The July/August 1992 issue of the magazine Vegetarian Living, published a strongly-worded letter from retired veterinary surgeon Arnold Leese of Hayes about the horrors of Shechita. Under the heading, Brutal, Mr Leese protested thus:
As a committed vegetarian for over 40 years, I am totally opposed to the killing of any animal for the purpose of human consumption. However, I am particularly horrified by the barbaric practice of shechita, the method by which those of the Jewish faith choose to kill poultry and livestock.
In practice, this means that the throat of the animal is slit before it is left hanging upside down to bleed to death. Instead of a quick end, animals that are slaughtered in the name of religion die in writhing agony. In my opinion, this method of slaughter is even more cruel and pointless than ordinary practices.
As a recently-retired veterinary surgeon, I have seen the pain and suffering caused by shechita at first hand. The Jewish authorities have steadfastly refused to allow the animal to be stunned before slaughter because they argue that this would be in strict contravention of their sacred work - the Talmud Torah.
I believe it is high time that these practices be outlawed. I urge all like-minded vegetarians to write to the Chief Rabbi asking him to place a shamta (prohibition) against the barbaric practice of shechita. The address is: Board of Deputies of British Jews, Woburn House, Upper Woburn Place, London WC1H 0EP.
Mr Leese’s plea did not fall on deaf ears; subsequently the Chief Rabbi received over fifty letters of protest from the magazine’s readers. (1)
Mr Leese has changed his tune somewhat since 1983. In its February 18th issue of that year, the Jewish Chronicle reported that he had written a letter to the Romford Observer, which the local paper published the previous month. At that time, he was sitting on the London Board of Shechita.
He has certainly been active since his retirement. Indeed, for a man who received his telegram from the Queen in 1978, his talents are truly remarkable.
In fact, Arnold Spencer Leese M.R.C.V.S. died on January 18th 1956 at the age of 77. (2) He was succeeded as editor of Gothic Ripples by one Anthony Gittens. Gothic Ripples was a hate sheet Leese published from 1945 up until his death. Although he was indeed a veterinary surgeon of some distinction and doubtless did disapprove most strongly of cruelty to animals, Mr Leese’s protests against shechita - he made many in his lifetime - were motivated not by concern for the well-being of our furry friends, but by an all-consuming passionate hatred of, and obsession with, all things Jewish.
Gothic Ripples was subtitled An occasional report on the Jewish Question issued for the Jew-wise by Arnold Leese’s Anti-Jewish Information Bureau. I kid you not. So who was Arnold Leese?
By his own account, Arnold Spencer Leese, the son of an artist, was born in 1878 in Lytham, Lancashire. (3) After qualifying as a vet he became something of an authority on the camel. Leese went to India where he spent six years, five of them working totally on camels. He visited Australia and New Zealand, then became Camel Specialist to the East African Protectorate, now Kenya. Later, in 1928, he published The One-Humped Camel in Health and in Disease . (4)
Enlisting in the British Army for the Great War, he served in France, returned to England as a vet, and retired from private practice in 1928 after working continuously for nine years. (5) It was only after his return to England that he was introduced to the ‘Jewish Menace’ “of which hitherto I had no real knowledge”, by Arthur Kitson. Kitson, a factory owner, was a lifelong advocate of financial reform, and a contemporary of Major Douglas, the founding father of Social Credit. He took Leese along to the Britons, a virulently anti-Semitic publishing company founded by the “anti-Jewish pioneer” and “travelling salesman” of anti-Semitism, Henry Hamilton Beamish.
From the Britons, Leese obtained the Protocols of Zion and, from here on in, it was Jews, Jews, and more Jews. (6) Leese, who claimed that he was 45 before he joined the ranks of the “Jew-wise”, certainly made up for lost time.
Among his many overtly anti-Jewish publications, he published the (inadvertently) hilarious The Legalised Cruelty of Shechita: The Jewish Method of Cattle-Slaughter. (7) I propose to review and comment on this pamphlet in some depth, but first, let’s take a close look at this shechita.
Shechita is the Jewish method of slaughtering animals for food, according to rabbinic law. Animals which have been slaughtered by shechita are considered Kosher, which means simply prepared according to Jewish law. Only meat which is Kosher is considered fit for consumption by Orthodox Jews. Indeed, all food must be prepared as laid down by the Torah, literally “the law”.
