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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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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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Professor Abdul Rahman announced as keynote speaker for BVA Members’ Day 2019

Celebrated Indian vet and parasitologist Professor Abdul Rahman is set to deliver the keynote speech at BVA Members’ Day 2019.

Professor Rahman will present his insights into the human behaviour challenges of controlling zoonotic disease in his talk: ‘A One Health approach to rabies elimination in Asia’. The talk will outline efforts to gain political support for dog vaccination programmes in China, as well as the need for a collaborative approach between vets, public health, livestock and animal welfare agencies.

The event takes place on Thursday, 19 September at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the BVA website as places are limited.