Hitler and his Nazi government banned foie gras production in 1933, shortly after coming to power, historically becoming the first nation to ban production. Hitler, a vegetarian, and his Nazis, even used their respect for the rights of animals to justify the oppression of the Jewish people.
Before I continue, I'd like to note that I am not calling animal rights advocates Nazis. But I would like to point out some of the thought provoking parallels I encountered between the two groups during my research. I'd also like to draw attention to the little talked about idea that kindness to animals doesn't lead to kindness to humans. Testimony to this idea lies not only in the history of Nazi Germany, but also in the present day treatment by animal rights advocates of farmers, restauranteurs, and researchers.
We know that cruelty to animals may lead to cruelty to people. It is a known predictor in children of anti-social personality disorder, or sociopathy, a mental illness which causes people to value others only as objects. Most serial killers tortured animals as children.
However, we often assume that kindness to animals will equal kindness to humans. Unfortunately, there is no connection between the two. In fact, as discussed in my previous post, a preoccupation with animals may lead a person to treat people worse. This is because the animals rights advocates' morals are so skewed as to allow for the equation of genocide not only with foie gras but with eggs, hamburgers, cheese, etc. As also noted in a previous post, many animal rights advocates value human quality of life so little that they will systematically torture humans.
I have noted three interesting parallels between Nazis, the first to outlaw foie gras, and contemporary animal rights advocates. This is not to say that there are no differences between the two groups, as there certainly are many. Still, I'd like to explore three parallels.
Parallel 1. Claims of Ethical Superiority
Nazis clamied a moral high ground not only when attempting to exterminate the Jews, but also when insisting upon the rights of animals. This is also a characteristic of the contemporary animal rights movement. The preoccupation with "cruelty" and using "cruelty-free" methods and products implies that non-advocates or non-adherents are cruel.
Parallel 2. Propoganda
The Nazis are well-known for their propoganda maneuvers. This includes a statement issued by Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propoganda: "The Fuhrer is deeply religous, though completely anti-Christian. He views Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race... Both [Judaism and Christianity] have no point of contact to the animal element, and thus, in the end, they will be destroyed. The Fuhrer is a convinced vegetarian, on principle. His arguments cannot be refuted on any serious basis. They are totally unanswerable." That many of the Nazi animal protection laws were not fully instituted or complied with lead one to assume that the laws were, in part, propoganda maneuvers.
Similarly, animal rights organizations are famous for their propoganda campaigns. In one example, PETA spent larege sums of money in a fruitless attempt to gain custody of the 17 well-known Silver Spring Monekys. Meanwhile, the organization killed 32 "liberated" rabbits and roosters at an animal "sanctuary" because of "overcrowding." It is clear that PETA would rather spend money on hot topics and publicity than on providing suitable housing for animals in its care.
Parallel 3. Hypocrisy
PETA has killed over 14,000 animals. An organization that seeks "total animal liberation" and then kills the animals it "liberates" is clearly duplicitous and misleading. And of course, while Nazis touted rights for animals, they sent millions of humans to their deaths. While they outlawed vivisection, they conducted terrible medical experiments on humans. While they outlawed the force-feeding of fowl, they starved millions of people.
Finally, from Martin Hulsey in The Implications of Nazi Animal Protection:
"Whenever animal activists argue today that giving rights to animals will produce a kinder, gentle society, it is perfectly apprpriate to point out that the only modern civilization to embrace a philosophy of animal rights did not turn out to be more kind or more gentle."