When Temple Grandin was 2 years old, she could not speak. She showed all the signs of severe autism and the doctors recommended that she be institutionalized. But her mother refused and instead sent her to speech therapy. Grandin mastered the language and became one of the world’s foremost experts in the meat and livestock industries.
Tuesday at 7 pm, as part of the Heuermann lectures, Grandin will speak at Hardin Hall on “Improving animal welfare and communication with the public”.
The Heuermann conferences explain how to secure a growing world in the areas of food, natural resources and renewable energies.
“The purpose of the Heuermann Conferences is to get leading authorities around the world to focus on food security (and) energy security,” said Ronnie Green, vice president of the University of Nebraska and vice chancellor Harlan from the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “(With) Temple, we wanted her to spark a good discussion around the area of animal protein. (There will be) 3 billion more people in 2050 who don’t get a lot of protein today and will need it then.
Green worked with Grandin at Colorado State University, where she is a faculty member.
Grandin said his autism helps him think in pictures, which helps him help animals and design low-stress livestock handling facilities.
“I’m going to talk about people with different kinds of minds, and different kinds of minds can work together,” Grandin said in a phone interview.
Grandin hopes to facilitate communication between the public and the agricultural industry.
“What I’m thinking is that (the agriculture industry) needs to communicate a lot better with the public and they’ve done a lousy job of doing that,” Grandin said. “I have done a lot of work to improve the slaughterhouses and (people don’t know that). It is driving me crazy.”
Grandin wants to correct the public’s ignorance about the food industry.
“People just don’t know where the food comes from,” said Grandin.
Grandin mentioned Cuties California Clementines as an example. She said clementines were mislabeled “made for kids” when they should have been labeled “grown for kids”.
“They don’t make tangerines in a factory,” Grandin said.
Judy Nelson, project manager for the Heuermann conferences, said Grandin was a great candidate for the Heuermann conferences.
“She’s so expert in her field,” she said of Grandin. “She is a world leader in how to properly handle animals and develop pet facilities.”
The conference will be webcast live on the main Heuermann conferences website, www.heuermannlectures.unl.edu.