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Summary: The Following is an essay that takes aim at the Animal "Rights" Movement refuting fallacious claims advanced by them. It's purpose on this site is to demonstrate yet another glaring example that Hitler and the Nazis were leftist.

 

The Implications of Nazi Animal Protection

By: Martin G. Hulsey

On Usenet, it is generally considered bad form to bring up Nazi Germany in the context of any discussion. This perhaps results from the tendency of some participants to equate their opponents with Nazis in lieu of providing rational arguments.

In various fora, we have seen arguments suggesting that Adolph Hitler was a vegetarian. I have seen this suggested numerous times, and, understandably, it usually results in shrill responses from both vegetarians and animal "rights" activists. I have made attempts to investigate these claims, and I have been only marginally successful. It does seem that, at least, Hitler was not a devout vegetarian, if it is appropriate to classify him as such. This brings up the question of what properly justifies that classification.

There seems to be a lack of agreement even among self-styled vegetarians. Some call themselves pesco-vegetarians because they eat only fish. Others reject this notion. Curious and fascinating arguments have occurred in rec.food.veg regarding the duration of time within which a person must refrain from meat consumption before being a "true" vegetarian. One participant sarcastically noted that even omnivores are vegetarian "between meals." One participant in talk.politics.animals calls himself vegan, yet has admitted that he eats animal products from time to time. As an omnivore, I have little stake in what the consensus definition might be, but I submit that some degree of consistency should be achieved for the sake of argument. If Hitler is not properly classified as a vegetarian because he occasionally ate sausage or squab (assuming that was the case), what are we to make of the self-professed vegans who also backslide on occasions?

In my opinion, those who object to Hitler being classified as a vegetarian are taking the wrong approach. It is fallacious to suggest that one infamous person's dietary habits reflect on the character of others who share those habits. One wonders why most vegetarians don't offer that argument. I have noted on numerous occasions that vegetarians will offer the name of some famous vegetarian athlete, scholar, politician or musician as though this implies that dietary regimen is superior. Proponents of such arguments should realize that they are equally fallacious. Acceptance of such anecdotal evidence is a double-edged sword. That Paul McCartney, Leonardo DaVinci, etc. were or are vegetarian in no way implies that vegetarianism is a superior dietary regimen. To suggest otherwise is to make a fallacious appeal to authority.

Putting aside for a moment the veracity of calling Hitler a vegetarian, let us consider some claims that have been made to that effect. Sociologists Arnold Arluke and Boria Sax wrote a very interesting article (Anthrozoos 5(1):6-31; 1992) that describes the familiar-sounding rhetoric that leading Nazis used to support vegetarianism. For example:

"On one romantic date, his female companion ordered sausage, at which Hitler looked disgusted and said: 'Go ahead and have it, but I don't understand why you want it. I didn't think you wanted to devour a corpse... the flesh of dead animals. Cadavers!'"

This is a strange declaration for a man who some claim, without direct evidence, to have a preference for sausage.

If Hitler's date did have sausage, it might account for the counterclaim cited by Hitler's biographers (i.e., Rynn Berry) to the effect that He was not vegetarian. However, an account by Hitler's chef that he prepared sausage "for Hitler" may be mistaken and misleading if the sausage was, in fact, consumed by Hitler's female companions, as it obviously was on this one occasion.

Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda, noted:

"The Fuhrer is deeply religous, though completely anti-Christian. He views Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race... Both [Judaism and Christianity] have no point of contact to the animal element, and thus, in the end, they will be destroyed. The Fuhrer is a convinced vegetarian, on principle. His arguments cannot be refuted on any serious basis. They are totally unanswerable."

Irrespective of whether Hitler, Goebbels or other leading Nazis were, in fact, devout vegetarians, their self-serving rhetoric, claiming the moral high ground, is consistent with that which has appeared from time to time on rec.food.veg. In that newsgroup, we have seen omnivores characterized as "barbarians," "animal-killers," "murderers," and so forth. Clearly, many contemporary vegetarians regard themselves as ethically superior to omnivores.

Claims of ethical superiority are also a characteristic of the contemporary animal "rights" movement. One can hardly find publication from that movement that doesn't beg the question of "cruelty" with respect to practices of research, sport or cuisine. The epithet "cruelty-free" as applied to cosmetics has become popular in AR circles, despite its questionable veracity. Of course, what constitutes cruelty is a subjective matter, and the practices proclaimed as cruel by animal "rights" activists are more often that not legal, despite the existence of laws prohibiting cruelty to animals.

