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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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Gucci pledges to go fur-free

News Story 1
 Italian fashion house Gucci has announced that it will no longer use animal fur in its designs. Gucci’s president & CEO Marco Bizzarri made the announcement on Wednesday (October 11) at The London College of Fashion.

The move follows a long-standing relationship with The Humane Society of the United States and LAV - members of the international Fur Free alliance. Gucci’s fur-free policy includes mink, coyote, raccoon dog, fox, rabbit, karakul and all other species bred or caught for fur.  

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Avian flu text alert service launched in Northern Ireland

A new text system to alert bird keepers to the threat of avian flu has been launched in Northern Ireland. The service will enable bird keepers to take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity.

Keepers who have already provided NI's Department of Agriculture with a valid mobile number have automatically been subscribed to the service and notified by text. Bird keepers who have not yet received a text should text ‘BIRDS’ to 67300 to register.