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When “Ark of Suffering”, our first song about animal abuse, came out in 1990 on our debut album Stop the Bleeding, we had no idea it would have such an impact. I wrote the lyrics to reflect what God had in mind for the proper treatment of his beloved animal creation and how we could be doing this so much better. Since then, Tourniquet has been an active voice for animal welfare.
I am 100% convinced that God is not pleased with animal abuse. I am also convinced that how we treat animals and the animal-related choices we make everyday should be an integral part of our Christian faith. I know it is for me. My life was forever changed when I saw clearly the struggles animals go through when impacted by humans. In trying to justify things like intense factory farming, for example, the Christian catch phrase “Godly dominion” of animals is simply ridiculous. Psalm 145:9 says: “The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” In light of this, is it OK for us to look away from what God clearly loves and values? I hope you take the time to see for yourself – Ted
Psalm 50:10 – For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills…
Luke 12:6 – Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.
Genesis 1:25 – And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Proverbs 12:10 – A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.
About the cover- ANTISEPTIC BLOODBATH, like every Tourniquet album, is full of songs about God, but this time it’s not just songs about God with an animal welfare tune thrown in. This album ties it all together as one issue, and the references to animals hopefully serve to point us toward God, and to remind us of what He expects from all of us when it comes to His creation. It’s an album about each of us learning and choosing to show compassion and mercy to all of the living, created beings we see around us –and those we owe so much to, but often cannot see – the millions who suffer carefully hidden away from the world.
Antiseptic Bloodbath challenges us to not look away – not from the painful, gruesome death Jesus suffered on the cross so we could have life, and not from the heartbreaking lives that many of God’s creatures suffer and endure as we lock them up in windowless sheds, destroy their jungle habitats, kill them for sport, consign them to lives of invasive experiments, force them to do silly tricks or fight to the death for our amusement and profit, take them from the wild to become pets, and abandon our companion animals to fend for themselves.
The cover shows a cow, symbolizing the short miserable lives of animals born, raised, and killed for food at the hands of a merciless industry that treats them merely as product for the sake of the almighty dollar, ignoring the fact that they are thinking, feeling beings that experience most of the same things humans do: happiness, sorrow, frustration, boredom, family bonds, anger, hopelessness, and of course the ability to endure intense pain and suffering. The cover shows a cow, but it could just as easily
have been a rhino, orangutan, dog, snake, cat, elephant, chicken, pig, or killer whale.
People have asked us, “Why write and record songs dealing with animals when there are other more important issues to deal with?” For me, this issue is just as important as any other, and there are hundreds of bands (including Tourniquet) with thousands of songs that deal with all the different issues of life and matters of Christianity. How many deal with the compassionate treatment of the animals we share this planet with? I Timothy 6:10 says the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. So often it is the love of money that leads to the tremendous suffering and exploitation of animals. If it’s not because of the love of money, it’s often greed, selfishness, or just plain wickedness. It’s wrong. It’s evil – and it’s sin.
Compassion and mercy should be a part of who we are. It’s part of being a decent human being, whether or not we claim to be Christians. God’s compassion and mercy doesn’t stop at humans. He is compassionate to all He has made – and He created every animal. We cannot compartmentalize our compassion. We cannot claim to show Christian compassion to people, and at the same time dismiss the call to demonstrate compassion for God’s other creatures.
Compassion comes from the heart and is demonstrated not just by feeling, but by action. We make many choices daily that may seem trivial and automatic to us, but that have a huge impact on the lives of animals – for better or worse. We basically hold all the cards in terms of how their lives play out. Today, there are more ways to choose to show compassion for animals than ever before. We all have a chance to make life better for God’s creatures. I have no doubt it honors God when we do.
I write songs about what is important to me – what matters to me. And what happens to animals and the environment – our forests, jungles, swamps, deserts, backyards – matters greatly to me, as it does to God.
We all seek to have purpose in life and to do what we feel led to do. I have an undying passion for helping animals. I rejoice for them, mourn for them, and I am constantly fascinated by them. My greatest joy is seeing animals live their lives with the freedom to do what makes them happy, I guess, to be animals. When I look at them, I see the beauty of a loving God, in whom I have no doubt when they depart this earth, He welcomes them all into his presence – where we will one day see them again.