Implicit in this preoccupation with being "cruelty-free" is that non-adherents are cruel. As such, the claim of ethical superiority is one indisputable parallel between the Nazi animal protectionists and the modern AR movement. For example, consider the claims of moral superiority and the references to Eastern philosophy that are prevalent in the following translation of a Nazi article that was kindly provided to me by a friend:

The following is a translation of document #186 in Medizin im Nationalsozialismus by Walter Wuttke-Groneberg (Rottenberg: Shwaebische Verlagsgesellschaft) 1982.

The author of the book believes that this article demonstrated how the Nazi party would gain support by appealing to interest groups whose main concern were issues other than national politics. He also believes that the Nazi's regarded these measures as progressive and he juxtaposes this "reform" with the medical research atrocities in concentration camps.

Translator's remarks and literal German words in {}.


Vivisection Forbidden in Prussia!

The New Germany leads all civilized nations in the area of animal protection!

The famous national socialist Graf E. Reventkow published in the Reichswart, the official publication of the "union of patriotic Europeans", the lead article "Protection and Rights {Recht} for the Animal". National Socialism, he writes, has for the first time in Germany begun to show Germans the importance of the individual's {italics} duty toward the animal {end italics}. Most Germans have been raised with the attitude that animals are created by God for the use and benefit of man. The church gets this idea from the Jewish tradition. We have met with not a few clerics who defend this position with utmost steadfastness and vigor, yes one could say almost brutally. Usually they defend their position with the unstated intent of deepening and widening the chasm between man who has soul and soulless (how do they know that?) animals...

The friend of animals knows to what inexpressible extent the mutual understanding between man and animal and feelings of togetherness can be developed, and there are many friends of animals in Germany, and also many who cannot accept animal torture out of simple humanitarian reasons. In general however, we still find ourselves in a desert of unfeeling and brutality as well as sadism. There is much to be done and we would first like to address vivisection, for which the words "cultural shame" do not even come close; in fact it must be viewed as a criminal activity.

Graf Reventkow presents a number of examples of beastial vivisection crimes and affirms at the end, with mention of Adolph Hitler's sharp anti-vivisectionist positions, our demand that once and for all an end has to be brought to this animal exploitation.

We German friends of animals and anti-vivisectionists have placed our hopes upon the Chancellor of the Reich and his comrades in arms who are, as we know, friends of animals. Our trust has not been betrayed! The New Germany brings proof that it is not only the hearth but bringer of a new, higher, more refined, culture:

Vivisection, a cultural shame in the whole civilized world, against which the Best in all states have fought in vain for decades, will be banned in the New Germany!

A Reich Animal Protection Law which includes a ban on vivisection is imminent and just now comes the news, elating all friends of animals, that the greatest German state, Prussia, has outlawed vivisection with no exceptions!

The National Socialist German Workers' Party { NSDAP } press release states:

"The Prussian minister-president Goering has released a statement stating that starting 16 August 1933 vivisection of animals of all kinds is forbidden in Prussia. He has requested that the concerned ministries draft a law after which vivisection will be punished with a high penalty *). Until the law goes into effect, persons who, despite this prohibition, order, participate or perform vivisections on animals of any kind will be deported to concentration camps."

Among all civilized nations, Germany is thus the first to put an end to the cultural shame of vivisection! The New Germany not only frees man from the curse of materialism, sadism, and cultural Bolshevism, but gives the cruelly persecuted, tortured, and until now, wholly defenseless animals their rights { Recht }. Animal friends and anti-vivisectionists of all states will joyfully welcome this action of the National Socialist government of the New Germany!

What Reichschancellor Adolph Hitler and Minister-president Goering have done and will do for the protection of animals should set the course for the leaders of all civilized nations! It is a deed which will bring the New Germany innumerable new elated friends in all nations. Millions of friends of animals and anti-vivisectionists of all civilized nations thank these two leaders from their hearts for this exemplary civil deed!

Buddha, the Great loving spirit of the East, says: "He who is kind-hearted to animals, heaven will protect!" May this blessing fulfill the leaders of the New Germany, who have done great things for animals, until the end. May the blessing hand of fate protect these bringers of a New Spirit, until their godgiven earthly mission is fulfilled!

