|Enewsletter • February 27, 2002|
We leafletted at U of Illinois in Champaign today. We handed out
600 copies in about 3 hours. People seemed very receptive & some
were eager to get the info. We also restocked [the restaurant] Veg
Express with another box of Why Vegan.
Thank you for sending me the very powerful Meet Your Meat, which I am very grateful to have to educate other people who are totally unaware of modern agribusiness. It is an excellent video.
I have distributed the first box of Why Vegan? and I am glad to say that they are doing well. Only one business threw them away. I got permission but her coworkers did not approve. [To avoid this problem, it's best to get permission from a manager -ed.] I am glad to say it was only some ten copies. I was still annoyed that they did not save them for me. In warm weather I will be distributing outside on campus.
You will never hear from me, "I think I have a box of them
somewhere here." As I said, I carry them with me in my bag to
give out to people who ask about my buttons. It is a good segue into
letting them read for themselves.
I think Why Vegan? is the best tool for vegan activism, ever.
A thorough, colourful booklet says so much more than a blurb on a
bumper sticker. I've passed them out at my military high school (!),
and I already know of half a dozen who are going vegan, and many
others who want to give it a try.
Please make sure that you not only complete your online donation, but that you go back and submit the actual order. These are two separate pages. If you do not get a response via email saying your order has been received, we didn't receive it.
In the Mood for a Road Trip?
See what the Bruce Friedrich recommends!
USDA Relies On Foreign Inspections
Excerpt from "Alabama Egg Processing Plant Destroyed by Fire"
Egg Industry Magazine
An early morning fire on January 3 at Brock Miracle Eggs, Fairview,
Alabama, destroyed the office, processing plant and one of five poultry
"Our first order of business is to get this debris removed as quickly as possible and continue to get as much product out as we can," Brock said.
An Example of an Anti-AR Message
New CD version of Meet Your Meat & Pig Investigation
For more information or to order copies, contact Action for Animals
A Note Regarding Peter Singer
by Matt Ball
In last week's Spam, we referenced an appearance by Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation, on the newsmagazine 60 Minutes II. Any mention of Professor Singer is sure to bring in responses, and this time was no different.
One criticism about Professor Singer that Vegan Outreach receives is that he should never have written about medical ethics, specifically about how to approach life and death decisions regarding infants. The critics claim that it distracts from the more important issue of animal liberation. An alternative way to look at it is that people trying to end third-world poverty (an effort which Singer also advocates) might wish that Professor Singer had never written Animal Liberation, as it distracts from what they consider to be the most important issue.
Of course, a cost/benefit analysis can be done on the relative merits of avoiding certain topics vs. professional advancement and fame (e.g., would footage of factory farms have been shown in prime time on 60 Minutes II if not for Professor Singer's other controversial writings? Would he have been given a chair at Princeton?).
Like those who decry vegans based solely on propaganda from The Beef Board, Burger Town, and Americans for Medical Progress, some people criticize Professor Singer based on caricatures of his ideas, without having even read his work! Many haven't even read short articles such as The Chronicle's "Why Are We Afraid of Peter Singer? The world's most reviled philosopher just wants more happiness for everyone."
I understand the desire for simplicity and focus, but I, for one, am glad that someone has had the courage and intellectual fortitude to start with ethical first principles and unblinkingly "ride the escalator of ethics." It has been a great service to the advancement of human thought.
It is now up to each of us to take action.
of Charles Patterson's Eternal Treblinka
Answer this one question, and the primary problem facing America's animal rights movement will be solved: how can we bring the slaughter of ten billion animals a year into public consciousness? There's the famous quote from Stalin that, "One death is a tragedy. A million is a statistic." But what about a billion? Or ten billion? The numbers are so huge that they defy comparison. Comparison, that is, to everything but the holocaust.
