In Conversation With Temple Grandin–Part Two

by | Feb 25, 2015

We continue here with the second half of the interview I conducted Feb. 7 with Temple Grandin onstage at the 1200-seat Paramount Theatre in Austin, also including the audience question-and-answer segment that followed our conversation that night. TGrandin_05gAs with the first portion, in this second half of the conversation, Dr. Grandin and I cover a wide array of topics, although this time there’s a greater emphasis on animal-oriented subjects. These include addressing some specifics of her designs for more humane handling of livestock at slaughter plants, and additional measures she’s introduced to prevent careless—much less abusive—treatment of the cattle in those facilities…the kinship she feels with other animals…some techniques she employed to improve the day-to-day life of some zoo antelopes. Other topics touched on include fear and other drives in animal brains and anxiety for people on the spectrum, and different ways to mitigate it, the horrors of over selecting for certain traits in animal breeding (dog breeding, in particular). The queries raised in the audience Q&A range from questions about graduate programs in psychology and autism, the individual characteristics among certain dog breeds, TG_Meet_01-XLpublic education standards and testing, what to do about a 10-year-old autistic boy who still has no speech, and more. As a measure of Grandin’s tireless efforts amidst a grueling travel schedule of lectures and other appearances, she had a pre-show meet-and-greet with an Austin-based autistic organization, chatting with everyone who wanted to, and posing for countless photos. Before and after the show, she signed books and spoke one-on-one with a long line of folks. (Photography: Mandy/Birdsong Imaging)  (,


ALSO: We spoke briefly with Don Goldstein, of Greyhound Rescue Adoptions of Tampa Bay, Inc. (GREAT), about a report recently-released by GREY2KUSA and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, documenting nearly 12,000 injuries to racing greyhounds and 900+ deaths, from 2008 to 2014, across the states that still allow greyhound racing. More than half of the nation’s 21 remaining tracks; Florida is also one of two states (the other is Alabama) that don’t require reporting of greyhound injuries, so that 12,000 figure falls well below the actual tally. We also discussed the implications of this report for new legislative efforts. (

COMEDY CORNER: Joe Zimmerman’s “Pet Snakes (Part Two)”   (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Elton John’s “Grey Seal”


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