Karen Davis Publishes Book Defending Holocaust/Chicken Comparisons

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals received such negative feedback for its “Holocaust On Your Plate” campaign that it abandoned it and eradicated most of the traces of it from its various web sites. But United Poultry Concerns’ Karen Davis has decided the analogy can work for animal rights activists and has written a book on the topic, “The Holocaust & The Henmaid’s Tale: A Case for Comparing Atrocities.”

In a press release on the release of the book, United Poultry Concerns reprints the following summary of the book provided by its publisher, Lantern,

In a thoughtful and thought-provoking contribution to the study of animals and the Holocaust, Karen Davis makes the case that significant parallels can — and must — be drawn between the Holocaust and the institutionalized abuse of billions of animals in factory farms. Carefully setting forth the conditions that must be met when one instance of oppression is used metaphorically to illuminate another, Davis demonstrates the value of such comparisons in exploring the invisibility of the oppressed, historical and hidden suffering, the idea that some groups were “made” to server others through suffering and sacrificial death, and other concepts that reveal powerful connections between animal and human experience — as well as human traditions and tendencies of which we all should be aware.

The press release included quotes from Carol Adams and Charles Patterson. Patterson, whose book “Eternal Treblinka” was the inspiration for PETA’s “Holocaust On Your Plate” campaign, says of Davis’ book,

Compelling and convincing . . . Not to think about, protest against, and learn from these twin atrocities — one completed in the middle of the last century, the other continuing every day — is to condone and support the fascist mentality that produced them. I thank Ms. Davis for writing this bold, brave book.


United Poultry Concerns is proud to announce our new book. Press Release, United Poultry Concerns, August 2, 2005.

In Case You Can’t Attend the Grassroots Animal Rights Conference

Recently the Grassroots Animal Rights Conference, originally scheduled to take place in February at New York University, had to be pushed back to May and organizers are still looking for an alternative site.

In case you can’t make the May 2005 festivities, here are some of the sessions you’re going to miss out on,

Zines, Shows, Liner Notes: Communicating Animal Liberation Through Youth Culture and Music

Andy Stepanian, Long Island Animal Defense League

In the mid-late 1990s an entire new generation of activists joined the movement and created a massive groundswell of grassroots action. These young people were recruited not by an advertising campaign or outreach program of a national group, but through powerful pro-animal influences with the hardcore music subculture. Hardcore bands filled their albums, concerts, and liner notes with forceful cries for animal liberation. At the same time youth-based grassroots groups like the various Animal Defense League chapters became regular fixtures through their information tables at hardcore shows. While this particular trend has faded a bit, many new opportunities now exist to harness music and youth culture for animal liberation. Learn how your group can tap into this youthful energy from an activist who has had great success in keeping animal issues alive in the youth culture of Long Island, NY.

Coming Out Vegetarian/Coming Out Gay: Making Alliances

Marti Kheel, Feminists for Animal Rights
Pattrice Jones, Global Hunger Alliance

The lesbian and gay movements are logical allies of the animal rights movement. In this workshop, I underline their similarities and the potential for building alliances. Using an episode from the Simpson cartoon series I show how meat dominance and male dominance are intimately intertwined. This will be a participatory workshop and people will be encouraged to share personal stories and offer strategies for making links between the two movements. Since the animal advocacy movement is often viewed as lacking in humor, one of the intentions of this workshop is to show how humor and popular culture can be used to make serious points.

Commonality of Human and Non-Human Animal Oppression

Marjorie Spiegel, author, The Dreaded Comparison
Pattrice Jones, Eastern Shore Chicken Sanctuary
Merritt Clifton, Animal People
Adam Weissman, Activism Center at Wetlands Preserve
Charles Patterson, author, Eternal Treblinka

Explore the intersections between human and nonhuman exploitation. Marjorie Spiegel will address the disturbing similarities between human and animal slavery. Pattrice Jones will explore patriarchy and its link to animal abuse and all forms of exploitation. Pattrice will also frame the discussion, making the case for why looking at intersections of exploitation matters. Citing statistical data, Merritt Clifton will demonstrate a link between animal exploitation and domestic violence. Taking this one step further, Adam Weissman will explore the similarities between the property status of children and animals, exploring John Holt’s insight that our society frames children as “love slaves” and “super pets.” Charles Patterson will draw on years of experience as a Holocaust educator to draw the link between Nazi genocide and the institutional exploitation of nonhuman animals.

