The Third Reich did it first. You see, a lot of the SS soldiers that were ordered to slaughter the hundreds of Jews, Poles and Gypsies during early days of occupation didn’t have the stomach for it. Their commanding officers noticed that the mass executions were causing mental distress and depression to those carrying it out. Not wanting a weak army, the resolve was to find more efficient ways of killing in bulk. They tried piping exhaust gasses into vehicles but you couldn’t kill many and it took some time. And then there was the issue of the bodies. Quite a lot of the mass graves had to be dug up and moved due to the stench of rotting corpses.
After a lot of trial and error, the systems that we are now far too familiar with were in place. Crowd as many onto trains as possible. Provide each carriage with two buckets: one to drink from, one to piss and shit in. Upon arrival to whichever camp these poor souls were transported, captives were quickly divided up into groups. Those that could work (usually until death) went one way, the rest very often went straight to the showers. Men, women, children, babies, the weak, the old, the disabled, the ill. Some were aware of their fate. Maybe they struggled and were beaten or shot. Maybe they were just resigned to it and wanted to get it over and done with.
It was standing room only in the shower blocks. Stripped naked, their belongings taken from them along with any dignity they may have grasped onto, these were their final moments. Desperate cries, screams, whimpers, prayers. Hugging eachother for comfort as the Zyklon B gas did its work. Visit those chambers today and you can witness the scratch marks in the walls with your own eyes and imagine a million souls trying anything to escape.
Once completed and ventilated, fellow prisoners had the task of removing the dead bodies. Hundreds at a time. Funeral pyres were messy and a well-known manufacturer of bread ovens was employed to make crematoria for easy disposal.
It reads like a horror story. And it was. The first true industrialised killing.
Just a few decades later, as the demand for meat products around the world reached new heights, and as the global population exploded, traditional farms could simply not keep up with the supply demanded of them. One by one, various processes were put in place to expedite things. New breeds were created that grew faster. New facilities were built to house as many creatures in as small a space as possible. New antibiotics given to help prevent the spread of disease among the all-too-close population. Life-spans were shortened so animals could go from birth to plate as fast as nutritionalists determined. Transportation was “improved” for greater numbers, slaughter became faster. Millions of animals on a conveyorbelt of death. Anything that didn’t fit in with the new regimen – male chicks, male calves – were simply destroyed, their lives deemed worthless, thrown dead on a heap to rot until turned into dog food, or simply tossed live into mincers or gassed. Gassed. Where have we heard that one before?
Look, I’m not an idiot and perhaps this is a stretch comparing the attrocities of the Third Reich and the mass extinction of people with the meat industry. One was done to try and rid the world of particular ethnicities, the other to feed a planet. Well, the rich part of the planet, at least. But when you look at clips, or read descriptions of the processes now in place to make a burger, a chop, eggs and even milk; and you witness the terror or hear the cries, it doesn’t sound too dissimilar. Millions of innocents taken to their deaths, petrified. Killing in the name of a fucking Big Mac.
If you have ever considered becoming a Plant Based Mother Fucker, just do it. I waited too long and have thousands more lives on my conscience as a result.
You don’t have to be a cog in that machine any more.