Activists Upset Op-Ed Focused On Killer Meatpackers Rather Than Their Victims

On August 3, the Washington Post published an op-ed by Human Rights Watch activists Lance Compa and Jamie Fellner. The article was about the often difficult conditions which people work in meat and poultry plants face. The article concluded by suggesting tighter regulation of such plants.

This did not sit will with animal rights activists Joan Dunayer and Jim Robertson, who both posted the op-ed to AR-NEWS complaining that the article contained, as Dunayer put it, “sympathy for killers, not their victims.”

Robertson complained that,

The article below says nothing of the non-human toll or the living conditions of the target animals of meat-packing plants, asside [sic] from an idle mention of bloody “kill floors” and live hang” areas. While justifiably concerned for the rights of the workers, this article’s authors can’t be bothered with addressing the plight of the ultimate victims of the meat-plant industry.

This is the same Jim Robertson, of course, who has said of the comparison between the Holocaust and animal agriculture that,

. . .the only minor difference being the victims’ species.


Op-ed, sympathy for killers, not their victims. Joan Dunayer, AR-NEWS post, August 3, 2005.

Meatpacking’s human toll. AR-NEWS post, August 3, 2005.

"The Only Minor Difference"

After People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ travelling “Holocaust On Your Plate” display reached Washington state in August, The Spokesman Review published a scathing op-ed whose title accurately summed up the display — “PETA Stoops to New Lows With Exhibit.”

This as too much for animal rights activist Jim Robertson who, in a letter-to-the-editor, referred to the author that op-ed as an “imbecile” and added that (emphasis added),

If he had looked at the display with half an open mind, he should have seen that the parallels between the Holocaust and the treatment and mass murder of billions of factory-farmed animals are numerous — the only minor difference being the victims’ species. For example, while it dehumanized Jews to be herded onto “cattle cars” and kept in camps away from anything familiar to them, factory-farmed chickens are not only painfully debeaked, they are dechickenized — forced to live their entire lives in windowless barns with less space between them than plants in a greenhouse.

It almost makes you wonder how the Jews dared complain about being carted off in overcrowded rail cars — that was nothing compared to what the chickens have to endure.


PETA display’s comparisons valid. Jim Robertson, Letter-to-the-Editor, Spokesman Review (Washington), August 13, 2003.