BOZEMAN — Internationally recognized animal behavior researcher and advocate Temple Grandin will visit Bozeman next month for a pair of lectures. She will speak Feb. 20 on the Montana State University campus at noon and at Bozeman’s Ellen Theatre at 6 p.m.
Grandin’s visit is part of the Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Series hosted by the Department of Animal and Range Sciences in the MSU College of Agriculture. The series brings nationally and internationally recognized scientists, agriculturalists and educators to speak to students and community members about agricultural topics. All of the series’ events are free and open to the public.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Grandin to Bozeman,” said Sreekala Bajwa, MSU’s vice president for agriculture, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station. “Her innovations and advancements in agriculture cannot be overstated, and it will be a privilege for all of us to have the opportunity to hear from her firsthand.”
Grandin, currently a professor at Colorado State University, pioneered novel techniques for calming animals and lowering stress in feedlot situations. Her research has touched upon topics ranging from animal behavior during handling and transport, effective designs for stockyards and corrals, humane slaughter techniques and impacts of animal stress on meat quality. Her life and work were portrayed in the 2010 film “Temple Grandin,” and she was honored on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world the same year.
Grandin is also known for chronicling her life as an individual on the autism spectrum. In her book “Thinking in Pictures,” Grandin noted that she often found it easier to relate to and understand animals than people and she applied that connection to rethinking and redesigning animal holding and processing facilities. She helped create “hug boxes,” devices which have proven calming and effective both to animals under stress and humans struggling with anxiety. Grandin has designed livestock facilities in use in North America, Europe and Australia. Many North American meat plants use a restraint system she designed to be less stressful for cattle.
The first of Grandin’s two lectures in Bozeman, “Improving Cattle Stockmanship,” will be held Thursday, Feb. 20 on the MSU campus in the Animal Bioscience Building Room 134 from noon to 1 p.m. Her second lecture of the day, “Understanding Animal Behavior and Autism” will begin with a reception at 5 p.m. with the main lecture at 6 p.m., both at the Ellen Theatre, 17 W. Main St. Tickets are not necessary for either event.
“Dr. Grandin’s visit is sure to be one of our best-attended events in this year’s seminar series,” said Patrick Hatfield, head of the animal and range sciences department. “Her life story and research are so compelling, and each of us has a lot to learn from her contributions to agriculture and insight into human nature.”
The Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Series is aimed at fostering greater public engagement and outreach on innovative research, agriculture and natural resource issues. For more information please visit http://animalrange.montana.edu/bairranchfoundation.html.