If you search Google for “temple grandin wins emmy,” you’ll find the main piece of news we all know by now: The HBO documentary, “Temple Grandin,” won seven awards of the 15 for which it was nominated, and Grandin herself seemingly “stole the show” with her acceptance speech and other interviews.
Those of us who have met or know Grandin should be proud â€” for all the reasons we’ve known before this documentary was broadcast and the Emmys were won. Grandin’s amazing story of accomplishment is not news to those of us in the meat industry.
However, her story has reached another level of popularity. Mixed throughout the results of the above Google search, you’ll find several sites wondering “Who is Temple Grandin?” and attempting to bring Grandin’s background to the mainstream consumer.
Of course, over the years, her story has become common knowledge to more people as they’ve been familiarized with autism. Today, more “non-meat” and “non-animals” people know who she is and are aware of her battle with autism and her revolutionary ideas concerning animal welfare and slaughter.
Now, processors should expect Grandin’s popularity to spike again in the wake of this award-winning night â€” meaning an added public focus could turn toward meat- and poultry-slaughter practices.
Grandin’s story is the kind that evokes curiosity in people. How did she accomplish everything she has? What does she believe in? How does she believe the industry is performing today?
Certainly, the general population’s interest in food-processing practices, food’s origins and food safety has grown quite a bit in recent times. The consumer media has spurred much of this interest by often highlighting the worst of the worst, rarely discussing the best of the best. Grandin’s Emmy win could change that focus temporarily, as it is a feel-good story. But, processors can bank on the fact that many more consumers will want to know about slaughtering practices and standards based on Grandin’s guidelines â€” and will certainly want to know which processors are skirting the rules. Now would be an excellent time for any processor following Grandin’s guidelines to communicate that fact to consumers as a positive.
Either way, this indirect link to the meat industry should have processors on their toes, ready for another round of questions about their practices and strategies. Most businesses have little to worry about and should embrace the additional interest in how they process animals into the food featured on the tables of America.
But a few bad apples have spoiled the bunch before, and with Grandin’s popularity spiking among the general populace, those bad apples will have fewer places to hide.
Don't underestimate Grandin's big win
September 1, 2010