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Temple Grandin - American Scientist and Writer, Professor of Animal Husbandry

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If a person works in the agricultural field they are most likely going to know who Temple Grandin is, she is revered as a visionary by many. Temple not only has first-hand experience of working with animals but she also has a Ph.D. and teaches at the University of Colorado. When working on farms Temple noticed how rough some of the ranch workers were with the animals on farms and processing plants. The main goal of Temple’s activism and inventions are to improve animal welfare and diminish the stress of both animals and people.

The early years for Temple were very hard for her due to her autism. As Temple grew from a baby her mother knew there was something different about since the age of four. Temple didn’t speak until the age of three and a half, and unlike most babies hated all physical contact. At the age of three, she was diagnosed with autism. Temple had the type of autism she had made her often feel overwhelmed by sounds, smells, and any other stimuli. On the positive side, however Temple’s autism still helps her to this day because it helps her read easily and fast. Once old enough to enter school Temple struggled to meet people and she also struggled with the sound of the bell when it went off. The bell echoed in her ears and any teacher that wore strong perfume it distracted her. However once Temple learned the alphabet she excelled in all things reading and writing but that didn’t mean she understood what she was required to do. Much like many other children with autism, Temple’s bain processed things differently than that of normal children. She was often told she was wrong for school work that to her seemed correct because of her way of thinking. An example of this was in kindergarten when she was asked to label all the things in a picture that started with the letter B. Temple as a birdbath that was in the garden and didn’t write it down since it was within the garden and that started with the letter G. Also because of her autism she enjoyed repetitive habits like when she would drop sand through her hands watch all the shapes and shine of each grain of sand. Temple’s autism is quite unique in that most children with autism are scared of Automatic doors and bothered by fluorescent lights. The opposite is true for her, the lights never bothered her much and she enjoyed watching the doors move, this can be in part due to the larger than normal white fiber tract that goes to her occipital lobe. The size of her nerve fiber is nearly two times larger than that of anyone in her age or gender range. The nerve fiber explains why temple loved visual things as a child. Even as a young child she was able to relate animals and better invent because of her autism.

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Temple’s autism caused her to think in pictures, it also allows her to get into a prey animal’s mindset. Nearly every person is a different type of thinker whether it be visual or verbal. Within the category of visual thinkers, there are photo-realistic thinkers which Temple is. Animals by nature are sensory thinkers, for example dogs would think with smell compared to a bat the thinks in sound. Because of her photo-realistic thinking Temple can put herself in the perspective and mindset of the animal as they go through the equipment and what it would feel like. Temple Grandin said in an interview “I could really visualize what the piece of equipment was going to feel like on the cattle. You know, what if I had the cattle’s body, what would that feel like? That’s very easy for me”. Another way for Temple tried to relate to animals is that she would out her self into their positions. For example, when she was working with cattle on feedlots she would go into the chutes and look from the cow’s perspective and see how it would scare them. Because of her photo-realistic mind she could remember where the cows got scared and why whether it was a shadow or a stray hose.Temple not only embraced but benefited from her autism by using it to reduce the animals stress in chutes by eliminating factors that scared them.

After visiting a process plant for cattle, Temple saw a need for improvement in animal welfare. Upon seeing how badly the animals were being tr “Auditing Animal Welfare at Slaughter Plants” Temple explains to the signs of abuse and to better educate people in order to improve society as a whole. Throughout the paper she talks about the tools some can you to asses the animals well-being is whether it is at the plant on the farm they came from. Bruising is a major issue in the meat processing business, if the meat id bruised the customer will not want to buy it. According to Temple the first step into measuring the bruises is to find what the baseline is, it is important that the same person scoring every time. There are many different official types of scoring meat but Temple gives a simplified version that is easier to understand. In 1997 Temple created the scoring system that was numerical and mainly focused on animal welfare. The scoring takes into account cuts, strange behavior and many other different things.A large part of Temple’s scoring is based on bruising and trying to age it. Once a bruise has formed on the animal it can be hard to age it perfectly accurate. The main way a person can tell the difference between a bruise that is fresh and eighteen hour old, this is due to the fact that it has a yellowish tint to it. There can be a large time from the cattle leaving to actually being processed giving many opportunities for bruising or injuries. Temple also works to bring awareness to the harshness in the action of the farm hands moving the animals. Many injuries to the animals. The injuries sustained by animals usually is from poor handling such as breaking tails, cut sin the hid from nails on sticks, and even shotgun wounds. The next step into identifying bad animal welfare is when animals are arriving dead ,which obviously is very bad.. Temple tries to bring awareness to better animal welfare when going through processing by publishing her many articles along with still using her scoring system to this day.

Temple Grandin invented squeeze chute originally for cattle but it has been used in many animals such as deer, goats, sheep, and horses. In an article called ” A Squeeze Chute to Restrain Captive Deer” examines how the chute is the use of the chute and just how versatile it is and how it can be used to benefit animal welfare in the deer farming community. On deer farms act very similar to the beef cattle in they are prey animals and are very skittish and jumpy. The chute used for the deer is the exact same as the one used in cattle designed by Temple ehr self. The deer enter the chute before a lever is pulled trapping their head. After their had is securely caught the sides of the chute move in to hold the deer firm, this prevents the deer or cattle from thrashing their legs and harming themselves or the handlers. The the chute benefits the farmers because it allows them to easily draw blood or give injections (Schmitt, Cooley, Schrader,Bradely, 1983. This invention not only benefited the animals welfare in making the handling experience less stressful but it helped keep them safely and unharmed.

Temple has had such a large influence on the livestock community it is hard to pinpoint just a few examples. Temple grandin has been a revolutionary figure in animal welfare not only in farm animals but animals in general. Every achievement in her life has been for better the lives of farms and their livestock making it a calm and easy experience in every interaction.

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