Every so often I have the need to rant and I figure this is the place to do it. Today is one of those days. You have been given fair warning!
With the recent airing of the HBO TV movie starring Claire Danes, you may be aware of Temple Grandin, the highly-functioning autistic woman who has made it her life's work to improve the handling of cattle at slaughterhouses. Sounds noble right? Many people think so. But I suspect they admire her because her work makes meat-eating less troubling for them. I guess I wouldn't have a problem so much if she just did this work without presenting herself as some kind of cattle whisperer and wouldn't go on and on about "loving" these animals. She even waxes poetic about having a religious experience as she calms a cow - calms it before it has its head bashed in.
Or could she at least - at the VERY least - encourage people to consume less meat (better for the animals - better for the environment). But no, instead she states that not eating meat is unnatural and how she became light-headed and dizzy (OMG!) when she stopped eating meat. She even implies that autistic people and maybe others are genetically required to eat meat. A thoughtful examination of that idea among others can be found at http://www.compassionatespirit.com/vegetarianism-and-genetics.htm
In my Google searches on Ms. Grandin I found several blogs where people were disturbed by Grandin's ideas. I am posting excepts of two of them here.
Olivia Lane posted back in 2006
"The article reports that after watching the rotating pen hang cows upside down and then slit their throats, slaughterhouse workers now listen for signs of consciousness before dumping the cows' bodies. Grandin used her divine gift of intuition and many years of animal behavior expertise to access the situation: "I didn't hear any cows mooing," Grandin said. "When they do things wrong, cows moo."
Am I wrong to be annoyed by Temple Grandin's existence? It's not that I don't like her. It's just that I'm irritated by the way people flock to her for answers as thought she were some sort of psychic bridge connecting humans to the minds of animals. Why don't people take a much shorter leap of faith and listen to the voice in their heads that says all living creatures wanna keep on living, they don't wanna die in some multi-million dollar "humane" slaughter complex? Is that so hard? Or is it just easier to pay some scientist with an "intimate" connection to animals to convince them that the cow who is now their hamburger died silent and stress-free and that makes everything okay."
Jim Sinclair, also autistic and an animal rights activist writes:
"Dying as a natural process is not the same as killing a healthy living creature... It’s irrelevant if a middle-aged scientist can say that she doesn’t fear death, that she understands it as a natural part of life. Almost all the beings whose lives she helps end are immature or just barely mature. Almost none of them are close to natural death. They’re not ready to die. If someone were to shoot or stab or electrocute the middle-aged scientist today, she might find that she’s not ready to die either. If you understand life, you know that it wants to continue. If you feel life throbbing under your touch, you know it’s desecration to set your hand to stop that living pulse. If you love something, you don’t kill it."
I think that last sentence pretty much sums it up.