In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis paints a compelling picture of the people of God together rediscovering their mandate to care for God’s world. But how are we to put this noble calling into practice? Here are three suggestions at three different levels: the individual; the parish; and the diocese or denomination.
Consistency is important in our treatment of all God’s creatures, including the ones we eat.
In a certain part of the world they like to eat a certain animal. It’s a delicacy but how it’s produced is far from delicate. After primates, whales, dolphins and elephants, this creature is one of the most sociable and intelligent in all of the animal kingdom, yet it can spend much of its life crammed into a metal crate not much bigger than its body. Its sense of smell is incredibly powerful, and people have used it for this reason for generations. But in the squalid conditions that it is raised for consumption, it knows only the stench of its own excrement.
The situation described above is true. The animal in question, however, is not the domestic dog and the people are not East Asians. The animal is, in fact, the domestic pig and the people are Western Europeans, North Americans and others like them. Why is it that a sense of horror and outrage at the thought of man’s best friend being factory farmed to produce a real-life hot dog fades into an uncomfortable acceptance of this state of affairs when it involves the pig? This blog addresses this inconsistency in our Christian food ethics, outlining the reasons for it as well as an alternative perspective. It will also reflect this debate in my own journey from committed carnivore to ethical omnivore.