R.O.Schmidt

*) As we in the meantime have learned, a similar ban has been proclaimed in Bavaria. The formal laws are imminent - thanks to the energetic initiative of our Peoples' chancellor Adolph Hitler, for whom all friends of animals of the world will maintain forever their gratitude, their love, and their loyalty.

From: Die Weisse Fahne {The White Flag} 14 (1933) : 710-711.


Here we see a writer in a socialist publication explicitly declaring that non-human animals have "rights." Given the absolute control of the press by the NSDAP, this constitutes an official proclamation.

In fairness, it should be noted that the proclaimed ban on vivisection was less than absolute in the entire Reich. Some German scientists continued to use animals rather than humans for research despite the threatened penalty. The "antivivisection" law that was actually passed was modeled after an existing British law that did not constitute an absolute ban, despite official proclamations to that effect.

Some might seem content to totally dismiss the phenomenon of Nazi animal protection as a propaganda maneuver, but Nazi animal protection ran far deeper than the proclaimed abolition of vivisection. Consider this excerpt from Arluke and Sax (op. cit., p. 9):

"The preoccupation with animal protection in Nazi Germany was evident in other social institutions and continued almost until the end of World War II. In 1934, the new government hosted an international conference on animal protection in Berlin. Over the speaker's podium, surrounded by enormous swastikas, were the words "Entire epochs of love will be needed to repay animals for their value and service" (Meyer 1975). In1936 the German Society for Animal Psychology was founded, and in 1938 animal protection was accepted as a subject to be studied in German public schools and universities."

Many individuals in Nazi Germany genuinely believed in the "rights" of non-human animals, yet they simultaneously were capable of cruel behavior against members of the Jewish faith. Not only that, but they went as far as using animal protection as a justification for their inhumanity to the Jewish people, as explained by Arluke and Sax.

Because the officially-proclaimed absolute ban on vivisection was never codified in the Reichstag, the claim that Germany's ban on vivisection was, in part, a propaganda maneuver has some merit. However, this inconsistency provides yet another parallel to the contemporary animal "rights" movement. The prominent AR organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA, spent (and is still spending) a large sum of money in a fruitless legal attempt to obtain control over the well-known Silver Spring Monkeys. One could argue that this money could have been better spent in other, less newsworthy efforts at animal protection. There are other well-known publicity antics. PETA's penchant for pie-in-the-face publicity stunts has drawn criticism from other AR proponents. For example, Gary Francione was quoted as criticizing PETA for it's "Three Stooges" approach to animal protection. Thus, like animal protectionist elements of the Third Reich, it seems that some components of the contemporary AR movement are, in part, highly motivated by considerations of public relations and propaganda.

Another point that could be made regarding Nazi animal protectionists is that they were inconsistent in their actions. When juxtaposed against the pronouncement of a ban on vivisection and claims of ethical superiority, the treatment of the Jewish people and hideous medical experiments that were conducted are arguably inconsistent. Arluke and Sax offered additional examples that illustrate the inconsistent actions of the alleged "...friends of animals..." in Nazi Germany. Once again, however, we encounter another parallel with the contemporary AR movement. At the same time that PETA was expending large sums of money to obtain custody of the Silver Spring Monkeys, they killed 32 "liberated" rabbits and roosters at their Aspin Hill animal "sanctuary" for reasons of "overcrowding." One wonders why a portion of their multi-million dollar annual budget could not have been used to provide suitable housing for those animals.

There is considerable evidence of acceptance of animal "rights" by officials of the Third Reich, who have proven to be some of the most heinous villians of our century. They loved those non-human animals, though. In Nazi Germany, practices such as vivisection were characterized as Jewish (by relating them to the ritual of kosher slaughter) and thereby vilified. Subsequently, reverence for the "rights" of animals was used to justify the oppression of Jewish people.

It is not my purpose to equate contemporary animal "rights" activists with Nazis. Although there are clear parallels, there are distinctions as well.

However, whenever animal activists argue today that giving rights to animals will produce a kinder, gentler society, it is perfectly appropriate to point out that the only modern civilization to officially embrace a philosophy of animal rights did not turn out to be more kind or more gentle.

Source: Hitler Historical Museum