U of G ‘Virtual Centre’ to Provide
Critical Mass of Poultry Experts
U of G has been chosen to house a new “virtual centre” for leading Canadian scientists in poultry behaviour and welfare.
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 strat- egies.
Welfare experts from the Department of Animal and Poultry Science (APS) and U of G’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 APS. An expert on animal behaviour and welfare, Torrey has studied abnormal and social behaviour, sickness behaviour, transportation, housing and routine manage- ment procedures.
Besides her research, she will help with graduate teaching and training and with improving communication and collaboration among Canadian experts in animal welfare.
APS professor Tina Widowski, director of the Campbell Centre, says the new centre and Torrey’s appointment are the first steps in a plan to establish Guelph as the national leader in the field.
“Poultry behaviour and welfare require a multi-faceted approach,” she says. “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 says. “The idea is to build the intellectual capacity in Canada to tackle the myriad issues relating to poultry welfare.”