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Study reveals “mammal bias” in zoo animal research
Scientists are being urged to study zoo animals like the waxy monkey frog.

Scientists urged to study the welfare of lesser-known species

Researchers at the University of Exeter say there is a distinct “mammal bias” when it comes to scientific research on zoo animals.

The study, published in the journal Palgrave Communications, analysed the past decade of zoo animal research and noted the growth and value of such studies.

It found that research on zoo animals focuses more on “familiar” species such as chimpanzees and gorillas, less so than well-known species such as the waxy monkey frog. This is despite the fact that, globally, fish and birds outnumber mammals reptiles and amphibians in zoos. 

Lead author Dr Paul Rose said that while this bias exists on wider research, zoos can provide great opportunities to study other species.

“Some species, such as chimpanzees, are popular with scientists because we know a lot about them, they are accessible and humans can relate to them,” he said. As well as being found in zoos, many of these species are relatively easy to find and study in the wild. By contrast, it would be hard to find a waxy monkey frog in the rainforest to conduct your research.

“Zoos offer us a fantastic opportunity to study a vast range of species, many of which would be very difficult to observe in their natural habitat. Our findings can teach us about conservation, animal health and how best to house them in zoos.”

The research also looked into whether research in different animals tended to focus on different topics. 

Dr Rose continued: “Lots of mammal studies are about animal welfare, which is great, but we should also research the welfare of fish, birds and anything else we keep in zoos.

“At the moment, we are publishing on the same few species, rather than broadening our scope.
 Obviously we have lots to learn about every species, but opportunities to study many other zoo-housed animals are currently being missed.”

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Celebrity chefs urge public to get baking to support Cats Protection fundraiser

News Story 1
 In support of Cats Protection's Pawsome Afternoon Tea fundraiser, Masterchef winner Tim Anderson and Great British Bake Off star Kim-Joy have shared biscuit recipes to help keen bakers raise money for needy cats across April.

The celebrity chefs are both cat owners and have said that they hope this fundraiser will help to raise awareness of cats in need and the importance of adopting a cat, rather than buying one.

This is the fourth year Cats Protection has run its Pawsome Afternoon Tea campaign, which encourages people to hold tea parties, bake sales and fundraising events to help raise money for the charity.

To view the recipes and other fundraising resources please visit the Cats Protection website. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.