Temple Grandin to headline BVA Congress

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    Written by Rachel Martin

    The pioneering American animal welfare scientist, bestselling author and autism spokesman Dr. Temple Grandin will share her unique insights into livestock handling and the benefits of good stockmanship at the BVA Congress in November.

    Dr. Grandin will speak at the 52nd Wooldridge Memorial Lecture during the congress, which is hosted at this year’s London Vet Show.

    In her lecture entitled ‘Improving Stockmanship and Welfare’, Dr. Grandin will present key learnings from her lifetime’s work on humane livestock handling:

    • How visual distractions make animals refuse to move through a handling facility;
    • The principle of the ‘flight zone’;
    • Point of balance principles for low-stress handling; and
    • The benefits of good stockmanship.


    She will also consider welfare assessments with an emphasis on animal-based outcome indicators and discuss the problems associated with over-selection for production traits.

    Dr. Grandin, a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and author of hundreds of publications on animal handling, has had a long and distinguished career that has had a major impact on the meat and livestock industries worldwide.

    Almost half of all cattle processing facilities in the US and Canada use her innovative centre track restrainer system to reduce stress at slaughter, for example, while her writings on the principles of grazing animal behaviour have helped livestock keepers reduce stress during handling.

    In 2010, she was named among Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’ for using “her unique window into the minds of animals” to improve their quality of life.

    In the same year, HBO premiered an eponymous Emmy and Golden Globe winning biopic about her life and work, with actor Claire Danes playing the title role.

    Among her many other accolades and achievements, Dr. Grandin is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and inductee of the National Women’s Hall of Fame in the US.

    A prominent spokesperson for autism, Dr. Grandin is recognised as being among the first people to shed light on living with the diagnosis. Her popular 2010 TED talk, ‘The world needs all kinds of minds,’ has been viewed over five million times.

    British Veterinary Association president Simon Doherty said: “Dr. Grandin has made significant contributions to animal welfare worldwide and we are delighted to welcome such an eminent speaker for this year’s Wooldridge Memorial Lecture.


    As vets, we believe that an animal should experience both a good life and a humane death and we can achieve this by giving due consideration to the design and culture within slaughterhouses. That has been the outcome for millions of farmed animals thanks to Dr. Grandin’s pioneering work.

    “I’m sure colleagues from all areas of the veterinary profession will find Dr. Grandin’s lecture inspiring and informative. In fact, I fully anticipate a standing-room-only crowd at the lecture.”

    Rob Chapman, managing director of CloserStill Media’s Veterinary Portfolio, said: “We are delighted to have Temple Grandin coming to speak at the London Vet Show this year. To have someone who has not only achieved so much but overcome so many obstacles to do so should serve as an inspiration to us all.”

    The first Wooldridge Memorial Lecture, posthumously named after veterinary politician and researcher Dr. W.R. Wooldridge, was delivered at BVA Congress in 1967 by Prof. Lord Stamp and, over the years, has been followed by lectures from eminent speakers including:

    • The Princess Royal (1992), president of the Animal Health Trust;
    • Dr. John Bradshaw, author of ‘Dog Sense/In Defence of Dogs’ and ‘Cat Sense’ (2015);
    • ‘Bad Science’ best-selling author Dr. Ben Goldacre (2017); and
    • ‘One Show’ wildlife presenter Mike Dilger (2018).

    Dr. Grandin’s lecture is open to all London Vet Show attendees and will take place in the BVA Congress Theatre at London’s ExCeL between 1:00pm and 2:00pm on Thursday, November 14.

    Other talks at this year’s BVA Congress will focus on issues including ‘greening’ the vet profession; what makes a good veterinary workplace; whether large-scale puppy breeding can ever be justified; the future of vet nursing; addressing the rise of ‘anti-vaxxers’; and the importance of diversity within the veterinary profession.

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