Responding to a Pig Roast #1
Rev. Allan Burr, Pastor
Bloomsburg Baptist Church
Dear Pastor Burr:
Please allow me to preface my comments by assuring you that I am a Christian and that I take my faith very seriously. I spent more than 6
years running a Catholic Worker hospitality house and soup kitchen in Washington, D.C.; I minored in religious studies at Grinnell College in
Iowa; and I continue to read various theological texts and magazines.
On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) more
than 750,000 members and supporters, as well as the growing number of vegetarian and vegan Catholics around the U.S. and the world, I am
writing to request that Bloomsburg Baptist Church change its upcoming "Pig Roast" to a cruelty-free cookout and to ask that you never again
include the slaughter of animals in an event you host or sponsor. I think you will agree, upon reflection, that this odd tradition is in direct conflict with Christ's mission.
God's purpose is spelled out in the Bible's account of the Garden of Eden (Gen. 1) and in the visions of the prophets Isaiah, Amos, Micah,
and others. In every instance, God's ideal is one in which there is no animal exploitation and all animals, including people, are
We're not yet living in this glorious end time, of course, but shouldn't
we who pray that God's "will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," strive to live in
accordance with these principles now?
Moreover, beyond God's vegetarian ideal, modern agricultural systems demand Jeremiah-level
condemnation. You may be aware that turkeys are interesting and intelligent animals with cognitive functions as advanced
as the dogs and cats we all know a bit better. In fact, avian physiologist Dr. Lesley Rogers has stated that "it is now clear that
birds have cognitive capacities equivalent to those of mammals, even primates."
Modern factory farms mutilate pigs' genitals, teeth, and ears, all without painkillers; the pigs are confined to
gestation crates so small that they cannot even turn around and go insane from the lack of
stimulation, biting incessantly at the metal bars in front of them. Today's pigs are never allowed to feel the grass beneath their feet and
the sun upon their face or to experience the great outdoors at all, save
that brief moment en route to the horrors of the slaughterhouse. Basically, modern animal agriculture denies animals everything that God
created them to enjoy.
Clearly, Christ's teachings of mercy and compassion and His comparison
of God's love for humanity to a hen's love for her chicks are completely
ignored and subverted by today's harrowing abuse of animals on factory farms, during the awful trip to slaughter, and in
Please ask yourself: Would Jesus have mutilated, confined, trucked through all weather extremes, and then slaughtered a sentient
being--one of God's creatures, beloved by God, and capable of feeling pain and
suffering, joy, and peace?
By hosting an event that revolves around the abuse of God's creatures,
your church is lending its imprimatur to factory-farming practices that are clearly and completely at odds with Christian values. As St. Francis
of Assisi said, "All creatures are created from the same paternal heartbeat of God." The
confinement and cruelty inherent in factory farming are clearly an insult to the order of the universe, which
includes God's pigs and cows among those sharing their source in the heartbeat of God. I
look forward to hearing that you have ended this practice of serving mutilated and murdered animals to your
congregation. Please follow in St. Francis' footsteps and teach your congregation that
compassion must extend to all of God's creatures.
I am sending you a copy of PETA's "Meet Your Meat" video, which shows
some of the cruel practices that are in common use on modern-day farms, as well as a copy of a booklet that is put out by the Christian
Vegetarian Association. Should you wish to review these immediately, you
can find the former at www.MeetYourMeat.com, and the later at www.ChristianVeg.com.
Please let me know what you think. I can be reached at 757-622-7382, ext. 1342, or via email on this account.
Bruce G. Friedrich
Director of Vegan Outreach