Orthodox Jews live under 613 Biblical commandments which regulate every aspect of their lives from how they dress to how they conduct themselves in business to what they may or may not do on the Sabbath. The preparation of meat is no less regulated than any other aspect of their lives. As everyone surely knows, Jews may not consume the flesh of swine; many other meats and fish also are forbidden. Furthermore, if an animal slaughtered for consumption is not slaughtered in a specific way, the meat is considered treifeh. (8) After an animal is slaughtered, the carcass must be inspected. The condition of the lungs is examined, for example, and if they or other parts of the unfortunate beast are found to be below a certain standard or quality, then the meat is considered treifeh. (9) Certain parts of the animal are also forbidden, for example, the fat of the stomach and on the second stomach is forbidden - punishment for violation is divine punishment through premature death! (10)
According to the Shulhan Aruch - the authoritative code of Orthodox Judaism - all are eligible to slaughter in the first instance. In practice though shechita is carried out by a shochet, who is both highly trained and licensed. (11) The shochet’s knife must be razor sharp and is examined between kills. (12)
The principal objection to shechita, Mr Leese notwithstanding, is that the animal is not stunned prior to the kill. Stunning is expressly forbidden by the Torah.
“...a blow to the head is forbidden. Perforation of the brain membranes constitutes one of the eight mutilations which render meat ‘trefah’...” (13)
Also, the blow must be completed without pause, pressure, stabbing, slanting or tearing. It must sever the skin, muscles, oesophagus, trachea, carotid arteries and jugular veins. It is forbidden to eat the meat of animals which exhibit no movement either during or after slaughter. (14)
There are variations on the slaughter of animals by shechita. These are explicitly concerned with how the beast is to be held prior to slaughter. Nowadays, the beast is usually placed in a pen and rotated through 180 degrees, then its throat is cut from ear to ear while its head is secure. This has been described as the cruellest aspect of shechita. (15) As we shall see presently, Mr Leese made a great fuss of the practice of "casting" the animal, ie throwing it to the floor.
Mr Leese aside, a lot of people are genuinely offended by the suggestion of ritual slaughter. Many vegetarians become vegetarians out of a general feeling of abhorrence towards cruelty to animals as much as for cranky “health” reasons. However, slaughtering animals by any method is not a pleasant sight. In 1987 the Council of Christians and Jews published an eight page pamphlet (written by Joan Lawrence) on shechita which, unlike Mr Leese, takes an unhysterical look at the subject. It points out, among other things that “It is...solely [the] drastic, blood-letting aspect of Shechita...which arouses emotional prejudice.” (16)
The pamphlet continues: “Jewish and Moslem methods [of slaughter] are often described as ‘cut-throat’, which is...an accurate description, but [one] which [holds] ’criminal’ overtones...[for many people.]” (17)
Or even mystical overtones: writing in 1938, 2 years before his pamphlet attacking shechita, Mr Leese published another pamphlet on ritual slaughter - human rather than humane slaughter! In Jewish Ritual Murder, he asserted that ritual murder was “...the dynamite which finally blew the Jew out of England in 1290...” (18)
Returning to the world of the sane, Joan Lawrence continues:
“...any method of slaughter...is a distressing business.” as indeed it is. “...it is unpleasant to the beholder, and there is bound to be a strong emotional reaction on the part of the spectator.” (19)
As indeed there is, unless you’re a blood-crazed Jewish ritual slaughterman of course! However, if you want to eat meat, that is the price: the cold-blooded slaughter and butchering of God’s creatures. Think about that next time you order a bacon sandwich at your local Kosher delicatessen. Okay, the scene is set, let us return now to the realm of the Jew-wise.
On page 3 of his pamphlet, Leese reproduces a photograph of an unfortunate beast strung up by its left hind leg with its throat cut. A man, presumably a shochet, is standing over it and appears to be saying a benediction.
On page 4, Leese takes umbrage that animals killed for the food of Jews or Mahomedans need not be stunned under the Slaughter of Animals Act, 1933. Mahomedans though, while not totally civilised (ie white) will willingly waive their religious objections to stunning provided the throat is cut immediately afterwards. Which, doubtless, is a great comfort to the cow. In any case, stunning ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. As late as 1986, one authority wrote:
“Electric stunning as carried out in this country at the present time is clearly a farce. The vast majority of the animals on which this barbaric practice is inflicted are probably just paralysed, but remain fully conscious of the electric shock in addition to the subsequent shackling, hoisting and sticking.” The author asks pointedly, “Is this preferable to Shechita?” (20)
On page 5, Leese maintains that only one animal society has put up any real fight against the Jews. [Ie against shechita]. Britain should do justice to its own bullocks! Yes, Arnold, keep taking the tablets, but didn’t we have enough bullocks already? Some might say you were all bullocks. Of course, wherever the Chosen Race rear their ugly heads, there arises also their terrible power of the purse. (21) In other words, it’s the Jewish conspiracy at work again. These animal societies receive large subscriptions from Jews to prevent their taking up the matter seriously, says Leese. (22)
This is an extraordinary claim and is typical of the perverted reasoning of Leese and his fellow travellers. Jews donate large sums to animal societies = proof of Jewish evil! Couldn’t it just be that certain persons of the Jewish religion/race abhor cruelty to animals even more than they do? (23) In fact, the RSPCA was actually founded by a Jew, while the Jewish religion instructs its followers in kindness to animals, thus:
“A man is forbidden to eat before he gives food to his beast, since it says, And I will give grass in thy fields for thy cattle, and then thou shalt eat and be satisfied”. (24)
(This refers specifically to feeding one’s oxen when ploughing; admittedly not a common occurrence nowadays, but it’s the thought that counts).
