Temple Grandin, “…it’s a good name, they didn’t know it was a female on the grant applications” spoke in Durham at Duke’s Baldwin Auditorium this week. The audience represented all walks of life: agriculture and livestock producers, organic and vegan consumers, animal rights activists, Duke’s Women’s Studies department faculty and students, and mothers with autistic children. The receptive audience followed every word of Dr. Temple’s rapid fire, fascinating presentation.
Dr. Grandin doesn’t beat around the bush, when asked if she eats meat, “No, I’m not a vegan. They say it might relate to blood types, I’m type “O”, I’m a carnivore, I need meat protein in the morning to get going and low-fat yogurt just doesn’t hit the spot.”
Temple Grandin brought not only diversity but also new perspectives to the predominantly male Animal Science field of study and research. As Temple Grandin progressed through her M.S. degree in Animal Science at Arizona State University and a Ph.D. in Animal Science at the University of Illinois, she brought new insights and unique methods to her field of interest - Humane treatment of animal processing. Dr. Grandin’s mental imagery breaks down her animal behavioral studies and working livestock facility audits into straight forward, sometimes simple, concepts and solutions.
“Don’t let bad become normal...” just because we’ve done something in the industry for years and years, doesn’t mean that it is the best way to do it. Dr. Grandin’s realistic and practical approach to humane animal treatment confronted “Big Ag” and industry regulations, “…if a law or guideline is written properly, it doesn’t leave room for argument”. Her livestock handling methods revolutionized the industry.
Through Dr. Grandin’s studies and methodologies, we face reality checks in our way of thinking and solving problems; our way of treating animals and people; and even in our way of understanding daily life.