April 16, 2004

Comparing the slaughter of non-human animals to the Holocaust

Back in March I had an exchange with Damien Broderick in which I complained about the aloof attitude given to the killing of non-human animals. Some people argue, much to my frustration, that so long as non-human animals are treated and killed humanely that it's okay to kill them. Because this line of argumentation ascribes so little moral worth to animals, in a sense denying non-human animals personhood characteristics and the right to life, I compared the attitude to the Nazi Holocaust.

I know I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Charles Patterson, author of Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust, recently spoke at Goldwin Smith Kaufman Auditorium about his book and popular attitudes towards the treatment of animals. During the event, which was sponsored by the Cornell Coalition for Animal Defense, Patterson compared the treatment of Jewish prisoners during the Holocaust with the domestication and treatment of animals. He essentially argued that the degrading means by which people treat animals is carried over in the practices implemented in human persecution, as seen in the Holocaust.

Patterson went on to compare the breeding of animals with Nazi eugenics, which in that context is an observation pretty much right on the mark.

Interestingly, there were a number of protesters at the event. Their main objection was Patterson's Nazi analogy and condemnation of the slaughter and consumption of meat and other animal products. "We're just a bunch of kids who don't want to be called Nazis for eating meat," said Paul Ibrahim, one of the protesters.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Nazis took the position that Jews were like animals. PETA agrees.