Grandin was born in Boston, Massachusetts.
Temple’s achievements are 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. As a teenager, life was
hard with constant teasing. Mentoring by
her high school science teacher and her aunt on her ranch in Arizona motivated
Temple to study and pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment
Grandin 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. Dr. 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.
done extensive work on the design of handling facilities. Half the cattle in
the U.S. and Canada are handled in equipment she has designed for meat plants.
Other professional activities include developing animal welfare guidelines for
the meat industry and consulting with McDonalds, Wendy’s International, Burger
King, and other companies on animal welfare.
her Ph.D. research on the effect of environmental enrichment on the behavior of
pigs, she has published several hundred industry publications, book chapters
and technical papers on animal handling plus 63 refereed journal articles in
addition to ten books. She currently is
a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University where 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 Dr.
Grandin are Thinking in Pictures, Emergence Labeled Autistic,
Animals Make us Human, Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical
Approach, The Way I See It,
and The Autistic Brain.
has received numerous awards including the Meritorious Achievement Award from
the Livestock Conservation Institute, named a Distinguished Alumni at Franklin
Pierce College and received an honorary doctorate from McGill University,
University of Illinois, and Duke University. She has also won prestigious
industry awards including the Richard L. Knowlton Award from Meat Marketing and
Technology Magazine and the Industry Advancement Award from the American Meat Institute
and the Beef Top 40 industry leaders and the Lifetime Achievement Award from
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Her work has also been recognized by
humane groups and she received several awards.
HBO has recently premiered a movie about Temple’s early life and career
with the livestock industry. The movie received seven Emmy awards, a Golden
Globe, and a Peabody Award. In 2011, Temple was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall
is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of
America. She 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.” In 2012, Temple was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of
Fame. Dr. Grandin now resides in Fort Collins, Colorado.
IMPACT STATEMENT OF DR.
Dr. Temple Grandin has had a
major impact on the meat and livestock industries worldwide. List below are six
specific examples that document this influence.
- Design of Animal Handling
Dr. Grandin is one of the world’s leaders in the design of livestock handling
facilities. She has designed
livestock facilities throughout the United States and in Canada, Europe,
Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and other countries. In North America, almost half of all
cattle processing facilities include a center track restrainer system that
she designed for meat plants. Her
curved chute systems are used worldwide and her writings on the flight
zone and other principles of grazing animal behavior have helped many
producers to reduce stress during handling. Temple has also designed an objective
scoring system for assessing handling of cattle and pigs at meat
plants. This system is being used
by many large corporations to improve animal care.
- Industry Consulting – Dr. Grandin has consulted
with many different industry organizations each year for the past ten
years. These efforts represent the
majority of her time as she has a part-time appointment at Colorado State
University but a thriving business as a consultant. The majority of her work is involved
with large feedlots and commercial meat packers. She has worked with Cargill, Tyson, JBS
Swift, Smithfield, Seaboard, Cactus Feeders, and many other large
companies. Her company also does
design work for many ranches. She was also involved with several major
packing companies. Her consulting
has led to work with companies such as Wendy’s International, Burger King,
Whole Foods, Chipotle, and McDonald’s Corporation, where she has trained
auditors regarding animal care at processing plants. She also has
consulted with organic and natural livestock producers on animal care
standards The animal handling guidelines that she wrote for the American
Meat Institute are being used by many large meat buying customers to
objectively audit animal handling and stunning.
- 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
- Media Exposure – Dr. 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
Larry King Live, 60 Minutes, 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 (NPR) and she has
been taped for similar shows in Europe.
She was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential
people. HBO has made a movie about
her life starring Claire Danes.
- Outreach – Dr. Grandin maintains an
appointment with Cooperative Extension at Colorado State where she has
been active in making presentations to Colorado ranchers and farmers as
well as those interested in the packing industry. She is sought after to discuss issues of
quality assurance. Privately, she
has developed her own website (www.grandin.com)
which has been expanded to include information on livestock handling in
addition to information relative to the design of handling systems. A section on bison handling and one in
Spanish have been popular. Over 2,000
people visit the website every month and approximately 1,000 download significant
amounts of information. As many as
1,431 files were downloaded daily and over 42,000 have been downloaded in
a single month. The website has
been accessed by people from over 50 countries worldwide. She also did a
TED talk in 2010 entitled, “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds.”
- International Activities – It is clear from the wide
variety of information accessed via the website, presentations made in
international settings and interest in livestock handling systems
developed by Dr. Grandin that her work has reached an international
audience. She typically travels to
make presentations internationally 3-5 times annually.