[The following post is written by one my Animal Law students who prefers to remain anonymous –dnc]
I read an article recently that really offended me. The article was written on November 21, 2009 by Gary Steiner and was published in the New York Times Op-Ed section (Steiner’s piece has already been discussed on this blog here).
The first line in this article that bothered me actually did not originate from him. He quotes Issac Bashevis Singer in his story “The Letter Writer” as saying that the killing of animals for food is the “eternal Treblinka.” For those of you who are not aware, Treblinka was a Nazi extermination camp. In one year there were 850,000 people killed there. The problem I have with Singer’s comparison is that there was no benefit whatsoever to the Nazis by killing these people. Of course many Animal Rights activists do not think it is right to kill animals for human benefit, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone who denies that the humans who do kill animals gain a benefit from them. In fact, I think the whole issue is whether it is right for humans to kill animals for their benefit. You may not feel the benefit is justified, but we are not talking about wanton slaughter like there was in Treblinka.
Please just read this short article about Treblinka at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treblinka_extermination_camp, and then I feel that you will agree that to even repeat this ridiculous comparison destroys any validity that could possibly have come out of this article. That is my problem with Steiner. What would possess him to read this ridiculous comparison and then quote it? Obviously he read it and said something to the effect of “hey, wait a second, that’s right. Slaughtering animals for a benefit to human’s is exactly the same as a mass extermination of humans for absolutely no reason.” And then he decided to quote it. All I can say to him is, well I think Abraham Lincoln said it best, sometimes it is “better to remain silent and be thought a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
The next part of the article that bothered me was a line where he wrote “Let me be candid: By and large, meat-eaters are a self-righteous bunch.” I am sorry but that line is a bunch of baloney (soy baloney of course). We meat eaters are many many things, but self-righteous is not one of them. Gary Steiner spends the entire article telling us how we, as meat eaters, are trying to ease our guilt by buying free range turkeys and eggs and then proceeds to tell us that the few attempts we are making at putting our money where your mouths are is not good enough, and THEN he has the nerve to call us self-righteous. Excuse me Mr. Steiner, but how can you tell us that what we are doing is not good enough for you and in the same breath call us self-righteous. Maybe it is because of offensive people like yourself that there are not more people who care about your issues.
This reminds me of a situation where there is a pauper who goes to a rich person to collect money. As the rich person is about to give him the money the pauper starts yelling and cursing him, so of course the rich person does not give the pauper the money and the pauper then complains to anyone who will listen that the rich person doesn’t care for the poor. What you have to keep in mind is that for right or wrong, the animal rights cause is the pauper and if you are asking for the rich person’s help (i.e. the meat eaters) then insulting them is NOT the right way to go about it. We may be willing to help, but only if you can keep from insulting us long enough so that we will listen!!!
Filed under: animal ethics, animal welfare, factory farms, veganism Tagged: | animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal rights, animal suffering, animal welfare, factory farms, farmed animals, Gary Steiner, industrial farming, meat, meat production, meat-eating, Nazis, New York Times, Treblinka, veganism, vegetarianism