Research
June 16, Elmhurst, Ont. - Ongoing research at the University of Saskatchewan is examining how light cycles can affect a bird’s natural rhythm, health and growth rate.

“Turning the lights off can have a dramatic effect on how birds move around in their environment,” Dr. Karen Schwean-Lardner, assistant professor in the department of animal and poultry science at the University of Saskatchewan, said.

Schwean-Lardner recently discussed her research study at New-Life MillsTurkey Producers Academy held in Elmhurst, Ont., on June 1. The research project initially examined how light cycles affect broilers and is now performing the same research study on turkeys.

“It is really important that we look at turkey data for turkey producers, not just take assumptions from broiler data,” Schwean-Lardner said.

Research results are suggesting the ideal amount of light per 24 hours for turkeys to be 14 to 17 hours. It is also noted it is ideal to establish distinct day and night times and to implement increases and decreases gradually.

“If flocks have mortality issues, periods of darkness can certainly help that. If you are considering making a change to your lighting program be sure to do make your adjustments in the evening, before the period of darkness, to avoid interrupting the bird’s feeding cycle,” Schwean-Lardner said.

The New-Life Mills event also featured William Alexander, technical representative from Hybrid Turkeys. Alexander discussed factors that contribute to consistent quality poult starts and Lisa Hodgins, monogastric nutritionist from New-Life Mills, spoke on the evolution of feeding programs.
Published in Bird Management
June 15, 2017, Austin TX - Global Animal Partnership (GAP), creator of North America’s most comprehensive farm animal welfare standards, has provided a grant-in-aid of research to the University of Guelph, Ontario for a two-year research project that will determine and evaluate the parameters necessary for assessing the animal welfare needs of different genetic strains of chicken breeds.

In 2016, GAP announced its intention to replace 100 percent of chicken breeds that result in poor welfare outcomes by 2024 with breeds meeting specified welfare outcomes within its 5-Step®Rating Program.

The Guelph research project will help determine which genetic strains are best suited for commercial production under the new standards GAP is creating. GAP will provide public updates throughout the duration of the project.

University of Guelph researchers Dr. Tina Widowski and Dr. Stephanie Torrey are leading the project. They will begin by running pilot studies over the summer, and the formal research study is due to begin this fall (Fall 2017), and will take approximately two years to complete (Fall 2019). All results will be published upon completion of the study.

“The research team is excited about the scale and scope of this research grant,” said Dr. Widowski. “GAP’s commitment to developing a scientific and robust methodology for assessing chicken breeds will allow us to explore in a comprehensive way, a large number of factors important to both the bird and producers.”

Dr. Widowski, a researcher and faculty member in the Department of Animal Biosciences, is the University Chair in Animal Welfare and director of the internationally recognized Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW), which has a reputation of hosting the largest animal welfare graduate program in North America. She is also the research chair of Poultry Welfare for the Egg Farmers of Canada.

Dr. Torrey is a senior research scientist in Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare, with an expertise in applied animal welfare. Her team of graduate and undergraduate students focuses on fundamental and applied research with broiler and broiler breeder chickens and turkeys.

Currently, fast-growing chicken breeds resulting in poor welfare outcomes represent 98 percent of all commercially available chicken meat in North America.

Modern chickens have been genetically selected for their fast, efficient growth and higher yield of breast meat. However, this has had detrimental impacts on the welfare of broiler chickens, including immune and musculoskeletal problems, resulting in limitations to the birds’ ability to express natural behaviors like perching, flying, and even walking.

This study will help create a way to objectively evaluate different genetic strains using a comprehensive list of parameters related to behavior, growth, health and production with the end goal of improving chicken welfare and specifically address the many issues resulting from fast-growing breeds.

More than 600 chicken farms currently use the GAP standard, affecting the lives of 277 million chickens annually and making it the most significant higher welfare farm animal standard in the country. Retailers, foodservice companies and restaurants have committed to adopting GAP’s new chicken standard and moving away from breeds of chickens that result in poor welfare outcomes by 2024, including Whole Foods Market, Compass Group, Quiznos, and Boston Market.

