SUPERVALU has established a partnership with an animal behaviour specialist to advise the retailer and its beef suppliers on current best practice in animal welfare.
Dr Temple Grandin is a designer of livestock handling facilities and a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University.
During her visit to Cork, Dr Grandin also gained insights into some of SuperValu and Centra’s autism initiatives.
Grandin is renowned for her work promoting humane livestock handling processes, having published over 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and is also noted for inventing the ‘hug box’, a device to calm those on the autism spectrum.
She was the subject of a semi-biographical film and was portrayed on screen by Claire Danes in the HBO movie Temple Grandin.
As part of her two-day visit, Dr Grandin visited farms in Cork and Tipperary to better understand current farm practices and advise on possible improvements to current standards.
Dr Grandin also visited Scally’s SuperValu in Clonakilty, to experience first-hand some of the in-store autism awareness initiatives such as the weekly ‘autism friendly’ evening and the Autism Lifeskill Friend (ALF) shopping trolley.
Commenting on the new partnership, Martin Kelleher, managing director, SuperValu said: ‘As a world-renowned expert, Dr Temple Grandin is ideally placed to advise us on animal welfare and best-practice handling approaches.
‘We already place a huge emphasis on striving for the best standards across our supply chain and this partnership adds another string to our bow in terms of ensuring that our customers will always be guaranteed the best quality food when they shop with us. At the same time, we’re also delighted to showcase the autism initiatives that our retailers have taken the industry lead with to ensure the best in-store experience for our customers.’
Dr Temple Grandin added that gentle handling of animals in well-designed facilities minimises stress levels, improves efficiency and maintains good meat quality. ‘Animal environments should activate their positive emotions as much as possible, and minimise negative emotions,’ she said. ‘SuperValu and Centra already have robust animal welfare policies in place.
‘However, I look forward to working with them to further develop these policies and ensure that standards are maintained or exceeded.’
SuperValu serves over 2.6m customers every week and has 219 stores nationwide.