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.
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
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?