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Can the Treatment of Animals Be Compared to the Holocaust?

From: Ethics & the Environment
Volume 11, Number 1, Spring 2006
pp. 97-132 | 10.1353/een.2006.0007

Abstract

The treatment of animals and the Holocaust have been compared many times before, but never has a thoroughly detailed comparison been offered. A thirty-nine-point comparison can be constructed, whether or not one believes that animals are oppressed. The question of whether or not the comparison ought to be expressed merely brings into question whether animal liberationists have liberal-democratic rights to express themselves, which they surely do. Four objections are considered: Is the comparison offensive? Does the comparison trivialize what happened to the victims of the Nazis, overlook important differences, or ignore supposed affinities between animal liberationists and Nazis? These four lines of attack are shown to fail. The comparison stands to help us to reflect on the significance of how animals are treated in contemporary times.



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