I am extremely ready for spring weather, you know the 50-60 degree days with sunshine and warm enough to wear a hoodie or light jacket and not be cold (mind you it is snowing as I'm writing this.....) While yesterday was the first day of spring it was also a day that I was looking forward to since January when I signed up to attend the Animals for Life Foundation Summit. The main reason I signed up was because i saw that THEE Temple Grandin was going to be speaking.
I was asked on facebook what about hearing Dr. Grandin speak interested me? Well I find this woman to be quite admirable! She is one of the people that I look up to and inspire me. If I can do 1/4 of what she has done and impact my favorite industry in a postive way, I will have a fulfilled life! Throughout high school and especially in college we were taught of her amazing discoveries through research of cattle handling and behaviour of cattle in particular (cattle was my focus in college if you couldn't tell). Working in the cattle industry it is just amazing to be implementing her findings and research by using working cattle chutes that she designed and to get to meet in person the lady behind it all was quite an opportunity and honor for me!
Now onto the important part, as I was sitting in the room listening to one of the speakers on the line up the door behind me opens and in walks Dr. Grandin. My heart started racing and it was like the deer in the headlights kind of moment. As she took the stage utter excitement grew inside me. This is a no BS type of lady. She will explain to you exactly why something should happen and will explain to you why she thinks something is completely idiotic! One of the most profound statements I heard her say was "We've got to show them everything we do. Period. We've got to open the doors electronically". She nailed it! She gave great examples of how she has videos on what exactly goes on in a slaughterhouse and commended the Peterson Farm Bros for telling their story through YouTube. I think she made a great point when she said Fair Oaks Farms did a great job creating the Pig Adventure but then screwed it up by making it illegal to take pictures. If we are going to have transparency then have transparency!
What I also found interesting was that she said companies that have main headquarters or people running the companies interacting with non rural citizens understand the impacts of animal welfare better than the companies that only surround themselves with rural people like themselves. That is a great point to sit and think about!
Some other great things that happened that day was the people that I got to meet and interact with. I sat beside a newly acclaimed vegan that decided to go that lifestyle because she didn't like the way animals were treated and cared for from videos she had seen. This statement instantly makes my blood pressure rise. I kindly told here that most videos depicting horrific images have an agenda. No industry is perfect but the majority do truly care about the animals. I encouraged her to actually go and visit some farms (surprise surprise she has never been on one....). She was very receptive! My favorite part I would have to say was when she came in for lunch with cheese filled pasta I looked at her and said maybe you ought to try vegetarianism because I don't think the eggs and cheese are allowed in veganism. She just looked at me and said "I'm still learning"! Ha!
Also, while standing in line to meet Dr Grandin we all were wearing name tags and under our name had our company. Mine happened to say Stewart Seeds Monsanto....dun dun dun! So while talking to this nice lady about blogging she kindly turned to the man behind us who happened to have just started an organic cattle farm and said "This is Taysha, she works for Monsanto". He quickly looked at me and said "well you won't like me then." Confused I asked him why and he returned with well because I am organic. I said and why would that make me hate you? I sell seed to organic farmers. We have a conventional lineup. He was shocked! His response was "Well I HEARD you guys hated Organic." Here again with that "heard" word. I told him not to always believe what he hears.
All in all it was a great day! Not only did I get to meet the most inspiring lady in my eyes but I also got to have so great conversations with some people that had some misconceptions and hopefully I was able to clear some of the confusion up for them!
Dr. Temple Grandin is an amazing speaker and I feel we as an industry have a lot to learn from her still! If any of you get the chance to hear her speak Do It!!!