I gladly proclaim this message – connecting to our lives what I believe is the most neglected aspect of Christian faith – how we interact with animals. I am fortunate and thankful to be in a band with Luke and Aaron as they “get it”, and they share this general belief. Our hope is for all of us to choose to live by mercy and compassion for our fellow humans and for all God’s creatures. Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. Enjoy the tunes.
The abuse that animals suffer at human hands is heartbreaking, sickening, and infuriating. It’s even more so when we realize that the everyday choices we make – such as what we eat for lunch and the kind of shampoo we buy – may be directly supporting some of this abuse.But as hard as it is to think about, we can’t stop animals’ suffering if we simply look the other way and pretend it isn’t happening.
Every day in countries around the world, animals are fighting for their lives. They are enslaved, beaten, and kept in chains to make them perform for humans’ “entertainment”; they are mutilated and confined to tiny cages so that we can kill them and eat them; they are burned,blinded, poisoned, and cut up alive in the name of “science”; they are electrocuted, strangled, and skinned alive so that people can parade around in their coats; they are chained up in backyards and forgotten…
Here are five things you can do to help animals - and possibly help your own piece of mind.
1. Adopt an animal at a local animal shelter or rescue and not buy one from a pet shop.
Most animals sold in pet stores come from mass-breeding facilities where they are denied socialization, exercise, and veterinary care. Pet shops treat puppies, kittens, birds, hamsters, mice, rabbits, snakes and other animals as if they were fashion accessories and sell them to anyone who puts down a credit card. Selling animals denies homes to homeless and unwanted animals who await adoption in animal shelters.
Find a pet (dog, cat, rabbit, snake, turtle, bird, etc.!) in need of a home close to where you live by searching here. kitties waiting for a home
2. Consider where the food you eat comes from, and once you know, consider making more humane choices.
MANKIND’S CRUELEST INVENTION – THE FACTORY FARM
The cattle on a thousand hills are mine, says the Lord – Psalm 55:10
Pigs, highly intelligent and sensitive, are turned into living machines who are repeatedly impregnated until they are worn out and wasted by the industry and then thrown out like so many pounds of trash. During their lives they go from gestation crate (while pregnant) to farrowing crate where, after giving birth, they are placed so that their young can suckle but cannot otherwise interact with their mom, who is again kept on a concrete slab inside bars, in an area that is usually slightly smaller than the mother, so that she not only has to lie in her waste, but she is also pushed into metal bars 24-7. Pigs in these confinement situations suffer in pain from the lack of exercise and movement, and experience psychological damage from the lifetime of deprivation and denial.
Birds exploited for their eggs, called laying hens by the industry, are crammed together in wire cages where they don’t even have enough room to spread their wings. Because the hens are crammed so closely together, these normally clean animals are forced to urinate and defecate on one another. The birds have part of their sensitive beaks cut off so that they won’t peck each other out of frustration created by the unnatural confinement. After their bodies are exhausted and their production drops, they are shipped to slaughter, generally to be turned into chicken soup or cat or dog food because their flesh is too bruised and battered to be used for much else.
Because the male chicks of egg-laying breeder hens are unable to lay eggs and are not bred to produce excessive flesh for the meat industry, they are killed. Every year, more than 100 million of these young birds are ground up alive or tossed into bags to suffocate.
Chickens are slammed into small crates and trucked to the slaughterhouse through all weather extremes. Hundreds of millions suffer broken wings and legs from rough handling, and millions die from the stress of the journey.
At the slaughterhouse, their legs are forced into shackles, their throats are cut, and they are immersed in scalding-hot water to remove their feathers. Because they have no federal legal protection (birds are exempt from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act), almost all chickens are still conscious when their throats are cut, and many are literally scalded to death in the feather-removal tanks after missing the throat cutter.
Luke, Aaron and I eat at Chipotle often – their motto is “food with integrity” – See how they are doing things differently…
What you can do to combat pet overpopulation:
- Always spay and neuter your pets.
