"God is Dead."
Nietzsche, 1893, ('Thus spoke Zarathustra')
"Nietzsche is Dead."
"The Animal Rights Movement is Dead."
Robert Cohen, 2004
When King Kong lay bleeding on the streets of New York,
having been shot off the Empire State building by 1933 fighter pilots, one
of the most famous lines in all of moviedom was used to describe the
tragic love story between an 80-foot ape and Fay Wray:
"It was beauty killed the beast."
Many years from now, some future anthropologist writing a
doctoral dissertation will discover the identical reason for the death of
the animal rights (AR) movement:
Beauty (compassionate animal slaughter) killed the beast
(the AR movement).
Many activists describe themselves as animal rights
supporters. How they continue to promote compassionate animal slaughter is
beyond my understanding.
In her best-selling "Ministry of Healing," Ellen G. White
"What man with a human heart, who has ever cared for
domestic animals, could look into their eyes, so full of confidence and
affection, and willingly give them over to the butcher's knife? How could
he devour their flesh as a sweet morsel?"
Throughout history, as long as laws were passed to make
human slavery more compassionate, the horror of slavery continued.
Anti-slavery advocates danced and celebrated passage of such laws, which
were celebrated by liberals and free thinkers, but not by the slaves. To
be enslaved is to know and not accept any form of injustice. Similar laws
are being passed today to make animal suffering more tolerable on factory
farms. The promotion of animal slaughter in any form worsens the betrayal
to animals. Compassionate slaughter laws act merely to deceive human meat
Many animal rights advocates raise money to lobby Congress
to enact laws making slaughter more compassionate, as if there can ever be
justice by sanitizing murder.
This summer thousands of animal rights activists met at
dozens of conferences to support each other and a movement that in
reality, no longer exists. They have lost sight of the fact that the real
animal rights movement has died.
Compassionate slaughter does not save animals.
Compassionate slaughter relieves the consciences of those people who eat
animals. Why is it that per capita chicken and beef consumption continue
There was a time when animal rights supporters believed
that animals deserved ethical treatment from people. The promotion of
compassionate slaughter laws has ended the real animal rights movement.
Meat eaters have been relieved of any guilt of animal
suffering. They donate to animal rights groups who claim victory each time
the floor space of a chicken's cage is increased by three or four square
inches. It feels good to believe that doomed animals have no pain. They
who should feel guilt now consume more chicken, guilt-free. More animals
will die, and they do not do so compassionately. Compassionate slaughter
has became the new ethic of the animal rights movement.
Sixty years ago, a string quartet performed Paganini and
Mozart while doomed Jews marched neatly in line to their final solution in
Treblinka's efficient human slaughterhouse. For these victims, slaughter
was made more compassionate by adding gentle classical music to their
death march. There are still some who suppose that there is no more
deviant a notion than the abstraction dubbed "compassionate slaughter."
These eccentrics have become the outcasts of the animal rights movement.
The Humane Slaughter Act was passed so that farm animals
would be "humanely killed" by compassionate killers with sharp knives,
rather then by sadistic fiends taking pleasure in causing pain to
Oh well, little seems to have changed regarding man's
inhumanity to his fellow earthlings.
There are sanctuaries for unwanted animals, and some of my
heroes invest their lives and energies to rescuing farm animals. Gene and
Lorri of Farm Sanctuary. Eddie and Louie of Oasis. Caycee and Jason of
"Fallaces sunt rerum species."
(The appearance of things are deceptive.)
Seneca (c4 B.C.-A.D.65)
There is always a home for a cute pure bred dog. The mixed
breeds will die. The sheltered pit bulls will be euthanized. The unloved
strays will wag their tails and bark greetings of welcome to shelter
visitors. Visit your local animal shelter today, and walk down the aisles
as I recently did, saying hello and goodbye to living spirits seeking
love. To animals who will forever be orphans, until death do they part
from the cruelty of their existence.
The rats from animal experiments, when no longer needed,
are thrown together into a bucket and doused with ether, or injected with
sodium pentabarbitol, en masse, to die huddled together, body to body, in
their final resting place.
The baby male chicks are given no painkillers before the
life is crushed out of them in efficient killing machines.
The furs that humans wear are skin peeled from
once-feeling animals who have been anally electrocuted so that skin
The horses that lose race after race get no pills to calm
them before being stunned more than once, for one blow rarely brings them
to their knees, before being hoisted by chains so that a man's knife can
end memories of racing around oval tracks to cheering humans.
The chickens and turkeys, one by one, throats slit, hung
upside down to squawk their dying words in gurgling blood tones.
The elephants prodded with sharp-hooked tools, made to
stand awkwardly on small stools while children applaud with glee. The
castrated dancing bears bring delight to naive circus patrons who have no
awareness of their pain, before and after the performance.
The rodeo calves and animals who run in terror as
galloping cowboys lasso ropes around their necks and then bind their legs,
giving confused animals the opportunity to ask why.
There is no rescue. There is no real sanctuary. There are
just illusions. There is only truth.
A few years ago, I listened to Ingrid Newkirk of PETA
deliver the most passionate and well-informed talk I had ever heard.
Nearly one thousand people rose to their feet for a long and powerful
ovation after she had finished. I had the very interesting perspective of
sitting right next to Dan Murphy, who is the editor of a pro-meat
magazine. I love to play poker. I'm a good card player because I watch
people carefully, and over the course of an evening's play, I watch tells,
I watch faces, I watch eyes, I watch fingers, I watch tapping on the
table, and blinking, and by the end of that evening, I know with pretty
good certainty the strength of my opponent's hands.
