Last night Chris and I had the opportunity to go and see a woman that we have been so impressed by, Temple Grandin. You may have heard her name from the 2009 HBO biopic which has become wildly popular, but her beginnings were as an animal scientist and activist. Temple has autism and is an autism activist spreading the word about her amazing mind and how we all need to recognize that we all think differently. Temple's unforgettable presence and her thoughtful words last night will be sure to stick in our minds for a very long time.
Chris first became interested in Temple Grandin's work after hearing Joel Salatin explain the origins of his own cattle handiling facility in Swoope, VA. Temple has an amazing ability to see the details that she believes that animals are seeing and are often frightened or apprehensive of. A flag flapping in the wind for example, a stream of light shining on the ground where cattle are meant to walk, or shiny objects can cause stress in an animal. Temple has designed cattle handling facilities that reduce the stress on animals when they are being sorted or handled. Her simplistic and common-sense plans are now being used on farms and in slaugherhouses all over the world. Solutions to problems with the old system of cattle handling were not being seen by the average person. Temple helped us to see the changes that needed to be made to make these stressful situations calmer for the animals.
We all owe a lot to Temple Grandin for her work in this area. I know for us in our business that the stress level during life of the animal that we are about to eat is so important. There are many studies that suggest that meat from calm animals is less tough and tastes better, not to mention that we can rest assured that the animal wasn't suffering from the stress.
Temple didn't talk too much about cattle handling facilities last night, she spoke more about autism and the hurdles that we all face when learning to accept that everyone thinks differently. Temple is a testament to the fact that we are all capable of amazing feats and if our talents are nurtured and we are listened to, we can accomplish just about anything.