I was raised Jewish, and lost my grandfather in Auschwitz. I think that comparing the American meat industry to Nazi Germany's final solution is outrageous. Very few animal rights activists have dared to do this publicly, and for good reason. If there's anything the holocaust teaches us, it's that more than ten million people died one-at-a-time in unspeakable ways. Their memory should be sacred. And to use the horrors of concentration camps to advance an unrelated cause, however noble, is to defile the memory of the holocausts victims.
In January, Charles Patterson's Eternal Treblinka was published.
This book examines the linkage between America's meat industry and
Germany's concentration camps. It is certain to offend. I'd known
about the writing of this book for over a year, and I was frankly
dreading its publication. But even though I've always thought it
counterproductive to mention death camps and slaughterhouses in the
same breath, there are admittedly a couple obvious connections. Both
slaughterhouses and death camps are designed to kill, and to kill
in large numbers. And both types of operations are well known as
being horrifying places. But if the connections end there, the linkage
between the two ought not be presented to the general public. After
all, the desire to rid the earth of Jews has very little to do with
the desire to put sausage on the table.
Eternal Treblinka shows that death camps and factory farms have powerful links that extend beyond their purpose to carry out mass slaughter. Patterson's argument is two-pronged. First, he asserts that industrial-era technologies made both death camps and slaughterhouses possible. He follows up this assertion with a far bolder claim: that much of the thinking behind Hitler's final solution persists today in the treatment of "food" animals.
The technological evolution of both slaughterhouses and death camps is deeply intertwined. Patterson shows how the first modern slaughterhouses led to factory assembly lines, which in turn begat Hitler's death camps. Henry Ford was the essential intermediary in this story. Patterson writes that, "Not only did he develop the assembly line method the Germans used to kill the Jews, but he launched a vicious anti-Semitic campaign that helped make the holocaust happen."
A notorious anti-Semite, Ford came away deeply impressed after witnessing industrialized animal slaughter at Chicago's Union Stockyards. Ford realized that the conveyor-belt strategy used to disassemble animals could be applied toward the assembly of his Model T automobiles. As Hitler rose to power in the 1930s, Ford was one of his most powerful American supporters. Ford exported money, technology, and propaganda into Nazi hands, cementing Hitler's authority and sealing the fate of the Jews. Patterson quotes Hitler as saying, "I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration." And in 1938, Ford became one of just four foreigners to receive (and accept) the Nazi's highest honor for non-Germans.
Patterson convincingly describes how the same early twentieth-century techniques developed for assembly lines were carefully applied to exterminating Jews. He also examines how the philosophy behind slaughtering animals was appropriated to exterminate the Jews. In great detail, Patterson shows how the Jews were consistently called "pigs," "hogs," "vermin," and other animal names. As with animals entering a slaughterhouse, Jews were kept crowded and filthy and frightened. Doing this served two purposes. First, keeping the Jews in a supremely vulnerable state kept them compliant. Many did exactly as they were told, not realizing the merciless fate that awaited. Second, by keeping Jews in such foul conditions, death camp workers were unlikely to feel empathy. The conditions the Jews were forced to endure were a perfect match for the subhuman names they were called.
Perhaps most chillingly, Patterson discusses the similarities between the corral leading to the kill floor and the ramps leading to the gas chambers. America's top slaughterhouse designer calls her path to the kill floor the "stairway to heaven." Similarly, at the Treblinka death camp, SS soldiers called the passage to the gas chambers the "road to heaven."
But what of the animals? Can reading Eternal Treblinka lead to change? By reading this book, I've come to understand the origin and structure of the meat industry to a degree I've never before appreciated. Patterson has thought deeply and written expertly about this subject, and I feel my activism will always be the better for reading this book. Eternal Treblinka is the darkest and saddest book I've ever read, but it's strengthened what I have to offer as a writer and an activist. Thanks to Patterson's superb work, the profound connections between the meat industry and Auschwitz, the place my grandfather died, are now visible for anybody brave enough to look.