Shaping Costco’s policy
behave in order to modulate her own behav-
ior accordingly, and that’s the behavior that
makes her work on behalf of people with
Grandin says that watching the 2010
HBO film on her life was like traveling back in
a time machine. She gave actress Claire Danes
old family tapes and spent half a day with
The film significantly added to
Grandin’s fame—she cuts an equally
distinctive figure in real life, with
her signature cowgirl shirts, blue
jeans and black boots—and she
now speaks at large venues around
“I’ve gotten moved to basketball
stadiums, and that’s all happened since the
movie,” she says. “A lot of people who come to
events—I estimate 75 or 80 percent of them—
are probably interested in autism. But then
there is another group interested in animals.
One thing I am getting concerned about is I’m
seeing too many kids who are considered
mildly autistic come up to me and all they
want to talk about is their autism. I’d rather
have them tell me about their science project
Grandin lectures frequently about autism
and animal husbandry around the country. Above, she appears with actress
Claire Danes who portrayed Grandin in
the 2010 HBO film on Grandin’s life.
or how they are training dogs or that they are
in 4-H or they like to write science fiction.
Tell me about what you like to do! Autism
would totally take over if I let it, but
I am not going to let it.”
For years, Grandin says, she was
hypersensitive to sound and touch,
What worlds are left for her to conquer?
“There are things that would be really fun to
do, like go to the Space Station, but I don’t
think I will be doing that,” Grandin says. “But
if I had a chance to go for a week, I would go.
Scan or click
here for behind-
age from the
HBO film Temple
page 5 for scan-
Richard Deitsch is a freelance writer based in
New York City.
WHEN COSTCO SET out a
decade ago to adopt a policy for
the treatment of cattle being
raised for beef, the first person
company officials contacted for
guidance was Temple Grandin.
Grandin helped Costco formulate animal welfare rules that
apply to the operations of all of
the companies that supply
Costco with beef, veal, pork and
poultry—a critical task, given
that Costco is one of the world’s
largest sellers of meat products.
Those policies were extended to
companies that raise poultry for
eggs and dairy cattle, explains
Craig Wilson, Costco vice president of food safety and quality
“She is a tremendous sounding board and resource for us,”
Costco’s policy addresses
animal welfare and husbandry
practices, including specific
steps to ensure those practices
are followed. When it was
adopted, it was one of the first
such programs among retailers,
Craig says. Grandin helped train
Costco’s meat-buying staff on
animal welfare practices.
One key step was formulat-
ing an animal welfare scoring
system. “Temple helped us
develop it so that all of our sup-
pliers are treated the same to
ensure all animals are being
treated properly,” Craig says.
“That included helping our
employees and our audit compa-
nies fully understand animal
welfare from a very practical
Costco still consults with
Grandin on animal welfare
issues whenever they arise.