The 23rd Psalm For Animals

The 23rd Psalm For Animals

The 23rd Psalm For Animals may seem like a controversial topic for an animal blog – and perhaps it is – but maybe it will make you think. Throughout my life – I have usually respected the rule – that it is best to temper discussions of politics and religion in polite circles.  However the state of politcis globally is so appalling, that it needs to be discussed in every classroom and around every dining room table.  It has never been more important for people to wake up from our collective slumber.

NOTE: Some Pictures or Content May be Graphic or Disturbing To Younger or Sensitive Readers 

That leaves me with religion – it also needs to be front and centre – questioned and challenged.  Religions the world over lay claim to their GOD. He may be merciful, powerful, angry, vengeful, kind, forgiving or loving. He is “whatever” man decides that He needs to be in any given moment. HE is conveniently used to justify or excuse the barbaric behaviour of mankind. Religion allows people to fight and kill, to lay claim to lands not their own and to dominate, torture and sacrifice weaker people and animals in HIS name.

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Now that I have reached an age where I am less concerned with the opinions of others than at any time in my life, and far more concerned with speaking up when I see injustice, I feel free to comment on what I see as heinous behaviour cloaked in religious overtones. I was raised an Anglican, by parents who gave me a keen understanding of right and wrong, and a strong moral compass with which to navigate my life. I am now on a comfortable, personal, spiritual path – and the God that I pray to does NOT expect me to inflict pain on other sentient beings in His name. He does not glorify the brutal sacrifice of animals in any religious frenzy of cruelty and blood letting.

As a child in Sunday school we had to memorize The 23rd Psalm and I still know it by heart. I drew great solace and strength from those words as I stood at the funerals of my father, my mother and my brother. I imagined them “in green pastures beside still waters” – safe and protected. But when I think about the way we treat the animals with whom we share the earth – I wonder how they might view the 23rd Psalm. So I have re-written it for them. If this does nothing else –  I hope it sparks a conversation. If it offends you – then you can have a chat with your God about my significant human failings. The God to whom I pray does not condone silence in His name or killing for His glorification.

For every abused, caged, chained, factory farmed, beaten, frightened, tortured and sacrificed animal – we see you – we hear you – we cannot know your fear and pain – but we are trying to help you. 

For every animal abuser (engaged in criminal behaviour or sanctioned by inadequate laws) – a reckoning awaits you – your deliberate cruelty has been noted.  

The 23rd Psalm For Animals

The Lord is not my shepherd


He made you my guardian – but I do want

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You do not alloweth me to lie down in green pastures

And you do not leadeth me beside the still waters

And you do not restoreth my soul

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You do not leadeth me along any path of righteousness

You force me into the cruel valley of death

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I fear your evil – you are never with me

Your rod and your staff they beat me

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 You prepare your table “with” me …

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You are my enemy

You do not anoint my head with oil

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And my cup never runneth over

Goodness and mercy do not follow me

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And sadly – I have no house in which to dwell forever.

In the south of Nepal a mass killing of animals takes place called the Gadhimai Festival. Over a few days up to 250,000 buffalo – pigs – goats – chickens – rabbits and birds are brutally slaughtered – on a killing field fueled by prayer, blood and frenzy. The ground is awash in red. This is to honour the Hindu goddess of power. We cannot imagine the terror of the animals.  How can a people who claim to live in a land of peace participate in this barbaric blood-letting?  This is only one – of hundreds of killing festivals held around the world – in the name of religion.

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This is not my country – this is not my tradition – this is not my religion – but I am human and I am ashamed …

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And when the goddess has been appeased – the killing fields fall strangely silent – and the blood of the slain seeps into the ground on which they once walked … 

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Religions world-wide engage in “blood ivory” – to make statues to glorify an all powerful God – who is perfectly able to look after His own image! So I ask religious leaders the following – why must this majestic creature be brutally slaughtered – to produce trinkets of which God has no need?

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There are many substitutes available for ivory – the elephants who lost their lives so these carvings could be created – need not have died. 

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Here are 2 simple questions to ask your religious leaders:

Why are we still engaged in animal cruelty or sacrifice? 

Which religion will declare – we will no longer be involved in the needless killing of God’s gentle creatures?

The first thing that humans do when we face a difficult situation is to turn to our God for guidance and solace. It does not matter if we follow Hinduism – Christianity – Taoism – Islam or any other religious calling – we ask for mercy.

Is it not then profoundly sad – that the mercy we ask for from God – is the very same mercy that we deny to the animals with whom we share the planet?  And we often do it in the name of culture – tradition and religion. How very wrong we are – how mis-guided – how blind to true suffering unless it is our own.

Although not a religious commentary – listen to Philip Wollen speaking about animals!