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Industry Invests in Future with Commitment to Swine Welfare

10 October 2013

CANADA - A major milestone was reached this week when industry fundraising achieved 50 per cent of its target to establish a National Chair in Swine Welfare.

The proposed Chair in Swine Welfare, an industry-wide initiative, has been gaining momentum with 6 provincial pork associations, and four pork processors committing to the 5-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 organizer 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, endorsement and partnering with the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, at the University of Saskatchewan, selecting the right candidate for the Chair position and presenting the concept to industry to achieve the financial requirements of the programme."

After a worldwide 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 senior advisor on industry and government advisory groups.

Dr Edwards brings a wealth of research and practical on-farm experience in the areas on of nutrition, applied behavior, and health management. A sampling of Dr Edwards research can be found at www.prairieswine.com, by searching Sandra Edwards in the PorkInsight database of applied research.

Dr Edwards is becoming increasingly well–recognized and active in Canada at key pork 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.

ThePigSite News Desk

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