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The humane slaughterhouse; discussion of the proposed red meat facility

By Fritz Mayer
February 8, 2012

When you log in to the website of Temple Grandin at www.grandin.com you enter a world with which most people are probably not very familiar: it’s all about the correct processing of cattle and other animals.

Here are a few typical sentences. “When the animal is hung on the rail, its head should hang straight down and the back must be straight. It must NOT have an arched back righting reflex. When a partially sensible animal is hung on the rail it will attempt to lift up its head.”

Even to a person with very little knowledge of slaughterhouse practice, it’s pretty clear that Grandin has intimate knowledge of how animals behave under stress and the need to keep them calm on the way to slaughter.

Grandin’s name came up at a meeting of the Sullivan County Community and Economic Committee at the government center on February 2. Asked about the progress of the proposed Southern Catskills Red Meat Facility in Liberty, which many people refer to as the slaughterhouse, Alan Scott, chairman and CEO of the Industrial Development Agency (IDA), said it was too early to nail down a specific time for the project to start.

But, he added, groundbreaking for the 10-year-old project might take place this year. He said, “The next step is preparing the documentation for putting the project out to bid.”

Lawmaker Ira Steingart said, “It is moving along.” He added that 70% of the cost of the project would be in excavation because of the ruggedness of the site.

During the public comment period of the meeting, Star Hesse, a well-known animal activist in the county, said that any proposal regarding the design should “include a provision that the people who are going to be building this plant include the humane slaughter concepts of the Temple Grandin Livestock Handling Systems.” She said, “Her program has a proven track record of not only delivering a more efficient, healthful and profitable slaughter process but, at the same time, ensuring the humane treatment of the animals that go through the process.”

She said Grandin’s methods are used in about one third of the “slaughter processing plants” in North America and are widely accepted around the world. Hesse sent letters to the IDA board members and many other officials.

Jennifer Brylinsky, executive director of the IDA, said, “I would say that the board members were very sympathetic and receptive to your letter.”

Steingart added that the site plan he saw did incorporate Grandin’s concepts.

There is no such thing as humane slaughter.

The very two words used together are kinda offensive to any compassionate person of reasonable intelligence. They simply cancel each other out. I mourn a society who seriously can come up with an ad campaign and slogans for such a thing and still consider itself enlightened. It is more like we actually have reached a new low. Once we start believing in nicer ways of killing it is a pretty slippery slope.

It is impossible to make the killing of living beings quick, clean and easy, over and over thousands of times a day. Ms. Grandin's "ideas" have already been shown to be highly unenforceable at other facilities. No one can be there inspecting enough, no matter what protocols and design elements are put in. We can't even get people to stop abusing their so-called "Pet animals" - by the millions cats and dogs suffer - so you think the institutionalized killing of sentient beings like cows and pigs and chickens is going to go better and be done happily and without any pain? And even if it could, ask yourself: are you really still okay with that? More and more people are saying no as they become informed.

To put the "humane" ad campaign slogan on all of this stuff is beyond sorry and reprehensible.
You will all put millions of dollars into this humane nonsense, but it will come out in the end
that it was all a sham. Why don't you save taxpayer's their money and save lots of animal rights undercover activists tons of time documenting the offenses - not to mention save animals from abhorrent, egregious suffering - - and just scrap this idea entirely? Build yourself a nice huge greenhouse.

See the website www.humanemyth.org for more stats and detail but this stuff is getting tiring for all of us who really care about animals to repeat: From the minute you remove the baby from its mother and she is denied all of her instinctive urges to care for and raise her child as she by nature needs to do, you rule out any possibility of humane-ANYTHING, let alone the killing process itself.

So many people the world over are going if not completely vegan, then starting with going vegetarian. It is a much more enlightened response to your internally nagging question: "What if I don't want animals to suffer?" There are vegan ice creams now for crying out loud. No one has to suffer. You really want suffering to stop, it is simple: stop eating animals. You will join a huge and growing population of like-minded, caring people. Google "vegan" and get started.

At least it ain't drilling

If God didn't want us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of meat.

Thank You!

Thank you for illustrating the title of my previous comment titled "Institutionally Condoned Insanity". Yours is not only a nonsensically insane statement, it is also ignorant and bigoted, just as any parallel statement about women or any ethnic group would be. And to invoke God for your belief is a profanity to which I take offense. The God I believe in would never create biologically complex, sentient creatures who can suffer -- to be enslaved, bred, slashed and dismembered for food or any other use. If your self-serving delusion wasn't so fascist and pervasively held, it would be funny.

I hope someday you find some humility, and come round to challenging your conditioning, and think through these issues more deeply ... thinking for and educating yourself, bearing witness, engaging your heart, and finding your sanity. May I suggest this book to start with: http://www.powerfulbook.com/quotes.html

“In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they're the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought.”
― Isaac Bashevis Singer

"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." Genesis 1:29

“The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.” Alice Walker

You Rock Paula.

