Animals, Religion and Spirituality

Litany for National Primate Liberation Week

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Spirit of life, we hold in our hearts the 120,000 primates who suffer for medical and commercial research and testing: chimpanzees, rhesus monkeys, spider monkeys, marmosets, lemurs, squirrel monkeys, owl monkeys, and others.

 

We affirm the sacredness of each and every life

 

We hold with sadness the 70,000 primates that experience direct experimentation and testing each year. And for those whose lives have been tragically taken, we mourn fiercely and tenderly. They have suffered an unfair and harsh life and death for which we must take responsibility.

 

We affirm the sacredness of each and every life

 

We name with sorrow all those primates who live day after day in labs and breeding facilities who endure boredom, monotony, loneliness, fear, and the deprivation of touch, community, play and freedom.

 

We affirm the sacredness of each and every life

 

We pray for a time when non-human animals are no longer viewed as commodities, as tools for human use, as disposable or replaceable. Instead we affirm that each individual animal has its own aims and desires. Each is a subject of its own life, intrinsically valuable in and for itself, capable of joy and pain, pleasure and great sorrow.

 

We affirm the sacredness of each and every life

 

We pray for the humans who knowingly or otherwise perpetuate experiments and testing that harm and cause suffering to primates and many other animals. May their indifference and complacency be transformed by the ways of peace, kindness, compassion, and mercy.

 

We affirm the sacredness of each and every life

 

We pray for those here who advocate on behalf of animals. May each person feel empowered with courage and tenacity for these are the qualities needed when people risk or act for the sake of other animals. And when despair sets in, may we be surrounded with peace and good company so that we can hold our grief gently, carefully, bravely. We also pray for clarity, balance, wisdom and grace so that we can continue to work well on behalf of animals.

 

We affirm the sacredness of each and every life

 

On this final day of National Primate Liberation Week, we affirm that each primate life is sacred, that these sentient, intelligent beings feel, mourn, fear, and think. In their eyes we see a world of hope; one that we cannot ignore. We stand here as a witness to the unfathomable cruelty being done to our primate neighbors. May our presence here today inspire questions and courage, challenge assumptions, encourage new acts of kindness and mercy, and change hearts and minds. We are part of an ever expanding circle of compassion. This is our hope and intention. We pray these things in the name of bold compassion and compassionate justice. Amen.

 

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Dr. Zandra Wagoner is Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of La Verne. One of the co-founders and steering committee members of Interreligious Voices for Animal Compassion, she is currently researching, writing and teaching in the area of animals and religion.   

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Written by admin

November 13th, 2009 at 1:23 pm