PETA gives out its annual Proggy Award to people and companies for “innovative, animal-friendly achievements.” Looking over past recipients, I saw an unexpected name. 2004, in the visionary category, Temple Grandin. Temple Grandin? The famed designer of more efficient slaughterhouses? Surely there had to be another Temple Grandin out there, a visionary who fought to challenge laws defining animals as property, or maybe someone who documented abuses in some of her namesake's slaughterhouses.
I went to the slaughterhouse designer’s website and there it was in the bio, not far from the picture of one of her slaughterhouses. “Winner of PETA’s 2004 Proggy Award.” That made 2004 a big year for Temple Grandin on the awards front because I believe the Beef Council awarded her the 2004 Stun Bolty award for the same innovations. And the pork council presented her with its 2004 honorary pig scalder. Or was that the 2005 honorary pig scalder? It’s hard to keep the dates straight.
So what does the award winner have to say about her work with animals. No, “Ever since I was a little girl playing with my puppy I knew I had to help animals” for Temple Grandin.
Quiet handling of cattle and pigs is impossible if animals slip or fall during handling. Animals tend to panic if they slip even a little bit. If cattle are constantly agitated while standing in a race, stun box or restraining chute, this is often due to slipping. On ramps and in restraining chutes the cleats must be spaced to fit the stride width of the animal. This prevents the hoof from slipping between the cleats … you can download blueprints of cattle pen layouts that will reduce stress on cattle and improve handling efficiency.
There you have it. You want to be a PETA-honored animals rights advocate, don’t waste your time leafleting. Learn how to design curved-chute handling systems and non-slip flooring. It’s not only PETA that raves about the Temple Grandin slaughterhouses. Carghill is another big fan of her animal-friendly achievements. “She has been instrumental in helping us enhance our animal handling systems and programs at our beef and pork facilities," a Carghill executive said.
Wonder who next year’s Proggy award winner might be. Maybe a hunter who by slaughtering vast numbers of animals prevented them from breeding, thereby protecting the offspring they would have had from suffering a slow, painful death inflicted by future generations of hunters.
Or the lab worker whose cruel practice of flooding rabbits’ eyes with toxins raises awareness of the cruel practice of flooding rabbits’ eyes with toxins. The citation might read, "congratulations. If you didn’t pour toxins into the eyes of rabbits, nobody would know people did such a terrible thing. By raising our awareness, you give us the opportunity to protest against this horrific act. For your courageous consciousness raising, PETA hereby presents you with the coveted Proggy Award."
More on Temple Grandin here.