Temple Grandin visits Google's Boulder, CO office to discuss her book "Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals." This event took place on December 2, 2008, as part of the Authors@Google series.
Grandin (Animals in Translation), famed for her decades-long commitment to treating livestock as humanely as possible on its way to slaughter, considers how humans and animals can best interact. Working from the premise that an animal is a conscious being that has feelings, the autistic author assesses dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs, poultry, wildlife and zoo animals based on a core emotion system she believes animals and humans share, including a need to seek; a sense of rage, fear, and panic; feelings of lust; an urge to nurture; and an ability to play. Among observations at odds with conventional wisdom: dogs need human parents, not alpha pack leaders, and cats respond to training. Discussions of why horses are skittish and why pigs are arguably the most intelligent of beasts—raccoons run them a close second—illuminate the intersection of people and more domesticated animals; chapters on cows and chickens focus more generally on animal welfare, particularly the horrific conditions in which they are usually raised and slaughtered. Packed with fascinating insights, unexpected observations and a wealth of how-to tips, Grandin's peppy work ably challenges assumptions about what makes animals happy.