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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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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”