Temple Grandin Pulls in a Crowd

“I can only fix half of it with equipment. The other half is management.” – Temple Grandin on animal handling

I had the opportunity to hear Temple Grandin speak at Washington State University last night. If my fingers could have moved fast enough, I would have had a lot more quotes from her talk. Truth is, I was pretty wrapped up in listening.

Her speaking style is very direct. There’s no nonsense in her approach to telling things how she sees them. I appreciate that; I think what you see is what you get with Temple Grandin. The world could use a lot more of that.

On Fear
She talked about low-stress animal handling. Socializing animals. The importance of really seeing your animals. Listening to what you see instead of your warped human logic.

She called slaughterhouses by that term and scoffed at the idea of “harvesting facilities”. That falls in line with all the times I’ve heard her advocating for transparency in the livestock industry. She also talked about whether animals know they are going to die and if they are afraid.

You know what Temple Grandin said? That animals are afraid of the dark. Of rapidly moving objects. Of slippery surfaces. They’re afraid of black hats, because they had a bad first experience with someone wearing a black hat.

On Management of Animals
I don’t agree with everything she says, but she is one heck of a lady who has used her abilities to improve countless animal handling facilities and managers. I think she is square on about the management being 50% of the problem.

If you’ve ever tried to think like a cow every single minute you’re working with them? Well, let’s just say if I could accomplish that, then I’d know where the eight head I’m missing are at.

Without a doubt, listening to Temple Grandin speak last night made me think. I’ve handled animals a lot, and throughout her talk I was recalling past situations and wondering what I could have done differently. When a speaker makes you think like that, it’s a good talk.

On a Large Crowd
But hands down, the most exciting thing about hearing Temple Grandin speak last night was the crowd. There were well over 1,000 people, and the extras had to leave due to fire code violations.

You know what that means? It means a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds are interested in hearing about animal handling. It means they are open to having discussions. It means they want information and are willing to go to the source.

Those are doors we need to try and keep open.

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