ASWA was founded in 1972 to help Anglicans and others to become more aware of the importance of animal welfare issues.
For Christians, the belief in a loving God is central to our faith. Indifference to suffering is incompatible with our understanding of the Deity and we cannot imagine God being uninterested in the pain of living creatures with thoughts and feelings. We also believe that human beings have been given a special responsibility by their Creator to take care of the animals with whom they share the planet. This is the true meaning of concept of ‘dominion’ in Genesis 1:26. In a Christian world-view, those with power are given it in order to look after the weak and vulnerable, not to exploit them.
Consequently, caring for animals is a fundamental part of living a Christian life. It is not an optional extra, any more than embracing mercy, justice and compassion for the poor are optional extras. It is sometimes suggested that there is too much human suffering in the world for us to be concerned with animals, but this is to tragically miss the point. Compassion is not a finite resource, if our hearts are open then we are moved by all pain, human and animal. Also, on a pragmatic note, human and animal suffering almost invariably go hand in hand. Often addressing animal abuse is part of building a better future for everybody.
ASWA exists to promote animal welfare from a Christian viewpoint, to protect and celebrate the beautiful and sentient creatures with whom we are privileged to live.
Revd Dr Helen Hall.