Queries in Regard to Right Relationship with Animals

Do animals have a “Light Within?”

Have you ever experienced an animal’s love or joy, pain or sorrow? If humans have souls, do animals also?

What do we mean when we say we value “equality,” and how is that different with people than with animals?

Is it okay to shorten the life of an animal if it was raised under humane conditions?

Is it ever right to appropriate another creature’s life for your own purposes?

What does it mean to care about a species if you don’t care about an individual member of that species?

Do I believe there is that of God in everyone, or only in Homo sapiens?  Am I able to see all people and animals as individuals, or are there some groups I think of as indistinguishable masses?


Animal welfare

What does animal welfare mean to you?

Do you agree with laws that forbid cruelty to pets? Why should they not apply to all animals?

What makes the suffering of one animal more important than the suffering of another? Is there an essential difference between humans and animals that justifies our treatment of them? Do those things that do separate us from animals make it right for us to exploit them, or do they rather obligate us to rise above violence?

Is it right to profit from another being’s suffering?

Can I accept that even a humanely-raised farm animal has a drastically shortened life span ending in the slaughterhouse?

Effects on ourselves personally

Do we pay attention to the source of our food?

Why do Quakers oppose killing, and in what ways does the peace testimony apply or not apply to our relationship to other species?

Does the fact that we might at times be forced by necessity to do a thing then justify doing the same thing when it is unnecessary?

Does spirituality (or human progress) mean becoming more identified or less identified with our animal nature?

Do we use the fact that a problem is very difficult as an excuse for inaction?

How do we unite our spiritual lives with our physical bodies?

How can our spirituality help us in our desire to eat healthier food?

What keeps us from making the connection between the food on our plate and the living being that it once was?

Do we sometimes continue to do the wrong thing so we can avoid admitting our guilt?

Are there areas in my life where I ask or pay others to do what I am not willing to do?

John Woolman made a link between luxury and slavery. Is there an analogy with animal eating?

If we witness an atrocity, are we obligated to speak out?

Do I bear witness to the production of what I consume?  Am I willing to see and hear what goes on in sweatshops and slaughterhouses?

Is my diet a source of status for me?  Do I derive social capital from being vegan/eating meat/eating free-range grass-fed beef/being a locavore/eating organic, etc.?\

Do I examine myself for human privilege as well as for white privilege, male privilege, heterosexual privilege, able privilege, etc. as they apply?  Do I have feelings of superiority over other beings because I am human?  

The effect of our diets on our society

How do I consider the human, animal, and environmental consequences of my dietary choices?

Does making ourselves callous to one evil make it easier for us ignore other evils?

Is killing animals any more natural than killing humans? Is violence justifiable because it is natural?

Do our human wants and needs always take priority over the needs of other species?  

The effect of our diets on the environment

Is there a connection between disregard for animal life and our destruction of the environment?

Am I making changes in my personal behavior to combat climate change?

Am I willing to make profound changes in diet and lifestyle, considering the challenges facing our planet?


Holding the conversation about animal welfare

How do we conduct a conversation about animal welfare in our Meetings?

Is our meeting community a place where we can address difficult issues and remain in right relationship with each other?

If we believe something, are we obligated to speak out? Is it a testimony if you keep it quiet?

What are the implications of questioning the morality of the actions of many people we love and respect, and that we ourselves ascribed to the past?

What are the implications of prioritizing one ethical concern over another?

How do we tenderly hold this conversation?

How can we contribute to a cultural shift toward a more compassionate world?