The Global Animal Partnership is a global leader in farm animal welfare that has established a comprehensive step-by-step program for raising animals that requires audits of every single farm. GAP makes it easy for consumers to find meat products that reflect their values. A nonprofit founded in 2008, GAP brings together farmers, scientists, ranchers, retailers, and animal advocates with the common goal of improving the welfare of animals in agriculture. So far, the 5-Step program includes more than 3,200 farms and ranches that range from Step 1 to Step 5+ and now raise more than 290 million animals annually.
Published in Genetics
June 13, 2017 - A new international cooperation has been created to develop and establish guidance concerning new animal feed ingredients and new uses for existing feed ingredients.

The International Cooperation for Convergence of Technical Requirements for the Assessment of Feed Ingredients (ICCF) was launched by animal feed and feed ingredient associations from Canada, the European Union and the United States including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the European Commission (DG SANTE), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada (ANAC), the EU Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients and their Mixtures (FEFANA) and the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF).

“The ICCF is the result of a concerted effort to bring together feed regulators and industry feed associations to work together to develop common guidance documents for technical requirements needed in the assessment of feed ingredients,” said ICCF Chair Melissa Dumont.
The ICCF Steering Committee will define the priorities and activities of the project. ICCF expert working groups will develop specific technical guidance documents. READ MORE
Published in Nutrition and Feed
June 12, 2017, St. John’s - Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, Joël Lightbound, announced that Health Canada is launching a public consultation on restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children.

The proposed approach aims to protect children from marketing tactics that encourage them to eat unhealthy foods, and support families in making healthier food choices.

In addition, Health Canada is launching a public consultation on the revision of Canada's Food Guide, which will be used to develop new consumer messages, tools and resources.

This follows broad consultation on the Food Guide in 2016, which resulted in nearly 20,000 submissions during the first consultation in fall 2016 on the revision of Canada's Food Guide, and are summarized in a What We Heard Report.

The announcement was made at the Dietitians of Canada national conference in St. John's, Newfoundland. Both consultations run from June 10 to July 25, 2017.

These initiatives are part of the Government's Healthy Eating Strategy. In addition, the Healthy Eating Strategy outlines how Health Canada will achieve the Government's commitments on sodium, trans fats, sugars and food colours.

The Healthy Eating Strategy is a component of the Vision for a Healthy Canada, which focuses on healthy eating, healthy living and a healthy mind. I‎t is complementary to A Food Policy for Canada, which, as one of its four themes, seeks to increase Canadians' ability to make healthy and safe food choices.‎
Published in Consumer
June 9, 2017, Vancouver, B.C. - A&W Canada has announced that it will support the University of Saskatchewan to expand an important research project that will examine lighting enhancements and related health and welfare outcomes for broiler chickens.

The project's broader research focus is to determine lighting effects on the mobility, behavior and physiological welfare of poultry by measuring the impact of the various wavelengths of barn lighting.

A&W is providing $45,000 in funding to the University of Saskatchewan's Dr. Karen Schwean-Lardner to expand the data collection on the impacts of energy efficient LED lighting on broiler chicken welfare and production this fall.

They will examine the differences LED lights make on poultry behavior, welfare and health outcomes. Incandescent lighting has been phased out and much less is known about the welfare and behavioral impacts of LED lighting.

"Through our research, we are always looking for ways to improve food quality and production while maintaining high animal care and welfare standards. Partnerships in research like this allow us to find the sustainable caring solutions we need to feed a growing world," says Mary Buhr, dean of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources.

Dr. Karen Schwean-Lardner is a global leader in poultry barn lighting. Her work is internationally cited and has helped to establish international standards of practice for lighting.

She served as the Chair of the Scientific Committee for the Canadian Poultry Code of Practice, as well as being a member of the Poultry Code Development Committee through the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). NFACC's Code of Practice development process ensures credibility through scientific rigor, stakeholder collaboration and a consistent approach.

"At A&W we are constantly impressed with the leadership work Karen Schwean-Lardner and the University of Saskatchewan are doing in poultry welfare. We are proud to make a financial contribution to this research to allow the research team to further their understanding of LED barn lighting," says Trish Sahlstrom, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, A&W Canada.

Dr. Schwean-Lardner says, "The University of Saskatchewan is committed to research that will continue to reinforce Canada's leadership in poultry welfare. Partners like A&W share a commitment to new research that can contribute to the development of new best practices."
Published in Health
June 5, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - Canadians each consumed 32.5 kg (per capita) of chicken in 2016 resulting in the highest level of chicken consumption in Canada ever.

