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Invictus Games medallist rehomes 100 hens to help injured veterans
AJ Pingram will use the chickens to provide therapy to ex-servicemen at his farm.

Chickens will help people living with serious mental health conditions

An injured veteran who won gold in the Invictus Games has re-homed 100 hens from the British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) that were destined for slaughter.

AJ Pingram, who served as a marine engineer in the Royal Navy, will use the chickens to provide therapy to fellow ex-servicemen at his Care Farm near Snowdonia. His Farm is open to anyone with disabilities, hidden and visual, and is already home to cats, turkeys, alpacas and ducks.

The farm's aim is to help ex-servicemen find new careers or hobbies to aid their physical and mental recovery. AJ is already familiar with looking after chickens because they helped him with his rehabilitation after leaving the Navy.

“Having the chickens meant I had to go outside and look after them even when I didn’t want to look after myself,” he said. “Their lives mattered to me, so I would go outside to feed and clean them and collect the eggs.

“Then they started to recognise me and come running to say hello and see what food I had. I would sit and they would get on my lap and go to sleep; it was lovely and so calming.”

AJ, who is a Help for Heroes Ambassador, heard about the British Hen Welfare Trust through Facebook and decided to contact them. The hens he re-homed had been laying eggs in cages for the past 18 months and were heading for slaughter.

Visitors to his farm can work with the animals or relax, without the pressures of the outside world. Injured veterans interact with the animals, enjoy the fresh air and develop outdoor skills such as farming and tree surgery.

The concept of hens as therapy has been long-championed by the BHWT. Supporters of the charity say that chickens have helped them through a variety of mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety and grief.

Founder of the charity Jane Howorth MBE, said: “I’m thrilled that our hens will be doing so much good in such a wonderful, caring environment. AJ has given these hens a new lease of life and in turn, they can help change the lives of the injured veterans visiting the care farm. A real happy ending for all involved.”

Image (C) BHWT

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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.”