This Saturday, Feb. 6, when HBO’s Temple Grandin airs, livestock producers across the country will be tuning in to honor Temple Grandin’s work in improving animal care. Grandin, living with autism, revolutionized livestock handling by tapping into her ability to see the world in a different way to develop a deeper understanding of animal behavior.

Ryan Ruppert, director, Beef Quality Assurance, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association attended the Denver premiere of HBO’s Temple Grandin on Wednesday night as a guest of Grandin. “I thought the movie did a great job capturing the challenges Temple overcame to improve livestock care in food production. What shocked me is how different the beef industry looks today than it did in the 60s and 70s as a result of her perseverance. She is a true pioneer,” said Ruppert.

Grandin’s work has touched every segment of livestock production, from the farm to the processing facility.

“Temple has been a wonderful advocate for animals and animal agriculture by improving the overall management and well-being of livestock. We take it to the next step and teach cattlemen how to effectively implement procedures to take advantage of the principles she has promoted throughout her career,” says Ron Gill, Animal Science Department, Texas AgriLife Extension.

Editors' comments

I had the good fortune of contacting Temple Grandin for her input on feature stories and news articles that I have worked on for Pork magazine. I was immediately taken by her dedication to animal well-being, her professionalism and her thoroughness in addressing my questions. Despite her constantly busy schedule, she went out of her way to follow-up with telephone calls and references.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Temple and salute her for her contributions and ground-breaking work on animal care and handling. The nation’s livestock industry has benefited greatly from her diligence and perseverance in her work in the advancement of animal well-being. We wish her continued success in this important endeavor.

Rick Jordahl, associate editor, Pork

By all accounts, the HBO film gets it right in portraying Dr. Grandin, her way of thinking and her approach to livestock handling. I spoke with Temple a couple weeks ago, and while the call was on a different subject, we talked about the upcoming film. And just this morning I heard an interview with Temple on Colorado Public Radio. She says the film’s producers succeeded in illustrating how her autism allows her to “think in pictures” and gain a unique understanding of animals.

She also says Claire Danes, in the title role, delivers a remarkable performance. “She became me,” Grandin says. Danes spent hours with Grandin, and studied video and audio tapes of her earlier career. She worked with voice and motion coaches to master Grandin’s mannerisms and speech. Temple says it was almost spooky when Danes put on a wig, donned Temple’s signature western clothing and transformed herself into Temple Grandin of the 1970s.

Grandin also notes the producers built accurate replicas of cattle-handling facilities and equipment using her early designs.

Anyone in the livestock business will want to see this tribute to one of our industry’s most compelling and influential personalities.

John Maday, Drovers managing editor