When God is evoked as a justification for killing billions of sentient beings a year (and killing the most gentle, defenseless, harmless herbivore beings at that) we have illustrated before us a very clear, disturbing connection. Soooooooooooo disturbing.

You are right!

I'm going to the garage right now to pull my K-9s.

Dear Ms. Frank

TheHick, who is now writing as "Marj" (in my humble estimation), is a fictional, cowardly, character who is not capable of making a positive contribution to any conversation. A posting by such an individual, marks a stark contrast to a passionate one made by you, or one by Jennifer Canfield.

Marj is a cartoon character who simply speakes from a hidden position, of no consequence. To treat such posts as serious, is a mistake.

Take it from someone who has learned the hard way.

At some point, hopefully, TRR will be able to root out TheHick/Marj, and the pen name George Wythe.

Until then, I suggest we all take a deep breath, and realize that they are not real people.

Institutionally Condoned Insanity

Temple Grandin has Asperger's Syndrome, an autistic condition of which a characteristic is limited or no empathy. She is no hero and no friend to animals, and any attempt to present her as such is a combination of her own delusion, her P.R. spin team to sell her books, and the animal agriculture industry's strategy to protect and increase their profits by hood-winking the public with the notion of guiltless happy meat. To hold her up as an exemplar of humanity and compassion is utter madness to which I dare say we will reap what we sow. And without a doubt we are already doing that.

She is no friend to humans either. Her "expertise" is chillingly reminiscent of Nazi extermination practices. She calls the ramp and double-rail conveyor she designed to funnel cattle to their deaths the "Stairway to Heaven". Do you think it’s just a coincidence that the SS at Treblinka and Sobibor similarly called the tube to the gas chambers the “Road to Heaven”? Think again.

Is welfarism and "humane slaughter" the highest benchmark to which humans should aspire in our definition of what it means to be human, and "humane"? It's slaughter -- it's murder. Let's call a spade a spade and not obfuscate and slip and slide to pretend that it can ever be made pretty or right. Barring dire circumstances of survival, killing is murder. That's all there is to it. To create life to then kill it is maniacal, institutionally condoned psychosis. When and where did we go so astray? How is it that we as a society are not horrified and infuriated by such statements as “When I got home, I couldn’t believe I had done it [Grandin’s first kill] … it was very exciting. I was scared that I’d miss because it takes some skill”.

I wonder when this facility is built if they would give tours, and if people would go. No doubt no because what will go on there under the euphemism of "humane" is inherently dark, degenerate, and shameful, and such is human nature to turn away and avoid the truth. If full transparency was possible about the lives and deaths of all animals at the hand of humans, and people would take off their blinders and allow their eyes, hearts and minds to bear witness to how low we actually sink ... whether we are the killer on the killing floor, or pay the killer with our purchasing power ... maybe just maybe our world would have a chance for the love and peace that we emptily give lip service to.

Deep down people know intuitively that what we do to animals is wrong. But sadly culture and conditioning override the loving innocence of the child in all of us. Children are naturally horrified and disturbed at the prospect of harm to an animal, until they are inculcated into the attitude of "humans are more important" than animals. We don't think deeply about animals ... we objectify and patronize them ... we are not taught that they have emotions and individual personalities. Yes we coddle our pets, but we are morally inconsistent and speciesist about other species that don't massage our egos. We are weak and juvenile about aligning our values with our actions. Just listen to the obfuscation, lame excuses, and refusal to bear witness.

Now in 2012, time is running out on the state of our environment and our collective health and soul. We quickly need to grow up, get sane, tap into the immense compassion of which we are so nobly capable of, and aspire to a much higher standard of what it means to be human. And that standard is a vegan consciousness.

On the mark

Paula,
I did not mean to offend. Because I could not have made such a case as accurately and eloquently as you have, it appears as if I settled for less. I still believe that the step Star took was courageous. But feeling the futility of convincing society to take a long hard look at this, I thought this was the best anyone could do. By no means was my support of Star meant as condoning this plant. I agree with everything you wrote. Truly. Lack of compassion is what we as a society are meant to overcome. It is the cause of all harm to mankind, animals, and the living planet. Thank-you for your sensitive reminder.

Dealing with the Devil vs. Taking the High Road

Thanks much for your thoughtful note, and clarification Jennifer. No real offense taken to your comment. I understand where you are coming from.

Deep Respect

Star Hesse has my deepest respect for proposing that Temple Grandin's guidelines should be included in the plan for this facility. As long as this project will become an unfortunate reality for some and, of course, a fortunate reality for those who will benefit from it, I sincerely hope that the plant will be built with just such attention to the details that affect the welfare of the animals.