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For Our Friends the Animals: Cultivating a Reverence for Life

This eBook is offered Free by the Author

This book is dedicated to the spirit of Jesus Christ, perhaps the first book that links a biblical/religious underpinning for compassion to animals with the ethos necessary to make that compassion universal: a reverence for life. Given that the recent virus and so many others have stemmed from human abuse and mistreatment of animals, this book is more than timely. It is sorely needed.

Kirkus Review: A Christianity-infused call for greater respect for the natural world.
Echols patterns this brief, meditative tract about having more “reverence for life” on the writings and broader ethos of Albert Schweitzer, who coined that phrase. The debut author specifically condemns humankind’s arrogance, citing its self-centeredness as the main stumbling block to connection with the world’s other living creatures: “Our anthropocentrism,” he writes, “our unflagging yet highly dubious and injurious belief that the human animal is somehow more deserving than other life forms, is causing great harm to and often the untold deaths of countless other animals, species, and their habitats.”

Alluding often to Schweitzer’s writings, the author offers a series of wildlife-related prayers and meditations on biblical passages, reflecting always on the welfare of nonhuman animals—which were created, he says, so that they might live “free from human domination and devastation, able to enjoy their lives to the fullest extent.” As Echols takes readers through these reflections, culminating in an itemized list of the most prominent industries that engage in animal abuse, he regularly notes the key sentiment of Schweitzer’s work—the assertion of solidarity between humans and all other forms of life on Earth. The prose throughout this book is clear and ringingly compassionate, steadfastly drawing a one-to-one link between Christian thought and a wide-spectrum empathy for other animals.

The author’s persistent casting of his calls to action as Christian prayers makes his target audience clear, but his broader claims, particularly regarding the independence of nonhuman animals—their innate value, apart from their utility to humans—are so stirringly put that they may also appeal to secular readers and those of other faith traditions.

A short but powerful religious treatise on animal rights.

About Robert Echols
Robert Echols promotes and tries to follow the ethos of a “Reverence for Life” the belief that all life has worth and value and is deserving of human respect and protection. This ethos is the embodiment of the love of Jesus.

Mr. Echols lives in North Florida, and since his retirement from Monsanto in late 2008 has been engaged in a variety of volunteer activities. Currently Mr. Echols serves as President and Founder of the For Our Friends the Animals Foundation, a nonprofit entity designed to provide financial support through grant awards to animal rescues, shelters and sanctuaries and like minded institutions. The Foundation also provides grants to build animal shelters and is currently supporting the creation of such structures in Williston and Levy County, FL. The Foundation is based on the concept of “reverence for life” enunciated by Dr. Albert Schweitzer and will focus primarily on combating cruel and abusive treatment of animals. The Foundation views all life to be intertwined and fervently believes in the individual worth and merit of all living creatures. Mr. Echols also serves on the Advisory Council to Elder Options and will be available as an unofficial advisor to Rooterville Animal Sanctuary, a North Florida animal sanctuary principally for farm animals.

As mentioned, previously Mr. Echols was engaged in several volunteer activities in the Ocala, FL area including: serving as a long term care ombudsman, a guardian ad litem, a driver for Meals on Wheels, and as a Master Gardener.

Mr. Echols worked at Monsanto from 2002 until 2008 as the company’s Director of Business Conduct.

Prior to his tenure at Monsanto Mr. Echols held comparable positions for other DoD companies, and he also worked in philanthropic and consulting positions. From 1986 to 1990 Mr. Echols was civilian counsel and Designated Agency Ethics Official for the U.S. Army Security and Intelligence Command in Arlington Hall Station, Virginia, and before assuming his duties at the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, Mr. Echols served as an active duty JAG attorney in the U.S. Army JAG Corps at the United States Military Academy at West Point from 1982 to 1986.

Mr. Echols grew up in Exeter, NH and was educated at the Phillips Exeter Academy. He received his B.A. from New York University and his J.D./M.B.A from Emory University. Mr. Echols also served in the Army as an enlisted man from 1973 to 1976.

Review & Commentary