Tonight i found this article accusing PETA of failing to recognise the spiritual greatness of human beings but the esteemed Rabbi who had written this article which is a point of view which is very familiar to me from having spoken to several Orthodox Rabbis about treatment of animals and how animals and human beings interact, is that animals are lower and human being are higher but before you read this article written by the esteemed Rabbi celebrating humanity and the great spirit of humanity , ask yourself ;
Who makes wars in the world?
Who abuses children and animals?
Who is destroying the planet for greed ?
Who murders and destroys and steals ?
What ecological damage does the meat industry cause?
What benefits humanity more? Destroying the planet through global warming ( 40% caused by CO2 from animals raised for meat) , inhumane treatment of other living beings or being vegan?
Animals or Human beings ?
If you read the newspaper on any given day, would you read about a cow who murdered another cow or a pig who had raped a baby pig or a sheep who had stolen another sheep’s land ?
And since i have no doubt you will not find such headlines of animals committing violent crimes against other animals or human beings, then ask yourself, why is that human beings are still viewed as SUPERIOR morally or otherwise?
Yes, human beings seem to possess a higher intelligence but how is this higher intelligence used and for which purpose ?
PETA activists use their human intelligence and COMPASSION to help those whose voices are not heard and who do not have political power , so i would conclude that there are human beings that do in fact show superior qualities of caring for others and a high level of compassion and emotional intelligence but those usually do not speak on behalf of a god that is represented by organised religion but they act out of a moral conclusion and a need to act out of an ability to see the injustice crimes committed on animals and labelled innocently as the meat industry not the murder industry, pharmacology rather than experiments on living beings unable to escape , etc.
Moral Superiority is proven according to Judaism by deeds not only words then why are so many religious leaders so blind to the suffering of animals whose screams they do not seem to hear and their torture they do not seem to see?
But the one thing that has stuck with me is being appalled by any mistreatment or abuse of animals. I would learn later on in my yeshiva years that the Torah prohibits such mistreatment (tza’ar ba’alei chayimin Talmudic terminology) amongst its Biblical commandments.
Personal confession: Even as a red-blooded, meat-eating American, I check the PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) website almost every week, and enjoy doing so. Much of their animal advocacy has led to positive changes in the world of animal welfare and I am fascinated with their undercover journalism. But over time I began to detect an unspoken, yet ever-present, wholly unkosher component of PETA’s ideology.
Biblically speaking, human beings are the caretakers of the Earth (see Genesis 1:26), and as such are obliged to care and show compassion for the vulnerable creatures and the environment around them. We may eat animals, as long as we slaughter humanely, and we may utilize animals for their brute strength or soft pelts if needed. But we can never needlessly abuse them.
PETA thinks otherwise. In PETA’s eyes it’s not enough to exercise compassion when utilizing animals for the good of mankind. Even the most humane slaughter is barbaric. This same blanket castigation goes for the usage of any and all animal sourced products as well, no matter however humanely they may have been procured, and no matter how necessary they may be for mankind. Why? Because they view human beings and animals as essentially the same. The murder of a person or a pig is murder, and no necessity can ever justify murder.
PETA’s ideology was on full display in its 2003 ad campaign “Holocaust on your Plate,” in which billboards compared Holocaust imagery with imagery of modern agricultural practices. In one ad, a billboard is split between a picture of Jewish children in a concentration camp, all donning prisoner outfits and standing behind barbed wire, and another picture of young pigs peering through bars in a kennel of sorts. The title on top: “Baby Butchers.”
In another ad, we see a picture of severely emaciated men lying down in concentration camp barracks as well as a snapshot of chickens enclosed in coops. The title: “To Animals, All People Are Nazis.”
PETA is known for their affinity of shock value advertising, meant to awaken sensibilities and garner publicity, but underneath lies the ideological comparability of human and animal suffering and of human and animal death.
PETA recently released a new video featuring the voice and words of rapper RZA entitled “We’re Not Different in Any Important Way.” Over a video of human faces slowly morphing into one another and eventually into the faces of animals, RZA speaks these words:
We are all the same, in all the ways that matter. It doesn’t matter what we look like, how old we are, what language we speak, or who we love. It doesn’t matter if we have fur or feathers or fins, the length of our nose or the number of legs. We are not different in any important way. We all have thoughts and feelings. We all feel love and pain and loneliness and joy. We can all understand but we are not always understanding. We experience ourselves as separate from the rest, but none of us deserves to be treated with less respect. Our task must be to break free from prejudice, and to see ourselves in everyone else
At the end of the video these words appear on the screen: “Face it: Inside every body, there is a person.”
In PETA’s eyes humans are truly not “different in any important way,” and inside every animal “is a person.” This is equating human with animal at its finest. And if one believes that a person is no different than an animal, then this video makes a valid point. For without a divine soul, “the superiority of man over beast is nought, for all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes, 3:19). And if we are, at essence, all the same, as PETA suggests, what rights have we over the animals? (And the opposite could be argued as well. If we are animals at our core, why behave any differently than an animal?)
Judaism believes that man is very different than animal. It is only the human being, created with a divine soul, who is made in God’s image and is responsible to rise above instinct and make moral decisions. It is precisely due to man’s distinct nature that makes him responsible to care for the vulnerable beasts around him, rather than take advantage of them – something practically unheard of in the animal kingdom. For unlike the animals in the forests, jungles and ranches, it is only man who is endowed with the consciousness to consider what is right and what is wrong and the free will to act upon that knowledge.
Ironically, it is PETA’s very concern for animals that speaks to the soul of man, the very thing that indeed separates and elevates him from the cow, the pig and the fish, and the very reason that man is given responsible dominion over the earth and all of its creatures.
Here is my reply to the Rabbi’s article;
Dear Rabbi Y. Robkin,
I think what you wrote is fascist for the following reasons ;
Animals are not some objects to be used and according to the Yiddish writer Yitzchak Beshevis singer , and i quote his words “For the animals every day is Trablinka and Auswtiz” and whether you like to read this or not , the Nazis did in fact model their concentration camps on farms and the way farm animals were and still are treated .
Your fondness of mankind has no basis in a world where people are cruel and as a very honest Rabbi Lau , a holocaust survivor and the chief Rabbi of Israel, had clearly stated ;”There are human beings that are on a level way below animals, like the Nazis” and lets be honest , dear Rabbi, who is murdering and torturing in this world?
Animals do not destroy hundreds of thousands of lives but your human beings whom you consider are on such a high level .
The problem with religion and Judaism in particular ,is this blindness to how low human beings can and do sink in every day life .
The point of view which you hold makes you BLIND to the suffering of animals and also children who undergo abuse and anyone who does not have political power . The worst treatment of animals is by people who see them as objects not as living beings created by G-d.
If you lack criticism of human beings and do not see their flaws then you are in danger of supporting the inhumanity of human beings.
PETA activists are saintly beings who listen to the screams of those living beings you call chicken soup and meat but are tortured dead bodies and are not blind and deaf to the suffering of those who lack political power to save themselves from the destruction and torture by human beings.
If you can not find any flaws in murderous violent acts such as those of slaughtering and abusing animals , and instead of speaking against violence and abuse of animals, you justify it because human beings are on such a higher level then you are as guilty as those who commit these acts because if people were indeed on a higher level the very thoughts of slaughtering animals in a world where there are so many other options to choose in order to survive , would never occur to them.