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SuperValu, the leading Irish grocery retailer, today announced a partnership with animal behavior specialist and autism spokesperson, Dr. Temple Grandin. Dr. Grandin, who is a designer of livestock handling facilities and a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, is in Ireland to advise SuperValu and its beef suppliers on current best practice in animal welfare. During her visit, Dr. Grandin will also gain 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.

As part of her two-day visit, Dr. Grandin will visit farms in Co. Cork and Co. Tipperary to better understand current farm practices and advise on possible improvements  to current standards.  Dr. Grandin will also visit Scally’s SuperValu in Clonakilty, Co. Cork and experience first-hand some of the store’s 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, “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. 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 2.6 million customers every week and has 219 stores nationwide. Together with its retail partners, SuperValu employs approximately 14,500 colleagues, making it one of the State’s largest private sector employers. 75% of everything on SuperValu’s shelves is sourced in Ireland. SuperValu continues to source locally wherever possible which helps to sustain 30,000 jobs in the Irish economy.

Centra is Ireland’s number one convenience retailer, with over 450 stores, Centra employs almost 11,000 people and serves over three million customers per week. Centra invests more than €240 million in local communities per annum, which is the equivalent of €4.5 million per week through a combination of payments to local suppliers, acquisition of local business services, wages, charitable donations and local sponsorships.

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