Saturday, March 05, 2011

Temple Grandin - Nature is Cruel But We Don't Have to Be

Sometimes when I hear the terms animal rights or animal welfare I cringe. Often I think my goodness we can't even treat people properly and activists want us to worry more about animals. More often I think of my own time on the farm or friends and family and everyone else in the livestock industry and I know that they take pride in the way they care for their animals - I take it personally if anyone suggests otherwise.

I had known a little about Temple Grandin and her legacy. I've seen hog receiving areas that are designed without corners to ensure that the animals are not scared as they are moved. I've learned about animal flight zones that can be used to move animals without touching or frightening them. But I didn't rush to learn more about Temple's story by watching the HBO movie about her life and work. Over the last couple months, all the copies at the local video store were always rented so even if I had rushed to watch the movie, I might not have seen it any earlier.

The movie is excellent, it really does help demonstrate how autism affected her life and how she could be so very helpful in teaching us about how animals react to the situations we put them in. The story was told so very well its no wonder it has inspired millions of people who live with people with autism and helped everyone who saw the film understand how her important work has shaped the way we care for animals.

It takes us on a journey through her life giving a small sample of the suffering she felt because her autism made her different and she found it so difficult to deal with other people. We then see how she learned how to calm herself from the way farmers treated animals. Finally we see how she built her career improving animal handling facilities to make sure the animals are comfortable and relaxed.

The movie also features one of her most powerful quotes, "Nature is cruel but we don't have to be."

Try to watch it if you haven't had the chance already.


Alain said...

Thank you for this post, for I greatly admire this woman. She seems to be a lone voice in this insane world with her realistic understanding of animals and nature. All the 'animal rights' and 'animal welfare' people would do well to learn from her, although I doubt that possible due to their total disconnect from nature and reality.

Anonymous said...

What Temple Grandin has done with her life is a truly beautiful thing.

The story of her life will touch hearts for her experiences.

But, it is what she has done to propelle the awareness of handling livestock in a more gentle, and compatible manner, that puts her in a category all her own in the world of animal science.

Did you know that the actress, Claire Danes, who portrayed her in this movie took her with her to the Golden Globes.

Says a lot right there!