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Campaign Aims To Raise Animal Care, Autism Awareness

My family and I spent the weekend moving cow-calf pairs to pasture. As we loaded the first pairs into the trailer, I noticed a shadow from a fence post that was haphazardly leaning against the loading dock. The cow I was pushing up the alley stalled to examine the shadow and find the source of the potential danger. My thoughts immediately went to Temple Grandin. I have heard her speak countless times about keeping the alley clear of distractions, and we quickly moved the fence post, so the cattle would better move into the trailer.

Without a doubt, Grandin has had a huge influence on the beef cattle industry. So many practices we utilize on a daily basis on the ranch are the result of the work of this incredible woman.

In a new campaign, livestock facilities are using t-shirts to raise awareness of the humane treatment of animals, as well as autism awareness, inspired by Grandin.

Here’s the story:

“Working his first job, a 27 year old with Aspergers Syndrome is assisting with the printing of a t-shirt soon to be worn by a livestock handler at a beef plant in Colorado. Later that same day, another 40 shirts will be brought to the post office by a 15 year old with Autism working after school, sending shirts to animal handling facilities in Nebraska, Virginia, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Kansas and Texas. But this is not the first time these entirely unrelated fields have crossed paths, and the facilitator hasn't changed either -- Temple Grandin. Plaudits have been exhausted for Grandin, a world-renowned autism figurehead, best-selling author, Ph.D., consultant of animal science, and a source of hope to the millions affected by autism worldwide.   

Figures recently released by the Center For Disease Control (CDC) state that autism is now being diagnosed in one of every 88 births in the U.S. Although autism is typically thought of as a disorder of childhood, its costs are often felt well into adulthood. Lost productivity, the need for direct care, and a predicted unemployment rate of 90% all contribute to an estimated societal cost of approximately $3.2 million/individual/lifetime. Traditionally, the options in meaningful and productive employment positions for those diagnosed with autism have been fleeting and insecure. However, an apparent philosophical shift has emerged, with it altering attitudes, expectations, and prospects for individuals with developmental disabilities.

“Spectrum Designs Foundation Ltd., is a non-profit apparel printing business established in early 2011 with the mission to provide gainful employment and authentic vocational experience to individuals with autism and related conditions. Through the support of Grandin, Spectrum Designs has sent t-shirts bearing her distinctive cattle chute design to over 50 livestock handling facilities and educational institutions across the United States. In return, farmers, students and livestock handlers from New Hampshire to Colorado have donned the shirts and posted pictures at their farms or plants, accompanied by their loved ones, livestock, and livelihood. Inter-office competitions were held for the shirts at JBS Swift, the world's largest animal protein processor, while global food producers Cargill congratulated food safety supervisors with shirts from Spectrum Designs – all recognizing when a shirt becomes more than a shirt.

“The project alone has allowed for more than 100 hours of paid employment to individuals with developmental disabilities; and with Grandin's endorsement, the shirts continue to generate opportunity -- being made available for general sale by popular demand.  All proceeds go to support individuals with autism while $5 of every shirt sold goes to the Temple Grandin Eustacia Cutler Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting the families of those affected by autism spectrum disorder.  

“To learn more about Spectrum Designs Foundation or to purchase your unique Temple Grandin Spectrum Designs shirt, please visit (

Will you purchase a t-shirt to support autism awareness and humane animal handling?

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