By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only

Animal Rights Nazis

The title of today's column will infuriate some people.

To compare any person to a Nazi is to hurl an unfathomable
insult. Yet, I will do that today, but from a unique

Many Nazis were brutal inhumane fiends. Many animal rights
activists are saintly in their altruistic devotion to
animals. In the name of machine-like efficiency, the Third
Reich produced a killing machine that processed human lives
much the same way that today's modern day slaughterhouses
process millions of animals each day. Had the Nazi killing
been random and chaotic, it would never have been as
efficiently abominable. To the Nazis, compassionate mass
murder meant killing victims who did not know their final
fate until the very final moment of their lives. Was the
final act of death in Nazi slaughterhouses any different
than today's slaughterhouse?

This is a most difficult column for me to write. As an
American Jew, the roots of my family tree include relatives
who were gassed and incinerated in Hitler's crematoriums.

Each day of mankind's history includes examples of the
horrors of hostilities and death. Every issue of the New
York Times contains stories of war and conflict and murder
by terror.

In 1915, the Turkish government sanctioned the slaughter of
millions of Armenians. Many people were raped, tortured,
viciously beaten for the amusement of those with the power
to commit crimes against man. In the Armenian Genocide,
murder was committed in the streets, and killers laughed and
took pleasure in their crimes.

Similar events recently took place in Serbia and Croatia,
rationalized by nationalistic policies that the world came
to know as "ethnic cleansing." Each century contains
examples of horror committed by man against man. No animal
would do the same. Nature does not allow for such aberrant

Jews were "processed," in Nazi slaughterhouses, and the
killing was made efficient. Such slaughterhouses were
staffed by Hitler's regime with workers hired from animal
slaughterhouses. Hitler was influenced by and adapted the
assembly-line efficiency of Henry Ford's car factories.
Hitler also recognized that compassionate slaughter of Jews
would translate into an orderly and expedient final

If farm animals sensed the details of their final solution,
they would stampede long before being loaded onto trucks.
Jews were transported to trains. They were then sent to
slaughterhouses, and had no reason to believe that something
other than water would come out of shower spigots. Instead,
doors were locked and they were gassed to death. Efficient

Those analyzing the problem (To Nazis, the existence of the
Jewish race was a problem) also created their version of a
compassionate solution. Kill Jews by generating as little
fear as possible. Lead them to their final deaths calmly, so
as not to evoke fear and chaos, and to make slaughter an
efficient process.

Today, many people who are active in the animal rights
movement act no differently than the Nazi planners. In order
to reduce the final pain of death, measures were taken to
reduce the stress of one or more of the stages before

Compassionate human slaughter was a crime against humanity.
Nazis in slaughterhouses showed compassion as a matter of
policy, in the name of efficiency, but their crimes were no
less horrible than the rapes and cruelty by the Turks to the

Compassionate animal slaughter is no less a crime than the
child who tortures a cat or dog. Each act results in death.
Treating a chicken "humanely" by giving it ten percent more
living space is no different than slicing its throat while
the bird feels pain and thrashes, resonating death squawks
in blood. Each chicken dies, and compassionate measures
merely provide efficiency in a series of stages leading to

Many animal rights activists devote their lives to raising
money to promote compassionate animal slaughter laws. Many
of these same people make a very healthy living by skimming
much of that money for their needs, and calling that blood
money "salary."

Slaughterhouse workers live lives of violence, and soon
become immune to the horrors of their daily jobs.
Occasionally, these workers capture a moment. A glance from
a dying animal asking for help. A look of fear, asking "Why
are you doing this to me?" The screams of dying animals are
not thank you messages for those who devote their energies
to making life before death tolerable.

The animal rights Nazis must look carefully in the mirror.
Those supporting compassionate slaughter should devote their
energies to "zero slaughter" campaigns.

Nazi Germany tried hard to keep secret their holocaust.
People standing along train routes knew the fate of the
Jews. The secret was not much of a secret to these people,
who participated in a nationwide effort to keep truth from
the victims.

Today's slaughterhouse secrets are kept from the public.
Animal rights Nazis are part of the problem. Each new
compassionate slaughter law is a victory to them, allowing
for celebrations that result in more funding. The vicious
slaughter continues, and the secret photos of
slaughterhouses remain known to just a select few.

In 1996, Paul and Linda McCartney issued this joint

"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be

Compassionate slaughter laws exist to keep those images of
horror secret. All people must see truth, for that is the
last chance for animals.

If the animals who were fated to die had human qualities,
such as gallantry, valor, ethics, and courage, they would
seek to get slaughter photos into the hands of all meat

To these imaginary freedom-fighting farm animals, the animal
rights Nazis who promote compassionate animal slaughter are
one and the same with those who clench the knives. To those
who thrust the killing weapon. To those who cut the flesh.
Animal rights Nazis stand in the way of truth and justice.


Yesterday, I was not very well versed on the debate between
animal rights welfarists and animal rights abolitionists.
Today, I have a better understanding and respect for the
issues through the work of a courageous law professor from
New Jersey, Gary Francione.

Five of Francione's comments:

"There is no animal rights movement in the United States.
There is only an animal welfare movement that seeks to
promote the "humane" exploitation of animals."

"To disagree is not to be 'divisive.' I disagree with the
welfarists. I regard welfarism as ineffective and
counterproductive. I think that the empirical evidence is
absolutely clear that welfarism does not work. Despite all
of the welfarist campaigns of the last century, we are using
more animals now in more horrific ways than ever before in
human history."

"The most important form of incremental change is educating
the public about the need for abolition. We have not yet had
that, for the U.S. movement has always been embarrassed
about being 'radical.' We do not want to alienate the
'mainstream.' The problem is that the 'mainstream' is
polluted and we ought to stay far away from the mainstream."

"The 19th century reformers argued that it was better for a
slave's owner to beat his slave four times a week rather
than five...Putting a string quartet on the way to the gas
chambers -- as the Nazis did during the Holocaust -- may
make things more "humane" in some sense, but that misses the
point, doesn't it?"

"Nonhumans will continue to be exploited until there is a
revolution of the human spirit, and that will not happen
without visionaries trying to change the paradigm that has
become accustomed to and tolerant of patriarchal violence."

Robert Cohen, author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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