This confirms that chicken is the favourite of Canadian grocery shoppers and continues to be an important part of the nutritious meals they feed to their families.

Chicken has been the first choice of Canadians for over a decade, when chicken per capita (per person) consumption passed beef for first place, and it has remained in first place ever since.

"Chicken is number one for Canadians who want a healthy and nutritious choice for themselves and their families," said Benoît Fontaine, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada. "Our farmers are proud to raise high-quality, nutritious chicken for Canadians. We have been doing this for generations and it's good to know that our hard work is recognized."

2016 was one of the most successful years ever for the chicken industry, with production increasing by 4 per cent to a total of 1.148 billion kg of fresh, nutritious Canadian chicken for consumers.

Trust is a big reason behind the ongoing success of the Canadian chicken industry.

In a recent survey, 93 per cent of Canadians said they prefer to feed their families food raised by Canadian farmers—that support is behind the new "Raised by a Canadian Farmer" brand logo. Now Canadians can have confidence in knowing where their food comes from by looking for the brand—and trust that it was raised safely by a Canadian farmer.

"We have a responsibility to our consumers, to keep their food safe, to protect them, and to humanely and carefully raise the animals we grow," added Fontaine. "Canadian chicken farms are run by hardworking men and women and the birds are being raised to the highest standards for food safety and animal care."

Canadian chicken farmers work hard each day to provide the best possible care for their birds, and to ensure their health and welfare.

Canadian consumers have high expectations of their farmers, from the assurance of a steady supply to ensuring excellence and best practices in animal care and food safety. Canada's chicken farmers are proud to deliver on these expectations, with every flock.

Chicken Farmers of Canada is responsible for ensuring that our 2,800 farmers produce the right amount of fresh, safe, high-quality chicken and that our farmer's views are taken into account when important agriculture and policy decisions are made.
Published in Consumer
June 5, 2017, Guelph, Ont. - Research and innovation are key to finding alternatives to antibiotic and antimicrobial use.

Researchers at the Ontario Veterinary College are studying probiotics as an alternative to traditional antimicrobials to combat pathogens including Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, and Clostridium perfringens in poultry.

Over the last decade, Dr. Shayan Sharif’s lab at the University of Guelph has been involved in developing probiotic formulations against Salmonella.

“We’ve clearly shown by using combinations of different lactobacilli or lactic acid producing bacteria we can reduce colonization or burden of salmonella in poultry quite significantly,” says Sharif, an immunologist at OVC and leader of the Poultry Health Research Network.

He is now turning his attention to Campylobacter jejuni, the main notifiable bacterial cause of human enteritis or foodborne illness reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada.Chickens can carry Campylobacter in their intestine. While they don’t show any clinical signs of the disease they can carry it throughout their lifetime.

It’s not necessarily a huge concern to the poultry industry because chickens are asymptomatic but a huge concern to human health, as the bacteria can be transferred to humans through undercooked poultry, adds Sharif.

Few control measures, including vaccination, biosecurity or antibiotics, deter the bacteria. Of added concern, both Campylobacter jejeuni and Salmonella can harbor and transfer antimicrobial resistance genes.

Next up for Sharif’s lab will be work on Clostridium perfringens which can cause Necrotic Enteritis, essentially inflammation of the intestine in poultry.

Necrotic Enteritis can be caused by Clostridium perfringens, but usually works with another microorganism called Eimera or coccidia. The two usually go hand-in-hand and coccidia usually predisposes the animal to the pathogenic effects of Clostridium perfringens, notes Sharif. Coccidia is usually controlled by antimicrobials but without treatment there could be a surge in coccidiosis and Necrotic Enteritis, both of which would lead to major drop in production and increased mortality.

While there are vaccines available to combat coccidiosis, this isn’t the case for Necrotic Enteritis.

Sharif’s research includes examining the effect of probiotics on the overall health, welfare and production of poultry. “We want to know if animals as a whole are healthier, if they produce more, if there is better weight gain and if their feed conversion ratio would be better compared to chickens receiving conventional diets.”

Studies will also determine if immune status is improved in birds who receive probiotics.

“At the end of the day if you’re not able to make a probiotic formulation that is safe, that is efficacious, and also able to provide equal production parameters it is not going to be an economically sound investment for producers,” says Sharif.

