AUBURN, Ala. –Auburn University’s Department of Animal Sciences recently hosted Dr. Temple Grandin, an internationally known specialist in animal behavior. Grandin spoke to students on the importance of good animal handling and management.
“Dr. Grandin’s knowledge and expertise make her one of the most respected and revered professors and consultants to the livestock industry dealing with animal handling, behavior and management,” said P’Pool. “It is an honor to the animal sciences department and the college of agriculture to host her.”
Grandin said that handling is an important part of animal welfare.
“When I first started, I thought I could fix everything if I could make the perfect handling facility, but that’s only half of the equation,” said Grandin. “The other half of the equation is the management and the handling that goes along with it. You need to have both.”
Grandin’s livestock handling facility designs are all over the world. In North America, almost half of the cattle go through a system that she designed for meat plants. In addition to her designs, Grandin’s writings on the flight zone and other patterns of livestock behavior have helped many people understand how to reduce stress on livestock when handling.
“I have noticed over the last 10 years or so that handling has improved a whole lot,” said Grandin. “Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) has been putting all kind of emphasis on that, which is really good.”
Grandin worked with the BQA on developing a scoring system for animal handling. In this system, producers record things like how many animals fall during handling, how many animals are hit with the electric prodder and how many animals moo when you catch them.
“If I measure handling, then I can tell if I am getting better or getting worse. A lot of times people will go to a cattle handling workshop and a year later they have slipped back into old bad ways. The problem is they don’t realize they have done that,” said Grandin. “I call that bad becoming normal. That’s the reason why it is so important to measure the handling.”
P’Pool said that Grandin is one of the acknowledged leaders in the industry.
“Grandin has been involved in laying the foundation of the science and art of using the behavior of livestock to better and more humanely manage them to provide food and fiber to our world,” said P’Pool.
Grandin is a professor at Colorado State University where she teaches courses on livestock behavior and facility design. She often consults with people in the livestock industry on facility design, livestock handling and animal welfare. In addition to her work with the livestock industry, Grandin is a prominent author and speaker on autism. She shares her story of how she overcame her autism and is an advocate for the autistic community.