The Humane Society of the United States—no relation to your local pet shelter—would like you to think it’s moderate. It would like you to think that it’s not a slicker version of PETA. It would like you to think that it doesn’t have a vegan agenda to bankrupt farmers who raise animals for food.
So why, then, does HSUS have a “Food Policy Director” who thinks farmers are running Nazi death camps? No joke.
Meet Matt Prescott. Before he became HSUS’s Food Policy Director, he was manager of vegan campaigns for PETA. And one of his bright ideas while with PETA was devising the widely reviled “Holocaust on Your Plate” campaign comparing animal-farming to slaughtering Jews, which toured the country in 2003. (If you really want to see more, click here.)
The Associated Press reported:
Matt Prescott, youth outreach coordinator for PETA, said the Nazis looked to the livestock industry in determining ways to transport, house and execute the Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and others. Animals are still treated that way.
“We’ve kept the systems and the attitudes – just changed the victims,” he said.
“Anybody who eats meat,” Prescott told a Canadian reporter, “is guilty of holding the same mindset that allowed the Holocaust to happen.”
This line of thinking makes sense only in the fevered mind of an animal-rights zealot (now an HSUS activist, remember). Animals raised for food are put in housing systems that are approved of by veterinary experts. There are humane-slaughter regulations. There are laws against animal abuse. And so on. There’s no comparison.
But reality and facts are lost on overzealous ideologues who compare systematically murdering people to eating bacon and drumsticks.
As you might expect, Prescott’s PETA stunt was widely condemned. “To blatantly compare the mass murder of 6 million people to the issue of animal rights is distasteful at least and at best a vicious affront to the victims of the Holocaust,” said one leader in the Jewish community. “PETA’s exhibit is a disgrace,” The Boston Globe editorialized. And a Boston Herald contributor opined, “Campaigns like ‘Holocaust on Your Plate’ are intentionally designed to be repugnant, and will always have some smug, self-righteous idiot like Mr. Prescott as spokesman to explain why the rest of us are the disgusting ones.”
What’s more is that Prescott was apparently “not honest” with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, whose copyrighted photos PETA obtained and (ab)used for the campaign. The New York Daily News reported:
[USHMM] spokeswoman Mary Morrison said the Washington museum was never told about the nature of the campaign, or even that it was related to PETA. The request, which came from an organizer’s private E-mail account, described the project’s goal as “comparing the atrocities of the Holocaust to other forms of oppression throughout history.”
Another spokesman told The Boston Globe:
“Prescott was not honest with us about how he would be using the images. He did not say that it had anything to do with animals. We would not have given permission for that.”
And the Museum’s executive director issued a statement condemning Prescott’s offensive exhibit:
[PETA] has chosen to ignore common decency and desecrate the memory of Holocaust victims, survivors and their families in its perverted effort to generate headlines. We are especially offended that PETA has chosen to use materials obtained deceitfully from the Museum … An organization so concerned about inflicting pain on animals should not be so oblivious to the pain it is inflicting on humans.
Good point. But PETA and Prescott apparently didn’t have human feelings in high regard, or think much of the 95 percent of the country that eats meat, for that matter. Talk about misanthropy.
Interestingly, a similarly appalling sentiment was apparently uttered by an HSUS-affiliated activist quite recently, too. The Animal Ag Alliance reports that at an anti-farming conference last year, Holly Cheever, a longtime animal rights activist who’s on the leadership council of HSUS’s veterinary arm, stated that “slaughterhouses are a kind of Auschwitz.”
So the next time HSUS acts like it’s on the side of small-scale family farmers, keep in mind it thinks they’re just running mini death camps. (Right.)
We have to imagine that this was on Prescott’s résumé when HSUS hired him after his years at PETA. Not that it would matter: HSUS vice president for farm-animal issues Paul Shapiro has said that “eating meat causes animal cruelty” and carried a sign at a PETA protest stating “The Meat Industry Equals Systematic Murder.” HSUS is just PETA in a suit and tie, and anti-meat radicalism seems like a ticket to the top.
Matt Prescott now goes around to corporations on behalf of HSUS trying to get these companies to change their food policies. We’ll make sure they’re well aware of what he really thinks and represents, and he can see how well the meetings go.
Hey, maybe we’ll be doing him a favor—after all, we can’t imagine he enjoys sitting down with people he thinks harbor a Holocaust-enabling mentality who do business with Nazi-like farmers.