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New Film Could Revolutionise The Way Millions Of People See Animals

6 years ago

11th June, 2018 21h26

Animal Defenders International

ANIMA is a short, groundbreaking documentary produced by The Guibord Center for Animal Defenders International (ADI) in which leaders from 12 diverse faith traditions are interviewed and call for greater protection for animals.

Twelve diverse faiths – Baha’i, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu-ISKCON, Hindu-Vedanta, Indigenous, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Zoroastrian – have acknowledged the importance of animal protection. 

ANIMA: Animals. Faith. Compassion.  See the trailer, here

This thought-provoking film is the first time so many different religions have come together to speak up for animals, challenging preconceptions of what religion actually says about our relationship with other species and our responsibilities towards animals.

The Reverend Dr. Gwynne Guibord, Founder and President of The Guibord Center, reveals, “In the book of Genesis it is written ‘And God gave man dominion over the animals.’ That’s a mistranslation. It should read: ‘And God gave man responsibility, or stewardship.’ It shifts the whole notion of [the word].

The Very Rev. Canon Mark Kowalewski concurs: “We hear this word dominion over creatures and that is not at all the Hebrew word’s meaning.”

Rabbi Singer notes: “Our belief in Judaism is that God never actually meant us to eat animals,” explaining “In the Garden of Eden, God shows us the fruit of the trees, the grass in the fields, and says ‘You may have any of this to eat.’ But God never mentioned animals.”

The message from all of the faiths is that animals are sacred, sentient and feeling and should be protected as part of God’s creation.

“The seed of this project was planted when we realized the faith perspective has largely been missing from the conversation about animals and how we treat them,” said the Rev. Dr. Guibord. In 2017, Dr. Guibord committed to the project to raise public awareness and to enable Animal Defenders International (ADI) to bring the voices of faith to its advocacy work.

Jan Creamer, President of ADI: “Millions of people across the world draw their beliefs and perceptions about the other species who share our planet, from their faith. There has never been a more important time to challenge the misunderstandings which have, in the past, been used to justify exploitation of animals. As Dr Lo Sprague says in ANIMA, every religion has compassion as part of its mandate. It is time to mobilize that.”

The 12-minute film, directed by award-winning filmmaker Jennifer Jessum, features music from Grammy Award–winner Moby. Leading figures from 12 diverse faiths were interviewed at a number of their sacred sites within Los Angeles County.

ANIMA features:

Baha’i – Randolph Dobbs*, General Secretary, Spiritual Assembly of Baha’i

Brahma Kumaris – Sr. Vino*, Sister of The Brahma Kumaris

Buddhist – Ven. Abbot Hui Dong & Ven. Miao Hsi*, Nun

Christian – The Very Rev. Canon Daniel Ade*, Dean and Rector, & The Very Rev. Canon Mark Kowalewski, Dean and Rector, St. John’s (Episcopal) Cathedral

Hindu – ISKCON – Sura Das*, Priest & Karen Pharmer, Lay Leader

Hindu – Vedanta – Swami Sarvadevananda*, Minister & Dr. Rini Ghosh*, Leader The Vedanta Society of Southern California

Indigenous – Saginaw Grant, Hereditary Chief of the Sac and Fox, Iowa and Otoe-Missouria Nations & Sam Bearpaw*, Indigenous Leader, Apache Nation, Theodore Payne Foundation

Jain – Community Leaders and Youth, Ami C. Shah, Raj Shah, Prashant Shah, Kush Shah, Harsha Parikh, Manilal B. Mehta, Dr. Mahendra Shah

Jewish – Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels*, Temple Beth Shir Shalom, Santa Monica & Rabbi Suzanne Singer*, Temple Beth El, Riverside

Muslim – Salam Al-Marayati, President, Muslim Public Affairs Council & Edina Lekovic*, Islamic Center of Southern California; host, Meeting the Moment podcast, The Islamic Center of Southern California.

Sikh – Nirinjan Singh Khalsa*, Executive Director, The California Sikh Council

Zoroastrian – Maneck Bhujwala*, Priest and Community Spokesperson, The California Zoroastrian Center, Westchester 

Interfaith - The Guibord Center – The Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord, Founder and President, The Guibord Center, Los Angeles.  Dr. Lois M Sprague, Vice President, The Guibord Center; Executive Producer, ANIMA: Animals. Faith. Compassion.

(*Members of The Guibord Center’s Board of Directors or Advisory Council)

What people are saying about ANIMA:

“The Christian tradition has long articulated a love of creation, and specifically of animals, as central to faithful living. What ANIMA: Animals. Faith. Compassion. does beautifully is illustrate how this reverence for all living things is shared across all faith communities. A viewer of this film is likely to come away with a renewed appreciation for all of God’s creatures and a new understanding of our relationship to them.”Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, Associate General Secretary, National Council of Churches USA

“In this time of divisiveness and rejection of diversity, ANIMA: Animals. Faith. Compassion. is an amazingly effective way to show the unity of all religions. Using the simple theme of how different world scriptures speak of care for animals, we find a common teaching: All life is sacred, and it is humanity’s responsibility to protect and nurture it. Thank you for creating a universal statement of love.”—Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi, Spiritual Directors of Ananda Sangha Worldwide

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