Inspiring people: Mary Temple Gradin

Mary Temple Gradin is a Colorado State University Zoologist, Ethologist, Professor and Slaughterhouse Designer. She received her Ph.D. in Animal Science from the University of Illinois. She is currently a professor of animal behavior at the University of Colorado. She is also the author of books such as Thinking in Pictures and Interpreting Animals. She is a great advocate for animal welfare, especially animals exploited by the livestock industry. She has reformed slaughterhouses and ranches across the United States in defense of a life and death worthy of the subjects. She believes that welfare measures help the animal exploitation industry to function in a “safe, efficient and profitable” way.


She earned her degree from Franklin Pierce College in 1970. In 1974 she was employed as an agricultural editor at the Arizona Farmer Ranchman and also worked for Corral Industries in equipment design. In 1975 she obtained her master’s degree in Animal Sciences from Arizona State University for her work on the behavior of cattle in different milking units. Dr. Ella was awarded a Ph.D. in Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois in 1989 and she currently serves as a Professor at Colorado State University.
She has done extensive work designing livestock handling facilities. Half of the cattle in the United States and Canada are kept in facilities designed by her for meat plants. Other professional activities include the development of guides that guarantee the welfare of animals in meat plants together for McDonald’s, Wendy’s International, Burger King, among others.

In the last 10 years she has been a consultant for large companies, which represents the majority of the effort, added to her part-time job at the University of Colorado, however it is consulting that has constituted her main growing line of business. Most of her work focuses on large commercial meat packers. She has worked with Cargill, Tyson, Smithfield, Seaboard, Cactus Feeders, among others. Her company also does design work for various ranches. At the food companies mentioned above she has trained auditors in the care of animals and plants.


Dr. Grandin is a member of the board of directors of the American Autism Association. She there she lectures to parents and teachers throughout the American territory about her experience with this syndrome. Countless articles and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, People, Time, National Public Radio, 20/20, The View, and the BBC. She was honored by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Personalities in the World in 2010. Dr. Grandin currently resides in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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