Auschwitz was regarded as the most effective concentration camp established by the Nazis in pursuit of the “Final Solution.” Unknown numbers of people of various nationalities perished in the camp. Even today the name holds a cold and somber connotation. The camps had no heat or running water and the prisoners lay 10 per bed and each person had to lay sideways to fit. The entire function of the Auschwitz camp was the extermination of the prisoners within its fences. Every part of the camp functioned to that end. The inmates were treated more like animals than humans by the Nazis.
The horrors of these camps are not forgotten, and the actions that took place within them should not go overlooked.
For the animal kingdom however, the holocaust never ended. A holocaust can be described as slaughter or destruction on a mass scale.
The germans killed more than 12 million jews and disabled people during the war. We kill around 150 billion animals every year.
One might say that comparing animals to humans is offensive. But why do humans value themselves over animals? The practice is the same. They both suffered horrendously. It doesn’t matter if you are not human or do not have the same level of intelligence, you can and will suffer. Most survivors of the holocaust alive today are vegan because they know what it’s like to be treated like an animal.
Both of these ordeals are brutal events in our history. Just because I’m focusing on one doesn’t take anything away from the other. But the events that happened in the Jewish holocaust are over now. They however should never be forgotten and will always be an important event in history.
Now we need to focus on the ongoing holocaust that still takes place in our world today. The animal holocaust is in many ways similar to the Holocaust. Some people say that the way we treat animals could also easily be compared to slavery. Human slavery was abolished so animal slavery should be too. So why does nobody fight to put an end to it?
In slaughterhouses the animals have no freedom. They are crammed into small places with no room to move. Some animals will never see sunlight in their entire miserable lives. The conditions they live in are appalling and many die from the poor care they receive. In the summer months lots of animals suffer from heat stroke while in the winter months many freeze to death due to the inadequate housing they receive. The lucky ones who die soon are put into piles of hundreds of other dead bodies. The not so lucky ones who survive the horrid living conditions get killed in many ways none of them humanely.
Methods of Slaughter
The meat industry advertises their practices as being humane and nice to the animals. However this is almost never the case. Here are some of the so called “humane” ways these animals are being raised, killed and processed.
Chickens and other poultry such as turkeys and ducks, are one of the most common animals to be slaughtered yearly in the United States. They are hatched and then genetically manipulated to grow 65 times faster than they normally would. They are housed in large sheds packed tightly together by the thousands with no space to move. In these sheds they live in filthy conditions and never get to see sunlight. Since they are bred for rapid growth, most of them grow too quickly causing them to suffer from horrible pain making them not able to move. They go to the slaughter houses lame, sick, and in pain. The “humane” slaughter includes the kill cone, decompression, and gas chambers.
According to an article by PETA titled “Cow Transport and Slaughter,” the ways the meat industry treats and processes cattle is no more humane than the way they do the chickens. The cows are raised in feedlots crammed tightly together, forced to stand feet deep in their own feces and left with no shelter to survive the extreme weather conditions. These sick and exhausted cows are crammed into trucks and transported over a thousand miles with no food or water. Often times they are traveling in either extreme heat or below freezing temperatures. They are either dragged off the trucks with chains or shocked with electric prods and forced into the slaughterhouses. Some cows are frozen to the sides of the trucks and need to be pried off with a crowbar. Other cows known as “downers” who are too sick or injured to walk on their own, are dragged by chains or pushed by large tractors. Once unloaded and inside, they are forced through a chute and shot in the head with a captive-bolt gun. Since the conveyer moves so fast however, the technique fails causing the animals to feel great pain and live through the ordeal. They are then hung upside down by their legs and have their throats slit until all of their blood drains out, all while being conscious. Some cows are alive for longer than seven minutes after having their throats cut. The meat industry however hides this information from the public and hires illegal workers that will not report the abuse out of fear of getting in trouble with the law.
Pigs can live up to 15 years when allowed to live out their lives, but the factory farmed pigs are inhumanely raised and slaughtered after just 6 months of life. More than one million of the hogs die from the horrors of transport alone. Often in winter the pigs will freeze to the floors and sides of the trucks. In these cases the slaughterhouse workers will cut the hogs loose with knives, cutting their skin right off, all while being fully alive and in pain. After being unloaded the pigs are kicked and beaten before being killed. Most slaughterhouses will kill over a thousand pigs every hour. Many pigs are still alive when they are dropped into a scalding tank, a pool of boiling hot water designed to soften their skin and remove their hair. All of this information and more can be found in an article by PETA titled, “Pig Transport and Slaughter.”
Many of the practices used by the meat industry to kill animals for profit, is very similar to the treatment and killing of the jews during the holocaust.
Photos of Auschwitz resemble photos of today’s factory farms because the practices are so similar.
Just because they are animals and not humans does not mean it is wrong to call it a holocaust. Animals can suffer just like people can. The conditions and treatment the animals get in their depressing lives needs to be addressed and acknowledged by society.
I think people need to know the truth about where their meat comes from, and rather than going vegan, we need to take actions to stop the horrendous treatment and inhumane killing of animals in factory farming or the animal holocaust. Horrible care and suffering is not the only way to raise and slaughter these animals. It is however the cheapest way and that is why they do it like this and hide it from the public. All for the money. This however needs to change and instead of focusing on the best profit, the meat industry needs to focus on the proper treatment and care of the animals they are killing.
Featured image by CarlottaSilvestrini /pixabay