At the Compassion Consortium, we celebrate diversity. We believe every being brings a unique view to the community that we co-create when we gather together. So, each month, we publish an essay which provides a view from our community, a slice of one human's journey of compassionate living.
The Animal Interfaith Alliance – Its Mission and Five-Year Strategy 2022-2026
by Barbara Gardner
Barbara Gardner is absolutely delighted that the Animal Interfaith Alliance (AIA) has teamed up with Compassion Consortium (CC), www.compassionconsortium.org, a most inspiring organisation that we share so much in common with. I’m also delighted to have been asked by CC to write this essay about AIA, its mission and strategy. Visit http://www.animal-interfaith-alliance.com for full information regarding the AIA and its programs and activities.
Barbara Gardner BA (Hons) FCA is the founder and Chief Executive of the Animal Interfaith Alliance and is also a member of the board. Barbara has been the treasurer and a trustee of the RSPCA and was awarded their Queen Victoria Silver Medal for long and meritorious service for animal welfare. She has been the editor of Catholic Concern for Animals’ magazine The Ark and she edited AIA’s magazine Animal Spirit. Barbara is the author of The Compassionate Animal: An Interfaith Guide to the Extended Circle of Compassion.
Rev. William Melton, co-founder of the Compassion Consortium, has been appointed as a Director of the AIA Team and will be working with Barbara and the team on co-initiatives between the CC and AIA. (See The Team – Animal Interfaith Alliance (animal-interfaith-alliance.com). Particularly, Rev. William encourages all to review and consider the eight strategic goals of the AIA as set forth in this essay below. These strategic goals are in total alignment with the mission of the Compassion Consortium.
Founded in the UK in 2014, AIA is a unique alliance of faith based, animal advocacy organisations (see information re: Member Organizations) which speaks out on the moral treatment of animals by drawing on the combined wisdom of all faiths. It promotes social harmony by bringing the faith groups together on an issue they all share a concern for. AIA’s activities include animal advocacy and education. Our vision is a peaceful world where people of all faiths and none work together to treat animals with respect and compassion. Our mission is to create a united voice for animals from all of the major faiths to bring about a world where animals are treated with respect and compassion.
People of faith make up over 80% of the world’s population. Their views make a difference and can lead to global transformation. All faiths teach compassion to animals and share the Golden Rule—to treat others as you wish to be treated yourself. Speciesism has come into many religions along the way, for a variety of reasons. Our job is educate on the (often forgotten) teachings of compassion for animals in the faiths, to bring about this global transformation.
In 2022 we drew up our five-year strategy for 2022-2026 called “Faiths Working Together for Animals”. In it, we identified our five core beliefs which are: we believe in ahimsa—a vegan lifestyle which does not harm others; that animals are sentient beings who have the right to live freely and not to be made to suffer by humans; that animals exist for their own sakes and not for ours; that animals are emotional beings who can love us and provide companionship, and can be members of our family and community; and that we are part of an interconnected web which includes the Earth and all its inhabitants, both plant and animals. By abusing part of that web, we damage the rest of it, including the environment and ourselves.
Our values are intended to convey the highest moral standards in the way animals are treated, promoting a vegan lifestyle, which embraces the issues of environmental protection, healthy lifestyles and ending world hunger. We also continuously seek to promote diversity of faith, gender and race amongst our membership, board and patrons.
To achieve our mission, we identified our eight key ambitions which we aim to work on over the period of the strategy. These are:
Our progress against these ambitions is outlined on our website at the links above.
We would love you to join with us in promoting compassion for animals. If you are a faith-based animal advocacy organisation you can become a member of AIA, or simply add your name to our list of affiliate organisations. If you are an individual you can become a ‘Friend’ of AIA. Details of membership are on our website. Thank you!
A Vegan in Kenya
My Life as an Animal Lawyer by guest essayist Ginny Mikita
Are You a Compassionate Person by Rev. William Melton
The Birth of a Go(o)d Idea by Rev. Carol Saunders
All Means All by Rev. Erika Allison
Vegan Yoga, Ahimsa Bliss by Victoria Moran
Was Jesus Vegetarian? by William Melton
Why the Compassion Consortium? by Rev. Sarah Bowen