Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry
Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry (UUAM) is a group of Unitarian Universalists and friends who desire to grow and express their faith in compassion toward all beings. “Life is as dear to the mute creature as it is to a man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not to die, so do other creatures.”
— The Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama’s words are self-evident to anyone who has ever loved a pet. Animals experience joy and sorrow, security and fear, contentment and privation as intensely as humans do. Therefore, we do our best to treat our household animals with kindness and empathy, and we teach our children to do the same.
The 18th century Unitarian Mary Wollstonecraft argued that kindness to animals is essential to a child’s education, because children who are not taught kindness to animals are more likely to grow into adults who commit violence against people:
The transition, as they grow up, from barbarity to brutes to domestic tyranny over wives, children, and servants, is very easy. Justice, or even benevolence, will not be a powerful spring of action, unless it extend to the whole creation.
Benevolence to animals is also a measure of the moral quality of a society. As Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
The Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry (UUAM) is centred on the Seventh Principle of Unitarian Universalism: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” It also extends the First Principle to include “the inherent worth and dignity” of all sentient beings. Some of the goals of UUAM members are to:
- Educate themselves and their communities about animal rights issues in the light of Unitarian Universalist spiritual principles.
- Make personal commitments to support animal welfare, such as ethical eating.
- Engage in public advocacy for animals who are mistreated in factory farms and product testing.
- Support each other in this work.
Over 20 Unitarian Universalist congregations have formed local UUAM chapters to support this ministry. Information on starting a UUAM chapter is here.
Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission—to be of service to them wherever they require it.
— Francis of Assisi
By Steve Palm-Houser (Original Source)
The historical Mill Hill Unitarian Chapel in Leeds, supporting the alliance, sharing vegan food with those who value it most, people in social difficulties such as those who are homeless are invited into the chapel, click here.
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