Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Nazi Germany and Foie Gras

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."


foiegrasconnection said...

Peta goes about it's business like the Nazi party. I compare the both of them myself when I talk about it. They make up a story and pass it on to their liberal buddies in the media and it becomes gospel to many stupid Americans. Peta wants you to stop drinking milk. Thats just nuts. People with an extreme view on something are dangerous and will use terrorist tactics for their cause. Look at the Middle East. Look at Peta! Foie on. Tony F.G.C.

Lizzie Vonhurst said...

Thanks for your comment, Tony! You're right, PETA is nuts. They even want to outlaw seeing-eye dogs. They place animals above humans. It's sick.

Anyway, check out this new video for more on the animal welfare aspects of foie gras production!
Foie Gras with Anthony Bourdain

Anonymous said...

If you are concerned about euthanasia in this country, please address your complaints to the American Kennel Club. They rake in almost as much as PETA does (through private donations from members) by registering "papers" to dogs from puppy mills. They lobby against spay/neuter, tethering laws and breeding restrictions (including the Puppy Protection Act of 2001, defeated in 2002.) In 2006 the AKC registered 870,000 individual dogs and 416,000 litters. At $20 per dog and $25 per litter (plus $2 per puppy) the AKC brought in well over $30 million in revenues from registration of dogs born in puppy mills. Litters from puppy mills are the registry's largest source of income. As far as PETA goes, they take in shelter overflows, rescues from puppy mills as well as travel to kill shelters which still use inhumane gas chambers (or rifles) in rural locations to humanely inject them. PETA is located in Virginia and 30 counties in NC still use gas chambers. 9.6 companion animals million animals a year are euthanized in the US and a quarter million in NC alone, mainly due to AKC lobbying. However, even they are somewhat more fortunate than "foie gras" . At least they don't have metal tubes shoved down their throat.

Anti-semites from the inquisition to the holocaust were thoroughly convinced of their "human exceptionalism". It was their absolute certainty of the basic moral inferiority and impurity of the Jews that allowed them to commit such atrocities. The difference between Nazi's and ideologues like Wesley J. Smith (the author of the article you quoted) is superficial. Their are a great many Jews who support animal rights, including many of the people he quotes in his articles.

Robert Payne is widely considered to be Hitler’s definitive biographer. In his book, Hitler: The Life and Death of Adolph Hitler, Payne says that Hitler’s “vegetarianism” was a “legend” and a “fiction” invented by Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda. According to Payne: “Hitler’s asceticism played an important part in the image he projected over Germany. According to the widely believed legend, he neither smoked nor drank, nor did he eat meat or have anything to do with women. Only the first was true. He drank beer and diluted wine frequently, had a special fondness for Bavarian sausages and kept a mistress, Eva Braun… His asceticism was fiction invented by Goebbels to emphasize his total dedication, his self-control, the distance that separated him from other men. By this outward show of asceticism, he could claim that he was dedicated to the service of his people. In fact he was remarkably self-indulgent and possessed none of the instincts of the ascetic.”

“Dione Lucas was a sort of precursor of the popular television ‘French’ chef, Julia Childe. One of the first to open a successful cooking school in the United States, Lucas was also one of the first chefs to popularize French cuisine on television in the 1950s and 1960s. During the 1930s, prior to her coming to the United States, she had worked as a chef at a hotel in Hamburg, where Adolph Hitler was one of her regular customers.” Indeed, Dione Lucas often cooked for Hitler. In her book, The Gourmet Cooking School Cookbook, she makes it clear that this despot was by no means the vegetarian Goebbel’s myth would have us believe. Writing of her recipe for stuffed squab, for example, she says: “I learned this recipe when I worked as a chef before World War II, in one of the large hotels in Hamburg, Germany. I do not mean to spoil your appetite for stuffed squab, but you might be interested to know that it was a great favorite of Mr. Hitler, who dined at the hotel often. Let us not hold that against a fine recipe, though.” Not only did Hitler eat meat, he went so far as to outlaw organizations that advocated vegetarianism, and harshly rebuked all proposals to ease Germany’s food shortages that involved reductions in meat consumption. One of (Joseph Goebbels) more famous sayings is that if you tell a lie often enough, and loud enough, people will believe it. Another was the bigger the lie, the easier it is to get people to believe it.

I believe you must be keeper of the flame for every piece anti-animal propaganda ever invented. Your bone chilling indifference to animals is shocking enough, but your venom for activists is truly astonishing.