Ask Monks to Convert ... to a New Source of Income

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Posted December 9, 2009 by Ray Harkins

The Catholic Church tells us that “Animals are God’s creatures [who] … bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness.” This message is common to many faiths and traditions.

Yet, at Our Lady of Calvary Abbey—a Trappist monastery in New Brunswick, Canada, that operates a factory farm—cows and chickens are denied what is natural and important to them, such as relationships with one another and a chance to feel the Earth beneath their feet.

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The monastery raises 240,000 “broiler” chickens for slaughter each year. The birds are crowded into massive sheds and don’t see the light of day until they are trucked to slaughter. The monks also raise chicks who are shipped out to egg-laying operations, where the hens are confined to cages so crowded and small that they cannot spread a wing or make a nest. They stay there until they are exhausted, “spent,” and sent to slaughter.

In the monastery’s dairy options, calves are separated from their mothers—who are impregnated over and over in order to keep their milk flowing—only hours after birth. In nature, they would spend more than a year together. Female calves are chained alone to face the Canadian winter, while male calves are reportedly shot soon after birth because they produce no milk.

Over months of dialogue, the Abbey’s leadership has stated that the monks are seriously “reflecting on” PETA’s request that the monastery phase out its factory-farming operation in favor of non-animal industries, such as forestry and potato farming. The monks should follow the example of their brothers at Mepkin Abbey, another Trappist monastery, which decided, following a 2007 PETA investigation of it’s egg-laying factory farm and after receiving your encouragement, to stop caging chickens and now grows oyster mushrooms.

Please politely encourage the monks of Our Lady of Calvary Abbey to convert to a humane industry, like other monasteries already have. Out of respect for the monks’ life of prayer and silence, please refrain from calling the monastery and keep your correspondence courteous.

Abbot Bede Stockill, OCSO
Our Lady of Calvary Abbey
11505 Route 126
Rogersville, New Brunswick
E4Y 2N9

You may also send a respectful letter, via e-mail, to Fr. Bede Stockill, the monastery’s superior, by clicking here.

So what do you think: Are these monks respecting God’s creatures?



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  • 2012 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]


    I have sent an email and have contacted all my vegan Catholic friends. It seems a bit paradoxical that vegan monks would be operating a factory farm. As a Catholic I am a little embarrassed by some of PETA’s sexist, lewd and violent antics. However, perhaps the ends justifies the means.
    I discerned for the monastery myself some years ago. I think that working a factory farm as a monk would really mess with my spiritual sensibilities.

  • 2027 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]


    I am certain those monks are educated; they cannot all be stupid rascals. In fact, one is a doctor of the humanities. Thus, one suspects that the Rogersville monks have considered their farming operations and find their farm to be ethical, even in keeping with Roman Catholic social teaching. The irony must be this: the Trappist monks do not eat meat! No meat: Trappists observe Lent year round. Trappist monks are themselves vegetarian.

  • 2027 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]


    I just wrote a very nice letter to the monks with a beautiful Christmas card! In personal experience, I feel it is easier to persuade someone if you use their own way of thinking against them (all for the greater good of course.) So if anyone was wondering, this is the verse I regularly use in the Bible to prove that God loved the animals that he created. And because he loves them, they should not be harmed or mistreated.
    Genesis 1:24-25
    24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

  • 2028 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]


    I have already sent an email!

    • 1082 days ago

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]


      Alfonso Loforte…
      I have written to the monastery Abbot Bede Stockill, OCSO
      Our Lady of Calvary Abbey
      11505 Route 126
      Rogersville, New Brunswick
      E4Y 2N9
      Canada , and encourage others to do the same. I wrote. I am appalled to learn of the inhumane methods used on your farm in raising cows and chickens. It seems worse given that you pretend to people of faith, of whom we would expect kindness toward all of God’s creatures. Please follow the example of the Mepkin Abbey and convert to a non-animal form of agriculture. I and many other animal lovers will follow your progress and continue to remind you to demonstrate compassion in all your endeavours.

      Alfonso Loforte

  • 2029 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]


    It still amazes me that in this modern age there are some people that still use religion as an excuse for cruelty.
    I’m sure these monks are intelligent people and will soon realise that there are more humane ways to make money than animal farming.

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