Temple Grandin had been designing humane meatpacking plants and equipment for 25 years.
The results were mixed at best. Some plants installed the equipment she designed, used it properly and kept it in good condition. Many others never trained their staff and let the equipment get broken.
Then in 1999, McDonald's hired Grandin to help them implement the animal welfare audit she'd designed. McDonald's announced that all of their 50 meatpacking plants in the United States would have to pass the audit. That year, McDonald's threw a major plant off the approved supplier list because it failed the audit. They suspended several other plants.
The meatpackers became believers. They maintained their equipment, trained and supervised the staff, fired people who needed firing. "There were light years of change," Grandin says.
Today, half the meatpacking plants in the country use Grandin's designs. Most major plants are audited by McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's or another large restaurant chain.
Grandin is the subject of an HBO movie this year that got 15 Emmy nominations.
Grandin says, in her book Animals in Translation, that she thinks of all the years up to 1999 as the "pre-McDonald's era."