Learning About Animals was set up to provide information and promote interest in
the welfare and behaviour of animals. The aim is to bridge the gap between professionals
& scientists working with animals and the public.
If you have any suggestions for future events, if you would like to be considered
to be a speaker, or if you would like to get involved in helping at the events, or
projects please get in touch.
Just in case you missed it - a selection of some of the LAA Facebook posts since
the July Newsletter
1. Are we using the wrong message in dog bite prevention? This pilot study concluded
that a 'It could happen to you' message might be more effective than raising awareness
about dog body language. I like the idea of this sort of research and the results
are already perhaps a little surprising. LINK
2. Have you ever really looked into the eyes of different prey species of animals?
This article explains why the pupil shape is different across species and the benefits
of being able to rotate your eye balls 50 degrees (how cool is that?) LINK
3. A punished dog is an aggressive dog - another great blog from Stanley Coren and
of course applies to horses and other animals too LINK
4. Ever get frustrated with 'wrong' arguments on Facebook? This genius blog will
make you able to laugh it off. It's an old post but one to keep when you need to
refer to it smile emoticon And to show your appreciation consider subscribing, EPONA
is an amazing resource of horse films. LINK
5. Hiding small dog treats in and around logs can provide dog entertainment on walks
7. This study into the temperament of dogs and their ability to stick with a task
is potentially an interesting study but brings up many questions. For example, is
tail wagging a good indicator of being 'laid back' and were the service dogs used
laid back or the way they were because of their training? LINK
8. Dreaming of ponies? An amazing opportunity to study the Gower ponies is being
run this October by Jenni Nellist A trip not to be missed for any horse enthusiast
and the chance to be part of real research. LINK
Saturday 19th September Equine Behaviour Forum’s Symposium Three speakers on the theme
of “What Horses Want”. Newcastle, UK. LINK
Monday 21st September The K9 Project Conference Impressive programme on the theme of
dogs and emotional well-being. Ely, Cambridgeshire. See LINK for more details.
Thursday 3rd September Robert Falconer Taylor at the Dogs Trust, evening talk. Manchester,
If Carlsberg ran talks about behaviour they would have Dr Andrew Hemmings as the
On September 5th Dr Andrew Hemmings is giving a talk about nutrition and behaviour.
It won’t be your normal nutrition talk, where you are recommended to buy a certain
type of food. Oh no, this is a talk that links nutrition to behaviour - it’s all
about the b––haviour and it will be thought provoking, educational, enjoyable and
in the coffee break we will all intake a totally non-nutritious cakes and biscuits.
There are lots of tickets left for this talk - which is such a shame as it will be
just brilliant. Please sign up and bring a friend.
THURSDAY 3rd SEPTEMBER (EVENING) Separation anxiety in horsesDETAILS
SATURDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER (HALF DAY) Equine behaviour and nutrition with Andrew HemmingsDETAILS
SUNDAY 27TH SEPTEMBER (HALF DAY) First aid for horsesDETAILS
SATURDAY 3RD OCTOBER (HALF DAY) Equine neuroanatomy in a nutshell DETAILS
SATURDAY 24th OCTOBER (FULL DAY) Exploring animal ethics with Dr Mark KennedyDETAILS
14TH NOVEMBER (HALF DAY) Chicken behaviour and cognitionDETAILS
SATURDAY /SUNDAY 28/29 NOVEMBER (WEEKEND) Thinking Horsemanship Weekend - SomersetDETAILS
Gift vouchers available for talks and events
Just email for more information -firstname.lastname@example.org
The Good News Box
1. Baby tortoises seen in the Galapagos for first time in over 100 years! LINK
2. The five dolphins that have been released from captivity in Korea are doing well
and have joined up to a big pod. Great news and great example of successful rehabilitation
of these amazing animals.
3. Sightings of humpbacks off Irish coast up 50% so far this year. Areas of the Atlantic
around the Blasket Islands and west Kerry are sighting whales on a weekly basis as
they feed on locally abundant prey. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group estimates that
as many as 60 individual humpbacks are now visiting the Irish coast. Good news for
UK-based whale watchers!
4. The elephants at Hanoi zoo were finally free from their 1m chains and allowed
to roam their new grass enclosure recently. See this link for more info.
1. Dr Ingrid Visser is one of the most engaging speakers I have seen. This video
was taken recently of her talk at Superpod 4 - worth a watch LINK
3. Bite prevention resources and FREE workshops through WoodGreen animal shelter
- “We currently have a fabulous dog safety video aimed at children and are currently
developing a dog safety area on our website. We also run FREE family dog safety workshops
called ‘Living with dogs’ as well as having a bank of resources relating to bite
4. Do dogs understand play signals from humans? LINK
5. Exploring the ethology of dominance in horses LINK
Please consider buying a bag! I have some of these bags left - only £7 including
P&P, four colours. LINK
“Isn’t it cute!” - or is it? Things people share on the Internet
A video of a young deer being held by a young man as if she was a ‘baby’. The young
man is stroking the deer’s undercarriage and when he stops and goes to put her down
she makes a noise and struggles. He interprets this as the wild deer ‘demanding’
to be picked up again - how endeering (spelling intentional!)? We love to believe
this - a wild animal, so taken with a human that she wants to be cradled like a human
baby. Super cute? Or is something else going on?
Sadly the real story is something like this - the young deer froze when approached
and unable to move in fear was picked up by the man and turned over. This action
caused her to go into a state of tonic immobility, playing dead, whereby she loses
muscle tone and doesn’t move in the hope that the ‘predator’ will release their grip
and give her a chance to escape. So when he goes to put her down she immediately
calls for her mother and struggles trying to run away. Sadly the man mistakes this
for ‘wanting more’ and so she goes into tonic immobility again.
Isn’t it sad that animal behaviour is so misunderstood? I hate pointing out when
the truth isn’t so cute but it seems wrong to let myths perpetuate. There is another
video with animals in a state of tonic immobility circulating. In a ‘Britain’s Got
Talent’ style TV show in Asia a young girl shows her skills as an animal hypnotist
as she lays various animals down on their backs one by one. Sadly these animals are
also playing dead and in this case the whole thing is more disturbing that no-one
in the production team at any point questioned what was going on. The audience enjoyed
the show and who knows how many people went on to try that with their own animals.
We must all continue to educate, gently yet persuasively, where we can. Otherwise
animal abuse through misunderstanding will continue to permeate popular culture.