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YouTube videos offer insight into dog bites
Common dog breeds in the videos were Chihuahuas, German shepherds, pit bulls and Labrador retrievers (stock photo).
Seven in 10 victims were men, study found 

For the first time, scientists have used YouTube videos to learn more about the risk factors that lead to dog bites.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool used search terms such as ‘dog bite’ and ‘dog attack’ to find 143 videos, of which 56 showed details of the human and dog behaviour that led up to the bite.

Findings published in the journal Scientific Reports suggest that around seven in 10 of the bite victims in the videos were male, while over half were children or infants. Common dog breeds observed were Chihuahuas, German shepherds, pit bulls and Labrador retrievers.

Whilst the study did not explore the causal relationship between human behaviour and dog bites, tactile contact with a dog increased around 20 seconds before a bite, as did standing or leaning over a dog.

Researchers acknowledged that YouTube videos of dog bites are likely to be subject to some bias. For example, bites by small dogs may be perceived as ‘comical’ and therefore be uploaded online more frequently.

Despite this, researchers said their findings are consistent with previous studies, in terms of breed type and the gender and age of victims.

Lead author Sara Owczarczak-Garstecka said: “Online videos present us with an unexplored opportunity to observe dog bites first-hand, something which is just not possible using other methods.

“Making more use of this type of shared content for research could help us better understand how and why bites occur and contribute to the development of bite prevention strategies.”

The findings could also offer valuable insights for bite prevention strategies, by emphasising the risk of leaning over dogs.

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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.