Prof. Alexandra Harlander, Animal and Poultry Science, has been named to a new professorship made possible by donations to U of G’s BetterPlanet Project fundraising campaign.
The new Burnbrae Farms Professorship in Poultry Welfare recognizes the largest gift to the position: $500,000 from Burnbrae Farms, one of Canada’s premier egg producers. The professorship is also partially funded by the Poultry Industry Council, the Canadian Poultry Research Council and Egg Farmers of Canada.
“The University of Guelph has played a significant role in the support of animal welfare and behaviour, and the research they conduct is unmatched. This professorship will help increase its capacity and will be unique in its outreach efforts to farmers, the general public and retailers,” said Burnbrae president Margaret Hudson.
The professorship will support research and teaching related to all poultry species, and Harlander will serve as a resource for the Canadian industry. She is also an associated faculty member of the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, an internationally recognized centre of excellence.
“Burnbrae Farms’ commitment to the industry, animal welfare and consumers is evident in its support of this innovative position,” said Rob Gordon, dean of the Ontario Agricultural College. “We need champions to communicate with farmers, retailers and consumers. This position will focus on working with the entire value chain to enhance production systems and approaches, and educate on the issue of poultry welfare and behaviour.”
“The professorship is exceptionally timely,” says Harlander. Her current research looks at housing and the behaviour of laying hens, with the goal of solving problems associated with non-cage systems. She says Canada, like Europe, is moving towards less-restrictive aviaries instead of housing birds in cages. “With pressing demands from the public and food industry, Canada needs research based on sound data to help the poultry sector establish new, high-care standards.”