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World-renowned livestock management expert Temple Grandin PhD pulled into the Calgary Stampede just as Prince William and Kate were pulling out. For the Stampede, it could have been a symbolic journey from the light and into the darkness if Dr. Grandin had decided to grandstand for the media and denounce the Stampede about the welfare of the Thoroughbred racehorses used in the rodeo’s chuckwagon races each evening.
Instead, she held the hooves of the entire Thoroughbred industry to the fire.
Dr. Grandin took the high road and ignored the bait of several reporters. Her impromptu press conference turned into an educational experience, as she focused on aspects of animal welfare at the rodeo and some concerns she has for the general well-being of the Thoroughbred breed.
While Dr Grandin admits that she is not an expert on Thoroughbreds and that her comments are speculative, she is an expert on livestock handling and housing and her comments on those subjects would hold some weight. Because of her celebrity status, her comments on Thoroughbreds will also be newsworthy.
I think this video is a good example of how to act when you’re in a high-pressure situation with the press goading you to make statements you might regret later. Notice that Dr. Grandin stays calm and steers the conversation to her direct observations of animals at the rodeo and in her own life, rather than continuing in the what-if and how-could situations vein that began the interview.
When there’s an emotionally-charged situation and the stakes are high, the person being interviewed has to keep the conversation going, keep it interesting, but keep it to the facts. When asked questions outside her area of expertise, it was wise of Dr Grandin to say she is not an expert on Thoroughbreds, but that she feels change is needed.
I liked her statement that she is not out to end anything but to improve some things through change. Sounds good to me.