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Temple Grandin, PhD

Temple Grandin, PhD
Temple Grandin, PhD

Dr. Grandin presently works as a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She is also a bestselling author and a consultant in animal behavior. As a person with high-functioning autism, Grandin is widely noted for her work in autism advocacy and animal behavior. Dr. Grandin was diagnosed as autistic and did not speak until she was four years old. Undaunted by educational, social, and professional roadblocks, she turned her unique talents into a behavioral tool that revolutionized the cattle industry and laid the groundwork for her successful career as an author, lecturer and pioneering advocate for autism. She received her B.A. in psychology from Franklin Pierce College and her M.S. in animal science from Arizona State University. In 1989 she received her Ph.D. in Animal Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

She is a strong advocate for more humane livestock handling. In North America, almost half of the cattle are handled in a system that she designed. She has also developed an objective scoring system for assessing handling of cattle and pigs. Her writings on the flight zone and other principles of grazing animal behavior has helped to reduce stress on animals during handling. Grandin's mission, advancing the humane treatment for animals, is deeply connected to her autism. She credits her developmental brain disorder for her success as a scientist. Once she recognized that animals and autistic people share certain traits, such as a reliance on visual clues to navigate their environment, she began to rethink how livestock are handled in the beef and pork industry. In 2004 she won a "Proggy" award, in the "visionary" category, from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

One of her most important essays about animal welfare is Animals Are Not Things, in which she posits that animals are technically property in our society, but the law ultimately gives them ethical protections or rights. She uses a screwdriver metaphor; a person can legally smash or grind up a screwdriver, but a person cannot legally torture an animal.

Dr. Grandin has written many books including: Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior, Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports from My Life with Autism, and Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals.

A feature film offering insight into the life of Temple Grandin was released in February of 2010 by HBO.



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