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Beef processing facility - video tour 

Produced by American Meat Institute (AMI) and narrated by Dr. Temple Grandin  

September 13, 2012

September 2012 - Last month (August), Dr. Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, turned 65, but that doesn’t mean she’s slowing down.  In fact, demand for her as an internationally recognized expert on autism (she’s autistic) and animal welfare, the two subjects she knows best, is at its peak.  She has worked tirelessly for decades to improve animal welfare for both those animals produced for food, and those that are not, and her accomplishments are recognized around the world.  In 2010, TIME magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world.  That same year, HBO released what became an award-winning biographical film simply titled Temple Grandin starring Claire Danes, who won both an Emmy and Golden Globe for her performance.  In fact, on Grandin’s 63rd birthday (2010), Temple Grandin won five Emmy awards, including the category for Outstanding Made For Television Movie.

Accolades have come late in life for Grandin, but they have come for good reasons.  She has improved animal welfare by designing livestock and harvesting areas at meat processing plants, including at Cargill’s beef and pork facilities in North America.  Grandin’s relationship with Cargill predates ownership of some of the meat processing plants it purchased from other companies or built.  She has authored numerous books on both autism and animal welfare, including “how to” editions on the latter subject.  She is frequently a speaker at conferences and has appeared on many television shows and in meat industry videos, such as Cargill’s 12-minute piece on finely textured beef (FTB) produced in 2011.

Grandin also advocates greater industry transparency, citing the need to show all the good things it does to produce safe, nutritious, abundant and affordable protein to consumers in the U.S. and around the world.  She has encouraged third party, remote video auditing (RVA), which Cargill has in all of its beef plants for animal welfare purposes. The company also uses internal auditing at its pork plants for the same purpose. Grandin is as comfortable in a cattle pen as she is at a podium, yet seems to get the most satisfaction from seeing meat production conducted in a way that respects animals being harvested.

“We at Cargill have worked with Temple for a long time, and I believe our businesses, our customers, our suppliers and our employees have been the beneficiaries of that working relationship,” said Dr. Mike Siemens, who heads Cargill’s animal welfare efforts from Wichita, Kansas. “Our world is a better place because of Temple’s work, and we are honored and privileged to be able to say that we collaborate with her to ensure the industry continuously improves and can measure its progress over time.”

To underscore Grandin’s desire for greater meat industry transparency, the American Meat Institute (AMI) recently produced a video about U.S. beef production to lift the veil of mystery from this subject and help consumers better understand how their food is produced.