Temple Grandin works at Colorado State University as a professor of animal science. Her work includes consulting on the behavior of livestock and animal welfare. Grandin is also a spokesperson for autism, being one of the first individuals on the spectrum to share her experiences publicly. In early childhood, Grandin was not diagnosed with autism but with brain damage, which led to her receiving speech therapy and supportive mentoring in school. At the time, a common treatment for autism or brain damage was to institutionalize the person, but Grandin’s family found ways to keep her out of an institution. When Grandin was a teenager, her mother found information on autism and believed that is what Grandin really has, but a formal diagnosis was not made until she was in her 40’s.
With the support of her family and school, Grandin continued her education after high school to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology, then master’s and doctoral degrees in animal science. Throughout her career, Grandin has written multiple books on autism as well as books and papers on animal behavior and welfare. One area of her work with animals includes how an animal’s experience with handling can have an effect on their future reactions to handling. She has also researched animal welfare at slaughtering. This led her to invent a double rail conveyor restrainer system to hold cattle that is used by many large meat companies. In addition, she has developed an objective numerical scoring system for assessing the animal welfare at slaughter plants, which resulted in significant improvements in causing less pain and suffering for the animals.
In her more than 60 scientific papers, Grandin has covered many topics, such as, pre-slaughter stress and meat quality, mothering behavior of beef cows, cattle temperament, and causes of bruising. Her own experiences of anxiety motivates her work in humane livestock handling processes. Grandin has received many honors for her work. She was named as a “hero” on the Time 100 2010 list, inducted into the Texas Trail of Fame, received a Meritorious Achievement Award from the World Organization for Animal Health in 2015. She has also been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Featured Image: https://globalanimalpartnership.org/about/news/post/temple-grandin/