May 15, 2002 |
Mountain Xpress News / Asheville, NC
Comparing animal slaughter to Holocaust victims is fair
Jane Carter's letter [May 1] took Kayla Worden to task for her letter
referring to animals being slaughtered while fully conscious (a
common slaughterhouse occurrence) as modern-day holocaust victims.
Ms. Carter asks that we watch a few interviews with survivors of the
Holocaust, and then see if we "can compare the Holocaust to the
plight of cramped chickens."
Believe me, Ms. Carter, I have not only seen interviews, I have lived
among the survivors. As a Jew growing up in Chicago shortly after
World War II, I had friends whose parents survived the death camps.
Most memorable was my best friend's mother - a woman with only one
arm, a woman I never once remember smiling. Her other arm was
apparently torn off in a tug of war by some drunken Nazi soldiers.
But that was just the best guess gleaned from questions that mostly
went unanswered; no one wanted to talk much about the atrocities. The
memories were too fresh. People just wanted to put [the experiences]
behind them, work hard, and dream of a better life for their children
and for the family members that survived. Rarely was there a
reference to the Nazis. The one exception I vividly remember was my
grandmother spitting at my first Volkswagen Bug. She never would step
inside that car.
Between five and six million Jews (and millions of non-Jews) were
killed by the Nazis. This was an egregious injustice, to say the
least. More than 10 billion animals raised for food will lose their
lives this year in America alone. They will suffer horrific
mutilations and indignities from the day they are born until their
throats are slit. Isn't it counterproductive to waste time deciding
who suffers more, which crime is greater?
It is exactly this attitude - that some lives are more important than
others - that perpetuates most injustices. Violence is violence,
whether inflicted on a human or non-human animal. It is just plain
common sense that if you truly believe in justice, you cannot treat
animals unjustly simply because they are unable to defend themselves.
If you work for social justice, I commend you and urge you to
continue the fight. But try as you might, it is often difficult to
influence world events. The one place you can have a positive,
life-affirming effect every day is at the dinner table. Becoming a
vegetarian - or better yet, a vegan - is an easy way to immediately
reduce the suffering in the world.
For an enlightening discussion of the comparisons between animal
exploitation in the United States and Hitler's Final Solution, I
recommend reading Dr. Charles Patterson's recently published book,
Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust. The
title of the book comes from a quote by Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis
Singer, to whom the book is dedicated. Mr. Singer said, "In relation
to them, all people are Nazis: for the animals it is an eternal
When Ms. Worden refers to the suffering of animals as a holocaust,
she is in good company.
- Stewart David
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.|
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(Letter: Comparing animal slaughter to Holocaust victims is fair)