Our human family
The duty of the Society of Friends is to be the voice of the oppressed but [also] to be conscious that we ourselves are part of that oppression. Quaker Faith and Practice
Quakers recognise the equal worth and unique nature of every person. This means working to change the systems that cause injustice and inequality and hinder true community.
It also means working with people who are suffering from injustice, such as prisoners and asylum seekers. Quakers are active in politics and in working for justice worldwide. Quakers’ work in justice and equality has taken many forms over the years.
Look on the back of a five pound note and you’ll see the Quaker Elizabeth Fry who was an early prison reformer. Quakers also played a large part in the abolition of the British slave trade.
It is fundamental to the Quaker way to tolerate differing opinions. Quakers do not condone discrimination.
Our ‘extended’ family
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Every creature is a word of God.
On the subject of the rights of our non-human fellow travellers on this Earth, Quakers almost unanimously oppose blood sports and do not approve of businesses that exploit animals, such as circuses or zoos, or the fur trade. They object to experiments on animals for trivial purposes such as cosmetics, though are divided as to whether animal experimentation should be allowed for medical research.
Quaker Faith and Practice states:
Show a loving consideration for all creatures and seek to maintain the beauty and variety of the world. Work to ensure that our increasing power over Nature is used responsibly, with reverence for life.
George Fox, the first Quaker, condemned hunting and hawking. John Woolman, the 18th century American Quaker and anti-slavery pioneer, wrote;
To say that we love God and at the same time exercise cruelty toward the least creature is a contradiction in itself.
Quaker Concern for Animals (QCA) is an association of Quakers and non-Quakers that witnesses to the divine in all creation and works for the protection of animals and the promotion of their rights.
QCA adopt a spiritual yet practical approach and are committed to the defence of our fellow species, whilst appealing to that of God in everyone. They campaign peacefully, wherever we feel our voice might make a difference, working towards that time when the eyes of human animals are fully open to the suffering of all of Creation.
A merciful heart is kind to all creatures, to people, to birds, to animals and to all beings. Ephrem the Syrian (St. Sirin), ca. 306-373