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Temple Grandin
Temple Grandin in 2011
Mary Temple Grandin

August 29, 1947 (1947-08-29) (age 74)
Alma mater
Known for
Scientific career
Institutions Colorado State University

Mary Temple Grandin (born August 29, 1947) is an American scientist and activist. She is a prominent proponent for the humane treatment of livestock for slaughter and author of more than 60 scientific papers on animal behavior. She is a consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, and an autism spokesperson. She is one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to document the insights she gained from her personal experience of autism. She is currently a faculty member with Animal Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University.

In the 2010 Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, she was named among those in the "Heroes" category. She was the subject of the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning semi-biographical film Temple Grandin. Grandin has been an outspoken proponent of the autism rights and neurodiversity movements.

Early life

Grandin grew up in Boston with her parents Richard Grandin and Eustacia Cutler. Her father was a real estate agent. Her mother was a writer, singer, and actress. She was born on August 29, 1947. She was diagnosed with autism in 1950. She is an advocate for people with autism.

Because of her autism, Temple did not think in words, she thought in pictures. In the early 1950s, most autistic children were discriminated against, but Grandin’s parents were very supportive of their daughter’s education.

In 1970, she graduated with honors and a Bachelor of Arts from Franklin Pierce College. Grandin received a doctorate in animal science in 1989 from the University of Illinois. After receiving her master’s degree in 1975, she created her own company, called Grandin Livestock Handling Systems. She continued learning about animal cruelty through this company.


Grandin worked most of her life to help the cruel living conditions of livestock. She worked on ways to prevent putting stress on animals before slaughter (when they are killed to be used for meat). Considering Grandin was autistic, she noticed the similarities in the way animals and autistic people saw the world, which let her help the cause even more.

Grandin wrote her first book with the help of Catherine Johnson. After having lots of success with her first book, she had a three hour interview with Johnson. Later that year, a movie was released about her life. In that same year, Grandin was included in TIME's Top 100 Influential People. Grandin also wrote a book with Richard Panek in 2013 called The Autistic Brain: Thinking across the Spectrum, which was about differences found in the brains of those who are autistic. Grandin also believed that vaccines can cause autism.


Because Grandin's achievements are so great, many parents of autistic children are inspired by her. Her autism may have been difficult at times, but it has also given her unusual advantages. During her career she has come up with humane conditions for the handling of animals. Grandin is motivated by a wish to improve animal welfare by getting rid of unnecessary stress on domestic animals, particularly before and during slaughter.

Later work

Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. She has focused on animal well-being throughout her career. She has been hired as a consultant to the meat industry (animal slaughtering). Grandin recommends "well-designed upright or rotating restraining pens" to hold cattle in a comfortable position. If this is done, 95 percent or more of the animals will stay calm. She thinks from a cow’s perspective to come up with her ideas. For example, she considers the animal’s sensitivity to light and slippery surfaces. She has said that soft lighting and single-colored walls help calm the animals. Also, she has said grooved floors are best, because cows are scared of slippery floors.

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