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Catholic Priest: Absolving Sins, Saying Mass–and Farming Foxes for Fur?

Written by PETA | August 17, 2010

Sheep may safely graze, but foxes are out of luck at an abysmal fur farm in Joliet, Illinois, that’s run by, of all people, a Catholic priest. PETA recently filed a complaint with law-enforcement authorities regarding the fox fur farm, which is operated by the Rev. Richard Ross of St. Bernard Catholic Church in Joliet. While the agencies promptly launched an investigation, they were unable to take action against Ross because the conditions on this farm, while appalling, are not illegal.



The foxes are confined to cramped, rusty wire cages—with little protection from heat, rain, and snow—until the day they are slaughtered and skinned. Cages may contain up to seven foxes apiece, and one fox was caught on video spinning in circles—a classic symptom of “zoochosis,” or captivity-induced madness. As PETA researcher Dan Paden pointed out in a letter to Ross, even if such conditions do not violate Illinois law, they surely violate the church’s instructions to have “a religious respect for the integrity of creation.”

What kind of Christian—let alone a man of the cloth—would treat God’s creatures this way? The kind of man who would say (after his brother—who is also a priest—was accused of molesting a young boy), “I don’t have much sympathy for people who somehow couldn’t stop whatever happened. I’ll take all of these people who were abused, and I’ll abuse them with a baseball bat.”

After seeing how the Rev. Ross treats foxes, we believe him.

Please politely send your comments to:Rev. Richard Ross(815) 726-4474 St. Bernard Catholic Church1313 Ridgewood Ave Joliet, IL 60432-2698

Written by Alisa Mullins

Commenting is closed.
  • Kevin says:

    To Rev Meg and Patrick only certain priest orders in Catholicism require a vow of poverty and the parish probably owns the fox farm to raise money for most likely dwindling income in other areas. And Patrick Reverend is an actual Catholic title. Father is just the term for a normal priest.

  • Jan Fredericks says:

    He doesn’t seem to like kids either from what he said. Everything we do as Christians should bring glory to God and peace to others 1 Cor. 103133. God will hold everyone accountable someday for every creature Hebrews 413

  • lisa says:

    ANYONE IN CALIFORNIA? WRITE TO THE ARCHBISHOP DIOCESE OF ORANGE TOO Orange CA 928671999 Phone 714 2823000 Fax 714 2823029 Mailing Address P.O. Box 14195 Orange CA 928631595

  • Nicole says:

    I know Father Ross and he is the type of person who would do anything for anyone. He cares very much about his career his friends his family and even his animals. Talking about him just gives everyone something to do in there free time such as gossip isn’t that a sin as well? obviously people cant keep themselves busy enough with things that make them happy yet instead they make someone with such a good heart fee crushed.

  • Allison says:

    As a former Joliet resident I took action by writing to the diocese of Joliet. Sister Judith who seemed very lovely and polite said she was unaware of this fox fur farm’s existence and assured me that action will be taken. Not sure what kind of action as she did not specify but she seemed sincere and I hope that this makes a difference.

  • Jessica says:

    This is indeed quite horrible but there’s no reason to throw the entire Catholic religion into this atrocity as well. We should condemn one man and have him excommunicated from the Church we don’t need the Devil leading a parish over there. ahem wire cutters anyone?

  • Patrick says:

    Hmmm I think that somebody in the Joliet area needs to wait until Mass is going on and then snippy snippy! Get out the wire cutters! Are we sure this man is a priest? They usually have the title of “Father” rather than “Reverend” and as an ordained Catholic priest he would have taken a vow of poverty which means he would not be permitted to own a business for profit. Their only job is to be of service to the church so I wonder how this would be allowed under the vows of poverty and service.

  • Jan Fredericks says:

    Catholic Concern for Animals has been alerted and they are on it. I’m a board member There seems to be a link between the child abuse and animal abuse secrecy until these shameful acts and criminal are exposed. Perhaps a demo at the Vatican St. Peter’s Square on April 9th is in order. The Church should be teaching compassion for all of God’s creatures.

  • Sarah says:

    Is this his side job because the church doesn’t pay enough?? And why are the cages all hidden amongst the trees and weeds? Something to hide…like behind the Bible? Does the Joliet Newspaper know about this? How about the Congregation of his church? I agree with the wire cutters!

  • sally says:

    should be http://www.allcreatures.orgca left the hyphen out doh!

  • sally says:

    have you never heard of “catholic concern for animals?!” its a uk based organisation but has a u.s. site too http://www.allcreatures.orgca im so lucky ALL fur farming is banned and illegal here but dont let this demon rob you of faith its not Gods fault he sees all and has made us aware of it shame the guy! call his local papers pope jp2 said all animals are souls and we must do all we can to help our smaller bretheren! email the vatican at its site and whilst there mention ths new pope and the fact hes the first to wear fur in YEARS! i dont know about catholic school in the states but in he uk we arent taught ANYTHING like this! dont ditch your God use him as he said about sacrificing animals I DESIRE MERCY NOT SACRIFICE! bombard this demon with Gods own words! and those of st francis man will never find peace till he extends his compassion to all fellow creatures.

  • liron says:

    i feel sick to my stomach. someone has to stop this from happening.I had no idea there are fur farms in the united states! how can it be that in a state like Illinois where foie gras is prohibited in Chicago Foxes are being slaughtered and skinned alive??? its insane.

