The Holocaust & The Henmaid’s Tale
A Case for Comparing Atrocities
By Karen Davis, PhD, President of United Poultry Concerns
Published by Lantern Books www.lanternbooks.com
To order, see below.
"Brilliant: devastating in its analysis and hopeful in its premise." – Carol J. Adams, author, The Sexual Politics of Meat
"Compelling and convincing. . . . Not to think about, protest against, and learn from these twin atrocities – one completed in the middle of the last century, the other continuing every day – is to condone and support the fascist mentality that produced them. I thank Ms. Davis for writing this bold, brave book." – Charles Patterson, author, Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust
In a thoughtful and thought-provoking contribution to the study of animals and the Holocaust, Karen Davis makes the case that significant parallels can – and must – be drawn between the Holocaust and the institutionalized abuse of billions of animals in factory farms. Carefully setting forth the conditions that must be met when one instance of oppression is used metaphorically to illuminate another, Davis demonstrates the value of such comparisons in exploring the invisibility of the oppressed, historical and hidden suffering, the idea that some groups were "made" to serve others through suffering and sacrificial death, and other concepts that reveal powerful connections between animal and human experience – as well as human traditions and tendencies of which we all should be aware. – Lantern Books
From The Holocaust and the Henmaid’s Tale:
Regarding Religion, Rape, and Forced Labor"
The ritual transference of one’s own transgressions and diseases to a sacrificial animal victim constitutes an interspecies rape of that victim. In both cases, the animal victim is treated as a receptacle for the victimizer’s defilement. In both cases, the animal victim is involuntarily made to appear as an aspect of the victimizer’s identity. . . . The ‘henmaid’ in the title of my book is an allusion to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. In Atwood’s novel, women are valued only if their ovaries are viable, and they are at the mercy of their keepers, their rapists – ordinary men controlling society with the help of female collaborators. . . . The henmaid symbolizes the billions of birds who at this moment, and every moment, are imprisoned in the hell of the poultry and egg industry. More broadly, she symbolizes the innocent individuals of all species who suffer and die at our mercy."
"Contrary to what we usually think of as ‘work’ – physical and/or mental effort exerted to do or make something – the notion of the ‘work’ of chickens on a factory farm may seem strange. . . . [H]ow does becoming buried in one’s own flesh constitute work or anything that could reasonably be regarded as forced labor? . . . The forced labor of chickens on factory farms is internalized forced labor. Like everything else in their lives, including their lives, the work imposed on these birds is invisible. This is because, in addition to its being conducted inside total confinement buildings, the work has been built into the chicken’s genome with the result that the bird’s body is locked in a state of perpetual warfare with itself and with the essential nature of the chicken as such."
"In the modern world, the reduction of a sensitive being to a nonsentient object imprisoned in an excremental universe ‘outside of any moral universe of care’ . . . links the Holocaust victim to the animal victim in laboratories, factory farms, and slaughterhouses in ways that diminish the differences between them. Heinrich Himmler, the chicken farmer and Nazi executioner, epitomizes the pitiless spirit of human and nonhuman animal exploitation alike.
Order The Holocaust and the Henmaid’s Tale online at www.upc-online.org/merchandise/book.html. Or order by check or money order from United Poultry Concerns, PO Box 150, Machipongo, VA 23405 USA. $20 includes shipping. Softcover160 pp.
Thank you for supporting the work of United Poultry Concerns.