Desmond Tutu Takes Stand on Animal Welfare
Anti-apartheid champion and Noble Peace Prize winner, Desmond Tutu has spoken out against many social injustices throughout the years, including the fight against AIDS, poverty, racism, homophobia, and sexism, among others. Now the retired Archbishop is using his influence to speak on behalf of animals.
In a forward to “The Global Guide to Animal Protection,” a newly released compilation of more than 180 articles chronicling the worldwide exploitation of animals, Desmond Tutu urged readers to fight for justice for all of God’s creatures.
“I have spent my life fighting discrimination and injustice, whether the victims are blacks, women, or gays and lesbians. No human being should be the target of prejudice or the object of vilification or be denied his or her basic rights.
But there are other issues of justice–not only for human beings but also for the world’s other sentient creatures. The matter of the abuse and cruelty we inflict on other animals has to fight for our attention in what sometimes seems an already overfull moral agenda. It is vital, however, that these instances of injustice not be overlooked.
It is a kind of theological folly to suppose that God has made the entire world just for human beings, or to suppose that God is interested in only one of the millions of species that inhabit God’s good earth.
Our dominion over animals is not supposed to be despotism. We are made in the image of God, yes, but God – in whose image we are made – is holy, loving, and just. We do not honour God by abusing other sentient creatures.”
“Even when faced with urgent human problems,” he continued, “we should not overlook the issue of justice to animals. . . . This ‘Global Guide’ reflects a growing worldwide sensitivity to animals and a developing sense that–as a matter of justice–they deserve our compassion and respect. It has my warm support.”
This forward is Tutu’s first definitive statement on the issue of animal welfare.
The book also highlights accounts of many inspiring individuals who have challenged animal exploitation, including Jane Goodall, Shirley McGreal, Biruté Mary Galdikas, Bernard E. Rollin and Roger Fouts. You can purchase a copy of “The Global Guide to Animal Protection” here.