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Students Receive Scholarship Awards

by 5m Editor
12 December 2008, at 11:04am

UK - Two research students have been awarded scholarship awards by the British Poultry Council.

Richard Bailey and Dr Tracey Jones were presented with their awards by the chairman of the UK's Food Safety Authority, Dame Deidre Hutton, at the Houses of Parliament in London this week.

The Scholarship Awards are designed to encourage academic work, which will benefit poultry industry as well as to give students the opportunity to enhance their own knowledge and experience in the field of poultry research.

Mr Bailey from the Institute of Food Research, University of East Anglia is undertaking a PhD as a CASE student, with Aviagen as his industrial partner.

He is in his second year and has this year presented results from his work at the World Poultry Science Association meeting in Australia.

During the course of his study, Mr Bailey has collected samples from Aviagen farms and also from across all the integrated broiler growers in the UK.

His work is focused on dysbacteriosis, a non-specific enteritis, which affects broiler chickens and causes wet litter and may reduce feed conversion efficiency. It is thought to arise from overgrowth or disruption of intestinal microflora but this is by no means fully understood.

BPC chairman Ted Wright said: "His work provides vital information for future investigation into the microflora of the broiler gut and the potential for developing novel strategies aimed at maintaining 'good' gut health in broiler chickens and managing dysbacteriosis without the need for antibiotics.

"We hope that through this scholarship we can offer Richard the opportunity to further his research and career with the support of the British poultry sector."

Dr Tracey Jones from the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford is a research scientist based at Oxford's Wytham Field Laboratory and specialising in animal health and welfare.

She has been responsible this year for bringing to a conclusion an important piece of research for DEFRA, with some significant industry involvement from the duck sector.

The project addressed a major issue for the duck sector, the provision of water, where very little was known about its impact on duck health and welfare. Where previously it was assumed by some that farmed ducks must have ponds, baths or bodies of water to swim in and immerse themselves, this study has shown the animal's own preference for water accessed via troughs or showers.

Dr Jones also had to overcome the logistical difficulties of building her own duck unit at the Wytham Lab, as well working strenuously to replicate commercial conditions. Both the University vet and visiting Home Office inspectors praised the high standards to which this research was carried out.

Mr Wright said: "The study has provided a basis on which to continue further work on a larger commercial scale, and BPC duck members are now involved in research by Cambridge University and the RSPCA to do just that.

"Our academic awards panel viewed this scholarship as a valuable investment in an extremely able individual who wants to follow a career in poultry welfare science."

At the same award ceremony, the Worshipful Company of Poulters presented its new scholarship, the Charles Longley Award, to Colin Thompson.

Charles Longley was an active Liveryman and poultry producer, who became a much loved Master in 1984/5. In his will he left a generous sum to the Charitable Fund.

With the full support of the Longley family, the present Masters and Trustees were keen to use this fund to recognise those in the poultry sector who are investing in their skills and abilities, and thereby investing for the future of the industry as a whole.

Mr Thompson of Moy Park, a farm manager in Cambridgeshire, has been chosen as the first recipient of the Charles Longley Award in recognition of his work with the University of Lincoln in Primary Food Production.