Saturday, February 27, 2010

Different, but not less: Temple Grandin, you’re my hero!

Temple Grandin and Claire Danes (in costume as Temple Grandin) on the set of HBO's "Temple Grandin" biopic.

The HBO movie Temple Grandin is a must see! I’m sitting here watching it for a third time and am sure I’ll catch it a couple of more times while it airs on HBO throughout the month of March. Dr. Temple Grandin is a real life person, and what a life she has had!

As I watched the movie, I kept reflecting back on our own cows and how each one has its own unique personality. I have spent hours just watching our longhorns, it is relaxing to me, almost like meditating. I wonder to myself what they are thinking, and as I sit with them longer I'm able to understand more about their behavior and the pecking order they have created amongst them. It's really amazing to watch how they communicate with one another.



Jack feeding the cows; eating "cake" as we call it....

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is known as the most accomplished and well known adult with autism in the world. She is a prominent author and speaker on the subject of autism, but her autism is not what defines her. She is a recognized leader in her field of animal science. She has written over 100 papers on technical and scientific livestock handling AND is a top designer of livestock-handling equipment to help reduce the stress of livestock during handling. I spent my morning watching her lectures via You Tube and learned so much about her mission in life for the well-being of livestock. The movie about her life actually resonated more strongly with me the second time I watched. There is a line in the movie which more or less sums up what it is she has aimed to create. Her character, played by Claire Danes, says regarding cattle:

“Of course they’re going to get slaughtered. Do you think we would have cattle if people didn’t eat them everyday? They would just be funny looking animals in zoos . We raise them for us, that means we owe them some respect. Nature is cruel, but we don’t have to be. I wouldn’t want to have my guts ripped out by a lion, I would much rather die in a slaughter house if it was done right. We can easily design a way where they don’t feel pain and they don’t get scared.”

I get that.


The first longhorn bull calf born at Hummingbird Farms. What a beauty!

When you live on a farm or ranch you understand the cruelty of nature: the coyote that ate the baby fawn; the raccoon that ate the chicken; the opossum that ate the robin’s eggs… I’ve also seen the epitome of cruelty in nature, which was in 2001 when Jack and I spent a month in the bush in Africa. Nothing will ever ring more true about nature until you have witnessed the cruelty that exists in the wild.



Our standard poodles, only 4 months old, meet the longhorns for the first time....

It was assuring for me to learn more about Dr. Temple Grandin and what she has accomplished. The fact that she is autistic is only secondary to all her other contributions to science and the humane treatment of cattle.


Just a day old; this longhorn was named Gran, after our sweet neighbor....

Temple Grandin has been quoted as saying, “most people don’t get that a slaughter house is much gentler than nature. Unfortunately, most people never observe the natural cycle of birth and death. They do not realize for one living thing to live, another living thing must die.”


Cows are curious, and they like to play.....

As an animal lover, I have battled with the idea of beef my entire life… Eat? Don’t eat? Is it good for you? Is it bad for you? Is it humane?


One thing that Dr. Temple Grandin has helped me understand loud and clear is that it is inevitable that cattle will be slaughtered and the sole reason they were bred and are here in the first place is for us to eat.


Except for MY cattle… My longhorns are my pets and are here for pure joy. Even when my herd gets too big and we have to sell, they are only sold to suckers just like me…. Someone who will hand-feed them and love them and let them simply be the fun-loving wonderful creatures that they are. Our longhorns are raised for what we call “ornamental” purposes. Believe it or not, there are people that have longhorn cattle for their majestic appearance as they roam the range. I guess you could say that we raise beauty queens…. And every fine ranch needs its own beauty queen, or ten.


The movie Temple Grandin is so well done and I’m glad I stumbled across it. If anyone believes that an autistic child can't prosper, they need to see this movie! If you don’t have HBO you can come over to my house and watch it with me for a fourth time because I recorded it. Long live the DVR!


And long live the humanity of all the fine creatures that feed this great earth!

17 comments:

vlb5757 said...

I have seen the movie twice. I think it is wonderful a movie was made. I had never heard of Temple Grandin until I saw the movie. I am a native Texan and am so glad there are people like you who raise the Longhorns just because. It's part of my heritage as a Texan. I have seen a few in my life and they make me smile every time I see them. There is something to be said about raising beauty queens! Thanks!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I'll look for that movie. I love Claire Danes and this sounds like a movie I would enjoy. Your dogs are so cute...and your cows, too. What you wrote is something most of us don't think that much about so it's good to get a better understanding of the whole process. Thanks!

