that can advise you on how to begin.

Social Media

● Make use of social media to help build a loyal following for your cause. You can upload a PDF to Facebook in some cases if you want to provide detailed information about your organisation in a succinct format.

Donate

All Animal Protection groups big and small, are always in need of funding. If you have the resources to donate to organisations that need them, then be sure to contact them right away to help animals that are in desperate need of love and care.

● Look at different animal charities and donate whenever you can. Charities often cover different things (stopping animal abuse, helping rescue animals, etc.), so find one whose mission statement stirs a fire in your heart.

● Another way to help animals in dire situations is by donating items to the animal charity/shelter/sanctuary. In addition to food and supplies, you could also donate items like towels, blankets, and bedding.

It is easier nowadays to advocate for a worthy cause, especially if it involves the welfare of animals because people aren’t afraid to speak up anymore. This is my contribution to this cause.

Mike Nicholson of dogfriends.co,

The positions expressed in this essay by one of our supporters are solely the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or the Pan Orthodox Concern for Animals Charity.