LETTERS; Orthodox stance on animals

SO THE Greek Orthodox church respects the environment and regards cruelty to animals as a sin ("New Ark sails into green and dreadful revelation", 24 September). The Orthodox church is, like other churches, guilty of hypocrisy and jumping on passing bandwagons. But unlike in many other European countries, the Greek church still has influence over government decisions and many aspects of everyday life. This being the case, I read your article in disbelief.

I live in a country where local councils routinely poison stray cats, offer bounty on stray dogs' heads, and run zoos in which conditions are pitiful. EC legislation on abbatoirs is not implemented. The police turn a blind eye to dynamite fishing, abuse of hunting laws and dancing bears. Pet dogs are chained up on balconies for life (few cruelty rules are enforced). One of the Greek Tourist Board's most frequently received compaints is that of cruelty to animals. Should I even mention the environment?

By quoting the beliefs of the church without stating whether these are put into pratice is to portray it in a falsely favourable light. The handful of local animal welfare groups does its best without support from government, police or church.

The "sin" is that the patriarchs have it within their power to relieve much of the suffering they believe to be "evil" by ensuring enforced legislation ensues from the jamboree on Patmos island.

Alison Little