Temple Grandin, autistic animal scientist and author–The Sequel

by | Mar 6, 2024

In what might be called The Sequel, this represents the second portion of the interview I conducted on Feb. 12 with Temple Grandin, onstage at the Paramount Theatre in Austin. We covered a wide range of topics last week, though that discussion featured a preponderance of autism talk, hardly surprising given Grandin’s expertise, personal experience and the audience assembled to hear this conversation. Again, this interview wasn’t designed for “Talking Animals”—it was created for a conversation to be conducted onstage at the Paramount, in front of an audience of about 1200 Grandin admirers–but I do feel it was worth sharing on the show. And  today’s installment is a good deal more animal-oriented than last week’s, and also more varied, as we’re additionally presenting the audience question-and-answer segment, which inherently was characterized by a mishmash of subjects. So, this portion of the conversation ranged from her lamenting that she no longer rides horses (at 76, she says she’s worried that she might fall), to confessing that before our talk, she Googled me and read some of my old Washington Post pieces, to describing her favorite ways to spend a rare day off. The audience question-and-answer segment included queries from folks on the spectrum—including a young girl whose classmates think autism is weird, and she was seeking guidance for how to handle this (Grandin responded, in part: “Tell them Einstein was autistic…he had a pretty good career”—the parent of an autistic child, and a woman who had been a student of Grandin’s in one of the first years of her longtime stint as a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. (https://www.templegrandin.com/, https://www.grandin.com/, http://www.tgecautismfund.org/)

ALSO: I spoke briefly with Courtney Scott, Elephant Consultant with In Defense of Animals, who first provides an overview of the animal protection organization that’s been toiling in this field for some 40 years. Scott filled us in on the disturbing development of the Bay Area Renaissance Festival in Dade City, Florida now featuring a live elephant, named Lady Essex, performing tricks and, apparently, offering elephant rides. She outlines the harm—from a skeletal and physiological standpoint—done to an elephant providing rides to humans on its back. Scott recommend steps people can take to urge Festival organizers to halt this elephant action–ideally well before the Festival is slated to end on March 31—offering a phone number (352-999-5946) and an email: [email protected] to contact those organizers.


COMEDY CORNER: Beth Stelling’s “Beth’s Pests”  (https://bethstelling.com/)

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

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.


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