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Book Review: Animals in Translation

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The author, Temple Grandin

I have several animal behavior and horse training books that I will be reading and reviewing for you in the upcoming weeks. With all the winter weather we’ve been having it’s a good time to catch up on reading!

This book gives excellent insights into animal behavior and how animals think, and is written by a very exceptional woman with a long list of achievements and public appearances, despite living with what most would consider a handicap. The author of this book also has a very unique perspective on animal behavior, due to her own perceptions and experiences going through life with autism. Instead of allowing her autism to be a handicap, the author has used the different ways her brain works to help other individuals, human and animal.

Temple Grandin is a doctor of animal science and currently works as a professor at Colorado State University. She is an autism activist and serves as a consultant to the livestock industry. Temple believes that people with autism, are in many ways, more similar to animals in how they perceive the world. For example, Temple explains how she thinks “in pictures,” and evidence (as well as common sense) suggests that animals think in pictures as well. Temple is also good at noticing details, small things out of place stand out to her, whereas most people don’t see those small details. This is what has allowed Temple to be so effective in her work with the livestock industry. She will be called in to evaluate a facility and determine why the pigs or cattle are not moving through chutes or into pens. Temple’s ability to see things as the animals do helps her notice small disturbances that are upsetting the animals, such as a piece of flapping plastic or light reflecting off a metal object.

But this book covers much more than just Temple’s work with livestock. She also talks about differences in behavior between prey and predator species, as well as the differences between domesticated and undomesticated animals. Temple also discusses genetics, and how much we, as humans, can change both the physical features and innate behaviors of animals we breed. Because of Temple’s solid background in academia, “Animals in Translations” is written in an entertaining yet scientific way, with most of Temple’s points backed up by research studies and firsthand experience.
If you are interested in animal behavior and want to better understand how your beloved pets (I am including horses under “pets” here) think and react to things, as well as have more understanding of both their potential and limitations, then I would highly recommend picking up a copy of “Animals in Translation.”

Here is the link for amazon:

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  1. By Kalli Norton

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