This research is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Canadian Poultry Research Council, Poultry Industry Council and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Published in Research
June 5, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - Food matters. Canadians make choices every day about food that directly impacts their health, environment, and communities. The Government of Canada is committed to helping put more affordable, safe, healthy, food on tables across the country, while protecting the environment.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Lawrence MacAulay, announced today that the Government of Canada is launching consultations to support the development of A Food Policy for Canada.

An online survey is now open at www.canada.ca/food-policy and Canadians are encouraged to share their input to help shape a food policy that will cover the entire food system, from farm to fork. Canadians can share their views on four major themes
  • Increasing access to affordable food;
  • Improving health and food safety;
  • Conserving our soil, water, and air; and
  • Growing more high-quality food.
A Food Policy for Canada will be the first-of-its-kind for the Government of Canada, and is a new step in the government’s mandate to taking a collaborative and broad-based approach to addressing food-related issues in Canada.

The online consultation is the first of a number of engagement activities planned with a wide range of participants to inform the development of a food policy.

Feedback from the consultations will provide the federal government with a better understanding of Canadians’ priorities when it comes to food-related issues. The results will help inform key elements of a food policy, including a long-term vision and identifying actions to take in the near term.
Published in Consumer
June 5, 2017, Canada - Egg Farmers of Canada is holding a special call for research proposals, for submission as part of the Poultry Research Cluster.

The Cluster, administered by the Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC), provides an opportunity for eligible projects to receive federal funding in addition to industry funding.

Researchers are invited to complete and submit our full proposal funding application form during this special call for proposals.

To be considered for funding, research projects must align with the outlined research priorities (see below) and the principal investigator must also work full-time in a Canadian institution or organization.

Deadline for proposals is June 30, 2017. For further information and to apply, please email Elyse Germain, Program and Policy Analyst at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Details:
  • Full project proposals will be reviewed and funding decisions made by July 31, 2017
  • Projects that receive a positive funding decision will be included in the Poultry Research Cluster submission to Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada (AAFC) in the Fall of 2017
  • Projects approved by AAFC will begin no earlier than April 1, 2018
  • Eligible projects must fall under the research priorities listed below in order to be considered
  • Research priorities
Hen welfare:
  • Hen behaviour and health in alternative housing systems, including housing system design, management and production practices, and pullet rearing
  • End of flock management, including catching, loading and transport, and on-farm depopulation
  • Hen health
  • Disease
  • Gut health
  • Dietary ingredients
  • Environment and sustainability
  • Production practices and technologies that decrease environmental impact and increase sustainability
NOTE: Research should focus on alternative housing systems to align with the industry-wide transition away from conventional housing systems.
Published in Housing
May 31, 2017 - Much is made of the growth of vegetarianism in North America, but domestic meat consumption data indicates that most people in Canada and the United States still have a taste for beef, pork and poultry.

Jim Long of Genesus Genetics, a pig genetics company, often has interesting observations about the pork industry around the world.

In a recent post, he noted that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s red meat and poultry disappearance report projected that domestic meat disappearance would rise to 88.751 billion pounds, up four billion lb. from 2015.

That is great news for anyone who works in the meat and livestock business, including Long.

“Anyone who lives in the fantasy world that vegetarianism is taking over needs to give their head a shake. Meat lovers are ever increasing their consumption,” Long wrote.

On a per person basis, red meat and poultry disappearance at the retail level is projected to rise to 217.8 lb., up 3.2 lb. from 2016 and up 6.7 from 2015. Disappearance has a specific meaning, but for our purposes it means consumption. READ MORE 
Published in Consumer
May 30, 2017 - The connection between eggs and heart health has been studied for decades. When examined all at once, what does this science reveal? Dr. Dominik Alexander sought to find out by performing a comprehensive meta-analysis of egg and heart health studies from around the world.

Join Dr. Alexander, Principal Epidemiologist with EpidStat Institute, for this webinar as he presents findings from his meta-analysis of studies exploring egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Collectively, these studies showed that up to one egg daily was associated with a small reduction in stroke risk while regular egg intake was not associated with either increasing or decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease.

Dominik D. Alexander, PhD, MSPH, is the Principal Epidemiologist with EpidStat Institute based in Ann Arbour, Michigan. He has extensive experience in health research methodology, meta-analysis, and disease causation, particularly in the conceptualization, design, analysis, and interpretation of epidemiologic studies.

