On Autism, Activism, Compassion, Love and Slaughter

Bridget Crawford

Bitch Magazine has a critical post (here) inspired by the Temple Grandin HBO biopic starring Claire Danes.  Here is an excerpt of the review by Brittany Shoot:

I wondered why Grandin, understanding how out of control factory farming has gotten in the last forty years (thanks in part to her own work?), has continued her work in the same field without reevaluating present conditions. Coming from such an intelligent person, her striking lack of analysis troubled me. 

I also tend to be confused by Grandin’s stated bond with cattle when her actions seem to imply the opposite. As someone who also has deeply empathic bonds with animals—and also has a photographic memory—I’m genuinely bewildered by her ability to create systems that enable further slaughter while stating that she feels connected to animals. If you feel connected—and when your mind can replay life events as vividly as mine can—I truly don’t understand how you can live with that knowledge, with those mental images, of murder by your own hands. Maybe I misunderstand autism, despite having worked with autistic adults in the past. Maybe I also misunderstand myself. Anything is possible, but I remain troubled nonetheless.

In the past, I’ve said that Grandin’s work might bring people closer to understanding animals as sentient beings, deserving of our compassion and protection. But maybe I was wrong, and I’m definitely unsettled by HBO’s description of her as an “activist.” Grandin’s work may shine a much-needed light on autism—particularly adults living with autism, who remain largely misunderstood in society—but must that come at the expense of other lives? Jim Sinclair, an animal rights activist who is also autistic, has responded to Grandin’s work in slaughterhouse design with a beautifully simplistic statement: “If you love something, you don’t kill it.” * * *

Will ordinary folks think twice about the theory that “human slaughter” is an oxymoron or that Grandin believes quality of life is somehow more important that preserving the life itself? Can her work actually shift perspective, or does it simply make allowances for the continued use and needless killing of animals?

Shoot has several recent posts over at Bitch that might be of interest to those interested in the intersection of animal law and feminist theory, including, “Ecopsychology,” “Intro to Ecofeminism” and “Reclaiming Cow.’”

10 Responses

  1. […] Link: On Autism, Activism, Compassion, Love and Slaughter « Animal Blawg […]

  2. Thank you so much for posting Brittany Shoot’s thoughtful and articulate ideas on Temple Grandin and her work. These important questions need to be asked. I, too, have been very disturbed by Grandin and her actions.

  3. […] here to see the original: On Autism, Activism, Compassion, Love and Slaughter « Animal Blawg Tags: control-officer, country, create-systems, cruelty, further-slaughter, haiti, her-ability, […]

  4. Hi Bridget – I think I am just as confused as you… I wrote on my blog as well… that “I am different”. As an artist and one who has always been absorbed by visual stimulus – I think “slaughterhouse”… and well, I see “the picture” as Hell’s horror. Yet Grandin – “sees visions” of happy, fulfilled and “willing” subjects. I just don’t get it either. (?)

    Of course being on the meat industry payroll doesn’t do much for her credibility either… One can only imagine the grooming that could have taken place to reflect what the industry wanted to convey.

    Anyway, great post! Thanks for inviting comment! 🙂

  5. Ooops! Sorry David — My (other) mind was responding to “Bridget” (hehe).

    But I do thank you for linking to it – And I like the post “Reclaiming Cow” too!

  6. […] On Autism, Activism, Compassion, Love and Slaughter […]

  7. Vaccine controversy is the least of our worries. We need to have more investigative journalists cover the epidemic of frauds infiltrating the autism community. As in Amanda Baggs, the woman who took a copious amount of LSD, fried her brain, then, in a pervasive delusional state, went on the internet with her buddy and studied autistic people until she became a skilled character actress. Then there’s Ari Ne’eman, who is a man diagnosed with Aspergers at 20 yrs of age, then suddenly shoots to fame as the self appointed autism spokesperson. Not to forget the ever articulate and so autistic lady, katie miller, oh yea, now there’s a rain chick If we ever saw one. Go Kate. Before Kate, of course, there is the artsy autie, Donna Williams, a multiple personality disorder who has one personality that is autistic. Quite interesting, indeed. And the list goes on. You have Horse Boy, who was ADHD, not autistic. You have Son Rise, who was perhaps not autistic. You have McCarthy’s boy who was definately not autistic and then there’s kids swimming with dolphins, taking B=12, DMG and wa la, they are now non autistic. Oh wait. We forgot the Defying Autism author who says her child was possessed with demons and after “deliverance” he is now a happy boy. Oh boy, it just never ends. And ya know why? Because not enough investigative journalists have taken the time to look at this. They have not connected the dots. They have failed to see the frauds and the hype. You know the ole’s saying: if a lie goes unexposed the people think it’s okay to keep lying. It’s basic behaviorism 101, NOT enough people are challenging the frauds of autism so they keep growing in numbers, fooling the media. Lying. Posing as autistics to the detriment of those who are dealing with real autism. Maybe would could get Saturday Night Live to do a skit? Everyone’s autistic now…..join the spectrum and you too can have autism or aspergers or autism-aspergers aspergers pddnos autism whatever shoot just get the label

  8. […] Bitch magazine fires off a salvo at welfarist-hero slaughterhouse-designer, Temple Grandin (via AnimalBlawg). […]

  9. Temple understands that in this world we live in there is suffering and she was trying to make the end of life for the cattle as humane as possible. I applaud her for that. She’s not as nieve as others on this blog thinking that the human race will stop eating meat. It’s what should happen in a ;perfect world, but let’s be realistic. Temple has improved the conditions at some slaughter plants to reduce the suffering and confusion for these cattle at the inevetable end of their lives. I wish I knew how to contact her to help the suffering and terrible inhumane treatment of horses in slaughter plants right in my own province of Alberta. I don’t know how to help them. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

  10. Nurse with past animal abuse conviction was allowed to keep license and then went on to abuse defenseless autistic man: Trial to begin soon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybiFEVTzGBU

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