While tractate Baba Mezia contains a long discussion about relieving the suffering of dumb animals, including the following:
“[If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under its burden and wouldst forbear to help him,] thou shalt...surely help with him”. (25)
Shechita is in fact sanctioned as the most humane method of slaughter. Probably total decapitation and lethal injection are more humane still, but the former is impractical and the latter not possible if meat is for human consumption.
Shechita involves cutting the throat from ear to ear without previous stunning and letting the animal bleed to death. Sounds gruesome, as indeed it is; send the poor blighter back to the farm and have a vegeburger instead.
On page 8, Leese says that words fail him; how could anyone suggest that shechita is painless? A 12 inch throat wound must be painful, he says, even for cattle, although many physiologists and vets have defended shechita. The logical explanation for this, in Mr Leese’s eyes at any rate, is that they have all been bribed by the Jews. I wish I could find some of this Jewish pelf myself, but the only Jews I know are skint!
Although he may not have written a treatise on the one-humped camel, (I thought they were called dromedaries!), L.M. Gerlis also has letters after his name, considerably more than barmy Arnie in fact, for while Arnold Spencer Leese was a mere M.R.C.V.S., the full title of the other gent is L.M. Gerlis MB, BS, MRCS, LRCP, FRCPath. He is a consultant cardiac pathologist who in a symposium on humane slaughter of animals for food held in September 1986, had this to say about shechita:
“The efficiency of the Shochetim is invariably conceded.”
“Instances of failed cuts undoubtedly do occur but they are very rare indeed; an incompetent Shochet would soon have his licence withdrawn."
And, “...the animals concerned show none of the usual reactions indicating pain.” (26)
“...the spasms that occur after death is a reflex due to lack of oxygen in the brain and happens when the animal is deeply unconscious...”
As Mr Leese was undoubtedly aware, but had he admitted it he would have one thing less to hate the Jews for.
If it is not painful, why are criminals not executed like this instead of hanged? (27) He cites a 1904 report by the Admiralty Committee, a report which, he claims, was endorsed by two physiologists, as undoubtedly it was. In this case, these two medical experts were of the opinion that “shechita does not free the animal from unnecessary pain, and that it should not be permitted under any establishment under government control.”
But what if the Jews control the government, as Mr Leese believed?
And who were these two physiologists, fellow travellers of Mr Leese perhaps? Almost certainly not; medicine is not an exact science, and differences of opinion as well as dissent should be welcomed. The only way we will ever know for certain if a slaughtered beast experiences "unnecessary pain" is to ask it. Clearly this would be a fruitless exercise, for cattle cannot talk even with their throats intact, but, one fancies, if they could talk, they would remark that shechita, and indeed all forms of slaughter, cause unnecessary pain, as the act of slaughter is itself unnecessary. But what about my roast beef?
Now Mr Leese returns to the method of positioning the beast, which in his day was “casting”.
First it is ‘cast’ ie thrown to the floor. This can be painful - indiarubber [sic] or straw mattresses have been employed but are not in general use.
Especially the India rubber mattress; what if the cow were to bounce off it and hit the ceiling? Mr Leese’s silliness knows no bounds.
The 1904 report was, Leese infers, suppressed by...yes, those people, in spite of its aforementioned endorsement by at least two medical authorities. While, in 1933, 500 Dutch vets condemned shechita as unjustifiable. 605 questionnaires were sent out, and 500 were returned. This does seem a suspiciously high return rate for a questionnaire, furthermore the author does not reference his source, so it must be suspect.
The method, says Arnold, has been outlawed in Norway, Sweden and Finland and parts of Germany. It is now totally prohibited under Nazi rule. Hitler was of course known first and foremost as an abstemious vegetarian who loved children and animals.
But to Hell with the abolitionists, what about the apologists? On page 7, Leese lists Sir W. Bayliss, “but with a name like that, and a father called Moses, it is not altogether surprising” !!!
Of course, it is not simply the Jews’ innate cruelty which leads them to practice shechita, they have a far more terrestrial reason: it’s a cover for a typical Jewish money-making racket, enter the secret Kosher meat tax! (28)
The Kosher tax on food is a staple of anti-Semitic propaganda. Like the Protocols and the Blood Libel, no matter how many times it is refuted, it won’t lie down. Although we live very much in the age of oligopoly, the food business is still largely a free market, at least as free as is any market nowadays. There is no reason to believe it was less free in the 1930s than today, (although the consumer certainly didn’t have as wide a choice). As any Libertarian will tell you:
Citing the Jewish Chronicle, 15th June, 1934, Mr Leese lists 21 Jewish charities which benefitted from the shochets’ fees.
