Art exhibition equates animal farming with the Holocaust

September 19, 2014 by Roz Tarszisz
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An art exhibition opens this weekend featuring works depicting animals herded in concentration camps awaiting slaughter.

Jo Frederiks

Jo Frederiks

Artist Jo Frederiks is  a woman  passionate about her animal rights beliefs.  Her vision is simple – to stop humans consuming animals.


Growing up on a large Queensland cattle station  gave her a love for animals and nature. A full time artist who became a vegetarian 20 years ago, she had what she calls “a light bulb” moment.   Overnight she became a vegan and then an animal activist against factory farming.

She told J-Wire: “My family does not share or understand my beliefs on the sanctity of animal life.”

Asked if she had the power to change just one thing regarding animal welfare, Ms Frederiks said it was impossible to pick one aspect and just “wants the world to stop consuming animals”.  She believes we have all been “brainwashed from birth about our need to consume animal protein to be healthy”.

Devoted to animal liberation, the artist labels the millions of animals slaughtered worldwide every week as “violent ideology”.


These strong beliefs have inspired her upcoming exhibition entitled The Animal Holocaust.

Every.-Day.Eternal Treblinka, a book by Charles Patterson was the inspiration for the exhibition. The Nazis established Treblinka  as an extermination camp and Patterson’s book shows the corollary  between Nazi genocide and modern society’s enslavement and slaughter of animals.

The book’s title comes from Isaac Bashevis Singer who wrote that “for the animals it is the eternal Treblinka”. “Animals feel pain as much as humans” the artist explained.


Ms Frederiks strongly emphasises that it is not her intention to offend or upset Holocaust survivors.


When asked whether it is appropriate to utilise well known images of the Holocaust, the artist explained that she was inspired by quotations from concentration camp survivors and writers such as Isaac Bashevis Singer, Rachel Carson and Theodor Adorno who wrote “Auschwitz begins whenever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they are only animals.”


When-Will-We-Ever-LearnHowever there are some who have been upset by her depiction of animals being led to slaughter. She was forced to remove some art from her Facebook page owing to strong criticism from the animal agricultural industry. “There are no gray areas in my work” she told J-Wire.

Frederiks has been inspired by the writings of established authors bearing strong views regarding animal welfare. She gave J-Wire some of her favourite quotes which she said had been a source of  inspiration.

In their behaviour towards creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they’re the victims. Otherwise they victimise blindly and without a thought. – Isaac Bashevis Singer
Auschwitz begins whenever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they are only animals. – Theodor Adorno

Poor countries sell their grain to the west while their own children starve in their arms. And the west feeds it to livestock, so we can eat a steak? Am I the only one who sees this as a crime? Every morsel of meat we eat is slapping the all-are-individualstear stained face of a hungry child. – Philip Wollen

What do they know – all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis: for the animals it is the eternal Treblinka. – Isaac Bashevis Singer

Until we have the courage to recognise cruelty for what it is – whether its victim is human or animal – we cannot expect things to be much better in this world… We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity – Rachel Carson

Brian Sherman, founder of animal protection organisation Voiceless told J-Wire: “The continuous suffering of animals bred for food via industrialised factory farming and the genocide of six million Jews during the Holocaust of World War 2, are not comparable events. They are totally different – yet they share the same story – the horrors of what mankind can inflict on other sentient beings.

To quote Voiceless Patron and Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee when writing on the comparison of the holocaust and factory farming for the Voiceless exhibition Voiceless: I feel therefore I am.

“Of course we cried out in horror when we found out what they had been up to. What a terrible crime to treat human beings like cattle – if we had only known beforehand. But our cry should more accurately have been: what a terrible crime to treat human beings like units in an industrial process. And that cry should have had a postscript: what a terrible crime – come to think of it, a crime against nature – to treat any living being like a unit in an industrial process.”

The exhibition opens on the Gold Coast on September 19 and includes 40 major works and 100 drawings. For more details go to


4 Responses to “Art exhibition equates animal farming with the Holocaust”
  1. Phil Andrews says:

    Dear Readers,

    We are very negative about this Art Exhibition.

    Firstly how can Jo Frederiks possibly draw a comparison between the evil extermination of six million precious, innocent human beings, and the cruel slaughter of animals (though we are not condoning the latter)? In so doing she minimises the gravity of the worst by far, mass murder of human beings in the recent history of mankind? This flippant comparison is obscene and offensive, and more hurtful than she could ever imagine !

    Secondly, we are at quite a loss to understand why she HAS NOT and WILL NOT zoom in on, and name and shame, the most heinous offenders on the global scene when it comes to animal mistreatment? That’s is Islamic abattoirs in Indonesia and the Middle East.

    Everyone remotely interested in animal welfare, will recall watching on their screens in horror (not that long ago) on the ABC 4 Corners program, as Indonesian abattoir workers slit the throat of one animal after another, allowing each animal to die a slow and agonizing death! While each animal bled to death in this grossly barbaric killing ritual, in order to satisfy HALAL requirements, the next animal in the queue viewed what was happening and was visibly terrified, shaking uncontrollably with FEAR! A horrendous way for the animal to die! It is absolutely horrible and gut wrenching for us to even watch the event on TV.

    And what about the halal abattoirs near Young NSW? Why are you TOTALLY SILENT about this????? Are these being assessed by the Authorities and Animal Rights groups. Why have you not targeted this?

    The question is: Is Jo really serious about the welfare of animals when the real villains are ignored and Australian farmers and Busnesses are targeted in an ugly and vicious way when they are clearly not the villains.

    Could it be that Ms Frederiks is scared to state the fact that it is MUSLIMS who are the ones perpetrating the above atrocities every day on a large scale? ie the TRUE OFFENDERS !

    Jo would have more credibility if she showed us that she really has the courage of your convictions!

    Phil Andrews

  2. Dr. Robert S. E. Caine, Ph.D. says:

    I am most impressed by this art. For years, I have written about the parallel oppression of both humans and non-human animals. In my doctoral dissertation, I even compared what happens to animals in slaughterhouses to what people experienced in Nazi concentration camps in WWII. I am inspired by this artist’s work and I find great value in her bringing to social consciousness the plight of my non-human friends. Thank you Jo Frederiks for your significant contribution to the continued fight for animal liberation.

  3. Andrew Neil says:

    Whether it’s racism, sexism or speciesism, all are based on the same, structurally flawed belief system in which we apply morally irrelevant criteria to take the position that others lives don’t matter. And herein lies where all the problems begin.

    The only relevant criteria we should consider when determining our moral community is sentience. Not cognitive ability, not species, not race, not gender, not sexual preference but just “sentience”. This is something we share with most living beings. It is the only thing that should guide our moral compass.

    When we apply moral consideration on others, it is irrelevant whether they are black, white, jew, gentile, male, female, Russian, Ukrainian, biped, quadruped, human animal, non-human animal, gay, straight. The only question of concern is “can they suffer?”. If the answer is yes, then we must apply the principle of equal consideration. Any other method is wrought with problems.

  4. Mary Finelli says:

    Of course the animal agriculture industry will complain about it. Their business is all about harmfully exploiting animals. Slavers would be expected to complain about an exhibit that denounced slavery.

    The analogy is an apt one: we are all sentient beings. Cruelty is cruelty, whatever species the victim happens to be. It’s wrong and it should be denounced. Thank you, Jo Frederiks. Thank you very much. Thanks also to Jwire for letting us know about this very worthwhile exhibit.

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