August 9, 2012
by mike speights, co-founder – The Foodery
Equally noted for her work on autism and animal husbandry, Dr. Temple Grandin is a visionary in more than the traditional sense. Diagnosed with autism in 1950 at the age of 2, Grandin has utilized the “wiring in her brain” (as she refers to it) to see things the way that animals do. Over the past 25 years her insights have literally revolutionized animal husbandry in the cattle industry.
Just a quick refresher on animal husbandry vs. animal welfare- animal husbandry is the agricultural practice and science of breeding, raising and caring for farm animals in all phases of their lives while animal welfare is the broader, all encompassing subject matter of the physical and psychological well-being of all animals (not just farm animals).
By leveraging her natural abilities, she gained an understanding of the various sensory stimulants that effected cattle during handling- things like light, shadows, noise and sudden movement which often are the same stimulants that impact people on the autistic spectrum. Here’s just a sampling of her vast work and impact on cattle husbandry:
- 50% of all cattle in the US and Canada are handled with equipment she designed for meat plants
- Her ratings system to assess the handling of cattle at meat plants is utilized by companies globally
- She is a global authority, consultant and designer of livestock handling facilities
- 2-time New York Times best-selling author for Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human
- 2010 Time Magazine 100 List of Influential People in the Heroes category
- Honored by PETA as a visionary for making abattoirs more humane
- She’s written and created numerous books, articles, principles and standards regarding animal behavior and ways to reduce animal stress during handling
In the following Ted Talk “…Grandin talks about how her mind works— sharing her ability to “think in pictures” which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers and verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids (to solve big problems).” – Ted Talks Director
© 2012 The Foodery. The Foodery only partners with farmers who are dedicated to and practice the highest levels of animal husbandry.
Picture by Jason Koski/University Photography.