The sums involved range from £130 for the Jewish Board of Guardians and Talmud Torah Schools to, among others, £3.3s for Sewing Society for Clothing Jewish Poor.
Now, let us assume that it is indeed a racket, this raises several problems for Mr Leese. The first is that he and his fellow travellers believe that the Jews control all the food supplies anyway, so if they have a total monopoly, why bother to institute a secret tax? Why not instead just raise the price of food? After all, they have the gullible goyim over a barrel.
Secondly, if the invisible Kosher tax is levied on all food, then how come there are Kosher delicatessens and restaurants in Jewish areas of Britain and the United States? If all food is Kosher, then Orthodox Jews must eat Kosher Kosher!
Thirdly, if the Jews control the money, the banks etc, why bother donating anything to charity? Surely they could just expand the money supply or draw cheques on themselves like the bankers do?
Fourthly, why are there such things as Jewish charities? And look at the sums involved. The largest is £150. Even at 1940 prices that was not an enormous sum of money. And £3.3s for clothing the Jewish poor? (29)
Mr Leese and his friends are not totally wrong on the money issue; many of the international banks were indeed once owned lock, stock and barrel by Jews. (And to this day many of them still have Jewish names, Rothschild being the most notable). The great fallacy of course is that because there are a few (or even a lot of) rich Jews, that they must all be rich. Very likely the natives of “liberated” Zimbabwe say the same thing about us whites. (30) The fact that there are three million (mostly) white people “signing on” in Britain alone probably never occurs to them. Mr Leese and company reason that when rich Jews donate money to the poor Jews, it’s a conspiracy. When rich, white Gentiles donate money to poor whites, it’s racial idealism. And, of course, when the money goes to non-whites, it’s “liberalism”, another result of Jewish influences, no doubt.
On page 11, Leese suggests that shechita can be stopped by sending animal inspectors into the slaughter houses to watch over the disposal of the carcasses. If they are not disposed of exactly according to Talmudic law, the filthy racket can be stamped out.
But the final insult is his claim that the Jews did not even invent shechita; they stole it from the ancient Egyptians. Thus they are damned both ways, as evil cut-throats and as plagiarists! The Jews have never invented anything: except communism and usury of course.
All this is not to say that Mr Leese favours treating Jews with any more consideration and humanity than that which he would have them show towards animals. Perish the thought! In 1935 he wrote:
“It must be admitted that the most certain and most permanent way of disposing of the Jews would be to exterminate them by some humane method such as the lethal chamber.” !!! (31)
And, after the Second World War, he lamented that no such thing had actually happened. Writing in his anti-Jewish hate sheet, the aforementioned, Gothic Ripples, he said of “The Six Million Lie”:
“[This] has never been tackled by Gothic Ripples because we take the view that we would have liked Hitler even better if the figure had been larger; we are so ’obsessed with anti-semitism’ that we believe that as long as the destruction was done in a humane manner, it was to the advantage of everyone...if it had been true.” !!! (32)
Last, but by no means least, on page 12 of the current work, the author lists “Carefully Selected Books for the fight against democracy and the Jews”
This list includes his own works Disraeli the Destroyer, Bolshevism is Jewish and Jewish Ritual Murder. Oh, and, of course, that perennial favourite, the Protocols of Zion. Salt beef sandwich, anyone?
Having dealt at length with the Jew-wise, let us now take a look at the genuinely ideological opposition to shechita, the animal rights movement. While only a sadist or a deviant would condone gratuitous cruelty to sentient creatures, the concept of animal rights goes far beyond that of cleaning the budgie’s cage regularly, watering sheep in transit and training attack dogs with kindness rather than with the boot and stick. (33)
The animal rights movement shares ideological roots with the “environmentalist” movement, [which itself is not to be confused with the science of ecology]. Both movements are uncompromisingly anti-capitalistic, ie collectivist, the latter having been accurately described by Libertarian Alliance Director Chris Tame as “a fundamentally wicked and inhumane movement...” and a far more sinister threat to human freedom than communism ever was.’
According to Tame, the [Deep] Greens make no secret of the fact that to them, human beings are like a cancer on the face of the Earth, and for many of them, five billion mouths to feed is four billion, or even five billion too many. The real aim of the Deep Greens is the mass subversion of individual rights. (34)
Does the animal rights movement go quite that far? Let me tell you a story. More years ago than I care to remember, c1976, I was walking down London’s Oxford Street when I passed two young girls who were handing out leaflets, probably outside a fur store or more likely a chain store that sold fur coats; they were campaigning against fur coats, as was evinced by a couple of cartoons which either appeared on the leaflet or on a placard they were exhibiting, probably on both. One of them - and in spite of the passage of so many years, I remember it well - one of them showed a fat, obviously upper class woman standing in the front of a shop while a servile assistant said to her: “Your fur coat is nearly ready, Madam.”
