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Thirty years ago, very little was heard of 'animal theology', and our relationship with the natural world, both flora and fauna, was far less discussed in philosophical and policy circles.
These days, by contrast, many believe that the way we treat the most vulnerable is the moral litmus of our humanity - and argue that this needs to extend beyond humankind to other creatures.
The debate about how we treat animals is particularly intense around modern farming methods, intensive rearing and the sheer scale of local, regional and global food industries.
Pragmatically and ethically, is treating animals well a luxury we can’t afford or a feature of our spiritual journey through the world which we cannot be without?
The reality is that the majority of the animals who provide our meat, milk and eggs for us (whether we are carnivores herbivores, ovo-lacto vegetarians or pescatarians) are factory farmed.
What is done to them is done in the name of efficiency and cheap food. But is it really cheap or efficient? Can we eat well and behave with humanity towards animals?
The speakers at this important conversation, part of Just Festival, will be Peter Stevenson (Compassion in World Farming), Dr Fritha Langford (Scotland's Rural College), along with chair Michael Appleby (The World Society for the Protection of Animals).
The discussion runs from 6-7.30pm on Friday 23 August 2013 in the hall at St John's Church (corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road), Edinburgh, priced £5.
Tickets can be purchased online, or at the cash-only ticket office at the venue. Organised in association with Compassion in World Farming.
Just Festival, also known simply as Just, runs from 2-26 August 2013. It is based at St John's Church, Edinburgh, and some 27 other occasional venues, and combines artistic and performance style events with conversations, talks, films, exhibits and other ways of exploring how to live together creatively in a mixed-belief society.
* More information: http://tinyurl.com/lgddel6
* Ekklesia is a sponsor of Just Festival. Our news, reporting and comment is aggregated at: www.ekklesia.co.uk/justfestivalTweet