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.