Jews are calling for a Polish MEP to be disciplined for sharing an image by a controversial artist depicting a herd of cows wearing the striped uniforms of Nazi concentration camps.
The painting of chained cattle against a blood-stained backdrop is the work of Australian animal rights activist Jo Frederiks.
Some of his other paintings also draw comparisons between the Holocaust and the treatment of animals on farms.
They include a painting of a cow chewing a label marked “I am not a number” and of a flock of sheep standing on the railway tracks leading into the Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The Jewish News Daily, in an article that appeared just days before Holocaust Memorial Day, said Polish MEP Sylwia Spurek, a human rights campaigner, had refused to apologise for spreading the image, entitled “When will we ever learn”.
The 43-year-old told the newspaper that she had fought against anti-semitism for years and called for a debate on the treatment of farm animals.
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memor-ial and Museum condemned the use of the Holocaust to make a point on animal rights.
It said: “The instrumentalisation of the tragedy of people who suffered and died in concentration camps is painful, above all for those who have experienced this terrible story.
“Animal rights deserve better and wiser defence than the banalisation of terrible human suffering.”
Jonny Daniels, the founder of the Poland-based group From the Depths, a Holocaust commemoration and education group, has written to European Parliament president David Sassoli urging him to take disciplinary action against Ms Spurek.
Artist Jo Frederiks, responding to the paper, said: “The fact we exterminate over seventy-two billion sentient (land) animals every year for food is unjustifiable. Not to mention billions more used and abused for entertainment, clothing and research.
“That IS a Holocaust of incomprehensible magnitude.
“I am not the one demeaning and belittling the suffering of others. Society is.”