On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Also Think Of Animals In Concentration Camps

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On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Also Think Of Animals In Concentration Camps

By Heather Moore on Care2.com
April 2010

Nobel Prize-winning Yiddish author Isaac Bashevis Singer, who fled from Poland to the United States in 1935 and took a room above an slaughterhouse, once observed, “There is only one little step from killing animals to creating gas chambers à la Hitler and concentration camps à la Stalin … .” Singer, who advocated vegetarianism until his death in 1991, believed that we should be shocked and appalled by all forms of abuse, and show sympathy for all victims of injustice.

This Sunday, April 11, Holocaust Remembrance Day, while you’re thinking of all the poor people who suffered and died during the Holocaust, please also take a moment to reflect on our modern-day concentration camps and the billions of animals who are raised and killed for food every year. There is a disturbing parallel between the systems of confinement, abuse, and slaughter of Jews and that of factory-farmed animals. While the victims are different—except in their ability to feel pain, love, joy, fear, and grief—the methods of oppression and persecution are the same.

I often wonder about the human race, and I know many of you do too. What will it take to convince more people to behave civilly and compassionately, not just to those who are like them, but to those who are different from them as well?

Eleven million people were spit on, mocked, beaten and gassed during the Holocaust while millions more—those who were not in fear for their lives—looked on and let it happen. And most people complacently eat the flesh and secretions of animals raised in equally gruesome intensive confinement operations, known as factory farms. They are today’s concentrations camps.

Chickens, pigs, cows, and other farmed animals are crammed together in the least space possible. Most never breathe fresh air or feel grass beneath their feet. Frightened babies are torn from their distraught mothers. Chickens have their beaks cut off; cows have their horns pulled from their heads; pigs are castrated—all without painkillers. Then they are herded into filthy, slippery transport trucks and taken to slaughterhouses where they are strung up by their legs and their throats are slit.

Will we sit back and let it happen? Philosopher and scholar Dr. Helmut Kaplan, reportedly once said, “Our grandchildren will ask us one day: Where were you during the Holocaust of the animals? What did you do against these horrifying crimes?”

What will your answer be?

Hopefully, you’ll say that you went vegan because you couldn’t abide any form of cruelty. Some people may say that they choose to eat animals raised on free range or organic farms. They may have good intentions, but there’s a difference between treating slaves kinder and not keeping slaves at all. When we sit down to eat, we can choose whether to support the holocaust against animals or to help end it.

Unfortunately, no one can do a thing to take away the pain and misery that the Holocaust victims endured, but everyone can help prevent additional violence and suffering by pledging to go vegan. If you haven’t already done so, please pledge not to eat animals—on Holocaust Remembrance Day and every other day of the year.