BPC honours industry’s finest

Celebrated members of the poultry industry gathered yesterday evening (Tuesday 8 December) for the British Poultry Council’s (BPC) annual awards. 

Hosted at House of Commons’ Terrace Pavilion and with an introduction by George Eustice MP, minister of state for farming, food and the marine environment, leading figures in the sector were recognised for their efforts.

Among the awards presented was the BPC Trainee of the Year Award, sponsored by Zoetis. This year’s recipient was Annabelle Heath, assistant farm manager at Yarpole for Cargill Meats Europe.

Speaking to Meat Trades Journal, Heath said she was surprised to have been honoured for her accomplishments. “All the other people that were in the competition were so good and have achieved so much already and I’m lacking behind them slightly, so I’m shocked to have won. But I’ve put 100% into it, so fingers crossed that’s how I’m achieving.”

Having been awarded with a £2,000 grant, she explained that she was going to put that towards further training to expand her industry knowledge and experience.

Elsewhere, the British Veterinary Poultry Association (BVPA) was recognised for its commitment in developing solutions to issues facing the industry.

“In this case, the award is for contribution of members to avian influenza (AI) contingency planning and various other AI-related activities,” explained BVPA president David Welchman.

In addition to overcoming Avian Influenza, another issue the industry faces at the moment include minimising antimicrobial usage in all livestock, with BVPA focusing on the poultry sector.

However, it was mentioned that there may be an educational gap between consumer demands and industry concerns.

“I suppose what consumers are mainly interested in is seeing good wholesome poultry on the supermarket shelf at a reasonable price, and they may not be aware of all the efforts going on in terms of welfare and reducing antimicrobial usage and genetic improvements going on and so on,” commented Welchman.

BPC chairman John Reed recognised the hard work and dedication displayed by the award recipients: “This year’s winners and their achievements reflect the diversity of the industry. It demonstrates that our industry is much more than people might think; we are a professional and highly skilled industry with a lot to be proud of.

“The efforts from poultry vets involved in each outbreak of Avian Influenza to support businesses and individuals cannot be ignored. We wanted to recognise their outstanding contribution to the poultry sector for their guidance in contingency planning and their invaluable knowledge and expertise.”

Awards were also presented in the following categories: Poultry Industry Research Scholarship Award, Poultry Industry Mid-career Award and Poultry Industry Distinguished Service Award.

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