Temple Grandin

 

Showing animals some kindness and understanding life from their
perspective has been a concern for good farmers for a long time, it
became fashionable January 16th, 2011-more on that later.

Temple Grandin is a professor at Colorado State University who holds
a doctorate in animal science. She has written several bestsellers on
both animal and human behavior and is responsible for the humane
design of livestock handling facilities in better than half of all
meat processing plants in the United States. Oh yeah, she also has
autism.

I have read Temple Grandin’s articles in the past and use some of her
techniques for handling cattle. Her studies on cattle handling are
basically how to use a cows tendencies to the handler’s best benefit.
Cows like good footing, enjoy walking up a slope better than down,
hate loud noises, enjoy being in a herd and find shiny dangling items
to be suspect. They also like to walk in circles and enjoy almost 360
degree vision. After I’ve read an article by Grandin, I always feel
fired up about cattle and inspired to do a better job in their
handling.

Temple Grandin is not a vegetarian. She feels cattle are there to
provide meat but also wishes that they be treated in a humane matter.
Cattle that are calm cause less trouble, normally do not injure
humans and they taste better. If we are to be good stewards of what
we are in charge of then giving cattle a good life prior to their end
on a plate is the right thing to do. Grandin sums it up best, “I
think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we’ve got
to do it right. We’ve got to give those animals a decent life and
we’ve got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect.”

Claire Danes stars in the movie “Temple Grandin.” It tells the story
of a woman who sees conversation in pictures and finds spoken
language to be of only secondary importance. She does not speak until
the age of four and would have been destined to an institutionalized
life had it not been for a determined and innovative mother. Although
Grandin cannot even see the signs of human happiness or sadness, she
can read the face of a cow without trouble. She is able to step into
their lives and therefore design handling facilities that make their
contact with humans much less stressful. Lisa and I loved the movie;
it’s about as far from removed from status as a romantic-comedy as
possible but the movie touched our emotions. You’d have to love
animals to understand. The only location I could find the movie to
buy or rent was “Mr. Movies,” however the large internet outlets all
have the show for sale. It would be excellent in the classroom.

If you think the movie “Temple Grandin” was something no one ever
heard of or saw, you would be incorrect. January 16th, at the Golden
Globe awards, Clair Danes received the best actress award for her
portrayal of Temple Grandin in a movie of the same name. The show
also garnered seven awards at last fall’s Primetime Emmy awards. It
seems a little compassion for animals is not only ethical; it is
popular-maybe even fashionable. That’s just fine; what’s really more
important is it is right thing to do, as it’s been always.

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