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Goats ‘can detect emotions’ in calls from other goats
This provides the first strong evidence that goats can distinguish between calls based on emotion.
Study sheds light on social communication of emotions 

Goats may be able to distinguish between positive and negative calls from other goats, scientists say.

An international study led by the Queen Mary University of London measured behavioural and physiological changes to find out if they can tell the difference between calls linked to positive emotions.

Scientists recorded goat calls associated with positive and negative emotions, then played them to other goats through a loud speaker, followed by a randomly selected final call.

According to the findings, when the emotion of the call changed, so did the likelihood of goats looking towards the source of the sound. The goats’ heart rate variability was also greater when they heard positive sounds, compared to negative.

This provides the first strong evidence that goats can distinguish between calls based on emotion, and that their own emotions may be affected. Such an ability could offer an evolutionary advantage among groups of animals that are not always in contact with each other, facilitating better coordination and cohesion in the group.

Lead author Dr Alan McElligott said: “Perceiving the emotional state of another individual through its vocalisations and being affected by those vocalisations has important implications for how we care for domestic animals, and in particular livestock species.”

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Big Butterfly Count returns

News Story 1
 The world's biggest survey of butterflies is back for 2020!

Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count launches on Friday, 17 July and will run until Sunday 9 August. Members of the public can get involved by downloading the Big Butterfly Count App or recording results on a downloadable sheet available from bigbutterflycount.org/.

'It's a fantastic activity for people from three to 103 years and we'd encourage everyone to take 15 minutes in an appropriate outdoor space during sunny conditions to simply appreciate the nature around them and do their bit to help us understand butterfly populations,' said a Butterfly Conservation spokesperson. 

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News Shorts
New appointment at Dechra

Dechra Veterinary Products Ltd (Dechra) has announced a key appointment to support veterinary professionals across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Karen Hockley has been appointed as a telesales account manager and will provide the latest products, news and developments from Dechra. She joins the company from a large mixed practice in Northern Ireland where she was the branch manager.

Before that, Karen had worked for a multinational veterinary pharmaceutical company as a key account manager for Northern Ireland. She can be contacted at karen.hockley@dechra.com or 087 219 54 30.