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Horses ‘read and remember’ human facial expressions
This is the first time it has been shown that horses can remember emotional experiences with specific individuals.
Seeing angry faces in photos impacts horse behaviour - study   

Horses have the ability to read and remember human facial expressions, new research has shown for the first time.

Domestic horses were shown a photograph of a happy or angry human face, before seeing the actual person several hours later, now in a neutral emotional state.

According to findings published in Current Biology, the direction of the horses’ gaze revealed that they perceived the person more negatively if they had seen them looking angry in a photograph.

Importantly, the humans did not know which photographs the horses had seen, to prevent them behaving differently when they met the horses. The differences in the horses’ reactions only applied to the people they saw in the photographs.

Although previous research has found horses can recognise human facial expressions, this is the first time it has been shown that they can remember emotional experiences with specific individuals.

Study co-author Dr Leanne Proops, from the University of Portsmouth, said: "We know that horses are socially intelligent animals, but this is the first time any mammal has been shown to have this particular ability.

“What's very striking is that this happened after just briefly viewing a photograph of the person with a particular emotional expression – they did not have a strongly positive or negative experience with the person." 

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UK a step closer to ivory ban

News Story 1
 A UK ban on ivory sales is one step closer to coming into force, as the government has introduced the Ivory Bill to parliament. The ban covers items of all ages, rather than just ivory carved after 1947. Anyone breaching the ban will face an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.

Conservationists have welcomed the bill, which comes less than six weeks after the government published the results of a consultation on this issue. Around 55 African elephants are now slaughtered for their ivory every day and the illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth £17 billion a year.  

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Strategic alliance to support development of agri-food sector

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Queen’s University Belfast have formed a new strategic alliance that will see both institutions form a research and education partnership.

Under the agreement, the organisations will pool their resources and expertise to support the development of the agri-food sector. It will work across three core themes: enabling innovation, facilitating new ways of working and partnerships.