Dr. Alexander has published on a diverse range of topics and types of studies, including original epidemiologic research, qualitative reviews, systematic weight-of-evidence assessments, and quantitative meta-analyses.

Because of his expertise in research methodology, Dr. Alexander has served as principal investigator on numerous projects involving a wide variety of exposures and health outcomes.

His research areas include: occupational and environmental exposures, such as asbestos, benzene, trichloroethylene, solvents, pesticides, arsenic, and dioxin; community health studies and cluster investigations involving air, water, and soil exposures; clinical, pharmacoepidemiology, and medical device studies including clinical trial design and support.

In addition, Dr. Alexander has extensive experience in nutritional epidemiology and has conducted systematic reviews and meta-analyses of dietary and nutritional factors and cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and body composition. His work in this area has involved studies of dietary patterns, intake of whole foods, and dietary supplements, such as meat and fat intake, dairy and egg consumption, breakfast eating, multivitamin and mineral supplements, fish oil, caffeine, and infant formula.

For more information on the upcoming webinar, visit: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/events/webinar-eggs-and-heart-health-65

Published in Consumer
May 29, 2017, Spain - A study performed in Spain found that birds yielded larger live and carcass weights and a higher percentage of breast meat when fed hydroxy trace minerals as compared to broilers fed inorganic trace minerals.

Over the past 20 years, numerous studies conducted globally to evaluate various forms of supplemental copper and zinc in broiler diets have confirmed the ability of these important trace minerals to improve carcass weights, yield and quality.

More specifically, hydroxy trace minerals have been shown to be able to improve the value of each bird over inorganic sources of trace minerals.

In 2016, a study conducted at an experimental facility in Spain measured the results of hydroxy trace mineral sources of copper and zinc versus inorganic trace minerals (sulphates) when fed at nutritional levels.

Researchers allocated a total of 28 pens of 44 birds each to two treatments.

During 35 days, both treatment groups were fed either 80 ppm copper and zinc as hydroxy trace minerals -Selko IntelliBond C and Selko IntelliBond Z - or in the form of sulphates. Carcass traits were assessed at a rate of 2 birds per pen.

At the end of the study, researchers found numerical improvements in the broilers fed hydroxy trace minerals over those fed inorganics.

Birds in the hydroxy trace mineral programme had heavier live weights (7.4%) and heavier carcass weights (7.7%) compared to sulphate-fed broilers.

Hydroxy trace minerals also contributed to an increased breast meat percentage (16.1%) compared to birds fed inorganic trace minerals (15.3%).

These data indicate that changing the source of trace minerals from inorganic sources to hydroxy trace minerals in the diet of broilers may have the ability to improve carcass traits such as weight and breast meat yield.
Published in Nutrition and Feed
May 26, 2017, Guelph, Ont. - Today, Parliamentary Secretary for Science, Kate Young, on behalf of the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, announced $6 million in federal funding for five applied genomics projects, including one geared towards the turkey industry.

The Parliamentary Secretary made the announcement at the University of Guelph, where several of the projects' academic partners are based.

With a total $17 million being invested, including $11 million in funds from the private sector and provincial governments, these projects will have a direct impact on Canada's agriculture, agri-food and health-care sectors.

Four of the projects receiving funding will result in significant competitive advantages to the Canadian dairy, canola, pork and turkey industries, while the fifth project will address the problem of adverse drug reactions in the health-care system.

One of the projects being funded at the University of Guelph is Dr. Peter Pauls' work with Benson Hill Biosystems. His research is exploring ways to significantly enhance crop productivity of canola, an important Canadian crop.

This is a perfect example of the power of genomics research, which is the field of science that studies the full set of genes in an organism and their functions. Dr. Pauls' work will have a direct benefit on the growers, processors and others along the value chain.

These projects are supported through Genome Canada's Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP). GAPP projects translate Canadian knowledge and expertise in genomics into valuable applications that support a strong economy and a growing middle class.
Published in Research
May 25, 2017, Lexington, KY - During ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, 70 speakers, including the brightest international minds in science, agriculture, technology and business, highlighted technologies that have the potential to revolutionize agriculture and make the next big leap in productivity possible.

Across all agricultural sectors, digital technologies and applications are emerging that are disrupting production systems and supply chains, creating radically different business models and enabling farmers and agribusiness to work with levels of precision and insight that were previously unimaginable.

