Thursday, June 11, 2015

"A Major Change" by Temple Grandin - Response (Prompt #7)

“A Major Change” by Temple Grandin engages with the concept of improving the welfare of animals bred for the purpose of their meat or other byproducts. Grandin emphasizes the necessity to be attentive towards the needs of animals that differ from the needs of neurotypical humans but somewhat correlate or overlap with the sensory needs of people with autism or other atypical perspectives. I think Grandin’s strongest argument is her assertion that the vocalization of animals in slaughterhouses is an indicator of their comfort. Not only does this argument serve to fill the communication void between humans and animals a bit, but also she conveys this issue with strong support and a solution. Grandin provides data that strongly suggests that vocalization is correlated with discomfort and pain, as it relates to the use of cattle prods and stressful environments (188). She follows this up by offering a solution that she personally invented and tested. I would say that Grandin’s weakest point is her reliance on the assumption that autism and animal perception are similar. I think it serves to create an empathetic narrative for the reader to understand the pain and suffering of animals, but I also think there is a danger that it can be misconstrued to dehumanize non-neurotypical people.

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