Back in 2004, PETA launched our Holocaust on Your Plate (HOYP) traveling display, which juxtaposes images of animals in slaughterhouses and factory farms with images of humans in Nazi concentration camps. The display was inspired by a passage from Nobel-prize–winning Jewish author Isaac Bashevis Singer’s book, The Letter Writer: “In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.” This struck a chord with one of our Jewish staffers, who proposed the idea of creating a display that he hoped would encourage people to consider that the same mindset that allows the routine and systematic murder of animals also allows the routine and systematic murder of human beings.
The HOYP display—which was also funded by a Jewish PETA member—traveled all over the U.S., where it sparked a tremendous amount of debate and discussion about both animal rights and human rights issues. Then across the pond, PETA Germany took the idea and ran with it. And that’s where the trouble began. Yesterday, Germany’s high court banned PETA Germany’s Holocaust display, stating that it would have made “the fate of the victims of the Holocaust appear banal and trivial.”
This ruling left the staffers of our German affiliate scratching their heads, because the display only renders the humans’ suffering “banal and trivial” if the animals’ suffering is considered banal and trivial. Which is the whole point of the display …
Anyway, PETA Germany is, of course, appealing the ruling, and it is confident that free speech will win out in the end.
So what do you think, PETA Files readers? Did the campaign go too far? Was the German high court justified in banning it—or should free speech have reigned supreme?
Written by Amanda Schinke