“Technology will change beyond belief,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech. “Things are changing at a rapid pace, and companies need to start thinking like startups: go and grow fast.”

Sharing his perspective from more than 36 years in business, Dr. Lyons listed his five key elements for success in this ever-changing marketplace: Speed, leadership, culture, training, and a unique dynamic of “fun”.

“We’re in the midst of an agri revolution — it’s happening right here, right now, and it’s exciting,” said Robert Walker, CEO of Keenan, who addressed attendees on disruptive and data-driven technologies.

During his talk, Walker highlighted how Keenan, an agriculture manufacturing specialist, partners with technology companies such as Vodafone and Intel to provide farmers with instant information on their herds’ feed ration through cloud computing.

Peter Diamandis, founder of the XPrize Foundation and co-founder of Singularity University, addressed attendees on disruptive innovations, highlighting that the only constant is change, and the rate of change is increasing.

“To stay ahead in any industry, companies and entrepreneurs must think in an exponential way, as it’s exponential technology that will transform every industry,” he said.

Diamandis was awarded the Alltech Humanitarian Award, which is bestowed annually to someone of strong character who uses their accomplishments to positively influence and inspire other people.

The three-day conference also heard from George Blankenship, former executive at Tesla Motors, Apple Computer and GAP Inc., Lisa Bodell, founder and CEO of futurethink, Jack Bobo, senior vice president and chief communications officer at Intrexon, and many more.

The conference will return to Lexington, Kentucky, May 20–23, 2018.
Published in New Technology
May 23, 2017, Guelph, Ont. - A team of investigators from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guelph, Ontario, has discovered a gene that confers resistance to the important broad-spectrum antibiotic, fosfomycin.

The researchers found the gene in isolates of the pathogen, Salmonella enterica, from broiler chickens. The research is published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

The gene, dubbed fosA7, confers a high level of resistance to fosfomycin, which is otherwise a safe and effective agent for eliminating infections caused by multidrug resistant bacteria. (The "7" in fosA7 indicates that this is the seventh antibiotic resistant fosA gene that has been discovered.)

Currently, there is only limited fosfomycin resistance among Salmonella species, said corresponding author Moussa S. Diarra, PhD, Research Scientist in Food Safety at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. But the powerful resistance the fosA7 gene confers is worrisome, said Diarra. It could spread among different Salmonella serovars (a serovar is a strain of a species), as well as other bacterial pathogen species, via horizontal gene transfer, due to increased use of fosfomycin in both clinical and veterinary settings, said Diarra.

Thus, "vigilant monitoring for the spread of fosfomycin resistance in bacteria, isolated from humans and animals, is needed."

With that in mind, the researchers tested the strength of the resistance the gene could confer on the closely related Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis.

To do so, they cloned the gene, and inserted it into the chromosome of non-antibiotic resistant S. Enteriditis. Their worries were confirmed: the gene boosted the minimum concentration of fosfomycin required to inhibit reproduction in the microbe by more than 256-fold.

These results provided strong support for the hypothesis that fosA7 is, indeed, responsible for fosfomycin resistance, and that if fosA7 were transferred to plasmids--renegade pieces of DNA that can insert themselves into different bacteria--it could induce a high level of resistance in the recipient bacterial strain, according to the report.

The product of the fosA7 gene is an enzyme called glutathione-S-transferase. It inactivates fosfomycin by binding to it, and rupturing a molecular ring structure which is part of the antibiotic.

Fosfomycin resistance genes are often present in multidrug resistant bacteria. "This could further challenge the use of fosfomycin as an alternative treatment approach against urinary tract infections caused by both multidrug resistant E. coli, and blood infections from multidrug resistant Salmonella," said Diarra. So far, the investigators have found fosA7 only on S. enterica serovar Heidelberg and three other serovars of this species. A serovar is a strain of a species.

Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg--the strain in which the researchers found fosA7--is among the most common causes of human salmonellosis worldwide.

The rise of resistance to multiple antibiotics, particularly to extended spectrum cephalosporins in Heidelberg has limited the number of therapeutic options against this Salmonella serovar. In the current study, the investigators found this resistance gene in all of 15 Salmonella Heidelberg isolates in their collection.
Published in Health
May 19, 2017, Waterloo, Ont. - Farmers know the importance of keeping the land, water and air healthy to sustain their farms from one generation of farm family to the next. They also know that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand.

