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Art exhibition equates animal farming with the Holocaust

September 19, 2014

An art exhibition opens this weekend featuring works depicting animals herded in concentration camps awaiting slaughter.

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.

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."

However 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 tear 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

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