Here are some excerpts from Frank’s letter to the editor that was
published in the June 2003 edition of Animal People, as well as another
reader’s comments, published September 2003, about Frank’s letter.
Under the heading “Hardening hearts through slaughter,” Frank wrote:
You [Animal People] wrote, about the effect that animal agriculture
has on the emotional well-being of our society:
"…the process of hardening children toward the
inevitable suffering of the animals raised for meat typically begins
with encouraging children to bond with animals...whom the children are
later forced to sell for slaughter. That tear-jerking ritual should be
recognized by now as a form of psychological child abuse..."
As a retired pastor…I can well relate to this form of child abuse.
When I read this article, I recalled a May 1996 National Geographic
article about Peru. There was a photograph of two young children with
hands over their ears, eyes closed, and very disturbed looks on their
faces as they tried to mute the screams and squeals of pigs who were
being killed. Their mother had brought them to witness the slaughter
while she collected the pig’s blood to make sausage.
Jim Mason… the author of An Unnatural Order and co-author of
Factories, was also traumatized by the slaughter of pigs.
When Jim was five years old he walked out into the back yard of his
farm home in Missouri, and for the first time saw pigs being killed. He
saw their bodies hanging from a tree. What he saw and smelled and heard…
traumatized his God-given sensitivities… “My last memory is the image of
those pigs' bodies hanging from the tree, the tub full of heads, and the
Hardening of the heart has permeated our religious communities to
such an extent that it is causing distortions of the very principles of
love, peace and compassion upon which these religions were founded.
Every week we receive several letters from people who left the "church,"
or who are considering leaving, because of the hardness of heart they
To my wife and me, these are constant reminders of the Biblical
passage from Matthew 18:6 where we are told: "but whoever causes one of
these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for
him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in
the depth of the sea."
In 1998 I was communicating with a missionary in Chile, who was
concerned about the changes taking place in his church and community
since the agriculture in the area had begun changing from the
traditional plant-based form to animal husbandry. He wrote of the
increase of violence and the same hardening of hearts you wrote about.
He also mentioned that there were increased health problems.
As long as a society condones violence of any kind, whether it be
physical or mental, particularly when inflicted upon its children, they
will never know true peace.
Frank L. Hoffman
The following is a response letter:
I was very impressed by the letter in the June edition of ANIMAL
PEOPLE from retired pastor Frank Hoffman, headlined "Hardening hearts
As a retired teacher, I am disgusted with the 4-H Clubs that teach
boys and girls to gain a living creature's love and trust, only to
sell the animal to slaughter. How do they expect young people to grow
up to he trustworthy, truthful, and loyal if they are taught that it
is all right to betray an innocent animal?
The 4-H Clubs should he ashamed of themselves.
St. Petersburg, Florida
See also Shooting Ourselves in the Foot: The Sanitizing of Violence
in Our Society at:
For the complete text of Frank’s letter to the editor of Animal
People, “Hardening hearts through slaughter,” see: