Heejung argues that strong faith-based reasons are found in Laudato Si that exhorts Christians to carefully consider consuming animal products derived from the factory farming industry. Pope Francis’ Laudato Si proposes the Franciscan vision in which other creatures of God are our sisters and brothers. The encyclical states: “Every creature is thus the object of the Father’s tenderness, who gives it its place in the world. Even the fleeting life of the lease of beings is the object of [God’s] love, and in its few seconds of existence, God enfolds it with his affection” (LS, 77). In contrast to this Franciscan vision, farmed animals are disallowed flourishing as God’s creation when they are prohibited from their natural behaviors. This paper unpacks the complex issues regarding the welfare of animals in factory farms and encourage Christians not to participate in systems that disallow the flourishing of our fellow creatures. Moreover, Heejung also discuss practical concerns such as boycotting and the limitations of it, emphasizing the necessity for the greater awareness of cruelty against animals in the national and international level.
It is, first of all, important to note the anthropocentrism found in Laudato Si’, though there is an effort to move away from it. The paper argues that consuming animal products should be an ethical choice that one makes consciously based on a careful examination of all the available data. To encourage people to make such ethical choice, people should have a structure that can allow for such discernment. Heejung’s uses the experience in Toronto. An activist in Toronto giving water to animals on the way to slaughterhouse was considered harming the pig and was sued. This event and reactions to it are rooted in two different positions on how animals are perceived: property or as fellow creatures. The owner of the pigs viewed the pigs as property while the activist was treating the animals as we like to be treated. Thus, a questions is to raised: wow important is the safety and well-being of animals in the world?

As consumers and human beings, we have a right to know how animals are being treated. Developing a system of examining meat production is not a simple task, however. In a capitalist society, profit is the first priority. Business of animal farming in North America tends to follow this capitalist model. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis exhorts Christians to restore solidarity between the human and animals in the encyclical. All creatures are moving to a common point which is God. Thus, every act of cruelty against other creatures is contrary to human dignity.

We can thus consider free range farming as a relevant proposal. In free range farming, animals live freely in their natural habits. Unfortunately, free range farm cannot easily compete with other farms. So, there is a great necessity of a system to develop the sustainability of free range farming. There is a need for assistance from personal and social level in the practice of free range farming. There is an emphasis on the need for consumer awareness. This should be supported by a community network and not just by good deeds. Lastly, there is also a need to acknowledge the systemic social and political aspects in engaging in responses.

One thought on ““Animals as Fellow Creatures of God: Welfare of Farmed Animals Based on Laudato Si’” by Heejung Adele Cho (South Korea-Canada)

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