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Theologian writes prayers for hunted animals

 An Oxford theologian has written prayers for hunted animals, to be used by churches on the World Day for Animals, which falls on the feast of St Francis tomorrow. The prayers, by the Anglican Rev Professor Andrew Linzey, have been released by the Campaign to Protect Hunted Animals (CPHA) as part of its ongoing campaign to ban hunting with dogs. "Christians need to focus on the suffering they inflict upon fellow creatures", said Rev Linzey. "These prayers help us to celebrate God's other creatures and repent of the harm we inflict upon them ... I don't think our power over them gives us any right to inflict suffering," he said. Rev Linzey wrote the first Order of Service for Animal Welfare for the RSPCA in 1975, and is author of the book, Animal Rites: Liturgies of Animal Care published by SCM Press in 1999, which aroused lively controversy about the theological status of animals. In 2001 he was awarded a doctorate of divinity degree by the Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of his 'unique and massive pioneering scholarly work in the area of the theology of creation, with particular reference to the rights and welfare of God's sentient creatures'. The doctorate is the highest award the Archbishop can bestow on a theologian and it was the first time it has been awarded for work in animal welfare. The prayers are intended to help galvanize Christian support for the anti-hunting cause at a time when the Hunting Bill is being debated in the House of Lords. "Many Christians are hoping that the bishops in the Lords will provide a moral lead", said Rev Linzey, who believes that Christian moral thinking has been too parochial in its emphasis upon human beings rather than the welfare of all creation. Source: Ekklesia