By Kim Watson Potts
At the National Junior Angus Show in Denver this week, world renowned animal behavior specialist Temple Grandin spoke to young Angus producers about animal welfare and behavior. She discussed some practical do's and don'ts, but also challenged the crowd that they need to become advocates for animal agriculture by getting out there and telling the general public what they do.
While the negative videos of animal abuse have been capturing headlines, she emphatically stated that type of cruelty to animals is unacceptable. "Cameras are everywhere nowadays, so if you wouldn't want someone from New York to see what you are doing on your farm, then you shouldn't be doing it," Grandin said.
For the most part, though, there are good things to share about how animals are cared for and handled on a majority of farms. And she challenged the kids, with parental supervision, to take cameras and post what they do around the farm on YouTube and other social media. "Most of the public is curious about what you do, and want to know more, so tell them," she says
Grandin also advised the kids to not engage in angry attacks that might come from a few animal rightist. Instead just remove the offensive comment and block that person. She says that she doesn't mind civil disagreements, but not viscous and angry dialogue, and with most social media like YouTube and Facebook, that can be controlled.
You can see more from Temple Grandin next week as Al Pell talks with her for AgDay.
Grandin has been a pioneer in animal handling and welfare within the beef industry. She has helped set handling and welfare guidelines for organizations like the American Meat Institute. Her life story was recently made into a movie for HBO.
Just last week, the HBO movie "Temple Grandin" was nominated for 15 Primetime Emmy Awards, including Best Made for Television Movie, Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie (Claire Danes), Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie (David Strathairn), and Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie (Julie Ormond and Catherine O’Hara).
To view the movie trailer, click here. The DVD version is set to be released Aug. 17.
Grandin also is the best-selling author of Thinking in Pictures, Animals in Translation and Humane Livestock Handling.