The Laramie County Public Library hosted a talk last week with animal welfare advocate Temple Grandin. She discussed how her own autism helped her understand the way animals think in pictures. Grandin has used this knowledge to develop methods and equipment—now commonly used in the industry—to make livestock less stressed and more manageable in feedlots and slaughter units.
She also offered advice to Wyoming’s many small livestock producers. She says, some of the old-fashioned ranching methods may need to go, like yelling at cattle and using horses to move them.
"We’ve got some people out on the ranches and feed yards doing a fabulous job handling cattle doing it on horses, which is good," she says. "Horses are good! But the problem is when they get to the packing plant and if they meet their first man on foot at a packing plant, the cattle freak out because that’s a different picture than a man on a horse. And there’s been some hideous accidents."
Grandin says humanely treated livestock provide better tasting meat and are also safer for the people who handle them.
Grandin is currently a professor of animal science at Colorado State University.