Aug. 20, 2014

Burnbrae Farms and the University of Guelph ensure commitment to poultry welfare in Canada

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GUELPH, ON, August 20, 2014 - As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to poultry welfare, Burnbrae Farms has gifted $500,000 to the University of Guelph to establish the Burnbrae Farms Professorship in Poultry Welfare, a tenure track position in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science.  Dr. Alexandra Harlander will assume this position and will serve the poultry industry with her insights on animal welfare and behavior in all poultry species.

The professorship will support egg farmers and increase the capacity for the ongoing research of laying hen behaviour and housing. The main objective of the research is to solve problems associated with alternative non-cage systems and to better understand the behaviour and biology of the laying hen. This research will support the adoption of new practices, the design of systems that are best suited for the hens’ welfare and the implementation of new technology to improve the quality of life of laying hens on the farm.

“Over 120 years ago Burnbrae Farms was a small mixed farm.  Since that time we have become a leader in the Canadian poultry agribusiness.  While a lot has changed, one thing has not and that is our commitment to the sustainability of our industry, our employees and to our birds,” said Margaret Hudson, President of Burnbrae Farms. “The University of Guelph has played a significant role in the support of animal welfare and behavior, 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.”

The professorship, also partially funded by the Poultry Industry Council and the Canadian Poultry Research Council, will focus on research, teaching, industry service and educating farmers, retailers and consumers. Consumers’ preferences continue to drive the demands of retailers and the specialty egg market in Canada.  Professor Harlander is an associated faculty member of the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, an internationally recognized centre of excellence, and will work to balance on-farm productivity and poultry welfare, with the needs of the general public.

“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 of the University of Guelph. “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.”

“This professorship is exceptionally timely. With pressing demands from the public and food industry professionals, Canada, like many countries, needs research to help establish new, high-care standards based on sound data”, said Alexandra Harlander, Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science, who is accepting the professorship. “Canadians consume about 204 eggs per person, annually and vast quantities are produced in modern production systems. For the improvement of poultry welfare it is important that we continue to explore the core aspects of their health and strive to determine what they want from their environments.”

At Burnbrae Farms, researching and developing systems that focus on the overall welfare of the hens is part of the company’s mandate. For many years, Burnbrae Farms has worked closely with researchers at the Poultry Welfare Research Centre at the University of Guelph to examine poultry housing systems and related hen behaviours.  Our goal is to implement the best possible technologies for good poultry care. Burnbrae continues to evolve and change its housing systems based on new research findings. The company’s support of the professorship only further solidifies its ongoing commitment to poultry welfare in Canada.

“Burnbrae Farms is dedicated to animal welfare and the promotion of sustainable agriculture systems that provide consumers with safe, affordable food and a good quality of life for the laying hens,” said Hudson. “We’re committed to putting in place systems that have been proven through research to provide the best welfare for our birds.”

About Burnbrae Farms
Burnbrae Farms is a family owned and operated company that has been producing eggs for over 70 years.  With egg grading, breaking, and farming operations in 5 provinces across Canada, it has been privately owned and operated by the Hudson family since it was founded in 1893. To learn more visit www.burnbraefarms.com .

For additional information please contact:
Sue Hudson
Director, Communications & Digital Marketing
shudson@burnbraefarms.com
905-624-3600 ext. 806