Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Holocaust for Animals

Nothing can ever compare to the horrors Jews and others faced during the Holocaust. Most of us can't begin to fathom the suffering and fear our fellow humans endured at the hands of evil men. Yet similar practices are being committed against animals today that were inflicted on  humans during one of the darkest times in our history.

On a recent drive through the picturesque farmland of Virginia,  I noticed several people standing around a chute in a livestock pen on one of these farms. It only took me seconds to realize that it was a branding chute. My heart just sank.  Now, I'm not aware that the Nazis branded any Jews during the Holocaust, but they did tattoo a large majority of them. The same is done to factory farmed animals today. I have actually met a pig that was supposed to be slaughtered, but was saved, and I saw up close that she had numbers tattooed on the back of one of her ears.

Most of us cannot imagine the horrors of the gas chambers. The fear those Jews and others felt as they were herded into a room, about to be overcome by toxic, suffocating fumes -- and the realization that humans could do such a thing to another being -- is incomprehensible.  Yet, the same practice still happens today on factory farms. Farm workers gas animals, usually baby chicks and other birds, stuffing these birds into a confined area until they suffocate. And it is not only birds who are gassed. As I saw in the documentary Earthlings, people have actually gassed dogs too.

There was something that I thought about on that drive through the Virginia countryside. I saw a lot of cows, many grazing on lush, grassy fields. However, as nice as roaming those grassy fields must have been for these sweet cows, I knew that the ones I saw would eventually be slaughtered.

The Jews lived pleasant, peaceful lives before the Nazis came storming in. They didn't expect to be ripped from their homes and loved ones. Yet they were, and then they were loaded on to cramped train cars for days. The places they arrived at were nothing similar to their homes. They saw different faces than they had ever seen before, but they were all there for one reason--to be exterminated.

Similarly, these cows will one day be forcefully loaded on transport trucks bound for slaughter. They will be taken from their homes and families, never to return. They don't know where they're going, or the horrors they will endure. Fear and sadness will surely overwhelm these animals, just as fear and sadness overwhelmed the Jews.

At the end of the day, animals are different from people. But not so different that they don't feel pain, suffering, sadness, etc. The Jews and factory farmed animals share some characteristics. Although innocent of any wrongdoing, Jews were then -- and animals are now -- persecuted, abused, and killed.

Most of us will never know all the pain and suffering Jews, gypsies, and others experienced during the Holocaust. However, we can get a small glimpse of some of the horrors they endured if we look into how factory farmed animals are raised today, and the suffering they endure to become our food, clothing, and other products.

"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke

We must never forget the atrocities our species inflicted on Jews, and others, during the Holocaust. And we must not turn a blind eye to the atrocities our species is committing today on other innocent beings.

           - Joy

Copyright 2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved.

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