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Poultry Welfare Centre Opens at Guelph

by 5m Editor
16 September 2009, at 9:59am

CANADA - The University of Guelph has been chosen to house a new 'virtual centre' for leading Canadian scientists in poultry behaviour and welfare.

University of Guelph was among seven schools in Canada vying to house the new centre, which is a joint initiative of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), the Poultry Industry Council and the Canadian Poultry Research Council. Officials from each agency will sit on an advisory committee to develop the cluster and provide advice on research strategies.

Welfare experts from the Department of Animal and Poultry Science and University of Guelph's Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare will lead the new centre. Under the partnership agreement, AAFC has assigned research scientist, Stephanie Torrey, to Guelph's Department of Animal and Poultry Science. A behavioural and animal welfare expert, Dr Torrey has studied abnormal and social behaviour, sickness behaviour, transportation, housing and routine management procedures.

Besides her research, Dr Torrey will help in graduate teaching and training, and in improving communication and collaboration among Canadian animal welfare experts.

Professor Tina Widowski, an animal and poultry science professor and director of the Campbell Centre, said the new centre and Dr Torrey's appointment are the first steps in a plan to establish Guelph as the national leader in the field.

"Poultry behaviour and welfare requires a multi-faceted approach," she said. "We have a breadth of behaviour and welfare expertise already at Guelph, and now we have industry representation as well."

This 'critical mass' of poultry welfare science will attract more researchers, she said. "The idea is to build the intellectual capacity in Canada to tackle the myriad issues relating to poultry welfare."