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Scientists to monitor declining honey yield

A new scheme is set to help scientists understand why the UK’s honey yield is declining.

The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) is asking both amateur and professional bee keepers to send in regular honey samples, for analysis using advanced methods including DNA barcoding and mass spectrometry.

Scientists will identify the types of pollen and pesticide residues in the honey, as well as some of the diseases to which bees are exposed.

In the UK, the average yield per hive has been around 11kg - compared to the 22-45kg that was typical in the 1950s. Figures from the European Commission show the UK’s honey yield fell from 6,400 tonnes in 2011, to 2,800 in 2015.

Negative impact on bees and their productivity include poor weather, loss of wild flowers, pesticide use, climate change and an increase in disease.

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Vets save premature penguin chick

News Story 1
 Vets have saved a tiny Humboldt penguin chick after her egg was accidentally broken by her parents. Keepers at ZSL London Zoo were shocked to find the chick, named Rainbow, still alive and rushed her straight to the Zoo’s on-site veterinary clinic.

It was a little way to go until the chick should have hatched, so the process was touch and go. Vets removed bits of shell from around the chick with tweezers until she could be lifted out and placed in a makeshift nest.

Rainbow is now in a custom-built incubation room where she spends her days cuddled up to a toy penguin. Keepers will hand-fed Rainbow for the next 10 weeks until she is healthy enough to move to the penguin nursery.  

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BVA infographic to help shoppers understand farm assurance schemes

An infographic to help members of the public understand farm assurance schemes has been produced by the BVA. The infographic outlines BVA’s priorities for animal welfare and shows whether or not the schemes address these priorities in their standards.

BVA president John Fishwick said: “The infographic is not intended to be a league table but to allow people to understand what aspects of animal health and welfare are addressed by assurance schemes so that they can decide which scheme best aligns with their own individual preferences and priorities."