A&W gives U of S $45K to study health impact of LED lights on chickens
Grant to help fund work slated to begin this fall
Burger chain A&W is giving the University of Saskatchewan a $45,000 grant to help study the impact of LED barn lighting on broiler chickens.
The funding, announced last week, will help the university's College of Agriculture and Bioresources study "the mobility, behavior and physiological welfare of poultry" living under glare of LED lights, according to a release from the restaurant chain.
"Incandescent lighting has been phased out and much less is known about the welfare and behavioral impacts of LED lighting," the release stated.
Karen Schwean-Lardner, an assistant professor in the college's animal and poultry sciences department, will lead the research project this fall.
Part of that work will look at the impact of using different coloured lights.
"Producers are not sure about what to do," Schwean-Lardner told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning on Wednesday.
"They have to turn their barn systems to some other system. Do they use a white light? Does it make a difference if we use a coloured light? They're really stumped, and so I'm hoping this research can help them choose the best system they can for birds."
Schwean-Lardner's team will also study the importance of turning the lights off in a coop.
"They need to have a dark time when they can sleep, for melantonin production and skin regeneration," she said.
A&W has come under fire in the past from Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall over whether it sources its beef from the province.
The chain has defended its track record, saying many of its ranchers are in Saskatchewan.
with files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning