This post is not meant to demean, detract from, or argue that the Jewish Holocaust was one of the darkest times in human history. Any comparisons made to the Jewish Holocaust are purely to put into perspective, the reality of animal agriculture, in that the actions taken during that time, are the same actions that are taking place now.

Before you start reading, be aware that this isn’t a ‘casual read’. It’s comprehensive and thought provoking, aimed to be a thorough response to the question: “Why do vegans keep making this comparison?”


Jewish Holocaust

  • Duration: 1933 – 1945 (12 Years)

  • Victims: Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Disabled, The Homeless

  • Reasoning: Wanting to create a superior race by eliminating those deemed inferior. Other deaths were from anyone who resisted their regime.

  • Death Toll: It is estimated that 11 million people were killed during the Holocaust. Six million of these were Jews. The Nazis killed approximately two-thirds of all Jews living in Europe. An estimated 1.1 million children died in the Holocaust.

  • Types of Camps: Concentration camps, extermination camps, labour camps, prisoner-of-war camps, and transit camps

A brief description of how the war progressed

From 1933 until 1938, most of the people held in concentration camps were political prisoners and people the Nazis labeled as “asocial.” These included the disabled, the homeless, and the mentally ill. After Kristallnacht in 1938, the persecution of Jews became more organized. This led to the exponential increase in the number of Jews sent to concentration camps.

Prisoners were forced to do hard physical labour and given little food. Prisoners slept three or more to a crowded wooden bunk; bedding was unheard of. Torture within the concentration camps was common and deaths were frequent. At a number of concentration camps, Nazi doctors conducted medical experiments on prisoners against their will.

While concentration camps were meant to work and starve prisoners to death, extermination camps (also known as death camps) were built for the sole purpose of killing large groups of people quickly and efficiently. The Nazis built six extermination camps, all in Poland: Chelmno, Belzec, SobiborTreblinkaAuschwitz, and Majdanek. (Auschwitz and Majdanek were both concentration and extermination camps.)

Prisoners transported to these extermination camps were told to undress so they could shower. Rather than a shower, the prisoners were herded into gas chambers and killed. (At Chelmno, the prisoners were herded into gas vans instead of gas chambers.) Auschwitz was the largest concentration and extermination camp built. It is estimated that 1.1 million people were killed there.


“After Kristallnacht in 1938, the persecution of Jews became more organized.”

Prior to Kristallnacht, nazi policies were “primarily non violent” but still repressive since Adolf Hitler came into power as chancellor in 1933. However after Kristallnacht (Night of broken glass), it began the systematic murder of some 6 million European Jews in what came to be known as the Holocaust.

Up until the 1900s chickens were kept outside in coops and in backyards by families keeping a small number of hens. Indoor farming was introduced at the start of the last century, when layer hens were first kept in more intensive systems.

 “Prisoners slept three or more to a crowded wooden bunk; bedding was unheard of. Torture within the concentration camps was common and deaths were frequent.”

“They’re often given so little space that they can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably. Egg-laying hens are kept in small cages, chickens and pigs are kept in jam-packed sheds, and cows are kept on crowded, filthy feedlots.” Link

Extreme confinement and overcrowding on factory farms promote aggressive behaviour not seen in natural settings. However, instead of providing animals with more room and enrichment, factory farmers mutilate the animals’ bodies to prevent them from attacking one another.

Nazi doctors conducted medical experiments on prisoners against their will.

Victims of the holocaust were tested on, we medical test on animals still to this day, with horrific and invasive methods. See here for more on that.

“Rather than a shower, the prisoners were herded into gas chambers and killed”

Perhaps the most obvious comparison is Jews in gas chambers and pigs in gas chambers. There is no difference, only in the victim. See Here and Here for the videos. Note, that Co2 gas chambers is considered the humane method (by the industry).

For starters, this should give you a basic idea why there is a comparison to the holocaust

  • Numbers: The enormous scale of both atrocities.

  • Suffering Inflicted: Gas chambers for both animals and Jews. Torture, murder, mutilation on a massive scale. Confinement, slavery and imposed will on the victims.

  • Reasoning: The aggressor believing it is their right due to feeling superior, or having the power to inflict suffering.

  • The Victims: The vulnerable (homeless, mentally ill, children) and those who were different (religious views, sexuality). Animals (both vulnerable and different to humans).


A Deeper Look

Here we’ll look at not just the holocaust but several other oppressive and evil regimes over our human history, with varying toll counts and duration. Again, it’s important to note that the comparison is not used to play  ‘oppression olympics’ but purely to highlight that we are slaughtering innocent and vulnerable sentient beings every day, in the same way the Nazis slaughtered innocent and vulnerable sentient beings back during the holocaust.

Jewish Holocaust

Person in power: Adolf Hitler

Duration of regime: 12 Years

Death Toll: 11-15 Million

Reason: To create a superior race

Victims: Jews, the homeless/mentally ill, vulnerable, children


USSR Regime

Person in power: Joseph Stalin

Duration of regime: 12 (1941 – 1953)

Death Toll: 15 – 80 million (Death toll estimates vary)

Reason: Eliminating capitalism? Paranoia?

Victims: His own people, anyone and everyone.


Mao’s Great Leap Forward

Person in power: Mao Zedong

Duration of regime: 34 Years (1943 – 1976)

Death Toll: 45 Million (Between 1958 and 1962 alone)

Reason: For progress, supposedly.

Victims: Anyone and everyone within the country (everyone was told they are part of a giant army and were forced to a specific way of living. Minor infractions of not following orders were punished drastically)


The Animal Holocaust

Holocaust meaning destruction or murder on a mass scale, a fitting title given the following stats.

Duration: 70 – 200 years, depending on how you interpret the data. If we’re talking about farming of animals to feed a population, then closer to 200 years would be more accurate (of course animals have been farmed and killed for food for centuries), however factory farming and then intensive factory farming respectively came later.

According to the BBC, the era factory farming per se in Britain began in 1947 when a new Agriculture Act granted subsidies to farmers to encourage greater output by introducing new technology, in order to reduce Britain’s reliance on imported meat. New technology meaning to put into practise harsher conditions and treatments for the animals, with their well being sacrificed in the pursuit of greater efficiency and increased production.

If we go back to policies of the Nazi party changing from mostly non violent, then changing to more systematic and industrialised slaughter of Jews. This could easily be comparable to the more industrialised and systematic slaughter of animals brought with factory intensive farming.

Death Toll: The USSR regime, Mao’s regime, the Jewish Holocaust all took place over a decade, or several decades and killed millions.

The following (according to just one website, in the UK alone, in ONE YEAR)

“Every year in the UK approximately 2.6 million cattle, 10 million pigs, 14.5 million sheep and lambs, 80 million fish and 950 million birds are slaughtered for human consumption.”

See Link

That’s 1.05 BILLION (1057 Million). Globally, over 56 billion farmed animals are slaughtered. That’s not including fish.

Other links on death toll range up to 8 billion. Even at a conservative estimate of around 1 billion, per year, in just the UK. You kind of get the idea. Surely this qualifies as a holocaust, as murder or destruction on a mass scale?

Viva / Veganuary both state 8 billion is more accurate.

If we scale up animal agriculture globally to the number of years only Adolf Hitler or Stalin were in power (at just the lower estimate  of 56 billion annually) we have over half a trillion animals killed (672 billion animals)

Reason: Food (Extending to the rest of what we are doing to the animals, this includes clothing, entertainment and supposedly to advance our understanding medically see our debunking of this)

Victims: When referring to what we do to animals as holocaust, it can be extended to other forms of abuse. If medical experiments were part of the jewish holocaust, then vivisection/animal testing is part of the animal holocaust.



So far we’ve compared the two with just victim count and time frame, however what took place and the methods used are the real reasons why the holocaust is regarded as one of the darkest times in our recent history. To think that while humanity was at such a stage in knowledge of the world and technological advancement, yet had the capacity to inflict such suffering onto others who deserved none of it.

With that said, at such a stage of advancement, decades past the war, we still commit the exact same atrocities. The only thing that has changed is the victim.


In the gas chambers, you can see scratch marks on the walls from the victims. This is a photo from a gas chamber in Auschwitz.

This is a 1 hour video showing pigs being lowered into the Co2 gas chambers. If you’re listening with your headphones in, we advise you turn the volume down.


In case you haven’t clicked on any of the above links taking you to our look at vivisection, we encourage you to do so. Click here to take you thereIt’s alarming today how many people think that animal testing adequately advances our understanding, but even if it did, would that make it moral? If that makes medical testing moral for animals, why was testing on the victims during the holocaust considered immoral?

Is it certain tests which affect whether it’s moral, or just the victim involved?

The following is a list of some of the medical tests done on victims of the holocaust.

  • Mengele’s experiments – sought to advance the racial and ideological tenets of the Nazi worldview. Included placing subjects in pressure chambers, testing drugs on them, freezing them, attempting to change their eye color by injecting chemicals into children’s eyes, and amputations and other surgeries. Link

    He also directed serological experiments on Roma (Gypsies), as did Werner Fischer at Sachsenhausen, in order to determine how different “races” withstood various contagious diseases. The research of August Hirt at Strasbourg University also intended to establish “Jewish racial inferiority.” Source

  • Survival Tests – “Institution for Aviation conducted high-altitude experiments, using a low-pressure chamber, to determine the maximum altitude from which crews of damaged aircraft could parachute to safety. Scientists there carried out so-called freezing experiments using prisoners to find an effective treatment for hypothermia. They also used prisoners to test various methods of making seawater potable.”

  • Pharmaceuticals – “Testing pharmaceuticals and treatment methods for injuries and illnesses which German military and occupation personnel encountered in the field. At the German concentration camps of SachsenhausenDachauNatzweilerBuchenwald, and Neuengamme, scientists tested immunization compounds and sera for the prevention and treatment of contagious diseases, including malaria, typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, yellow fever, and infectious hepatitis.

    The Ravensbrueck camp was the site of bone-grafting experiments and experiments to test the efficacy of newly developed sulfa (sulfanilamide) drugs. At Natzweiler and Sachsenhausen, prisoners were subjected to phosgene and mustard gas in order to test possible antidotes.”

  • Other Experiments – “Gruesome experiments meant to further Nazi racial goals were a series of sterilization experiments, undertaken primarily at Auschwitz and Ravensbrueck. There, scientists tested a number of methods in their effort to develop an efficient and inexpensive procedure for the mass sterilization of Jews, Roma, and other groups Nazi leaders considered to be racially or genetically undesirable.” Source

Similar to tests done on humans, these are animal tests performed today.

  • Eye and skin irritation/corrosion testing – A substance is dripped into rabbits’ eyes or smeared onto their shaved skin. Laboratory technicians then record the damage—which can include inflamed skin, ulcers, bleeding, bloody scabs, swollen eyelids, irritated and cloudy eyes, or even blindness. Source

  • Acute toxicity testing – To determine the danger of a single short-term exposure to a product or chemical, the substance is administered to animals (usually rodents) in extremely high doses via force-feeding, forced inhalation, and/or eye or skin contact. Animals in the highest-dose groups often endure severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, convulsions, seizures, paralysis, or bleeding from the nose, mouth, or genitals before they ultimately die or are killed. Source

  • Mutagenicity – A mutagen is a physical or chemical agent that changes the genetic information of an organism and thus increases the frequency of mutations. As many mutations cause cancer, mutagens are typically also carcinogens. In the bone marrow cytogenetic test, chemicals are administered to the test animals, usually rats or mice, who are later killed. Source

  • Neurotoxicity – Neurotoxicity tests aim to find out if substances cause alterations to the nervous system. Neurotoxicity tests are often used to study the effects of pesticides and primarily involve the use of hens or rats. At the end of the tests, any surviving hens/rats are killed so their body can be observed and analysed to look for any signs of neurotoxicity. Source

  • Military combat trauma testing – Every year, the U.S. military wounds and kills about 8,500 goats and pigs in combat trauma training courses, sometimes amputating their limbs, stabbing, and burning the animals. These procedures are not only cruel; they’re also unnecessary: more effective, human-based training methods are now widely available. Source

  • Dermal Penetration – Dermal penetration or skin absorption tests analyze the movement of a chemical through the skin and into the bloodstream. In these tests, rats are most often used. After the test chemical is administered, the rats are killed and the amount of test substance absorbed is estimated. Source

We wanted to point out that animal testing doesn’t stop at just vivisection. Animal husbandry is the breeding of animals through the use of natural selection.

As part of animal husbandry it may not seem as gruesome because it might not be done in a lab, but genetic selection has caused many birth defects causing suffering on the part of the animal. Genetic manipulation is also a problem because it causes a painful life for the animals and early death (if the animals even make it to an age where they would be killed by these conditions we’ve created for them).

Genetically Modified Super Animals

We are creating monstrosities for the purpose of food, mutating the genes of animals to look like this, so we can eat a sandwich.

These cows are referred to as super cows, or double muscled cows.  It isn’t just cows that it happens to but pigs and other animals to potentially lesser degrees.


To monitor the digestive system of a cow, they are mutilated with something called a canula. It’s to check in on the gut microbes so when a cow gets sick, farmers can do something about it. Unfortunately due to conditions and volume of animals in one area, sickness and disease is rife.

Artificial Insemination

The reason vegans equate artificial insemination to rape is; because a female human not giving, or not being able to give consent is considered rape.

But that’s a completely different conversation.

Does this look normal to you?

Bodies, piling up

At a certain number, individuality and the victims just become a number, which is what ended up happening. Both the victims during the holocaust and the animals today are given numbers, tattooed or branded on their bodies.


Other than being gassed, or dying from medical testing, there are numerous ways that both victims were killed. Some of the methods are exactly the same and some are different or new methods have been introduced. We aren’t going to sit here and talk about one method is worse than the other, because murder is horrific in its very nature.

  • Holocaust: Gun lines, mowing down hundreds, thousands of victims in seconds

  • Gassing: Sometimes it would be disguised as a shower room and victims were told to undress so they could shower and then they would be gassed.

  • Children Murdered – Over 1 million children under the age of 18 were murdered during the holocaust.

  • Terror Bombings – To maintain control in certain instances, if a German soldier was killed, 100 civilians would be killed as a result. If injured 50 civilians would be killed. Link

  • Animal Agriculture: Hanging animals up by their feet on a production line and slicing their throat (cows, pigs), or beheading them (chickens)

  • Gassing: Lowering pigs into Co2 gas chambers for a few minutes until they die.

  • Children Murdered: Animals killed during animal agriculture are never adults, they are children or babies. See this link to see the life expectancy of an animal vs when it’s killed.

  • Other: Chicks, if male, are killed shortly after birth often on the same day. Male calf’s are killed for veal as they cannot produce milk. Animals are trapped in the wild or clubbed for their fur or skin. Animals are held in captivity for entertainment, or bred in captivity for their fur/skin.

Other Comparisons

Holocaust victims put to work on labour camps/dairy – The dairy industry (if we skip the problem of artificial insemination) is, if you are female, to have your body used for your lifespan (to produce milk) until you are spent and then to be sent for slaughter. If you are male, you live for a few weeks until you become veal. The life of a dairy cow – Dairy is scary

Holocaust victims living in cramped spaces/chickens – “Each hen has the area of a sheet of A4 paper.” which, considering the wingspan of a chicken is around 32 inches, some would say this is cramped. Even cage free chickens are crammed into a shed with 10,000+ other birds. See herePigs will often be kept in cages so small that they can’t even turn around or nurse their piglets, sometimes their piglet will be dying in front of them and the sow can’t even comfort her baby. See here to see the inside of a pig farm.