The punchline was that someone else in the back of the shop was holding a club over a cherubic-looking baby seal which he was obviously just about to bludgeon to death. As I’ve always liked sick humour (in its place) I roared at this. The two girls asked me if I thought this was funny; naturally I replied that I did, whereupon they proceeded to tell me exactly what they thought of me and how they’d like to give me the same treatment the man in the cartoon was about to give the seal. If they’d laughed with me I’d probably have put a few coins in their box. Of course I didn’t find it funny, not in that sense, but I hope you get my point. Which is that many of these so-caring “animal rights” campaigners who literally wince at the mere thought of cruelty to animals, would have not the slightest compunction about bashing in my head, or your head, or anybody else’s head merely for daring to laugh out of turn. There is also a lesson to be learned here.
In spite of the noise at times bordering on hysteria which is made by Organised Jewry worldwide and their dupes, allies and fellow travellers, about the likes of Arnold Leese, such nutters (and that is what they are) have never been able to muster any popular support, nor will they ever. (35) In short, they are no threat to shechita much less to the Jews. This is simply because they are recognised as such, (nutters), by anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear, and their poison is recognised for what it is, (poison). However, the poison of the environmentalist/animal rights lobbies is not generally recognised for what it is. Consider the following statements:
“The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable, but a good thing...”
This was part of an editorial in the Economist, December 28, 1988. While no less a luminary than Prince Philip has stated that if he were reincarnated, he would wish to return as a “killer virus to lower human population levels.” (36)
In the first instance one might ask that if the human species were to become extinct, who exactly would this be good for? While in the second, which population does the good Duke intend to lower, the population of Buckingham Palace, perhaps? I think not.
The reader may like to comfort himself with the thought that I am taking these two quotes out of context, but I can assure him that I am not. The writings of the Earth-first, animals-before-people lobby are peppered with similar genocidal ravings. While we’re on the subject of genocide, can you imagine the furore there would be if one of Arnold Leese’s successors were to stand up and publicly state such a thing about Jews, ie that it would be a good thing if they were to become extinct? Or even if an Israeli politician were to state publicly that he would like to be reincarnated as a killer virus so as to solve the Palestinian problem once and for all? Nuff said! To paraphrase a well-known saying, with enemies like Arnold Leese and the animal rights lobby, does shechita need friends? So let’s take a brief look at “animal rights”.
Arnold Leese’s claim that animal societies receive large subscriptions from Jews to prevent their taking up the matter seriously is partly correct.
Lewis Gompertz, (1784-1861), was a bit of an eccentric. Gompertz, who came from a distinguished family, was an inventor, and made a significant contribution to light engineering when he developed the expanding chuck, a device which is still in use to this day. However, his practicality aside, Mr Gompertz’s all-consuming passion was the welfare of animals; he has rightly been described as the first animal rights activist. (37) He became a vegan before the word was coined, and refused to ride in a horse drawn carriage because he was of the opinion, not widely shared even now, that no animal should be obliged to perform any work which was not directly beneficial to itself. (38)
Gompertz founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1824, and served as its Secretary until 1832 when he was ousted from his post because of his lack of “Christian Principles”. Make of that what you will. (39)
He went on to found the Animals’ Friends Society, and edited its journal, Animals’ Friends or the Progress of Humanity. In 1824, he published Moral Inquiries, possibly the first ever serious treatise on animal rights. A very fragile copy of this work is held in the British Library. I will return to it in earnest later, but here it will suffice to point out that the author refers to the boiling alive of lobsters and other shellfish as an enormous crime! (40)
Like the early “feminists” who were not anti-male, and the early socialists who were not only fiercely patriotic but even - horror of horrors - overtly racist, the original campaigners for animal rights were an entirely different breed from their modern successors. (Lewis Gompertz in particular appears to have been a remarkable man).
A random walk through a few issues of Turning Point: The Animal Rights Magazine, will serve to illustrate this.
Issue no 6, Winter 1986/7. On page 2 we are told that Christmas is responsible for
How the suffering and death of 13 million turkeys this Christmas will mean big money for someone.”
While on page 7, it is revealed that:
“In a series of raids right across England the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) have rescued over 100 hens from factory farms.”
For “rescued over 100 hens” read instead “we stole their chickens!” Indeed, most issues of the magazine are replete with stories of the “liberation” of chickens. (What happens to “liberated” chickens, one wonders, do they end up on somebody’s table?)
