by BETTER FARMING STAFF
The Egg Farmers of Canada are spending a bit of money on research. Earlier this week, they announced they are funding an academic chair of poultry welfare at the University of Guelph.
Last fall, they announced a chair in economics at Laval University in Quebec City and they are negotiating with the University of Manitoba to establish a research chair into human nutrition and the egg which they expect to announce this summer. Agreements for each chair are similar to the Guelph chair, which is funded for seven years at $110,000 a year.
Peter Clarke, an egg producer from Nova Scotia and the chair of 1,032-member Egg Farmers of Canada, said the chairs are a continuation of research egg farmers have always supported. “Research for us has always been very very important,” Clarke said. “It’s just one of the ways we stay on the leading edge of all this related to our industry.”
Clarke said the overwhelming majority of Canadian egg consumers “are pleased with how we take care of our poultry and how we operate our business.” He agreed, however, that there are welfare issues but he said individual egg producers are making changes some customers are demanding.
“Our producers themselves - some of them because the demands and requirements of consumers and the choices they want to make - we’re doing things with omega type eggs . . . some of them want eggs from enriched housing systems, so that’s being produced, free run, free range, all of those. We’re very much aware consumers want those choices available. We want to be able to do that as well,” Clarke said. BF