Nov. 2, 2011--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls will host Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University and noted designer of livestock handling facilities that improve animal welfare and productivity, on Nov. 17.
Grandin will meet with various animal science classes throughout the day and at 7 p.m. will give a presentation “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds” in the Abbott Concert Hall in the Kleinpell Fine Arts building on campus. The presentation will emphasize pairing children and young adults with careers based on their unique abilities and strengths. She will also be discussing the world of autism and the children and adults who face it each day. A reception and book signing will follow the presentation that is free and open to the public.
Grandin overcame the obstacles presented by her autism to become an internationally renowned public figure and pioneer for both animal welfare and the autistic community. In 2010, she was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. She has appeared in numerous documentaries and television shows, including “60 Minutes.” Two of her books have been on the New York Times bestseller list. Her life story was the subject of the 2010 Emmy Award-winning biographical film “Temple Grandin,” which starred Claire Danes.
“You never get the feeling that she thinks she’s a celebrity, she’s so down to earth,” says Kurt Vogel, who joined the UWRF animal science faculty in January 2011 and who studied for his Ph.D under Grandin at Colorado State University. “She is a normal person who does remarkable things; I think we should all do remarkable things.”
Vogel and Grandin have studied and researched many ways to improve humane animal handling technology. In 2009, Vogel led a study comparing two hog stunning techniques: the common head stun and the head-heart stun, or the two-pronged approach. They discovered that the head-heart stun eliminated many adverse effects that the more widely used head stun technique created.
Advances like this are greatly influencing the way in which farmers and soon-to-be agriculturalists view animal-handling techniques. UWRF student Paul Lippert says, “The lessons learn from Temple Grandin apply to all young people in agriculture. We should all be able to go back to our farms or other careers and help change the way people think about cattle handling. Through this, we can show the world that the livestock industry is striving to increase the welfare of its animals and that we really do care about them.”
Vogel explained that this very outlook is a primary reason for Grandin’s visit. “She’s so excited to come speak here at UWRF,” Vogel says with a smile, “She is very interested in passing on her knowledge to the next generation. She wants to know that her ideas are going to make it.”
Internationally renowned public figure and pioneer for both animal welfare and the autistic community, Temple Grandin, will visit UWRF Nov. 17.