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Chemicals in the home impact fertility in men and dogs - study
Chemicals had the same detrimental effect on sperm from men and dogs.

Scientists explore chemical causes for declining fertility  

Chemicals found in the home and diet could explain declining male fertility in dogs and humans, new research shows.

Human male fertility has declined significantly in recent decades, with studies showing a 50 per cent global drop in sperm quality over the past 80 years.

Sharp declines have also been seen in dog fertility, suggesting that modern day chemicals in the home could be at least partly to blame.

Researchers from the University of Nottingham tested the effects of two man-made chemicals, the common plasticiser DEHP, which is widely abundant in the home, and the industrial chemical polychlorinated biphenyl 153, which remains widely detectable in the environment and food, despite being banned globally.

Identical experiments were carried out in both species, using sperm samples from donor men and stud dogs living in the same region of the UK. Results published in Scientific Reports show that the chemicals had the same detrimental effect on sperm from men and dogs.

Lead author Rebecca Sumner, who carried out the experimental work as part of her PhD, said: “In both cases and in both subjects, the effect was reduced sperm motility and increased fragmentation of DNA.

“We know that when human sperm motility is poor, DNA fragmentation is increased and that human male infertility is linked to increased levels of DNA damage in sperm. We now believe this is the same in pet dogs because they live in the same domestic environment and are exposed to the same household contaminants.”

Professor Gary England, dean of Nottingham vet school, said an important area for future research will be to look at regional impacts on sperm quality in men and dogs.

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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”