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PETA’s “Holocaust on Your Plate”

by on April 7, 2014

In 2003, PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, launched a campaign called “Holocaust on Your Plate.” The campaign compared the Holocaust to the slaughter of animals raised for consumption. The campaign visually compares animals in slaughterhouses to pictures of Nazi concentration camps. After being released in San Diego and Germany, the PETA ad was banned in Germany as well as a lawsuit from the Central Council of Jews. PETA is currently fighting Germany’s ruling to allow their images to be displayed.

Do you think the “Holocaust on Your Plate” is an ethical comparison? Would you run the campaign in your newspaper?

As a lifelong vegetarian, I can certainly see PETA’s goals with this ad campaign—to shock their audience. PETA is known for their shocking campaigns and images, and this certainly goes along with their reputation. As much as I would like to see more vegetarians in the world, I unfortunately cannot agree with this campaign’s tactics. I agree that the Holocaust shares similarities with animal slaughter, but I believe the Holocaust is still too fresh and controversial to visually use in a campaign. The campaign is meant to raise emotion in the audience, but these particular images have too much meaning and caused negative backlash.

As an editor, I would have to reject these ads. It would be hard to separate my personal views on animal slaughter in this decision, so I would probably pass this decision off to someone else for conflict’s sake. But if I had to make the decision myself, I would ask PETA to send another ad. I do not want to censor the organization, but as a journalist I am aiming to cause the least amount of harm in my readership. If I have any doubt in my mind whether something should be run or not, chances are it shouldn’t. The Holocaust is a touchy subject and caution should be exercised when reproducing the images, especially in a advertisement sense.


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One Comment
  1. Violence, toward humans or animals, depends on dissociation. Dissociation is psychologically and emotionally disconnecting from the truth ; it is the feeling of not being fully present or conscious. PETA, in an attempt to dispel dissociation toward the killing of animals for consumption, compares animals in slaughterhouses to pictures of Nazi concentration camps. There are more ethical, less offensive means to gain empathy for animals. I would not run the campaign in my newspaper.

    For example:

    “Quite possibly the most eye opening six minutes ever on film” depicts the cruelty involved in mass producing animals to feed humans. The images of chickens crammed into crates and piglets sadly separated from their mothers are powerful enough to dispel dissociation.

    Images of Holocaust suffering in Germany are disturbing to Jews and many other groups because they illustrate racial hate crimes. Anti -semitism and hate still exist. Three people were killed in Kansas City this week by a white supremisist who saluted Hitler as he was arrested. If anything, using the Holocaust is a distraction from PETA’s point.

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