Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin, an animal scientist and best-selling author who is one of the world's leaders in the design of livestock handling facilities and proponent of animal welfare, will present the spring 2011 York Distinguished Lecturer presentation on March 31 at the Auburn University Student Center ballroom.

A native of Massachusetts, Grandin's long and illustrious career as an animal scientist and spokeswoman for animal agriculture is made all the more remarkable because she was an autistic child. At age two she had no speech and all the signs of severe autism. Fortunately, her mother defied the advice of the doctors and kept her out of an institution.  Many hours of speech therapy, and intensive teaching enabled Temple to learn speech. Mentoring by Grandin's high school science teacher and an aunt who owned a ranch in Arizona motivated Grandin to study and pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer.

She obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College in 1970. In 1974 she was employed as Livestock Editor for the Arizona Farmer Ranchman and also worked for Corral Industries on equipment design. In 1975 she earned her M.S. in animal science at Arizona State University for her work on the behavior of cattle in different squeeze chutes. Grandin was awarded her Ph.D in animal science from the University of Illinois in 1989 and is currently a professor at Colorado State University.

Grandin has done extensive work on the design of handling facilities and has worked with companies worldwide—from the United States and Canada to Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and other countries. Today, half the cattle in the U.S. and Canada are handled in equipment she designed for meat plants.

In addition, she has developed animal welfare guidelines for the meat industry and done consulting with McDonalds, Wendy's International, Burger King and other companies on animal welfare issues.

At Colorado State University she continues her research while teaching courses on livestock handling and facility design.  Her book, Animals in Translation was a New York Times best seller and her book Livestock Handling an Transport, now has a third edition which was published in 2007. Other popular books authored by Grandin are Thinking in Pictures, Emergence Labeled Autistic, Animals Make us Human, Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach and The Way I See It.

Grandin has received numerous awards including the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Livestock Conservation Institute, named a Distinguished Alumni at Franklin Pierce College and received honorary doctorates from McGill University, University of Illinois and Duke University. She has also won prestigious industry awards and her work has also been recognized by humane groups and she received several awards. 

Grandin is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America and lectures to parents and teachers throughout the U.S. on her experiences with autism. Articles and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, People, Time, National Public Radio, 20/20, The View, and the BBC. She was also honored in Time Magazines 2010 “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” Dr. Grandin now resides in Fort Collins, Colorado.

 Research – Dr. Grandin maintains a limited number of graduate students and conducts research that assists in developing systems for animal handling and, in particular, with the reduction of stress and losses at the packing plant.  She has published her research in the areas of cattle temperament, environmental enrichment of pigs, livestock behavior during handling, reducing dark cutters and bruises, bull fertility housing dairy cattle and effective stunning methods for cattle and hogs. 

Grandin has provided worldwide media exposure for the livestock industry and, in particular, with issues relating to animal care.  She has appeared on television shows such as 20/20, 48 hours, CNN's Larry King Live and has been featured in People Magazine, the New York Times, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report and Time magazine.  Interviews with Dr. Grandin have been broadcast on National Public Radio and she has been taped for similar shows in Europe.  She was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2010 and an HBO-produced movie about her early life, starring Claire Danes, won XX Emmy Awards in 2010.

Temple Grandin

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Last Updated: June 21, 2013

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