“Our facilities have been designed with Dr. Grandin’s philosophy in mind, and over the years we have continued to improve on this low-stress handling approach. We know these processes work based on how calm and quiet the cattle stay and ultimately how much easier it is for us to get our work done,” said Patsy Houghton, Ph.D. and owner of Heartland Cattle Company in Nebraska.
Heartland Cattle pioneered the heifer development business in the beef industry. Heartland’s heifer development and research center has bred more than 71,000 heifers and weaned more than 120,000 calves since its inception in 1990.
“When cattle arrive at one of our feedyards, they are moved through areas that are signature Temple Grandin, like the curved chute, that use the animals’ natural instincts to minimize stress. In fact, several of our processing facilities were built under her direction,” said Mike Thoren, president and chief operating officer for JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, LLC. “Her insights and empathy into animal behavior revolutionized the cattle industry and continue to ensure cattle are handled humanely.”
Employing more than 650 professionals, JBS Five Rivers is the largest cattle feeder in the world with a combined feeding capacity of more than 839,000 head of cattle with locations in Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Ohio.
Grandin’s unique understanding of animal behavior is used to teach low-stress handling techniques in feedlots, auction markets, and on farms and ranches across the country through the BQA Stockmanship and Stewardship program.
“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, Associate Department Head for Extension, Animal Science Department, Texas AgriLife Extension. Gill travels the country training livestock handlers in BQA-approved cattle handling techniques.
“We’ve always cared for our cattle but Temple has given us more insight into their behavior. Personally, I have more confidence in how I handle animals because of her work,” says Peck.
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.