The previous issue, No 5 Autumn 1986, engages in all the usual Marxist piffle and dross about “Imperialism” thus, “...the ’developed countries’ are rich and overfed because they exploit the poor and hungry ‘under-developed countries.’” (41)
The truth is that without Imperialism many of these countries would still be living in the Stone Age, to which they will unquestionably soon return unless they shake off the shackles of their “liberators” and adopt market economies.
Like all good revolutionary magazines, Turning Point empathises with the “oppressed” peoples of the world, so it should come as no surprise when it praises communist China as a “shining example in the elimination of hunger of its people.” (42)
And after Tiananmen Square there were two thousand fewer hungry mouths to feed!
So much for concern for “animal rights”; the same people who condemn the butchers of chickens praise the butchers of their fellow human beings, as long as they are “anti-fascist”, “anti-racist” butchers of course.
If the publishers of Turning Point fail to see the irony and hypocrisy of their Weltanschauung, then the author of Animal Liberation fails to appreciate just how silly his sounds. Indeed, Mr Singer takes himself extremely seriously, thus in his weighty tome he implores the reader to “...recognize that your attitudes to members of other species are a form of prejudice no less objectionable than prejudice about a person’s race or sex.” ! (43)
Of course, the entire concepts of racism and sexism are overt nonsense, especially the latter. Most women for example, might find it rather irksome if there were to be absolutely no discrimination based on sex and they were forced to use the same toilets as men. (44)
Though it is perhaps not quite as evil as racism, specieism is something which is most definitely to be eliminated. Yes, I did say specieism.
“Most human beings are specieists.” says Mr Singer. (45) And, “To avoid specieism we must allow that beings who are similar in all relevant respects have a similar right to life...” (46)
Just how similar is a Jersey cow to a human being, even one as bovine as Mr Singer? The mind boggles. The author even devotes an entire chapter to this imaginary psychological ailment. Chapter 6 is called Specieism Today...!
Like those other evils, racism and sexism, specieism must be eradicated by catching them young. And the “wimmin’s” movement is leading the way:
“Recognizing the importance of the attitudes we form when young, the feminist movement has succeeded in fostering the growth of a new children’s literature, in which brave princesses occasionally rescue helpless princes, and girls play the central, active roles that used to be reserved for boys.” (47)
Of course, the “anti-racist” lobby has long been engaging in a similar campaign to rewrite history; fabulous, ancient civilisations have sprung up in black Africa; a considerable feat when one considers that the African did not even aspire to a written language or inventing the wheel. The fallacy of racism though, as pointed out by Ayn Rand, is that it judges the individual by the group, (not necessarily by his or her race).
“A genius is a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race - and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of geniuses who share his racial origin.” (48)
Mr Singer is obviously no genius. However, the High Priestess of Libertarianism makes it clear that she is talking about human beings, and doubtless she would be horrified if she thought such noble ideals were to be applied to lower life forms. Mr Singer though is quite unabashed. Oscillating between the Negrophilistic fantasies of the Boas school of “cultural” anthropology and the Spare Rib List of Non-Sexist Children’s Books (49), he doesn’t quite suggest that we should extend the franchise to Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, Rin Tin Tin and Champion the Wonder Horse, but the idea is undeniably in his mind. Certainly he calls for “extension of equality to nonhumans.” (50) He refers to animals throughout the book as nonhumans [sic] and nonhuman animals, but not as nonhuman persons, thankfully.
Fortunately, Mr Singer is not in any sense a militant, he condemns unconditionally the Animal Rights Militia, who in 1982 sent letter-bombs to then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and the woman who planted a bomb outside the offices of the US Surgical Corporation in 1988. Unfortunately, he then goes on to praise America race agitator Martin Luther King, and Indian “pacifist” Mahatma Gandhi (page xiii). (51) King of course was a willing puppet of the comrades who, as always, are more interested in class war than in black liberation [sic]. His 1964 Nobel Peace Prize [sic] and subsequent assassination elevated him to martyrdom, but unless they are blinded by misplaced dealism, future hagiographers will record that he was also a notorious womaniser, a plagiarist, and, if not a communist, a fellow traveller. (52) As for Gandhi, when he visited the South African Republic his “idealism” did not extend to campaigning on behalf of the blacks. (53)
This then is the “ideological” opposition to shechita and all forms of cruelty to animals. Again we may ask, with enemies like these, does shechita need friends?