  • Mary-Anne says:

    I just wanted to say that it is time for any group institiution to be held acountable for their actions….especially when they are inflicting pain misery inhumane treatment onto animals that simply have no voice or recourse. It is up to us to stand up speak out for them as they are truly innocent and at our mercy. Please look at what you are doing to these poor creatures they have no dignity or rights or quality of life in this case. These “animals live to die” and deserve to have decent life as we are the species that is suppose to be capable of empathy compassion. As a spiritual individual you should be leading by example but your actions do not reflect anything positive…the world will not stand by and say nothing….this is wrong!!!!

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Does the fur farm belong to the Catholic Church or to the Rev.? As I understand it Catholic priests take a vow of poverty amd they are not supposed to personally own anything such as property. Also ending situations like this will depend on at one of these happening The United States declares clothing and shoes made of fur or leather illegal The United States declares fur farming illegal and breaks up fur farms with the more intensity than they do illegal drug labs and pot farms or the reigning pope becomes a vegan and declares the eating of meat and the wearing of fur or leather one of the unforgivable sins. Sadly I don’t think any of this will happen until Jesus returns on Judgement Day.

  • Georgina says:

    i cant belive this its awfull cant anyone rescue them on a night or something or a group of people could go and help them !

  • Jan Fredericks says:

    This is evil the devil is alive and well. God’s laws concerning animals are higher than mankind’s laws. This is animal abuse but anything for profit. The way we treat God’s creatures reflects and affects our relationship with God. Animals are a moral faith and an ethical issue. The Church needs to teach kindness and compassion. Animals were created for God not for us. They are to give him glory and praise and we are suppose to allow them to do that as Psalm 1506 states “LET everything that has breath give praise to the Lord.” This means to allow them to live as they were created to live free from being captive in a tiny cages for the profit of fashion expensive fur. This is shameful. Our Catholic leaders should be speaking out against all animal abuse. God’s Creatures Ministry

  • ginster michel says:

    I am not surprised about people in cloth as you say. They treat not only animals but women and children that way. And they get away with it. They have burnt thousands of women and this mentality still goes on with animals kids and gays… if no one would go into the churches anymore and spend no money on them this ‘problem’ would be solved quickly.

  • jenney says:

    man this sux as a catholic im ashamed of this guy st. francis of assisi would be rolling over in his grave!!

  • Leslie says:

    This is why I have no religion.. poor foxes. D

  • paul davenport says:

    We must remember that many people are capable of severe cruelty even ones that hide behind a religion in order to make their actions appear acceptable. It would be interesting to see the reaction of his peers to this news.



  • Catherine says:

    The Vatican should know about this… I thought it only happens in China… poor animals… it’s a shame that it’s priest who’s doing all of these

  • peter rowsell says:

    for those who want to write to this monster here is his address… St. Bernard 1313 Ridgewood Ave Joliet IL 604322698 Rev. Richard Ross Pastor 815 7264474 815 7264520 fax

  • ocean17 says:

    that’s just totally insane. those poor animals cruelly and barbarically sacrificed only for material gain and selfish desire.

  • Corrie Jansen says:

    I am once again sicken by my fellow humans. I will be writing to this “Stand behind the Cloth Demon”. And telling friends to do the same. Corrie Jansen

  • Alanna says:

    This is absolutely disgusting!! I can’t even express fully how outraged this makes me! He should never be allowed to call himself a man of god….because a true man of god would never do such a horrific thing!!! He needs to be stopped as well as all fur farmers!!

  • NATALIE says:

    This is just the type of thing why I took my daughter out of Catholic School….I just stopped believing in anything they stood for. People who have no compassion for animals have no compassion for the human race. I’ve lost all faith in the Catholic system 100!!! Can’t we petition this?

  • Kathy says:

    Does the Catholic church have any understanding about why so many have left the Church? Can they not remember the wisdom of St. Francis? Animal cruelty is the work of the Devil and profiting from it is even worse. The Church could bring people back if it once again embraced the COMPASSION that Jesus preached.

  • Rhonda says:

    Sounds like a pure hipocrit to me. Does he know who made those wonderful creatures? GOD DID!!!!! He should not be a priest. Well he will have to answer to God one day won’t he!!!

  • Holly says:

    This is about the most sickening thing not just that he does this but that there is STILL a market for the horrible slaughtered animal fur. He only claims to be a man of god. But is a hipcrite

  • wendy griffith says:

    one word DISGUSTING

  • Tracy says:

    This is sickening injustice for animals that have no say in how they are treated. We as humans are to care for them.

  • Rosa Munguia-Maguire says:

    Someone has to try and convince this priest that this is really bad… These poor foxes… My heart goes out to them… poor little guys.

  • Blake Nicolazzo says:

    without a call to action over this all we can do is feel badly it might not be illegal but if you simply posted a way to get in touch with this “man of god” maybe his email or mailing address of his church we could take action peaceful action… we need to know WHAT to do WHERE to send letters emails etc…let’s stop just posting this horrendous stuff without action oriented instruction

  • Sarah Stephenson says:

    This is disturbing but even more disturbing that a priest is doing this.

  • ratking says:

    this is not a christian this is a christian rascal who shall burn in hell and all those approving this crime with him!