Coming from a non-agricultural background, Temple Grandin was fascinated when her mother remarried and brought a ranch into the family. There were not many women in the cattle industry at the time, but she was determined to prove herself. She proceeded to earn a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Franklin Pierce College in 1970, a Master of Science in animal science from Arizona State University in 1975, and a PhD in animal science from the University of Illinois in 1989.
Dr. Grandin’s first professional positions were livestock editor for Arizona Farmer Ranchman and equipment designer for Corral Industries. Her efforts in these capacities led her to step out as an independent consultant through Grandin Livestock Systems in Urbana, Illinois, in 1975. She maintained the position until she moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, in 1990 and brought her business with her. Dr. Grandin continues to hold that position to this day. She has also been a lecturer and professor in the animal science department at Colorado State University since 1990. She is currently teaching a class in livestock handling that features topics like the basic principles of cattle behavior, scale drawing with a ruler, and animal-subject behavior.
Some of Dr. Grandin’s most notable accomplishments include designing stockyards and humane restraint equipment for major meat packing companies in the U.S., Canada and Australia and developing an objective scoring system used for monitoring animal welfare in slaughter plants. To share her experiences with a wider audience, Dr. Grandin authored publications like “Emergence: Labeled Autistic” in 1986, “Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines for Meat Packers” in 1991, “Livestock Handling and Transport” in 1993, “Thinking in Pictures” in 1995, and “Beef Cattle Behavior Handling and Facilities Design” in 2000. Some of her other books include “Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships,” “Humane Livestock Handling,” “Animals Make Us Human,” “The Artistic Brain,” and “Animals in Translation,” which was named one of the top science books of the year in 2005. Notably, an HBO movie was made about Dr. Grandin’s life in 2010. It won seven Emmy awards.
In recognition of Dr. Grandin’s hard work and dedication, she was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME magazine in 2010. She also received accolades like an honorary doctorate from McGill University, the Headlines Award from the Livestock Publications Council, the Joseph Wood Krutch Award from the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Ethics in Action Award from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and the Press Award from the National Institute of Animal Agriculture.