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Study ranks chickens sixth most popular pet
Around 600,000 households in the UK now keep domestic fowl as pets.

2017 PFMA report reveals state of the pet nation

Chickens are the sixth most popular pet in the UK, according to a recent study.

The Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association’s Pet Data Report 2017 found that some 600,000 households now keep domestic fowl, putting them above guinea pigs, hamsters and lizards.

Commenting, Jane Howorth of the British Hen Welfare Trust, said: “I’m not surprised that chickens are moving up the ranking of most popular pets in the UK, here at the charity we all know what wonderful pets our ex-commercial hens in particular make.

“Each has their own personality and charm; they are quite simply life-enhancing, and what other pet will lay eggs for your breakfast?!
Best of all you don’t have to choose between owning a cat/dog and a chicken. Hens will live in perfect harmony with the rest of your furry friends.”

Since 2008, the PFMA Pet Data Report has been tracking the state of the UK’s pet population. Gathered annually during late January and early February, the data is used by government departments, pet care businesses and wildlife charities to inform welfare strategies.

This year’s report reveals that 12 million households in the UK have a pet, with the majority owning a cat (8 million ) or dog (8.5 million). Of the households asked, 28 per cent said they had or would consider owning a small mammal as a first pet.

The survey also reveals that the UK pet food market experienced slight growth in 2016 and is now worth a record £2.6bn. Eighty-eight per cent of owners said that they feed their pet a commercially prepared per food. However, 53 per cent of dog owners who feed table scraps do so daily - as do 43 per cent of cat owners.

"PFMA has a very specific role in the area of pet nutirition and this is where we educate to make sure those at the front line of pet care have all the information they need to support pet owners in providing the best possible diets for their pets," explained Nicole Paley, PFMA communications manager.

"The educational work of PFMA and the other organisations is ongoing and what is particularly unique about the pet care sector is how well those organisations come together to bring about change. PFMA look forward to this continued collaboration and achieving real results for our amazing companion animals in 2017 and beyond".

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Scheme to protect wildlife and reduce flooding

News Story 1
 Natural England has announced a new scheme to improve flood protection, boost wildlife and create 160 hectares of new saltmarsh. The £6 million scheme in Lancashire will effectively unite the RSPB’s Hesketh Out Marsh Reserve and Natural England’s Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve. The completed reserve will be the largest site of its kind in the north of England. 

News Shorts
Welfare event to discuss ethical dilemmas faced by vets

Students and ethics experts will host an event on the difficult moral challenges facing vets. Ethical issues, such as euthanasia and breeding animals for certain physical traits, will be discussed by prominent speakers including TV vet Emma Milne and RSPCA chief vet James Yeates. Other topics will include how to tackle suspected animal abuse and the extent of surgical intervention.

The conference will look at how these dilemmas affect the wellbeing of vets, and explore how to better prepare veterinary students for work. It will be held at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus from 30 September - 1 October 2017. Tickets can be purchased here.