Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dr. Temple Grandin responds to radio program with my criticism. If case you missed the show link here to listen.

Temple Grandin not working on Animal Welfare for consumers benefit any more.

Dear Trent,

I would really appreciate it if you would post my response to your program about me on your website. I will address each topic that you discussed below:

1. Bob veal –I have worked extensively in slaughter plants where Holstein bob veals that were less than a week old were processed. Holstein calves are weaker than beef calves and if they are too young, they have difficulty walking. Downer bob calves would be condemned, but they would still have the stress of travel. Bob veal is a regional industry that occurs in places where there is no market to grow the calves into either milk fed veal or beef steers. The development of beef steer or milk fed markets in these regions would improve animal welfare.

2. Gestation Stalls – Over ten years ago, I conducted a very objective informal survey with fellow airline passengers. I showed them very attractive pictures of sow gestation stalls and clean finishing pigs housed indoors on a slatted floor. Almost everybody liked the finishing pigs but two-thirds of the people did not like gestation stalls. Later scientific surveys had the same results. Gestation stalls are a degree of confinement that many people find objectionable. On the other hand, I have taken many people through a large beef slaughter plant and they were amazed at how quiet and calm the cattle were. A well-run beef slaughter plant was acceptable when it was shown to the public and gestation stalls were not acceptable. I am fully aware of the scientific studies, but the public will not accept them.

3. Ick Factor – There was a discussion that there are icky things in agriculture that the public will not accept. Now that every phone is a video camera, the public will see everything. We need to modify practices and open the doors electronically. Fair Oaks Dairy in Illinois is doing a wonderful job with its public tours. I hope they build Pig Adventure, which will be a large commercial farrow to finish unit that the public can view.

4. Horse Slaughter – There is a very good EU inspected horse slaughter plant in Mexico. Unfortunately, there are some horses traveling to Mexico that go to unregulated municipal abattoirs where they are killed with a stab in the back of the neck. The lucky ones go to an EU inspected plant. Horse traders take horses across the border in small trailers to sell for slaughter in unregulated markets. I get attacked on the horse slaughter issue by horse activists because I do not oppose horse slaughter in the U.S.

5. Sy Montgomery’s Book – In this book I show very clearly that a large slaughter plant can be run humanely. When I travel the country I see more and more restaurants and college cafeterias with vegan entries. I have had many people write to me and tell me that my work has made them comfortable about eating meat. I eat meat and I plan to keep eating it.

Concluding Statement: Animal agriculture needs to look at everything they do and ask “How would my wedding guests from the city react to what I am doing.” On the infamous “pink slime” controversy, I think the finely textured beef product can be sold to the public as a method to avoid wasting food. It should be listed on the label. One of the reasons why the public went berserk was due to not listing the product on the label. People hate surprises.

Sincerely,
Temple Grandin
Professor of Animal Science
Colorado State University
Fort Collins CO 80523

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