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"The academic panel concluded that there appears to be little evidence to demonstrate that the welfare of animals kept in travelling circuses is any better or worse than that of animals kept in other captive environments" - Executive Summary of the DEFRA Circus Working Group 2007

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Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Hitler Award



Recently Feder Fauna, an Italian trade union working commercially with animals, has named a new prize "The Hitler Prize". Massimiliano Filippi, general secretary of Feder Fauna, said: “The Hitler Prize represents a condemnation of those who trample on human rights in the name of the ideology of ‘animal rights!’ I find that asking to stop experiments on rats and proposing instead experiments be done on prisoners has a close affinity to Nazism.”

The prize's name has met immediate opposition by some members of the Jewish community (and unsurprisingly Italy's Green Party). Non-orthodox Jewish rabbi, Barbara Aellio condemned it, believing it demeans the holocaust and saw it as an example of the "creeping Nazism". Rouster can see the good rabbi's point, but wonders if she feels the same way about the continuing animal rights campaign that tastelessly displays comparisons between the atrocities of the holocaust and the farming of chickens. I wonder if she has seen the campaigns waged against the practice of Kosher slaughtering that animal rightists use, despite many rabbis claiming with apparent scientific evidence that their methods are amongst the most humane methods of killing in practice today. The 4th May edition of "Beyond Belief" saw Ernie Rea field a debate between a defender of the Jewish method for slaughtering animals, a member of the RSPCA and a Vishnu Hindu priest. The latter two guests pretty much presented an animal rights argument.

This is far from the first example of the Jewish community coming up against animal rights. Despite often coming under the guise of being an extension civil rights, it is not uncommon to find animal rightists allying themselves with campaigns against ethnic minorities if it suits their ends. This was recently published in "The Jewish Press" regarding Poland's government rejecting a law permitting ritual slaughter on "animal rights" grounds.


“The majority of Polish MPs gave the Polish Jewish community three choices: don’t practice your religion, don’t eat meat, or don’t live among us,” said Abraham H. Foxman, Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). 


“The majority of Polish MPs gave the Polish Jewish community three choices: don’t practice your religion, don’t eat meat, or don’t live among us,” said Abraham H. Foxman, Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). “For a country still struggling to come to terms with its past treatment of Jews, it is outrageous to strike such a blow to the future of Jews in Poland. This vote was a clear violation of religious freedom, supported by the ignorance of some and the bigotry of others. “The debate demonstrated acceptance of the false premise that kosher slaughter, which involves a single cut with a razor-sharp knife to minimize pain, is less humane than slaughter with pre-stunning by electrocution, gassing or a bolt shot to the animal’s forehead.” “Populism, superstition and political interests won out,” said Piotr Kadlcik, President of the Union of Jewish Communities of Poland. “It looks like we’ve made a full circle and are heading back to what happened in Poland and Germany in the 1930s.”

Read more at: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/poland-rejects-shechitah-kosher-slaughter/2013/07/14/
“The majority of Polish MPs gave the Polish Jewish community three choices: don’t practice your religion, don’t eat meat, or don’t live among us,” said Abraham H. Foxman, Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). “For a country still struggling to come to terms with its past treatment of Jews, it is outrageous to strike such a blow to the future of Jews in Poland. This vote was a clear violation of religious freedom, supported by the ignorance of some and the bigotry of others. “The debate demonstrated acceptance of the false premise that kosher slaughter, which involves a single cut with a razor-sharp knife to minimize pain, is less humane than slaughter with pre-stunning by electrocution, gassing or a bolt shot to the animal’s forehead.” “Populism, superstition and political interests won out,” said Piotr Kadlcik, President of the Union of Jewish Communities of Poland. “It looks like we’ve made a full circle and are heading back to what happened in Poland and Germany in the 1930s.”

