The U.S. Poultry & Egg Assn. (USPOULTRY) Board Research Initiative announced Sept. 19 that it is requesting pre-proposals in four areas: Clostridium enteritis in broilers, reovirus vaccines for turkeys, intestinal protozoa of turkeys and the euthanasia of large birds. The deadline for pre-proposal submission is Nov. 1.
* Clostridium enteritis in broilers. C. enteritis is an economically significant disease of broilers caused by the action of coccidia (Eimeria sp.) and Clostridium perfringens in the intestinal tract. The disease may cause significant mortality or may present in a subclinical form characterized by poor feed conversion and growth rate. In the past, this disease was primarily prevented by use of antibiotics in feed. C. enteritis has become an important disease in many broiler companies that no longer use antibiotics.
* Reovirus vaccines for turkeys. In recent years, segments of the turkey industry have seen an unusually high instance of lameness resulting from tenosynovitis. Reovirus appears to be the causative agent based on virus isolation and serology. Current evidence indicates that the reovirus isolates involved in this disease may be serologically distinct from the reovirus isolates used in currently available vaccines.
* Intestinal protozoa of turkeys. Intestinal protozoa are a significant health challenge for the U.S. turkey industry. The organisms chiefly associated with disease include Cochlosoma anatis and Trichomonas sp. Since the withdrawal of roxarsone and nitarsone, there is no effective treatment or prevention available for these protozoa. Affected flocks have decreased livability and weight gain and poor feed efficiency and uniformity, resulting in significant economic impact to the turkey industry.
* Euthanasia of large birds. The current euthanasia standards the poultry industry uses are the 2013 American Veterinary Medical Assn. (AVMA) euthanasia guidelines, which list methods acceptable for euthanasia of poultry. However, the AVMA guidelines do not include a list of approved tools or criteria that must be met in order for a tool or mechanical system to be acceptable for euthanasia. For individual poultry, manual cervical dislocation is the primary method of euthanasia on farms, but it may not be appropriate for large poultry or may not be the preferred method for farm staff.
As an alternative, various tools have been developed for on-farm euthanasia of individual large chickens and turkeys, including mechanical cervical dislocation, captive bolt and gas euthanasia. However, none of these tools or systems is officially endorsed, and there are no provided criteria or means of verifying if tools meet the standards for euthanasia according to the AVMA guidelines. There is a need to objectively evaluate the safety, functionality and humane outcome of mechanical tools and systems that can be used for poultry euthanasia to meet the AVMA performance standards.
The USPOULTRY Board Research Initiative was created by the boards of USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation to address current issues facing the poultry industry. The research initiative operates alongside the current USPOULTRY comprehensive research program and augments the success of the existing program by focusing additional resources toward defined areas of research.
USPOULTRY and its foundation operate a comprehensive research program incorporating all phases of poultry and egg production and processing. Since the inception of the research program, USPOULTRY has reinvested more than $29 million into the industry in the form of research grants, with the International Poultry Expo as the primary source for the funding. More than 50 universities and federal and state facilities have received grants over the years.
USPOULTRY is the all-feather organization representing the complete spectrum of today’s poultry industry; Founded in 1947 and based in Tucker, Ga., its mission is to progressively serve member companies through research, education, communication and technical assistance.