I observed this man very carefully during Newkirk's talk.
When he applauded, his two friends applauded. He was the leader of the
group. When he smiled, they smiled.
But what disturbed me was this man gave her a standing
ovation too, along with the AR activists. He stood and applauded with
enthusiasm. It was then and there that I understood why. Americans are
eating more meat as a result of our impotent efforts.
Compassionate slaughter? I reject the concept of
compassionate slaughter. I hate the oxymoronic compassionate slaughter
laws. If the animals could talk, they would be able to tell you why they
reject such laws too. If they were the judges at the trials of Nuremberg,
we who pathetically fail to change things and make them worse would be on
trial for crimes against these innocent farmed creatures.
I want all people to see death. I want people to see
un-compassionate slaughter. I want them to see what it's really like.
That's our responsibility. Our responsibility is to accept our failures.
More people are eating meat, and what we're doing isn't working. These
animals are dying, partially, because of our misdirected efforts. We've
got to reject all animal slaughter, even compassionate animal slaughter,
making the effort to insist that no animal deserves to die.
Philosophers sometimes lack a touch of the practical.
Animal rights philosophers rarely follow the evolution of the animal
rights movement to its logical conclusion. We cannot provide sanctuary for
every farm animal. Despite the wonderful feel-good work of the good people
who run sanctuaries and solicit millions in funding, these rescued animals
should not have been born to this earth. The logical conclusion of our
so-called animal rights movement is that these sentient creatures should
never be born to suffer.
The creatures living out their lives at farm sanctuaries
are mere ambassadors representing ten billion other animals who will die
this year to feed Americans. Twenty-seven million animals each day having
their throats cut. During the time that it will take you to read this
paragraph, over fifteen thousand animals will die. Read the preceding
sentence aloud. Fifteen hundred chickens have had their throats slashed,
and lay flapping atop each other, choking on their own blood. Should not
every American have the opportunity to view that same horrible carnage
that we know all to well, over and over again? Does it really matter that
each chicken spends her life in a confinement cage containing 3 additional
Save these animals? For what, one might ask? Farm turkeys
and pigs can no longer copulate. Males are too large to mount females.
Farm "units" have been bred for high protein yield and low bone density.
They live lives of pain because their skeletons cannot adequately support
their own weight. The compassionate among us would recognize that ending
their pain is the ultimate conclusion for all who truly care about
suffering. These artificial creatures should never have been engineered
Today, the animal rights movement is misdirected. We
delude ourselves by promoting compassionate slaughter. We make it easy for
these animals to live their lives to their own painful and tortured
conclusions. We make it easy for meat consumers to veil their collective
consciousness. Have you taken note of the fact that meat eating is
increasing? Our misguided efforts are partially responsible.
We in the movement have made the journey of transition
more challenging for meat eaters. We have arrived where we now are, vegans
all, by recognizing the horror of slaughter. Groups like the People for
Ethical Treatment of Animals, Humane Society, and Farm Sanctuary lobby
Congress to change laws making it easier for animals to die. Their laws
make it easier for farmed freaks to live longer lives of pain, with the
same ultimate conclusion. Their laws relieve the consciences of
We on this side of the fence should make it our priority
to show the meat-eating public exactly what slaughterhouses produce. The
blood. The eyes showing fear, and then pain.
Our strategy to relieve suffering relieves a universal
conscience. The same strategy that brought us to understand death through
violence should be intensified, not lessened. If all animals must die,
then all animal eaters must take responsibility for their own
participation in the slaughter. Our current strategy is to deny them their
path to truth. In doing so, we provide a rationale for increased meat
consumption. If the animals do not suffer, meat eaters reason, then there
is no reason not to eat them.
An online poll of 10,007 adult Americans describing
themselves as vegetarians (taken for TIME/CNN between April 5-9, 2002)
revealed that concerns for animal rights played little role in what people
eat. Among questions and responses:
"What was your most important reason for becoming a
10% answered "Animal rights."
"Do you consider the slaughter of animals to be murder?"
58% answered "no."
Actual food consumption values confirm the ineffective
messages being marketed by
animal rights activists.
In 1991, the average American ate 62.9 pounds of beef.
That number remained the same during 2001. This year, the average American
will eat 65 pounds of beef.
In 1991, the average American ate 62.0 pounds of chicken.
By 2001, throughout a decade of protest and countless Disney rescue movies
to the contrary, the average American ate 23% more chicken. In 2001, the
per capita consumption of chicken soared to 76.5 pounds. From 2001 to
2002, chicken consumption increased an additional five percent to 80.3
pounds per individual.
1991 beef & chicken consumption = 124.9 pounds
2001 beef & chicken consumption = 139.4 pounds
2002 beef & chicken consumption = 144.0 pounds
(These statistics were obtained from David Harvey of the
United States Department of Agriculture.)
During the past eleven years of animal rights activism,
there has been a total increase for beef and chicken consumption equal to
This past year, numerous laws have been passed to
guarantee compassionate animal slaughter. Such laws relieve the
consciences of those people who eat dead animals. As farm animals are
treated better, rates of beef and poultry consumption increase.
From 2001-2002, per capita beef and chicken consumption
increased by an incredible combined 3.3%, demonstrating that the current
misdirection of animal rights advocates is promoting increased meat
consumption. The deception continues, and more animals become victims to
the egos of animal rights leaders and organizations who spend millions of
donated dollars to lobby members of Congress to pass ineffective laws.
Go on to Does The
Animal Rights Philosophy Exclude Animal Welfare Efforts
Return to 25 July 2004 Issue
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