On Major Book Tour, Leading Ethicist Asks: Is Factory Farming Compatible with Christian Values?

Influential theologians call new book a defining moment for Christian faith and practice

For Immediate Release, February 6, 2019

On the heels of receiving a half-million pound grant from the British government to study whether current farming practices are compatible with Christian values, Christian ethicist and Methodist lay preacher David Clough is touring the U.S. with his new book, On Animals, Volume 2: Theological Ethics, the first modern academic work focused on Christian animal ethics. Clough will be visiting more than a dozen colleges and universities throughout North America, raising questions about Christians’ obligations to animals, particularly as they relate to our diets.

Historically, Christianity has been seen as agnostic—or antagonistic—toward ideologies aligned more closely with animal rights, but an increasing number of Christian communities are questioning the meat-and-dairy-centered status quo of church potlucks, University dining halls, and Sunday dinners, asking: does our food reflect our faith? Clough is part of a growing movement of Christian leaders who have been compelled by their faith commitments to reexamine what (and who) is on their plates.

“The system of factory farming hurts humans, other animals, and the environment and contributes to food insecurity and catastrophic climate change,” says Clough. “A Christian vision of delighting in God’s world and living responsibly among the fellow creatures God loves will be an inspiration to many Christians either to adopt a vegan diet, or to move in that direction by reducing their consumption of animal products and seeking out animal products raised to higher welfare standards than those offered within industrialized systems.”

Clough’s two-volume book, On Animals, has galvanized major Christian theologians who have previously been silent on animal issues to urge other Christians to take action to protect animals. Prominent public theologian David Gushee says, “David Clough's devastating analysis of the systematic human mistreatment of animals, especially in the food industry, will have a revolutionary impact, not just on an academic field but on lived Christian behavior -- including my own.” And Willie Jennings, a leader in black theology, says that Clough’s work, “is a redefining moment for how we should teach theology and hopefully a redefining moment for how we should live in the world with our animal-kin.”

For more information: https://www.becreaturekind.org/on-animals-north-america-speaking-tour/