Many of us – philosophers and scientists, not to mention all those tens of millions who have animal companions – have long wondered what goes on in the minds of animals. 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. (hosted by Michael Toms)
Temple Grandin, Ph.D. 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.
Temple Grandin books include:
- Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism (Vintage 1996)
- Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior (A Harvest Book) (Scribner 2005)
- Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals (Houghton Mifflin 2009)
- The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed (coauthor Richard Panek) (Mariner Books 2014)
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
From Album: AnimalSongs
Artist: Will Tuttle
1997 Karuna Music #KM 3105
Opening Essay: Cowsong
Music Break 1: Lambsong
Music Break 2: Chickensong