The next question in our FAQ series actually follows up on our last one, which asked if we just care about pets or other animals as well? Hopefully our recent posts have confirmed that we definitely care a great deal for companion animals, but I also wanted to be sure to affirm the latter half of that question:
... We’re very concerned about the welfare of God's other creatures as well (see our causes section). Each animal life is valuable to God, and all animal suffering is just that, suffering. Countless animals are largely hidden from society while they're used for human purposes, often with no consideration for some of their most basic needs or dignity. But we're all the more obligated to care about their suffering when it serves our own interests.
We'll be looking at some of these other creatures in the coming posts, in particular those farmed for food. While the current question asks if we advocate for vegetarianism specifically, the answer from our FAQ page broadens the discussion a bit:
As the last FAQ suggested, not one sparrow is concerned about the welfare of all animals, wherever they might be vulnerable. We're not focused on vegetarianism or any other diet exclusively, but we do believe there are legitimate connections which should be drawn between how animals raised and harvested for food are treated, and our own consumption habits. If this happens in a way which doesn't honor their basic needs and dignity, which certainly isn't the case when it comes to the "factory" farming of animals, then we should look for more compassionate alternatives.
A good rule of thumb is that if we can’t bear to see or think about how particular animal products are produced in reality, then we should ask ourselves if we can genuinely say “grace” over those foods. Some Christians personally go a step further and avoid meats (vegetarians) or animal products (vegans) altogether. We respect (and sometimes share) their desire to honor their conscience and witness toward God's future peaceable kingdom in this way. Regardless, please don’t feel like you have to have this issue resolved as you get to know not one sparrow or animal causes in general.
Those last lines are meant to be sincere. Regardless of where you may be at on this issue: whether you're just beginning to explore how your concern for animals impacts the way you eat, or whether you're making an effort to track down more humanely raised animal products, or even if you've been vegetarian or vegan for a number of years, I hope you'll feel supported and encouraged by not one sparrow and our community.
This blog series will focus primarily on farmed animals and our eating habits, but hopefully we'll have an opportunity to look at hunting and fishing down the road. We'll be sharing a range of faithful perspectives on farmed animal welfare and consumption ethics, from humane sourcing to various degrees of vegetarianism. But we'll also be running a series on veganism and Christianity a little later on this year.