BOOKS: The Holocaust & the Henmaid’s Tale

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2005:

The Holocaust & the Henmaid’s Tale

Lantern Books (1 Union Square West, Suite 201, New York,
NY 10003), 2005. 138 pages, paperback. $30.00.

Karen Davis, founder and president of United Poultry
Concerns, concludes that, “The Holocaust epitomized an attitude, the
manifestation of a base will. It is the attitude that we can do
whatever we please, however vicious, if we can get away with it,
because we are superior and they, whoever they are, are, so to
speak, just chickens. Paradoxically therefore, it is possible,
indeed it is requisite, to make relevant and enlightening
comparisons between the Holocaust and our base treatment of non-human
animals. We can make comparisons while agreeing with the approach
taken by philosopher Brian Luke towards animal abuse. Luke writes:
“My opposition to the institutionalized exploitation of
animals is not based on a comparison between human and animal
treatment, but on a consideration of the abuse of animals in and of
itself.”
Davis’s philosophy is well-argued and closely reasoned, so
that by the time she reaches her conclusion–that there is a Nazi
within all of us–the reader has already arrived there.

Of course Davis does not state her point as baldly as we
have. Her message is couched in more hopeful terms, suggesting that
the sooner humankind changes our cruel and violent ways, the better
for all of us as well as other life forms.
This implies that there is some prospect of humankind doing
so in the foreseeable future. There is little to suggest that this
is likely. We have caused limitless suffering to ourselves and to
all other life forms since the beginning of recorded time.
The real question which underlies Davis’ book, and all
treatises on animal rights, is simply this: How can we change human
nature for the better?
Any suggestions?
–Chris Mercer

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