The Animal Ethics of Temple Grandin: A Protectionist Analysis

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This article brings animal protection theory to bear on Temple Grandin’s work, in her capacity both as a designer of slaughter facilities and as an advocate for omnivorism. Animal protection is a better term for what is often termed animal rights, given that many of the theories grouped under the animal rights label do not extend the concept of rights to animals. I outline the nature of Grandin’s system of humane slaughter as it pertains to cattle. I then outline four arguments Grandin has made defending meat-eating. On a protection-based approach, I argue, Grandin’s system of slaughter is superior to its traditional counterpart. Grandin’s success as a designer of humane slaughterhouses however is not matched by any corresponding success in offering a moral defence of meat-eating. Despite, or perhaps because of, the popularity of her work, Grandin’s arguments for continuing to eat animals are noteworthy only in how disappointing and rudimentary they are. If we can thank Grandin for making a difference in the lives of millions of farm animals, her work can also be criticized for not engaging the moral status of animals with the depth and rigor that it deserves.
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Archival date: 2019-02-03
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