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Dogs avoid people who snub their owners
Dachshund and owner
The study suggests that dogs can read social situations and avoid those who act negatively towards their owners.
Social eavesdropping may not be an ability unique to primates

It's well known that dogs are highly intelligent beings that can respond to commands, sniff-out criminal evidence and even diagnose medical conditions. But now, new research has shown that they might even be able understand simple interactions between people.

In a recent experiment, Japanese researchers found that dogs tended to avoid people if they acted negatively towards their owners. This suggests that dogs are able to read social situations - an ability known as 'social eavesdropping'.

The experiment was designed to see if dogs can evaluate humans interacting with one another over an object.

The results revealed that dogs avoided taking food from a person who behaved negatively towards their owner, which in this case meant ignoring them.

In the experiment, the dog's owner tried to open a container to get a junk object that was inside, then requested help from an actor sitting next to him, while the dog watched the interaction.

In the helper condition, the actor held the container stable to help the owner open it.  In the non-helper condition, the actor turned away and refused to help. A neutral person sat on the other side of the owner throughout these interactions.

After the instruction, both the actor and the neutral person offered a piece of food to the dog. The study found that dogs chose food randomly in the helper and control conditions, but were biased against the actor in the non-helper conditions.

The scientists say that the dogs' avoidance of someone who behaved negatively towards the owner suggests that social eavesdropping may be shared with a non-primate species.

The study, Dogs avoid people who behave negatively to their owner: third-party affective evaluation, was published in Animal Behaviour.

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Celebrity chefs urge public to get baking to support Cats Protection fundraiser

News Story 1
 In support of Cats Protection's Pawsome Afternoon Tea fundraiser, Masterchef winner Tim Anderson and Great British Bake Off star Kim-Joy have shared biscuit recipes to help keen bakers raise money for needy cats across April.

The celebrity chefs are both cat owners and have said that they hope this fundraiser will help to raise awareness of cats in need and the importance of adopting a cat, rather than buying one.

This is the fourth year Cats Protection has run its Pawsome Afternoon Tea campaign, which encourages people to hold tea parties, bake sales and fundraising events to help raise money for the charity.

To view the recipes and other fundraising resources please visit the Cats Protection website. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.