We think we’re doing something special at CreatureKind. We are advocates for animals from within the church! Our founder is David Clough, Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of Chester. Our co-director, Sarah Withrow King, is the Deputy Director of the Sider Center on Ministry and Public Policy at Eastern University. Our volunteers are deeply faithful Christians who have dedicated their lives to service.
Many advocates for animals feel isolated. We are bringing those folks together. Our North American and United Kingdom Advisory Councils are diverse in gender, race, scholarship, vocation, and denominational affiliation. We are connecting with individuals in churches and organizations around the world who are eager for the resources we’re able to provide.
We’re tackling a big problem that the church hasn’t dealt with yet: intensive factory farming and the damage that system is doing to humans, animals, and the rest of the environment. Worldwide, more than 70 billion fellow land creatures and up to 7 trillion sea animals are killed for food each year. Raising and killing this number of animals means increasingly bad conditions for both humans and animals within that system, has devastating effects on local communities and is, quite simply, unsustainable. And, though Christianity is the world’s largest religion, the church has remained woefully ill-equipped to help Christians challenge prevailing assumptions about animals, wrestle with these urgent issues, or take meaningful steps towards change.
Our strategies and ideas are developed through listening to and in cooperation with others who are working for animal protection. CreatureKind has identified three major areas of focus: 1) partnerships for policy change, 2) education, and 3) community-building. Here are our big goals and a few strategies for each. If any resonate with you, we hope you’ll let us know - and donate!
Partnerships for Policy Change: To encourage churches, other institutions, and individuals to adopt the CreatureKind Commitment (or a similar policy) to reduce the number of animal products they purchase, to source animal foods from higher-welfare facilities, and to consider how we can put our Christian faith into practice in all the ways we treat our fellow animal creatures.
- Cultivating partnerships with individuals, denominations, and organizations dedicated to creation care, environmental justice, and/or human rights, in order to encourage the inclusion of animals in their work and thought. Providing theo-ethical resources and support to leaders as they engage their peers, congregations, and constituents in these conversations.
- Working with a university which has agreed to become the first educational institution to sign the CreatureKind Commitment, to develop a new food policy, and to then approach other Christian institutions to follow suit.
- Developing and cultivating a network of individual Christians who pledge to be creaturekind via an online petition.
Education: To provide Christians, pastors and members alike, with educational support to help themselves and others implement daily life practices that reflect scripture and theology regarding care for animals. CreatureKind educational materials will reach a broad Christian audience and catalyze a new way of thinking about Christians relationships with animals.
- David is in the beginning stages of a popular audience book: CreatureKind: Christians and Other Animals, presenting the findings of On Animals in an engaging way for a lay audience, with short chapters and discussion questions, suitable for church group use. We are seeking grant funding to support the publication and promotion of this book.
- We have piloted a six-week course for churches that explores the theological and historical foundations of Christianity and animal welfare, with the goal of encouraging participants to examine and improve the way Christians relate to animals, particularly to animals used for food. With funding, we will be able to launch the study for public use later this year. We are working to develop additional small group, Sunday school, undergraduate, and seminary curricula to help current and future church leaders understand and teach animal protection issues.
Community Building: To strengthen the church by affirming the call and meeting the spiritual needs of individuals working in animal protection and to provide a community in which they can share their experiences, convictions, and hope among like-minded Christians.
- Through a Facebook group or other online community, we will demonstrate to Christian vegans and vegetarians that they are not alone and that there is a place for them in their local church.
- We have partnered with a major animal protection organization to provide basic theological training to their faith outreach volunteers via online support and webinars. In this and other ways, we will help lay Christians be advocates for animals.
- In addition to making ourselves available for speaking tours and engagements, we will develop a CreatureKind speakers bureau from among the outstanding and passionate scholars who are working at the intersection of animals and Christianity in their respective fields.
Does this pique your interest? Resonate with you? If so, we hope you’ll donate today. Every dollar goes towards programming, and every bit makes a difference.