The Canadian federal government is investing CA$123,000 (US$92,890) toward research that will focus on developing a nutritional approach for the production of foie gras that will help establish the optimal feed intake for ducks.

The research is hoped to help address animal welfare concerns, as well as reduce production costs and improve public trust in the agrifood system.

The investment, which is being made to the Deschambault Animal Science Research Center (CRSAD), was recently announced by Jean-Claude Poissant, parliamentary secretary to Canada Agriculture Secretary Marie-Claude Bibeau. The funds will be allocated through the AgriScience program of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The funds for the foie gras initiative are part of a greater CA$1.4 million (US$1.06 million) investment to the (CRSAD). Other research to benefit from government assistance involves examining the effects of probiotics on honeybee health and a study to determine the optimal age of the weaning of goats.

"Our government knows the importance of research and innovation to help improve efficiency and competitiveness and keep our agriculture sector at the forefront,” said Poissant. “Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, we are committed to support farmers in keeping their operations innovative and productive with new tools and practices that will ensure a strong, diversified and competitive industry that provides well-paying jobs for the middle-class families."

Doris Pellerin, CRSAD president, added: "The CRSAD is very grateful for the federal government’s strong support for its research activities in three emerging sectors that have strong growth potential for Quebec and Canadian agriculture. In addition to the new knowledge acquired, the projects will contribute to the training of highly-qualified personnel who will then be able to act as agents of change in the production of bees, dairy goats or ducks and continue to support innovation in these sectors. The projects will also contribute to the improvement of production conditions and animal welfare."

The news of the investment to examine improved welfare outcomes for ducks in foie gras production came about a week after Ukrainian poultry company MHP announced it would cease the production of foie gras, citing such production is inconsistent with its animal welfare ambitions.