Read more at: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/poland-rejects-shechitah-kosher-slaughter/2013/07/14/
“The majority of Polish MPs gave the Polish Jewish community three choices: don’t practice your religion, don’t eat meat, or don’t live among us,” said Abraham H. Foxman, Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). “For a country still struggling to come to terms with its past treatment of Jews, it is outrageous to strike such a blow to the future of Jews in Poland. This vote was a clear violation of religious freedom, supported by the ignorance of some and the bigotry of others. “The debate demonstrated acceptance of the false premise that kosher slaughter, which involves a single cut with a razor-sharp knife to minimize pain, is less humane than slaughter with pre-stunning by electrocution, gassing or a bolt shot to the animal’s forehead.” “Populism, superstition and political interests won out,” said Piotr Kadlcik, President of the Union of Jewish Communities of Poland. “It looks like we’ve made a full circle and are heading back to what happened in Poland and Germany in the 1930s.”

Read more at: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/poland-rejects-shechitah-kosher-slaughter/2013/07/14/
Foxman clearly had little concern for comparisons with the Nazi persecution of Jews in his argument.
Neither has Jewish-Italian actor, Massimo Emilio Gobbi, who starred in the acclaimed movie, "Gomorra". Gobbi, who according to his website had his Jewish family name changed due Nazi persecution, has agreed to present the "Hitler Prize" at the Feder Fauna and released this statement:

"Hitler was vegetarian and promoted love for animals, but he condemned men, women and children to the furnace. Not only Jews, but also gypsies, homosexuals and so many other people that did not submit to his ideology and regime” (click here to read more).

However, Aellio has a degree of our sympathy regarding the gradual creep of disturbing extremist philosophies that should have no place in a rational society. Our concern is the parasitic politics of animals rights. Like some insidious virus the ideology has made its way into all aspects of our life. It can appeal to views on the left and right of the political world, where its emotive veneer seduces both well-meaning animal welfarists and cynical "baby kissing" opportunists.

It would appear that many more people are beginning to see the obvious parallels between Nazism and Animal Rights ideology. Rouster is wary of using any form of appeal argument and it recognizes the often silly "Appeal to Hitler" that a losing debater may use, but in this case there is a very relevant and apt point being made. Rouster supports the multi-cultural nature of traditional circus. This was and still is an environment where people from a wide variety of backgrounds could work together as equals. In this respect, circus was ahead of the society it played to. Historically circus directors and artistes have come from all manner of races, religions and cultures, this includes a very strong showing from the Jewish community. Cirque Pinder in France has long been owned and run by the Edelstein family and the director's son, Frederic Edelstein, has presented the big cats for many years. The world's most famous circus institution, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus is run by a Jewish American family, the Felds. 

Traditional circus has faced unreasonable and irrational arguments as well as undeniable persecution for its use of animals. The burden of proof regarding animal welfare has been squarely placed on traditional circus's shoulders. Time and again it has accepted this burden and demonstrated that there is nothing principle that contradicts the scientific view of animal welfare, as set against approved zoos and other animal institutions. Nevertheless, laws have been passed in countries such as Austria, Sweden, India (which has recently recognized dolphins as "non-human people") and, soon the UK, that bans the use of wild animals in circus. Ridiculously, a member of the public can purchase many of the wild animals that come under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 without any questions or paperwork required and yet a travelling circus cannot use these animals in their performance. These laws have been brought in by pressure from backbench MPs who have been pressured by animal rights groups and do not reflect the opinion of the majority of the general public or science. For decades direct action has resulted in circus people, their visitors and those who agree to display their posters being targeted. This has been so severe that Police have even advised certain shops not put circus posters up in case their windows are smashed by activists. Shades of the campaigns by the SA, against Jewish businesses or anyone who worked with Jews, are very clearly evident in this example. 

So, although we appreciate and accept the Jewish community's concerns that the "Hitler Prize" may demean the unforgivable atrocities of the holocaust, we would argue that it raises some pertinent points. Hitler and his party enacted animal rights laws, and clearly held the rights of non-human animals higher that of many humans (determined by race primarily but also sexuality, politics and culture). The approach and tactics of animal rights have disturbing similarities to that of the rising Nazis, as does any philosophy that uses prejudicial ideology.



Astley's Legacy was formed to counter the misinformation and propaganda spread by animal rights activists. As well as fighting the corner for circus animals and their trainers, we are here to promote and celebrate the cultural heritage of circus in general, and especially in the country of its birth - Great Britain. For more information please see our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/223570581049199
Or follow us on Twitter: @RousterAstley

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