Australia’s poultry and egg industry has received A$23m (US$15.7m) in research funding with the opening of the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Australian Poultry at the University of New England, NSW.

“These industries have grown dramatically over the last 30 years and are vital to Australia’s rural economy, employing about 200,000 people either directly or through dependent businesses,” Science Minister Peter McGauran was quoted by Asia Pulse as saying.

“This expansion has led to challenges for production systems and rising public concern about the impact on bird health and welfare standards, food safety and the environment.

“This CRC is ideally placed to rise to these challenges by developing alternative products to reduce the reliance on antibiotics, developing best practice housing and husbandry practices, and increasing the responsiveness of the industry to meet changing customer requirements,” he said.