PETA: Terrible charity
If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then there is an Adopt A Highway sign with PETA's name on it heading to one of Dante's innermost levels. Though PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), has done so much good for so many by having Pamela Anderson pose nude for their "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign, has taken a turn for the worse.
On its website www.masskilling.com PETA, with all the subtlety and nuance of a stampede of coke-snorting elephants, is now associating slaughterhouses and eating meat with the Holocaust. Juxtaposing images of chickens in pens with Jews in concentration camps, they write, "From the factory farm to your plate, animals go through the same process that the Nazis put Jews and others through during the Holocaust."
This casual comparison of human to animal is standard fare for this ad campaign. The website is riddled with quotes from the book Eternal Treblinka (Treblinka was a Nazi death camp in Poland), which makes a stunning moral equivalency: "During the twentieth century, two of the world's modern industrialized nations-the United States and Germany-slaughtered millions of human beings and billions of other beings. Each country made its own unique contribution to the century's carnage: America gave the modern world the slaughterhouse; Nazi Germany gave it the gas chamber." In this world view, humans are no different than animals. "More than 28 billion animals are killed for food in the U.S. alone every year-that's more than four times the human population of the entire planet," PETA tells us.
But if we were to take PETA at their perverted word-that omnivores and Nazis share a common bond-what would that justify? The United States alone lost 400,000 men in the Second World War. The Soviet Union lost tens of millions, both soldier and civilian. Isn't an armed reprisal against the meat industry justified? Surely a few thousand people dead would be justifiable for the freedom of all animals? Hundreds of thousands died to preserve the Union and free the slaves in the Civil War. There are 600 dead U.S. soldiers in Iraq for a population of 25 million Iraqis. What would we give for the billions of animals in the United States alone?
This is all absurd of course, but it's hard to address this topic and not run across that line. Some however, left that line far behind. PETA has a number of connections to the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF) which are both recognized as domestic terrorist organizations by the U.S. government, including donations to legal defense funds for arrested ALF/ELF members.
On February 3, 2003, in an action that couldn't be satirized, Ingrid Newkirk, PETA's president wrote a letter to Yasser Arafat chastising him for the use of donkies in-wait for it-a Jerusalem bombing! She begs of him, "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?" Right.
After the September 11 attacks PETA criticized Mayor Giuliani for his poor record when it came to spending money, time, and effort to locate and care for all the injured and traumatized animals living in, near, and around the former World Trade Center.
When Tim McVeigh of Oklahoma City bombing fame went vegetarian for his last meal, PETA announced that "Mr. McVeigh's decision to go vegetarian groups him with some of the world's greatest visionaries, including Albert Schweitzer, Mohandas Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy, and Albert Einstein." And Hitler. As long as we're making asinine and irrelevant lists meant to infer some sense of superiority for non-meat eaters, it's worth mentioning that he was a vegetarian, too.
This is not a tirade against vegetarians or vegans. People choose to eat different diets for different reasons-health, conscience, taste, etc. This isn't meant to criticize animal lovers or those put off by the notion of a slaughterhouse. Rather, the point is to take off the kid gloves with which too many people treat feel-good organizations like PETA and to expose some seriously flawed and frankly terrifying logic. As part of this most recent campaign, PETA, perhaps to insulate themselves from charges of anti-Semitism, quotes Jewish philosopher Theodor Adorno who says, "Auschwitz begins whenever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they're only animals."
Wrong. Auschwitz begins when someone looks at a person and thinks: they're only animals. What is so terrifying is that people are able to make so many distinctions amongst their fellow humans but are somehow unable to justify any difference between them and animals.
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