Temple Grandin, a renowned leader in the autism and animal rights movements who came into the public eye last year as the subject of an eponymous Emmy-winning HBO film, will speak at Mount Holyoke Wednesday, November 17 at 7:30 pm in Gamble Auditorium.
In a lecture titled "Animal Behavior, Autism, and Sensory-Based Thinking," Grandin will discuss her insights into animal behavior and how her autism and visual thinking led to a revolution in animal husbandry and food production. The event is part of the Weissman Center's 2010-2011 Food series, which focuses on the philosophical questions and practical approaches to world hunger, global climate change, and animals as a food source.
Long before she became known to cable television viewers, Grandin established herself through her pioneering work with animals and in designing humane meat-processing facilities. She has done extensive work on the design of handling facilities; half the cattle in the United States and Canada are handled in equipment she has designed for meat plants. She has also developed animal welfare guidelines for the meat industry and consulted with McDonalds, Wendy's International, Burger King, and other companies on animal welfare.
Grandin earned a B.A. at Franklin Pierce College in 1970, then became livestock editor for the Arizona Farmer Ranchman and worked for Corral Industries on equipment design. She earned her M.S. in animal science in 1974 at Arizona State University for her work on the behavior of cattle and was awarded her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1989; she is currently a professor of animal science at Colorado State University.
Following her Ph.D. research on the effect of environmental enrichment on the behavior of pigs, Grandin authored several hundred industry publications, book chapters, and technical papers on animal handling, in addition to 45 refereed journal articles and seven books—including the New York Times best seller Animals in Translation. She has received numerous awards, including the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Livestock Conservation Institute, the Industry Advancement Award from the American Meat Institute, and the prestigious Richard L. Knowlton Award from Meat Marketing and Technology magazine. Grandin will also be included in the 2010 TIME 100, the magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, as one of 25 "Heroes" of the year.
As a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America, Grandin lectures to parents and teachers throughout the country on her experiences with autism. She has been the subject of articles and interviews in the New York Times, People, TIME, National Public Radio, 20/20, The View, and the BBC. Her MHC lecture is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible.