Columbia Grad Returns His Ph.D. to Protest Animal Cruelty

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On Tuesday, May 17--the day before Columbia UniversityÂ?s 251st Commencement--Dr. Charles Patterson returned his doctorate to the Office of the President to protest Columbia's ongoing mistreatment of animals in its labs.

On the day before Columbia University’s 251st Commencement on Wed., May 18, Charles Patterson (Ph.D.‘70) returned his doctorate to the Office of President Lee Bollinger in Low Library, Rm. 202, to protest his alma mater's abuse of animals.

Patterson, the author of Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust, is upset by the cruelty practiced at Columbia by Doctors Mehmet Oz, E. Sander Connolly, Michel Ferin, Raymond Stark, and other Columbia vivisectors. He says, "Dr. Josef Mengele, who conducted experiments on Jews and Gypsies at Auschwitz (he had two doctorates, by the way), would have fit in quite nicely at Columbia."

The title of Patterson's book Eternal Treblinka--now in seven languages--comes from the Yiddish writer and Nobel Laureate, Isaac Bashevis Singer, to whom the book is dedicated. "In relation to them, all people are Nazis," he wrote, "for animals it is an eternal Treblinka." (Treblinka was a Nazi death camp north of Warsaw.)

Columbia has a long history of animal abuse and grotesque experiments (visit, but it took Dr. Catherine Dell'Orto, a post-doctoral veterinarian fellow, to blow the whistle on the university's latest transgressions: "What I saw at Columbia still gives me nightmares. I saw baboons whose left eyes had been cut out--so that major blood vessels could be clamped off through the empty eye sockets to induce strokes--who had collapsed in their cages, unable even to lift their heads, eat, or drink. They were left to die without painkillers."

Columbia students, staff, faculty, and alumni who are concerned about this problem and want to do something about it are constantly rebuffed by the administration. President Bollinger refuses to meet with them to discuss the issue.

One of the most important lessons of the Holocaust, Patterson believes, is that we must never again remain silent in the face of evil. In the words of Auschwitz survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, "Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

"While I worked long and hard for my doctorate (it included writing a 320-page dissertation)," says Patterson, "the lives of the innocent and helpless are more important than a piece of paper."

He also has a Master of Arts degree in English literature from Columbia. When asked if he was planning on returning that degree as well, he said, "No, I'm going to hold onto it for awhile. However, if Columbia doesn't curb its cruelty soon, maybe I'll return that one too. I only wish I could do more."

Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust

by Charles Patterson

Lantern Books, New York, 2002 (2nd printing)

ISBN 1-930051-99-9
Translations: German, Italian, Polish, Czech, Croatian, Hebrew (forthcoming)

Praise from Around the World--

"The moral challenge posed by Eternal Treblinka turns it into a must for anyone who seeks to delve into the universal lesson of the Holocaust." --Maariv (Israeli newspaper)

"Necessary reading matter...very thought-provoking." --Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany

"You must read this carefully documented book" --La Stampa (Italian national newspaper)

"Important and timely...written with great sensitivity and compassion...I hope that Eternal Treblinka will be widely read."--Martyrdom and Resistance (Holocaust publication), New York

"Charles Patterson's book will go a long way towards righting the terrible wrongs that human beings, throughout history, have perpetrated on non-human animals. I urge you to read it and think deeply about its important message." --Dr. Jane Goodall, United Kingdom

"Eternal Treblinka is an eye-opening, thought-provoking book that I highly recommend." --The Gantseh Megillah, Montreal, Canada

"Patterson's book sheds light on the violence perpetuated every day against animals and humans alike so that we might one day put an end to it."--Moment ("America's Premier Independent Jewish Magazine")

"A thorough and thought-provoking book" --Ha'aretz (Israeli newspaper)

"Eternal Treblinka disturbs us because (inevitably though tactfully) it holds up to us, its readers, a clear mirror to look at ourselves anew...Kafka would have applauded Eternal Treblinka. It grips like a thriller." --The Freethinker, United Kingdom

"Compelling, controversial, iconoclastic...strongly recommended...a unique contribution." --Midwest Book Review, USA

"The book that breaks all taboos. The book that fires up controversies all over the world." --Prijatelji Zivotinja, Zagreb, Croatia

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