On Diabetes and Autism?
I wrote a guest post about diabetes in "pets" at Paw Talk called "Lessons Learned" which was published over the weekend. I think it's important to reach out to the pet people, as many have already demonstrated their desire to see sentient nonhumans as more than just commodities. Perhaps with time and some exposure to a reasonable line of thinking regarding those they see as pets, progress can be made regarding those they see as food or clothing. After all, I was a cat person as a child. A cat person who liked the taste of chickens (though I later realized that fried batter was the taste I liked).
Diabetes is still one of the top five reasons readers come to Animal Person, and I understand why. Diabetes in humans is its own industry and it's out in the open and there are seminars and commercials and books about it, all of which encourage the person with the disease to take control of it.
But when it comes to "pets," it's all very cloak and dagger. You have to trust your veterinarian to do all of the work and then you just follow the instructions about insulin. However that doesn't educate you or put you next to the disease on a daily basis–there'e always a vet (/"expert") between you. Confidence in dealing with the disease comes from knowing as much as possible and doing as much as possible (i.e., testing, blood curves, taking lots of notes about how different variables affect the animal in your care).
Next, I've always felt like I couldn't talk about why Temple Grandin's autism made her the spokesperson for a different way to kill because that would be politically incorrect. Her autism gives her a free pass of sorts, at least from me. But not from Jeffrey Masson and Jeff Nelson in "Temple Grandin: Using Autism to Make Money Killing Animals," who say what many of us have been thinking:
“Grandin’s autism gives her a special understanding of what animals, whether house cats or cattle, think, feel and—perhaps most important—desire.” The reviewer [who wrote that sentence] has bought into the myth that Dr. Grandin seeks most to instill: because she is autistic, she understands animals. All you need to do is say this aloud to realize how ridiculous it is. Try it in other ways: “I am depressed, so I understand dogs.” “I hear voices, so I understand birds.” We have never heard anyone describe an animal, any animal, as autistic, so why should somebody who is autistic understand animals better than anyone else?
. . . .
Why would we need to have somebody self-proclaimed as autistic explain these emotions to us? All we need to do is live with any animal—dog, cat, parrot, cow, chicken, pig, sheep, goat, or even rat—to understand how deeply they feel emotions similar to ours.
Temple Grandin is the perfect spokesperson for animal exploitation industries because, like me, many people are loath to ask what could possibly make her more qualified than anyone else to talk about the thoughts and feelings of sentient nonhumans. I'm glad someone finally has.