The Bishop for the Environment has urged people to consider the suffering of fish as he reminded Catholics that Pope Francis’ call to care for our common home includes all of the seas, oceans, rivers and lakes, as well as all of the creatures that populate them.
Bishop John Arnold’s call came at the recent Catholic Concern for Animals (CCA) Fish and Marine Welfare Conference.
In his welcome note, the bishop pointed out that while many people discuss the suffering of animals, the suffering of fish is often overlooked.
“We often hear about the billions of land animals that are produced for food and the suffering involved in that production but we seldom hear of the suffering of fish,” he said.
Citing Pope Francis’ ground breaking encyclical Laudato Si, Bishop Arnold noted that we are reminded that ‘each organism, as a creature of God is good and admirable in itself’.
“How very relevant Pope Francis’ words are when we consider the plight of fish, who are caught and killed in their trillions every year and indeed are not even seen within the fishing industries as individuals but are only counted in terms of tonnage,” he said.
The bishop recalled an article he penned in CCA’s The Ark magazine at the time of Laudato Si’s release in 2015.
Citing the article, he said: “I used the term ‘integral ecology’ and said that ‘everyone and everything is drawn into a single tapestry of creation of which we are reminded that we are stewards. But our stewardship has not been good. We have exploited so much of our worldly resources and exploited people too.
“‘We have not been aware of the consequences of our actions and only now is the extent of the damage becoming clear. Pope Francis connects us together as a single family with a single common home. We are responsible for one another but we have forgotten about the care that we need to have for each other and for the animal kingdom and the plant life of the world in which we live.
“‘We must care too for every creature and protect their place in the extraordinary balance of nature.”
Noting that these words, written over five years ago, still “ring true” today, Bishop Arnold said: “I would add that our common home includes all the seas, oceans, rivers, lakes etc. of the world and all the creatures that live within them”.
CCA’s Fish and Marine Welfare Conference 2021 was carried out virtually and included speeches from CCA’s Dr Clara Mancini and Dr Gerald Taylor, the University of Chester’s Prof. David Clough and Eurogroup for Animals’ Doug Waley.
The conference also included a message from Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. This was read on behalf of Cardinal Turkson by Dr Tebaldo Vinciguerra.
Picture: Salmon in the Columbia River, Oregon. (eriktrampe).