UConn receives $10 million grant to research poultry

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — UConn has been awarded a $10 million grant to research how to raise poultry for food without giving the birds antibiotics.

The grant, announced Monday by the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, will fund a project led by Kumar Venkitanarayanan, an animal science professor at UConn, with a team of 30 researchers from 8 colleges and universities.

The school said the project is designed to create a sustainable program for antibiotic-restricted broiler production in the poultry industry.

The United States produces nine billion birds annually, using antibiotics to prevent disease and promote a faster growth. The Food and Drug Administration is concerned that the practice may spread resistance to antibiotics and has directed the industry to phase out their use in poultry production.

UConn says its research will include experts in microbiology, molecular biology, poultry nutritionists, poultry gut health specialists, animal welfare specialists, agricultural engineers, economists, and sociologists.

The project is scheduled to start in September.