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The Minds of Animals with Temple Grandin

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Philosophers and scientists have long wondered what goes on in the minds of animals, not to mention all those tens of millions who have animal companions. Dr. Temple Grandin, a high functioning person with autism, has spent a lifetime empathizing with animals, working with farmers, ranchers, large corporations like McDonalds and Burger King, helping them to better understand animals and their behavior in order to make their care more humane. “Autism,” she argues, “closely mimics the way animals perceive the world. It is a world without language and full of pictures.” Indeed, she asserts that animals are autistic savants whose intelligence is unseen by most people.

Temple Grandin, PhD, is considered to be one of the most celebrated and effective animal advocates on the planet. She has revolutionized animal movement systems and spearheaded reform of the quality of life – and death – for the world’s agricultural animals. Grandin Livestock Systems works with McDonald’s and other large corporations to monitor the conditions of animal facilities worldwide. She is associate professor at Colorado State University and is the author of Thinking in Pictures (Vintage 1996), Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior (Scribner 2005), and Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals (Houghton Mifflin 2009). To learn more about the work of Temple Grandin go to www.templegrandin.com

Topics Explored in this Dialogue:

  • How autistic people and animals think in pictures
  • How language can cover up sensory-based thinking.
  • How do animals think cognitively?
  • What are some of the problems that we’re running into with animal genetics?
  • Why it’s important to give animals the benefit of the doubt
  • Why it’s wrong to make animals afraid
  • How slaughterhouses can be more humane

Program Number: 3075            Host: Michael Toms               Interview Date: 1/17/2005

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