Many people are deeply upset because animal rights activists use the term "holocaust" when referring to the torment and killing of millions of animals. And they seem to think the word has been irreverently taken from those who use it to describe the horror of what happened to millions of persons whose bodies were immolated in the ovens of Nazi concentration camps.
But they are wrong. The word "holocaust" is taken from the biblical term used to describe the total immolation of sacrificed animals--they were known as whole-burnt offerings. The Greek word for such sacrifices is "holókaustos" and was used in the translation of the Hebrew scrolls as far back as 250 B.C. That translation (called the Septuagint) was completed for the Jews who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, and could no longer read or speak Hebrew.
So referring to the death of millions of animals as a holocaust was used more than 2,000 years before people applied it to the torture and slaughter of human beings. It is not animal rights people who have linked the death of animals and the death of people. It is those who were appalled at the human carnage of Nazi Germany, who likened it to a holocaust--to the death of millions of animals.
J.R. Hyland, Editor Humane Religion