The Lone Star Queen said...

I have not seen that movie nor did I know about Temple Grandin. How inspiring to accomplish so much with that sort of disability. I will be sure to see it.

The Standard's with the Longhorn's are too cute for words. The Standard Poodle is my prefered breed of dog. I'm also hoping to have some ornamental cows someday...
Interesting post, thanks for sharing.

Justine said...

I absolutely adored this post, Deb! First, Jimmy has watched this movie twice already and keeps telling me to watch, but I haven't yet. He was super interested in it because his company, Stellar, has met with Dr. Grandin because they help design and build all kinds of slaughter houses and other kinds of buildings.

I'm so in awe of your lifestyle. You've got beautiful fields of lavender and then you've got those wonderful animals to spend your days with too. I would be in heaven. Absolute heaven!!!

Justine :o )

Deb said...

I need to watch the movie...love the photos of your animals....

Vickie said...

I haven't seen that movie, but I'll have to check it out. Surely it's on video somewhere!

I love your longhorns. I hope to have a couple for "ornaments" in the future. Not quite ready for 'em yet. We gotta do some new fences and stuff.

I'm really enjoying my lotion and soap!

Theresa said...

I'll have to see if I can find that movie on DVD, sounds good.

I love all of the pics of your animals! Longhorns always look so majestic. But I was raised that if you couldn't eat something you had named, it was better not to name it. (My grandparents ate EVERYTHING raised on their property except the kids!)

Nancy Medina said...

Debi, what a great post. I knew Temple Grandin when I worked in veterinary publishing for someone so accomplished she is both humble and kind. I grew up on a farm in East Texas and saw the cruelty of the natural order of things, I thank god for people like Temple who do whatever they can to make the lives of animals kinder, for the short time they are with us.
Loved this post, thanks so much - and your pet's 10 commandments is wonderful. I am going to share it with my friends at DFW pug rescue!
warm regards from Flower Mound, TX!

Greyeyes said...

You know as difficult as it was for me to watch that movie, and i did so twice, i totally enjoyed it. Anyone who would perceive her as disadvantaged needs to cross their eyes and rethink their decision making paradigm. While i understand your take on her and what the movie showed, it was the way they portrayed the psychological symptoms that impressed me. I highly recommend this film to anyone. Especially: Animal lovers, those with an interest in Autism or any psycho affective disorder, and especially those that don't realise they never listen when someone else is talking. Great Post!!

Dottie said...

I haven't seen it yet.....I'll bring the wine!

The Doxie Diaries said...

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I did see the interview Temple Grandin gave on the Today show. What an awesome story! A truly remarkable woman.

ro said...

Your post just made me cry. Your words are so well written. I have seen Temple Grandin and like you thought it was just perfect. I love the idea that you have "ornamental longhorns". That is just so romantic and civil!!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. hugs.

Katmom said...

simply, Thank-you.
I will go look up the HBO video about Dr Grandin...
Thanking for sharing about her & your sweet 'pasture onrnaments'...
>^..^<

The French Bear said...

I loved the movie, we watched it twice! She was ahead of her time for sure, I loved Claire Danes as Temple. She did an amazing job.
Hugs,
Margaret B

Kat said...

I saw her on a special one time. She is amazing! I haven't seen the movie, but would love to.

Hugs!
Kat

texasknights said...

I am dying to see this movie! I have heard Temple speak several times (most recently this summer). Totally admire her. I teach autistic kids AND have my own kiddo with Asperger's.
On another note, I was down your way this past week and wanted to kick myself for not contacting you. I wanted to drive my mom by your Lavender farm. I know she would have thought it to be a lovely treat!

Marie said...

Just catching up on your blog. I loved Temple Grandin. If you see Cherann again soon please talk to her about it; it was very meaningful and inspiring to her and her husband. My favorite part was after she designed the system for the cows and the guys dismantled it and she ranted and raved about their stupidity -- I don't remember what exactly was going on in my life that week, but I related to that. Anyway, it's too bad that Temple Grandin in the best known person with autism in the world. If Bill Gates would just come out and admit that he is a person with Aspergers, it would take away so much stigma and be such a lesson to the world about the potential of people on the autistic spectrum and what they can bring to the world.