Blessing or Curse
Saint Francis is legendary for his love of animals. He called all creatures his "brothers" and "sisters", and even preached to the birds. It is a popular practice for people to bring their pets and other animals to church annually for a blessing in celebration of his feast day in early October.
Blessing of animals can be either of the animal or of the human-animal relationship, and can apply to pets and other companion animals or even to farm animals.
But we humans have a tortured relationship with animals. We love, protect and pamper some, then turn around and neglect, confine and butcher others on a massive scale. We call some by lovable names and the rest we label as meat, poultry, and fish. We bless a few and eat billions.
Eating animals is not essential for human health and growth. In fact, consumption of animals and animal products is detrimental to human health. Plants provide all nutrients for humans to thrive.
Science tells us that our insatiable demand for consuming animals and animal products, has everything to do with our looming climate crisis. Driven by the meat and dairy industry and subsidized by taxpayers, industrialization of animal agriculture has become a curse—wreaking havoc on land, forest, water and air and creating fertile breeding grounds for emerging zoonotic diseases. In short, dietary change away from animal foods, to plant-based foods is essential for our survival.*
In the spirit of St. Francis may we treat all animals as friends, not food; as brothers and sisters, not commodities; and always, as beloved members of creation. In so doing we will all be blessed.
*In his new book FOOD IS CLIMATE Glen Merzer cites Dr. Sailesh Rao’s paper published in the peer-reviewed JOURNAL OF ECOLOGICAL SOCIETY in 2021 under the title “Animal Agriculture is the Leading Cause of Climate Change: A Position Paper”. In it Rao makes startling claims regarding the percentage contribution of animal agriculture to greenhouse gases. He didn’t come up with 18% or 14.5% as the FAO had. He didn’t come up with 51% as Goodland and Anhang had for Worldwatch. He came up with “at least 87%”!