In spite of the dross churned out by the animal rights lobby, the issue is a serious one. Consider the following:
One issue of Turning Point reports that sheep exported from Britain to Spain, (a slaughterhouse near Barcelona) were taken straight off a truck and hung upside down. Their throats were stabbed rather than cut, inexpertly and without stunning, for they wriggled for over two minutes. They were then inflated with air, apparently to make skinning easier, and, apparently, while still alive. The magazine backed up its claims with photo graphic evidence, and claimed that the scene had been videoed. (54)
Then there is the use of animals in medical research. Entrepreneur Anita Roddick built her Body Shop empire on the concept of beauty without cruelty. Leaving aside cosmetics, the use of animals in laboratory experiments to determine the causes of certain diseases, to test out vaccines etc, is not an appealing thought. Some of these animals will be injected with the AIDS virus, with hepatitis, or even with leprosy. Obviously the use of humans in such experiments, even convicted serial killers on Death Row, would nowadays be totally unacceptable, but leaving aside the ethical issues arising out of causing such horrendous suffering to animals, even in such a noble cause as finding a cure for such a terrible disease as AIDS, there is another and far more serious issue here, at least according to the anti-vivisection lobby.
Turning Point regularly carries full page advertisements for the National Anti-Vivisection Society, which claims that rather than advancing science as its apologists would have us believe, misleading animal experiments have set back medicine, often with alarming results. Blood transfusions were delayed 200 years; corneal transplants were delayed for nearly 90 years; digitalis, a drug discovered without animal experiments, causes dangerously high blood pressure in dogs but not in man.
And it is not only medical researchers and slaughtermen who treat animals with less humanity than a “progressive” society like ours should. In 1987, the RSPCA put down no less than 61,615 dogs and 52,343 cats out of a total of 134,150 animals. The same year there were 1805 convictions for cruelty to animals including 26 jail sentences. (55)
While down on the farm, things are hardly any better. In April 1986, a farm animal welfare group [sic] reported, among other things, that with regard to the routine emasculation of animals, during the first week of life, a rubber ring or other device may be fitted to constrict the flow of blood to the scrotum by an unqualified person and without an anaesthetic! (56) Animals may also be hot-branded, castrated, subject to chemical cauterisation, calves may have their tongues amputated...while the castration of pigs to avoid “the problems of taint”, is seen as a matter of consumer preference. (57) Magnanimously, nearly a third of those answering a questionnaire, thought anaesthetics should be a legal requirement when castrating cattle, and a quarter when castrating pigs and sheep. (58)
Think how this sounds: we’re going to chop your balls off because the people who are going to eat you object to the way you smell. Unfortunately, you’ve only got a one in four chance of this happening under anaesthetic, but don’t worry, we’re not going to cut your tongue out too. Right Giles, hand me those secateurs!
Let us return now to Lewis Gompertz, the founder of both the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (later the R.S.P.C.A.) and the Animals’ Friends Society. Gompertz was a man who, Arnold Leese would have us believe, donated large sums of money to animals’ welfare not out of idealism but in order to stifle the campaign against shechita. For Leese, the Jew was the epitome of evil, the Devil Incarnate. (59)
However, when one reads Gompertz, one finds not a wild-eyed, fanatical animal “liberation” activist, but the quiet reason of a highly cultured man deeply concerned for the suffering of all sentient creatures. Okay, laugh at his reference to the boiling alive of shellfish as an enormous crime, but can one reasonably argue with Gompertz when he says that people are so accustomed to seeing a horse whipped on its almost bare skin that they don’t give it a second thought? That horses are in fact tyrannised by coachmen, or that cattle are treated with unrestrained barbarity?
“It is strange that persons who would shudder at the idea of even seeing a human being flogged, think nothing of witnessing or even of inflicting themselves the like punishment on dumb animals.” (60)
And, however much people may genuinely be revolted by the Jewish method of cattle slaughter, how much more revolted must they be by the then contemporary Portuguese method:
“One of the modes pursued here with oxen is represented to be that of striking them several times on their heads, with a heavy and slender-headed hammer, sometimes unskilfully, till it is completely buried in the skull, the hammer being then taken out of the wound and a stick introduced in its place, and further pressed into the brains, which are stirred about with this stick, when the agony of the beast becomes apparent by the groans it utters.” (61)
Human beings are, we are constantly being reminded, the highest product of evolution. If we are, then surely we should show more compassion to lower life forms than this quite terrible brutalisation.
Orthodox Jewish authorities believe, probably correctly, that shechita is the most humane method of slaughtering animals for food. (62) Of course, the very phrase “humane slaughter” is a contradiction in terms, but while we still consume the flesh of animals, and otherwise benefit from their enforced suffering, we would do well to reflect on the words of Lewis Gompertz. Although he was writing over a century and a half ago, he is still some way ahead of most of us.
On Wednesday, January 13, 1993, I visited the Jewish Vegetarian Society by prior arrangement, where Honorary Secretary Shirley Labelda supplied me with some more background information on Judaism and animal rights. And vegetarianism of course! The Jewish Vegetarian Society is based in Golders Green (where else, oy vay!), in an impressive but by no means ostentatious house at 853/5 Finchley Road. The Society is neither exclusively Jewish nor exclusively vegetarian; it has many non-Jewish members, and non-vegetarians can become associate members. (63) Unlike the offices of the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Chronicle, there is no paranoia about security, although a message on the inside of the door warns that it should be kept locked at all times because there have been a number of break-ins in the area. (Anti-Semitic burglars?)
