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Cattle pesticides killing off dung beetles - study
Researchers hope their findings will help to inform farmers about the negative impacts of the pesticides.
Damage could result in economic loss for farmers 

The prolonged use of some pesticides to treat cattle for parasites is having a detrimental effect on dung beetles, according to new research.

The study, published in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, looked at 24 cattle farms across south-west England and found that farms that used certain pesticides had fewer species of dung beetle.

Study leader Dr Bryony Sands from the University of Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences said: “Dung beetles recycle dung pats on pastures, bringing the nutrients back into the soil and ensuring the pastures are fertile.

“Damage to dung beetle populations is, therefore, concerning, and could result in economic loss for farmers.”

The study is the first landscape-scale project to show that long-term use of the pesticides has a negative impact on dung beetle populations on farms. Study co-author Professor Richard Wall first discovered 30 years ago that pesticide residues in dung could kill dung beetles.

Dr Sands added: “It is now clear that long-term use of these pesticides could cause declines in beetle biodiversity on a large scale.”

The study also found that synthetic pyrethroids pesticides were not as damaging to dung beetles as macrocyclic lactone pesticides. In general, these pesticides are considered a safer alternative for farmers who want to protect biodiversity on their farms.

Researchers hope their findings will help to inform farmers about the negative impacts of the pesticides, some of which now carry warning labels. 

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Vets save premature penguin chick

News Story 1
 Vets have saved a tiny Humboldt penguin chick after her egg was accidentally broken by her parents. Keepers at ZSL London Zoo were shocked to find the chick, named Rainbow, still alive and rushed her straight to the Zoo’s on-site veterinary clinic.

It was a little way to go until the chick should have hatched, so the process was touch and go. Vets removed bits of shell from around the chick with tweezers until she could be lifted out and placed in a makeshift nest.

Rainbow is now in a custom-built incubation room where she spends her days cuddled up to a toy penguin. Keepers will hand-fed Rainbow for the next 10 weeks until she is healthy enough to move to the penguin nursery.  

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BVA infographic to help shoppers understand farm assurance schemes

An infographic to help members of the public understand farm assurance schemes has been produced by the BVA. The infographic outlines BVA’s priorities for animal welfare and shows whether or not the schemes address these priorities in their standards.

BVA president John Fishwick said: “The infographic is not intended to be a league table but to allow people to understand what aspects of animal health and welfare are addressed by assurance schemes so that they can decide which scheme best aligns with their own individual preferences and priorities."