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  • Writer's pictureChapman Chen

Vicar James Thompson’s Contempt for the Dairy Industry. Ed. Dr. Chapman Chen


Reverend James Thompson (1930-2015), known affectionately as the “Animal Padre” (Note 1), was a revered vicar and animal rights campaigner from Holywell, Flintshire, Wales. His life was marked by a profound dedication to animal welfare, spirituality, and community service. He’s probably the first modern-day pastor and/or theologian to support militant animal liberation activism in terms of civil disobedience or direct rescue action, by arguing that such activism is just following in the footsteps of Jesus cleansing the Temple and liberating the animals therein (cf. Jones 2022:32-33).

Below please find an excerpt from Rev. James Thompson’s (n.d.) article, “A Cleric’s Contempt of Today’s Dairy Industry” (subtitles added by me). He is most likely one of the very first modern-day Christian priests to advocate for the liberation of milk cows and to denounce the dairy industry, proclaiming God’s wrath on the grounds that cows are the Lord’s beloved, innocent creatures, yet they are most brutally abused, enslaved, raped, and murdered. 

1. The Most Harmless Animal Most Mercilessly Exploited


Of all the most gracious and harmless of animals there are, we would go a long way to surpass the innocence of the dairy cow. Indeed, it portrays peace, patience and graciousness…. Alas, western 'Christian' civilization - probably the worst predator on the face of God's earth - mercilessly exploits this most defenceless and docile of animals.


2. Humans Stealing Milk and Babies

We are the only species who steels the baby food of another and does so without a qualm of conscience. And what is more, we refuse to be weaned from the same! As for the cows, they do not have their surplus milk (over and above what their calves require) taken from them, as so many would like to think. But on the contrary, the calves are forcefully taken from their mums - when no more than a day or two old. Yes, and all so that we ‘humans’ can consume such milk created by God for the consumption of calves. Indeed, the cows low loudly and pitiably for their young; frequently fretting, inconsolably, for many days.

And as for all the male babes of this massive milk business – the fifty percent by-products of a heartless and cruel artificial insemination - these are the bobby calves … destined to end up in veal crates.


3. Used to the Bone

It is my contention, as a man of God, that the docile dairy cow, from certainly two years onwards, is more exploited than any other animal in Britain! Indeed, many of them are incarcerated indoors, standing upon slats within crates, or else in their own slurry. No wonder then that around twenty-five percent of them are treated for lameness! Drugs and supplements are considered vital also so as to keep milk fever, pneumonia and liver fluke at bay. I tell you, such appalling exploitation persists until, at merely five or six years of age, these worn out, exhausted, bovine creatures are sent off for premature slaughter in order to produce junk ‘food’ such as beef burgers.

4. Cow Milk = Latrines

As for the dairies from which our milk comes, they are, in all frankness, veritable latrines. No disrespects to those meticulous for hygiene, such establishments surrounded by urine and excreta can be little else! It is equally, therefore, of no surprise to learn that during the far off war years Britain's number one killer was tuberculosis: the chief carrier of which was cows milk! Yet insistence on compulsory milk for schools was much in vogue. No doubt influential members of parliament had as much vested interest in the farming world then as many of them do today!

Bearing the above in mind, I am deeply dismayed when healthy alternatives, such as Soya milk or pure and unadulterated fruit juice (not the chemically manufactured synthetic concoctions!) are not freely available as milk alternatives within so many of our schools!.


5. Billy Graham Laughs at Cow Milk!

I was for many years a strong admirer of the top American evangelist Billy Graham. I used to laugh at a quotation attributed to him as well as use it in my sermons. It went something like this:

How it is that brown cows in a stable go out and eat green grass in a field so as to produce white milk in a dairy is something I’ll never know. I simply drink the milk – leave all the process to others - and say ‘hallelujah’ for this juice of the cow!

6. Cows are God’s Beloved Creatures!

Well, it’s still a humorous quote, and as the saying has it: ‘where ignorance is bliss it is folly to be wise’. However, this just isn’t good enough! These bovine creatures are NOT inanimate milk machines. They are sentient, defenceless creatures close to the heart of our Lord. ‘The cattle belong to God and the sheep on a thousand hills’[Psalm 50:10]. Our God is not mocked and mankind will surely reap the injustices he has sown. Meanwhile, those gentle dairy cows are looking to us to speak up and say on their behalf: ‘enough is enough!’

7. Liberate these Defenceless Bovine Creatures!

This vile and despicable ill treatment of the dairy cow must stop. The way that the udders of these poor creatures are distended to produce milk; a large percentage of which is later emptied down our sinks like dishwater, is surely too objectionable to express in words. Consequently, we must preach the wrath of God and the damnation of hell to all those who abuse them. Yes, and wherever opportunity permits, proclaim the Gospel of liberation to these defenceless bovine creatures, with deeds reminiscent of Christ’s in the temple. A daunting task, indeed, but we must not fail them!

Perhaps, dear reader, you’d care to join me in integrating such a moral and spiritual revolution? Yes, at last, a true Revival within Christendom that’s worthy of the name.

~Pastor James Thompson


Editor’s Note

1. Ordained in 1966, Rev. Thompson served his ministry across England and Scotland before retiring to Holywell in 1995. He was granted the Bishop's Permission to Officiate, allowing him to continue his service within the Diocese of St Asaph. Rev. Thompson's passion for animal rights led him to found the group Christians Against All Animal Abuse and become a patron of Capricorn Animal Rescue. He was a familiar figure at the pet cemetery in Holywell, offering comfort to those grieving the loss of their pets. His commitment extended to leading worship on Remembrance Sunday at the Animals In War Memorial in London, honoring the forgotten victims of war. Rev. Thompson’s important books on animal theology include Retreat From Responsibility (1989), Cast Out of The Ark (1994), A Cleric’s Contempt of Animal-based Cancer Research (1990), Reflections of a Spiritual Tramp (1996), Praise for Creatures Great and Small (1988), which are collected in Phillip Jones (2022).





Thompson, James (n.d.) “A Cleric’s Contempt Of Today’s Dairy Industry.” Animal Padre's Christians Against All Animal Abuse.


Jones, Phillip (Ed.) (2022). The Animals' Padre: The Life and Works of James Thompson. London: Paragon Publishing.


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