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, today announced a $1.9 million investment with the University of Waterloo to examine greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with agricultural activities and the potential benefits of alternative land use practices and beneficial management practices (BMPs).

This project with the University of Waterloo is one of 20 new research projects supported by the $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a partnership with universities and conservation groups across Canada. The program supports research into greenhouse gas mitigation practices and technologies that can be adopted on the farm.
Published in Environment
May 18, 2017, Adelaide, Aus. - People choose to buy free-range or cage-free eggs because they believe they taste better and are better quality than eggs from caged hens, new research published today suggests.

In a study, conducted by researchers at the University of Adelaide and published in Anthrozoös, the journal of the International Society for Anthrozoology, the most often reported motivations for buying free-range eggs included reasons such as the eggs were of better quality, more nutritious, and safer to eat, and that they allowed purchasers to avoid “industrialized” food.

Despite participants describing caged-egg production as “cruel”, they did not tend to emphasize welfare reasons as critical for their purchases of free-range eggs. Instead, participants felt that the free-range chickens were “happier” and thus produced a better quality of product.

This finding suggests that consumers are more likely to purchase a food product if it is both “ethical” and viewed as being of better quality, rather than for ethical reasons alone.

The study also revealed that there were high levels of awareness among participants of caged-egg production when compared to other types of animal farming.

In addition, participants who bought free-range or cage-free eggs did not necessarily tend to buy meat with ethical claims, in part because the price difference is much smaller in eggs in comparison to different types of meat products. Some people produced their own free-range eggs by keeping a few hens.

To collect the data for the study, the researchers conducted focus groups and shopping mall interviews with 73 participants (of mixed age and gender) and asked about their food purchasing habits.

Then they categorized the different reasons that people gave for their decisions to understand why people choose the food they do, especially when there are ethical issues and competing values involved.

Lead author Dr. Heather J. Bray from the School of Humanities and the Food Values Research Group at the University of Adelaide commented, “Taste and quality are strong motivations for purchasing and may be part of the reason why people are prepared to pay a higher price. More importantly these findings suggest that consumers think about animal welfare in a much broader way than we previously thought, and in particular they believe that better welfare is connected to a better quality product.”

The authors recommend that more research is needed including studies to further understand consumer motivations behind purchasing products with ethical production claims, in order to explore whether changes in production methods or labelling would be supported by consumers.

This work was funded by the Australian Research Council.

Read the full article online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08927936.2017.1310986
Published in Consumer
May 16, 2017, Lancaster, PA - Farmers have been referred to as the first environmentalists. Their livestock and crops depend on a healthy environment to thrive. Still, there’s often room for improvement.

According to some early findings from a study by Penn State graduate student Erica Rogers, poultry producers are potentially lowering their impact on the Chesapeake Bay.

Rogers and fellow Penn State graduate student Amy Barkley discussed those initial findings from their two master’s thesis projects with the poultry service technicians attending Monday’s Penn State Poultry Health and Management Seminar at the Lancaster Farm and Home Center.

Her project’s goal is to accurately depict poultry’s contribution to the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load. The Chesapeake Bay “is one of the most studied watersheds in the world,” she said, but the problem with the current model is “they are using outdated information for poultry.”

Rogers built her work around the concept that poultry litter management has changed and farmers have adopted more precise diets for their flocks. READ MORE
Published in Environment
May 16, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) starts the initial steps to develop a tool set to provide veterinarians with guidelines to support responsible and prudent use of antimicrobial medications in animals during a planning workshop in Ottawa, Ontario from May 9 and 10, 2017.

“The veterinary community has a professional responsibility to support Canada's overarching strategy on antimicrobial resistance and use, and to adopt a multidimensional approach towards antimicrobial stewardship,” says Dr. Troy Bourque, CVMA President. “We are excited to embark on this project to meet veterinary needs for critical information, oversight and decision-support related to prudent antimicrobial use (AMU) in animals.”

Participating in the workshop are Canadian veterinarians, veterinary researchers and educators, government officials and species-group stakeholders working in the areas of swine, poultry, beef, dairy, small ruminants and companion animals.

They are working together to help identify AMU stewardship issues of concern, anticipate content and format needs for veterinary practitioners, address existing information gaps and discuss ways to communicate and engage the new tool set.

