Germany’s top constitutional court just ruled against PETA, calling its 2004 “Holocaust On Your Plate” campaign, “a minimization and banalization of the plight of Holocaust survivors.”
They’re absolutely right. The campaign managed to do both holocaust survivors and farmed animals a great disservice. It’s definitely in my top-5 of all-time stupid PETA PR efforts, and that’s saying something. I wish PETA had backed down and apologized when this campaign was challenged; they should never have allowed this matter to go to trial. And now they’re threatening to appeal.
The trouble is not that the holocaust’s connection to industrialized animal slaughter is invalid; it’s that there are concepts in play that are too complex and emotionally sensitive to be reduced to a strident PR campaign. If you’re going to explore this hellish topic, it demands the utmost in both academic rigor and sensitivity in presentation.
I cringed years ago when I found out a book was being written connecting the holocaust to animal agribusiness practices. But it turned out that the resultant book, Charles Patterson’s Eternal Treblinka, tackled the subject productively and masterfully. You can read the review I wrote of the book at the bottom of this page.