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PETA belatedly apologizes for comparing animal slaughter to Holocaust atrocities


(RNS) - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has apologized for a controversial exhibit and ad campaign in which it compared the slaughtering of animals for meat to the atrocities of the Holocaust.

The organization sparked a heated debate in February 2003 when it launched the "Holocaust on Your Plate" exhibit, which displayed images of concentration camps juxtaposed with photos of animals being led to the slaughter.

Ingrid Newkirk, PETA's president, released a letter May 5 apologizing for the exhibit, following a decision by the organization to omit another reference to a Holocaust-linked Yiddish song in a more recent ad campaign.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which led the public outcry denouncing the 2003 exhibit, responded to the apology with guarded optimism.

"We welcome the apology," said Ken Jacobson, the ADL's associate national director. But, he added, "It's very late. There's a lot of damage already done."