The overall outcome of the project is to develop guidelines for prudent AMU across the six species groups and pilot a prototype tool set to review effectiveness and guide further improvements.

“Ultimately, we want to promote enhanced antimicrobial stewardship to slow or limit the rising trend of AMR,” says Dr. Phil Buote, Chair of the Expert Advisory Group involved in the project, as well as Deputy Registrar for the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association.

“Providing these guidelines and tools to veterinarians is intended to influence their prescribing behaviours and enhance communication with producers and industry on the science-based rationale for antimicrobial use. The goal is to promote stewardship and maintain access to effective medically important antimicrobials.”

The CVMA is building on past achievements with its specific-usage Antimicrobial Prudent Use Guidelines for Beef Cattle, Dairy Cattle, Poultry and Swine (2008), and small animal guidelines through an Antimicrobial SmartVet application for urinary tract infections.

Funding for the project is provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada via their AgriMarketing Program supplemented with in-kind contributions by partners including the CVMA and veterinarians.
Published in Health
May 15, 2017, Guelph, Ont. - Collaboration and innovations surrounding antimicrobial stewardship were the focus of a recent poultry research day at the University of Guelph.

Featuring a panel of industry and academic experts, the Poultry Health Research Network (PHRN) Research Day brought together researchers, industry, government, and producer representatives to discuss this timely topic.

The discussion comes at an important time, as the federal and provincial governments are coming together on a Pan-Canadian framework on antimicrobial resistance, said Dr. Shayan Sharif, PHRN leader and an immunologist at the Ontario Veterinary College.

Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph, acknowledged the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance during a lunchtime address.

He noted, it’s great to meet people from all over North America who are looking at common issues, and asked how can “we work together using each other’s strengths” to solve some of these world challenges? “Antimicrobial resistance is one of those challenges.”

Longfield, who serves on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, as well as the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, added he’ll be asking for help from people around the room “to make sure we have the most current information for science-based decision making.”

The U of G is an agri-food centre of excellence and has been for more than 100 years, noted Malcolm Campbell, U of G vice president research, before introducing MP Longfield to conference attendees. “We partner with people right across the sector. We sit right in the middle of an innovation corridor.”

U of G is the third in the world for agriculture, he added. “That comes from the research impact of our faculty and the graduate students supervised by them.”

A number of those graduate students shared their ongoing research into questions surrounding antimicrobial resistance, vaccines and immunity, and rapid detection devices.

Students are the industry capacity of tomorrow, noted Helen Anne Hudson, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Burnbrae Farms Ltd. “We are facing a huge shortage of human resources in the agriculture industry. We are in need of people trained in all facets. Events like this help students to network with industry and also find collaborations.”

“The student presentations provided not only an excellent overview of the work being conducted at the University of Guelph, but also highlighted the up and coming talent that will be important future leaders in the Canadian poultry industry,” added Steve Leech, National Program Manager, Food Safety, Animal Care and Research, with Chicken Farmers of Canada.

Leech also noted networking value for industry, producers, government and researchers.

“The research day is a great opportunity to interact with stakeholders that are all focused on different areas of antimicrobial stewardship, from primary researchers, to policy makers and farmers implementing on the ground,” he said. “The sharing of hurdles, opportunities and ideas helps to create relationships, and to define the research priorities that will help the industry succeed.”

Hudson agreed, adding, “Despite all of our efforts, we all tend to work to some extent in silos. It is important to break down these silos, share ideas and develop collaborations from them. Connecting researchers with other researchers or industry people who are working in the same fields or with different expertise is huge.”

Antimicrobial stewardship is a high priority issue in our industry generating a lot of interest as witnessed by the attendance at the research day, she added.

Keynote speakers during the day included: Dr. Billy Hargis, University of Arkansas, Dr. Martine Boulianne, University of Montreal, and Dr. Scott McEwen, Ontario Veterinary College.

A panel discussion focused on antimicrobial stewardship in poultry provided an open forum for discussion with conference participants.

The University of Guelph has had a long-standing commitment to innovation in animal health and production, with one of the largest groups of poultry scientists and poultry experts in North America. The Poultry Health Research Network has been steadily expanding since its inception in 2012 and now includes more than 60 members from across the U of G campus, as well as industry and government researchers.

Find out more about the PHRN at phrn.net.
Published in Research
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