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Housing zebrafish in groups reduces anxiety, study finds
Zebrafish housed in groups returned to normal faster than individuals or pairs.
Researchers compare recovery from procedures like anaesthesia

Zebrafish housed in groups show lower levels of stress and anxiety when they undergo stressful procedures than those who are housed alone, new research has found.

Fish are increasingly being used in scientific research and there is growing evidence to show they experience stress and respond to pain in a similar way to mammals.

In the study, researchers compared recovery from procedures like anaesthesia and fin clipping in male zebrafish house individually, in pairs and in groups of six. The team analysed stress responses, such as time spent at the bottom of the tank, erratic movement and cortisol levels.

They found that anaesthesia alone and anaesthesia with fin clipping both had a significant impact on zebrafish housed alone. Both of these groups showed increased stress and behavioural alterations.

The team notes that responses of zebrafish housed in groups was less pronounced, with group-housed fish resuming normal behaviour faster than individuals or pairs. These fish also showed the lowest cortisol increase.

During the study, the researchers also confirmed that water-borne cortisol from tanks is an accurate measure of stress in zebrafish. This method avoids the need for terminal sampling, helping to reduce the number of fish required for studies on psychological stress, they add.

The research, published in the journal Animal Behaviour, was led by the University of Liverpool.

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Giraffe Conservation Foundation named BVNA’s charity of the year

News Story 1
 BVNA president Wendy Nevins has named The Giraffe Conservation Foundation as the association’s charity of the year for 2017/2018.

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation dedicates its work to a sustainable future for wild giraffe populations. Wendy Nevins said: ‘I have chosen the Giraffe Conservation Foundation for the BVNA Charity of the Year because I have always thought Giraffes were magnificent animals.

‘I also think it is important that we look at the wider issue of conservation and education across all species.’  

News Shorts
Scientists win award for openness in animal research

UK scientists have won an award for the 360ş Laboratory Animal Tours project, which offered the public an online, interactive tour of four research facilities that are usually restricted access.

The project won a public engagement award at the Understanding Animal Research (UAR) Openness Awards, which recognise UK research facilities for transparency on their use of animals in research, as well as innovation in communicating with the public.

The tour was created by the Pirbright Institute, the University of Oxford, the University of Bristol and MRC Harwell Institute.