Concentration camps to work and starve victims/Aquariums starving animals to perform, circus, animal tourism etc – It’s well known that when it comes to the circus and Seaworld, animals are starved to make them perform. See our Seaworld articleWhen it comes to circuses, animals are forced to perform and are punished if they do not comply. Watch the abuseWith animal tourism, the animals are drugged and beaten/prodded so that people can get selfies, for example with tigers. Any time you can pay for a service usually an animal is being mistreated. Even the fish pedicure involves starving the fish. 

Prisoners forced to do hard physical labour/Animals forced to do labour – If you’ve seen an animal pulling a cart either transporting goods or people, it’s the same deal as with prisoners. Often you see animals collapsing because they can’t continue. See hereherehere, for just a few examples of animals collapsing because they can’t handle the labour. You also have pigs forced to find truffles, monkeys forced to get coconuts from trees and more.

Other various mutilations – As part of the experiments during the holocaust, there was bone grafting, amputations and operations done. Currently we sear or cut the beaks from chickens, castrate and remove the tail and teeth of pigs, hack off the horns of cows, rarely (and never by law) are these required with anaesthesia or pain numbing.


A second opinion

You should really read this whole article because it’s extremely powerful, but here’s some of the key points.

Article: Holocaust survivor likens treatment of farm animals to modern-day Shoah

Holocaust survivor Alex Hershaft says he’s horrified by watching history repeat itself.

As an activist, Hershaft — who grew up in a secular Polish Jewish family and was forced to move to the Warsaw Ghetto at the age of 5 — makes the case that by not fighting for animals’ rights, our behavior is akin to that of German citizens who did nothing to stop the mass murder of Jews and other minorities.

“Millions knew about the death camps in their midst but pretended not to notice — just as we pretend not to notice factory farms, slaughterhouses and factories in our neighborhoods,”

As part of his job at an environmental consulting firm, he was sent to inspect a Midwestern slaughterhouse in 1972. There he came across piles of discarded animal body parts — reminding him of memories from the Holocaust.

“I noted with horror the striking similarities between what the Nazis did to my family and my people, and what we do to animals we raise for food: the branding or tattooing of serial numbers to identify victims, the use of cattle cars to transport victims to their death, the crowded housing of victims in wood crates, the arbitrary designation of who lives and who dies — the Christian lives, the Jew dies; the dog lives, the pig dies.”


In summary

When we talk of the holocaust, we aren’t doing it flippantly and there is just cause to name what is happening to animals today as a holocaust. As stated above, the definition of holocaust being mass murder, which is exactly what animal agriculture is – Industrial and systematic slaughter on a global scale being both subsidised by governments and promoted on television and on billboards.

Both are horrific. Both are important to talk about. Both need to be left in our history book.

If you have been brought up to believe we need to consume animals for our survival, it is only natural that it would be offensive to be told that in doing so, you are contributing to something which has many valid comparisons to one of the worst events in human history. Most people’s moral compass would not condone mistreatment of animals, however by denying these comparisons not only are you undermining the value of billions of sentient lives, you are supporting continuation of these most barbaric practices.

ALL animals are the same as humans in every way that matters.

Animals have families, friends and social structures, as we do. 

Animals have preferences in regards to how they would live their lives, as we do.

Animals want to live their life free from harm, as we do.

Animals love, suffer and grieve, as we do.

After what you’ve read above, you can hopefully understand why some vegans make the comparison between the holocaust and animal agriculture. If you don’t see what happens to animals as a problem, would it then become a problem if the victims weren’t cows, but instead were dogs and cats or human men, women and children?

“Go to the nearest cow or pig slaughterhouse and remove the animals and replace them with humans. You have now re-created Birkenau. If you travel back in time and remove the Jews from Birkenau and replace them with cows or pigs, a holocaust is still taking place.”

– Gary Yourofsky

By |2018-03-04T19:53:46+00:00February 5th, 2018|Categories: Featured Blog Post, Spotlight Article|0 Comments

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