Guilt and Responsibility: Lessons from the Holocaust

If you shoot a person dead, you are rightly held accountable for their death. What happens though if you press a button to initiate a machine that shoots a person, are you just as responsible? How accountable are you if you are in the room at the same time that the process is occurring and you choose do nothing to stop it? Where does the responsibility for the death of a person begin and end?

In the late 1930’s and the early 1940’s Nazi Germany and its allies and satellite states embarked on a process of human extermination. The event we know as the Holocaust saw the most depraved and barbaric actions a human being is able to inflict upon another. Though exact figures are impossible to decide upon, approximately 11 million people were killed for being considered sub-human. Among them were the deaths of over six million Jews, as Adolf Hitler and the Nazis looked to eradicate the Jewish people from the face of the earth.

In camps set up around central and eastern Europe, victims were transported to their deaths. The names of these camps will forever be etched in the history of the human race. A constant reminder of the cruelty that we as a species are capable of. Treblinka, Belzec, Buchenwald, Chelmno, Sobibor and Auschwitz are places that are considered as manifestations of pure evil. It is important to remember though, that evil did not create such suffering and destruction; humans did.

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Why I Am Against CCTV For Slaughterhouses

Update: 07/03/2015
Though I believe the words that I wrote are still valid, and that to talk of “animal welfare” whilst still discussing slaughterhouses is completely nonsensical, I have decided to change my stance on the issue highlighted below. After reading Peter Singer’s excellent Animal Liberation, and after thinking logically and pragmatically about the issue, I understand that though CCTVs are not the end point that I wish to see, they are a step in the right direction, no matter how small it may be. If we are able to introduce legislation, methods of practice, technological advances, that limit or decrease the suffering of animals, then we should do that. If we were to follow my argument and not introduce CCTV, then more animals would suffer needlessly. As I said, it is not the final conclusion on the issue of animal welfare, but it is progress towards the conclusion I wish to see. For that reason, I now support it.

Animal Aid, PETA and the RSPCA are just a few of the groups that are campaigning for CCTV to be mandatory in animal slaughterhouses in the UK. The obligatory e-petition has over 23,000 signatures, and the Facebook page has a similar number of followers. Being an advocate of animal rights, you would expect that I would support such a movement, but it is precisely because I am an advocate of animal rights, that I do not.

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