5 December 2019
Friday saw Harper Adams University host The History of Poultry Seminar, an event discussing the significance of farm birds past and present. Organised by Dr James Bowen, a research fellow funded by the Poultry Club of Great Britain, the event drew together leading experts in the field to discuss the historic changes in poultry husbandry from the mid nineteenth century to the present day.
Initially held at the Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading, the seminar was repeated at Harper Adams to share the knowledge of several scholars. Speaking at the event was organiser Dr James Bowen, Professor John Martin of University of Leicester, Professor Karen Sayer of Leeds Beckett, as well as Harper’s own Carrie de Silva. Topics covered included the development and artistic representation of poultry breeds; the commercialisation of turkey and goose rearing; impact of rats on egg production; and the importance of agricultural education in poultry husbandry.
The speakers welcomed senior poultry industry and club delegates, a poultry veterinary surgeon, and several Harper Adams alumni. Professor Sayer took historical information and made it relevant to current poultry work, creating a monograph on Farm Animals in Britain from 1850 to 2001. As well as this Dr Bowen presented a talk under his thesis of 'Thinking forward through the past: Linking science, social science and the humanities to inform the sustainable reduction of endemic disease in British livestock farming'.
Tricia Parrott of Harper Adams also spoke, offering her short talk on both past and present research in the industry. As a Temperton Research Fellow, it only seemed right that Tricia presented her speech in the Temperton Room. Topics ranged from breeds to technology, disease to policy, and business to culture. All ideas were addressed with turkeys, geese, ducks and chickens in mind, adding variety to the discussion.
The seminar was a great success and it is likely to be repeated again next year. With the audience’s keen interest in the library cataloging of Harper’s important poultry collection, the archive will be a key source of information from bringing history to the forefront of contemporary research.
To find out more about seminar events hosted at Harper Adams, you can see our Events page. Our next research led event is Moredun Sheep and Cattle Health and Welfare Day on January 9th 2020. You can register to attend here.