Background 823 views last update:Feb 25, 2016

Focus on swine welfare gaining momentum with dedication

A 50% target goal was recently achieved when industry fundraising reached a milestone to establish a National Chair in Swine Welfare.

The proposed Chair in Swine Welfare, an industry‐wide initiative, has been gaining momentum with six provincial pork associations and four pork processors committing to the five‐year programme to develop a dedicated team of researchers focusing on swine welfare.

The Chair application will go forward soon to NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) as an IRC (Industrial Research Chair), a  programme that benefits industry development of applied and early discovery research. The programme provides 50:50 matching funds to the industry financial pledges for approved research programmes. "The process for achieving such a programme is significant" notes Lee Whittington, President of Prairie Swine Centre and the lead organiser behind the Chair. "We first identified the Chair concept as a viable option over four years ago, the ensuing years have included the necessary steps of working with industry qualifying the priority of and gauging the need of greater effort in welfare, and the endorsement and partnering with the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, at the University of Saskatchewan. We have also gone through the process of selecting the right candidate for the Chair position and are now presenting the concept to industry to achieve the financial requirements of the programme."

After a world‐wide search, Dr. Sandra Edwards, Professor and Chair of Agriculture, Newcastle University, UK was the successful candidate. Dr. Edward's career includes successful research in a variety of interdisciplinary projects over the past three decades, numerous awards and serving as senior advisor on industry and government advisory groups. Dr. Edwards, brings a wealth of research and practical on‐farm experience in the areas of nutrition, applied behavior, and health management. A sampling of Dr. Edwards research can be found on the prairie swine website, by searching Sandra Edwards in the PorkInsight database of applied research.

Dr. Edwards is becoming increasingly well–recognised and active in Canada at key pork value chain industry events, including as the keynote speaker at the Tim Hortons Sustainable Food Management Summit in Guelph, Ontario in October and at the Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in November. Additional information on the National Chair in Swine Welfare initiative can be obtained by contacting Lee Whittington. Prairie Swine Centre, located near Saskatoon, is a non‐profit research corporation affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan, and is recognised globally for its contributions to practical, applied science in pork production in the disciplines of nutrition, engineering, behavior and management.

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