The Society is obviously not on first name terms with the Learned Elders of Zion because its office is modest and has a couple of semi-modern typewriters in lieu of state-of-the-art 486 IBM compatibles, and a photocopier which is anything but state-of-the-art. The Secretary is anything but a conspiratorial type, and she was most helpful to this inquisitive goy. When I mentioned the Arnold Leese letter to Vegetarian Living she did not at first recall either the letter or its “author”, but then dismissed him as a nut. As surely he was.
The Society has about 2,500 members in Britain; 1,000 in the USA organised in chapters; and 600-700 in Israel. It also has members in South Africa, Australia and Europe. Its dining room has been closed since September 1992 because it was not being patronised.
The idea that Judaism was the first faith to promote animal welfare as a religious tenet is hardly controversial, but the suggestion that meat, any meat, must be non-Kosher and therefore unfit for a Jew to eat did not go down at all well with my good friend Rabbi Cohen. Shirley Labelda said that before the time of Noah it was a sin to eat meat, indeed, according to the Bible, it was a capital offence to kill an animal! (64) Various leaflets put out by the Society claim that although there is a separate blessing for all types of foods (which Orthodox Jews must say before eating), there is none for flesh foods. “[S]omething that has been slaughtered cannot be blessed.”
As well as being “disproportionately represented” as communists, capitalists, gangsters, movie moguls and Nobel Prize winners, not to mention rabbis, a higher percentage of Jews than non-Jews become vegetarians. Four percent of the Israeli population is said to be vegetarian. (It must be the sight of all that Palestinian blood). Then there are all the usual supposed health reasons for giving up meat: accumulation of toxins higher up the food chain etc. I wouldn’t take issue with any of the Jewish Vegetarian Society’s blurb, certainly it is idealistic and well-meaning, but I can’t help wondering what Arnold Leese would have made of it. Another Jewish money-making racket, no doubt. Have you seen the price of soya futures?
Oy vay! So you think Cohen is wicked? You should see how Lopez prepares his Sunday roast!
The most obscene thing about bull fighting is not that it involves the slow, sadistic and quite brutal torturing to death of dumb animals, but that it is considered both a national sport and a tourist attraction. There are approximately thirty publications listed in the British Library on-line catalogue on the subject of bull fighting, probably none more obscene than Bullfighting by M.T. Newton. (65)
This particular piece of illustrated Iberian sadism comes with a tape and a series of gruesome slides. It has a Cup shelfmark. (66)
Mr Newton tells us that a large percentage of foreign tourists attend the bullfights and that the task of the picador is “to weaken the animal’s shoulders with his long pike.” (67) As well as the picador there are banderilleros (barb-throwers) who stick barbed spears into the animal.
The picador rides a horse, which is padded to protect it, and blindfolded to stop the poor beast having a heart attack.
“In former times, before this protection became standard practice, many horses died cruel deaths in the ring.” And the bulls still do!
Alas, el torro is “inevitably always the loser”. Inevitably and always. After being tortured for a full twenty minutes, the bull is dispatched with a single accurate thrust of the matador’s sword between its shoulder blades, a thrust which is by no means always accurate, so the poor creature does not always die instantly. This whole obscene spectacle is described as “artistic”.
The “entertainment” at this particular ring lasts for a full two hours, during which a total of six bulls are butchered by three matadors, two each. Needless to say, the crowd roars olé at a good performance. Good for whom? The author does not say that the bulls are drugged to slow down their reflexes, but he does say that after an outstanding performance [sic] a matador will do a lap of honour. (68) He does not explain what if anything is considered honourable about such an act of wanton sadism.
Just as it is wrong to condemn all Jews or even all Israelis for the crimes and atrocities of Zionism, (or all men for rape), so one should not condemn all Spaniards for the sins of their bloodthirsty countrymen. Dissenting voices are not often heard above the olés of the beer-swilling English tourists, but they are there.
Also in the British Library is to be found a small collection of Anti-bull-fighting propaganda, in the unbound pamphlets series. (69)
LA TORTURA...NO ES ARTE NI CULTURA
ABOLICION DE LAS CORRIDAS DE TOROS
Torture is not art?
Abolish the torture of bulls?
A Spanish language magazine is full of gory black and white photos of this obscenity. Fortunately, there have not yet been reported any anti-Spanish pogroms, there is no mention of the Spanish world conspiracy, and no suggestion that anti-Spanitic groups are organising boycotts of Spanish wine and pasta.
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