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Both McGill and the Université de Montréal are collaborating on establishing a Centre for Poultry Research. Earlier this month, U de M held a sod-turning ceremony at their St. Hyacinthe Campus where their facility will be built, and McGill's research and teaching facility has been completed out at Macdonald Campus and will receive its first birds in July.
Greg Weil, agricultural and environmental sciences development officer, said that the two facilities will be "different, but complementary."
Animal Science Professor Roger Buckland, director of the centre, said the centre's "objective is food safety and food quality in relation to production technologies."
The U de M facility will be a classified biosafety level-2 facility in order to work with microorganisms and pathogens so they can study disease management (by comparison, the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg where SARS research was done is a level-4 facility).
McGill's centre, Buckland explained, will focus on nutrition, physiology, genetics and management in relation to safety and quality. They will look at ways to reduce the use of antibiotics and medication, as well as examine methods to reduce bacterial contamination.
At full capacity, the McGill building could house 3,000 adult laying birds, Buckland said. There will be laying chickens, meat-type chickens and turkeys.
The Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Quebec government have each provided $2.1 million at the centre, and the centre has raised approximately $3 million from industry sectors. Donors include national and provincial agencies and boards, producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers, as well as private individuals and foundations.