Ecofeminism and Animal Liberation

Marti Kheel, Feminists for Animal Rights
Helen Matthews, Boston Ecofeminist Action
Pattrice Jones, Global Hunger Alliance

Ecofeminists believe that speciesism and sexism are so closely linked that many theorists and activists believe them to be simply two aspects of the same underlying problem. Women and animals, along with land and children, have historically been seen as the property of male heads of households. Patriarchy and pastoralism cannot be separated, because they are justified and perpetuated by the same ideologies and practices. Learn about the ideas and action strategies of action strategies of ecofeminist activists.

Sounds like fun.


Grassroots Animal Rights Conference Agenda. Accessed: 02/02/2005.

PETA Launches 'The Holocaust on Your Plate' Campaign

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals created its latest manufactured controversy when it launched its “Holocaust on Your Plate” campaign in February asking people to compare the suffering of Holocaust victims with the suffering of animals killed for food.

The campaign started in California and features eight 6 foot by 10 foot panels showing victims of the Holocaust juxtaposed with pictures of images of cows, chickens and pigs off to slaughter.

PETA certainly received the publicity it craves — coverage of the story was difficult to miss. But the campaign gave a spin to the animal rights argument that makes the movement easier to dismiss for the vast majority of Americans who know little about it.

Holocaust On Your Plate campaign creator Matt Prescott defended the campaign to everyone would listen. He told the Associated Press,

The fact is all animals feel pain, fear and loneliness. We’re asking people to recognize that what Jews and others went through in the Holocaust is what animals go through everyday in factory farms.

ABC affiliate WABC published the following transcript of an exchange between its reporter, Jim Dolan, and PETA’s Michael McGraw over the campaign,

Dolan: The suffering of people is absolutely, in your mind, equal to the suffering of animals?

McGraw: Yes.

. . .

McGraw: At the root of this campaign is to show people that yes, animals do suffer . . .

Dolan: Are you comparing the suffering that these animals are going through to the suffering of the Jews in the Holocaust? Are they the same in your mind?

McGraw: In many cases, yes.

. . .

They certainly are both atrocities, and I think that we should not choose which atrocities to oppose. I think, as human beings, I think it’s our responsibility to oppose cruelties and atrocities of all kinds.

McGraw and Prescott’s comments just reinforce the ridiculous rhetoric found on PETA’s website in support of the campaign which asks the reader,

Decades from now, what will you tell your grandchildren when they ask you whose side you were on during the “animals’ holocaust”? Will you be able to say that you stood up against oppression, even when doing so was considered “radical” or “unpopular”? Will you be able to say that you could visualize a world without violence and realized that it began at breakfast?

This sort of rhetoric is so bizarre that it’s pointless to waste too much time arguing against it, but Sun Media columnist Michael Coren did have a wonderful, quick dismissal of this absurdity. Coren wrote,

“Just as the Nazis tried to ‘dehumanize’ Jews by forcing them to live in filthy, crowded conditions,” says PETA, “animals on today’s factory farms are stripped of all that is enjoyable and natural to them and treated as nothing more than meat, egg and milk-making machines.”

Nobody has ever accused animal liberation zealots of being intellectual giants, but this one really takes the non-animal product biscuit. They accuse the Nazis of dehumanizing Jews, and immediately compare the plight of Holocaust victims to that of cows, hens and sheep. What is this if not direct dehumanization?


But the real message here is that there is simply no idea too nutty for PETA to champion and, for that, I give some small amount of thanks. PETA seems to think that there is no such thing as bad publicity. That is true if you are some sort of celebrity whose stock in trade depends solely on being noticed. It is not true, however, if you are a fringe ideological movement actually trying to change people’s minds and convince them that granting animals rights would be a good thing.

In that case there definitely is such a thing as bad publicity. Now when it comes to the whole Holocaust comparison, Charles Patterson’s “Eternal Treblinka” book making just this comparison has been out there for a couple years now, but defenders of the animal rights movement could always explain it away as being part of a fringe on a fringe. But PETA, bless their hearts, decided to take up the cudgels for this idiotic thesis and thereby make it impossible to simply put down such nonsense to a minority view even within the animal rights community.

As long as PETA is willing to put itself on the line for such absurd ideas, the animal rights movement doesn’t stand a chance at advancing its agenda.


Critics pounce on animal-rights campaign. The Associated Press, February 28, 2003.

MassKilling.Com. PETA, Accessed February 28, 2003.

PETA’s campaign comparing suffering of livestock to slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust. WABC, February 28, 2003.

Animal liberation bigots. Michael Coren, Sun Media, March 1, 2003.