- Always adopt your pets from a legitimate shelter or nonprofit rescue group.
- Consider all the responsibilities and consequences of pet ownership before deciding to get a pet and always make a lifetime commitment to your pet.
- Educate your children, friends, family members and co-workers about pet overpopulation, adoption and the importance of spaying and neutering.
Indra (sister) and Troides (brother) – my two adopted cats
For decades, the nation’s top pig producers and the scientists in their employ have defended the practice of keeping these 500-pound animals in two-foot-wide crates for virtually their entire four-month pregnancies. The confinement is so harsh that the animals are unable to turn around. They can be subjected to this privation for as long as three years, or for as many as 10 successive pregnancies. There simply is no justification to subjecting any of God’s creatures to this treatment and it would be ridiculous on any level to consider this Godly “dominion” of animals.
Chickens are intelligent, inquisitive animals that form friendships and social hierarchies, recognize one another, love and care for their young, and enjoy dust-bathing, making nests, lying in the sun, and roosting in trees.
Chickens raised on factory farms for meat and eggs are unable to engage in any of these activities…
“Billy” the goat – a neglected farm goat I found with no food, water, or shelter. I was able to get him rescued – now roams a 12 acre pasture – no more chain!!
4. Don’t patronize events that exploit animals. Circuses, rodeos, horse and dog races, zoos, bullfights and marine parks are just a few examples of events in which animals are exploited for human entertainment. Circuses force animals to perform acts that have nothing to do with how these magnificent creatures behave in the wild.Lives of constant confinement and frustration of natural instincts force animals into a state of neurosis. Elephants constantly sway back and forth in their chains and the tigers constantly pace in their cages. These repetitive behaviors are symptoms of deep psychological distress.
Elephants in the wild walk many miles a day and travel in groups. In the circus, these animals are chained by two legs, unable to take one step forward, except when performing. It is well known that elephants have a close family unit. However, in the circus these families are usually torn apart.
Ever wonder “How do they get them to do that”?
Animals in circuses, marine parks and the like don’t provide a realistic educational tool for children because the animals are forced to perform tricks that are not normal to them. Children are seeing broken-spirited animals reacting to a stressful and unnatural environment.
5. Try to avoid buying products from companies that test on animals.
How many animals suffered or died to test the shampoo and soap you used today?Every year, millions of animals are poisoned and killed in barbaric tests that were crudely developed as long ago as the 1920s to evaluate the toxicity of consumer products and their ingredients. Rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and other animals are forced to swallow or inhale massive quantities of a test substance or endure the pain of a chemical eating away at their sensitive eyes and skin – even though the results of animal tests are often unreliable or not applicable to humans.
Everyone agrees that things like cosmetics, detergents and chemicals should be tested—for the safety of people, animals, and the environment. But how?
More effective are sophisticated alternatives like Episkin®, artificial human skin that can replace some animal tests in a fraction of the time and cost. Technologies like these are being continually developed. At the same time, the public’s desire to buy products that haven’t been tested on animals has dramatically increased.
It’s never been easier to find products that were not tested on animals.
The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine does great work to encourage universities, corporations, even the military – to switch to more accurate, cost effective, and humane non-animal models. Learn more HERE
This rabbit is left to languish in pain for days inside a cage after having corrosive chemicals applied to her shaved skin. This type of animal testing is not only cruel but completely unnecessary.
Spanish version here.
You think it’s alright to destroy God’s creation
They don’t have a voice so who cares how we’re treating them here
If you read his word you should know that he blessed them
I know your defense is to say “God said dominate them”
Do you think dominate means to kill just for sport?
Wear the fur from their backs, train them for circus acts?
Take our pets to be gassed once their “cute” age has passed?
Don’t you see in their eyes how they trust us
But man in his sin turns that trust into horrible pain
When God says to man give account of your life’s work
We must be prepared to reply “Your creation I loved”
Locked behind steel cage forced to take drugs we’ve made
Cut them up just to show what we already know
Before they die… who will hear them cry?