The PETA Nazis

Posted: Mar 05, 2003 12:00 AM
You've seen pictures of Jews from the Holocaust: starving, living skeletons, dead men walking, bloated stomachs protruding over shrunken genitals. Or disease-ridden bodies, two to a bunk, no teeth, shaved bald. Or piles and piles of bodies in a heap, Nazis standing nearby, smiling. Now think of a cow. Or a chicken. Or a pig. You eat those animals, don't you? You enjoy chicken marsala, or a nice juicy steak, or pork rinds. Then, you're a Nazi, too. You might as well have shoved Jews into gas chambers and then burned their bodies to ashes in ovens. That's what People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) says. Its latest campaign, Holocaust On Your Plate, juxtaposes images of Jews from the Holocaust with pictures of mistreated factory farm animals. The stated purpose is to "(make) the public aware of the parallels between the Jewish genocide of WWII and the horrific and inhumane treatment of animals raised and slaughtered for food." PETA calls the meat industry the "modern-day Holocaust." The Holocaust On Your Plate campaign website,, asks: "Decades from now, what will you tell your grandchildren when they ask you whose side you were on during the 'animals' holocaust'?" While simultaneously showing pictures of Jews in their camp barracks and chickens in cages, the website slide show informs the viewer: "To animals, all people are Nazis." The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which PETA illegally quotes on its website to justify its campaign, "vigorously condemns" the exhibit as a "gross perversion." Rabbi Marvin Hier, the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, calls it "obscene." Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League describes it as "outrageous, offensive and taking chutzpah to new heights." This repulsive exhibit arrived at UCLA on Feb. 27. Enraged, I called the PETA headquarters and spoke with Campaign Coordinator Andrew Butler. Butler was extremely articulate and soft-spoken, but his words were frightening. I asked Butler if PETA believes that meat-eaters are morally comparable to Nazis. "It's the same sort of mind-set," he responded. Many Holocaust survivors ate meat. By PETA's perverse logic, Holocaust victims are morally equivalent to Nazis. Did Butler understand that by juxtaposing Jewish Holocaust victims and pigs, PETA was minimizing both the Holocaust and the value of human life? "It's understandable that people don't want their suffering compared to the suffering of others," he answered. "It's one way to deal with grief to claim that our suffering is unique. Unfortunately, though, other animals do feel pain in the same way and to the same degree as human beings do." PETA has no problem using Jews for purposes of its own but stands by silently when Jews are murdered in Israel. Only after the Palestinians detonated bombs strapped to a donkey did PETA complain. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk immediately fired off a letter to Yasser Arafat. "If you have the opportunity, will you please add to your burdens my request that you appeal to all those who listen to you to leave the animals out of this conflict?" Newkirk pleaded. When asked by The Washington Post if she "considered asking Arafat to persuade those who listen to him to stop blowing up people as well" as animals, Newkirk flatly answered: "It's not my business to inject myself into human wars." I pressed Butler on this point. Why does PETA have so little regard for Jews in Israel, yet feel no qualms about using Jewish Holocaust victims to forward its cause? His answer: "As an organization, our mandate is to speak up whenever animals are abused and whenever animals are caught in the crossfire." However, he continued, "we care deeply about all beings, regardless of species." How reassuring. The most stunning moment of the interview came when I asked Butler, who has a 6-year-old daughter: "If your child were, God forbid, brutally murdered, would you feel comfortable allowing pictures of your child's body to be placed on billboards alongside pictures of a slaughtered chicken?" He replied, "I would say that if some good could come from my child's death, then that would be a good thing ... " He would post a picture of his murdered daughter on a billboard and equate her murder with the slaughter of a chicken. How can any human being do that? Human life and animal life are not comparable. While cruelty toward animals is reprehensible and damnable, it is certainly not on a par with genocide. Only a Nazi could equate the two. The Nazis equated Jews with animals. In its Holocaust On Your Plate exhibit, PETA picks up where the Nazis left off.