Sleeping cat with fallen cherry blossom

2 08 2018

One of the slides from Hajime Tanida‘s lovely ISAE conference talk today, on providing drinking water to the feral cats of Onomichi: 


The audience forgot they were serious applied ethologists, and cooed and ooed at each and every lovely photo.

Squandering fish

28 07 2018

16850_350x276_72_DPI_0Last year, work from UBC published in Fish and Fisheries showed that around 10% of caught fish are just thrown back in the sea, dead.  Now, about 12 months later, there’s more grim news on wasted fish: it seems that actually around one third of caught fish is wasted, according to a report from the FAO (written up by The Guardian here, and by a fisheries information website here). 

On top of the 20% of meat and dairy that goes to waste, this means a staggering amount of animal suffering has absolutely no point. If animal harvesting and farming were humane, respectful and efficient, with everyone applying the 3Rs at every stage of the process, I might be OK with it. But the way we humans operate really is pretty indefensible.

Adopting out our mice

24 07 2018

Today we started spreading the word about new homes being needed for our soon-to-retire mice. I’m worried it’ll be tricky finding homes for all of them. But then, who can resist these pics? (With thanks to Emma).



Quote of the day

19 07 2018

“When you say ‘setting up the GLM a priori’, do you mean after I’ve looked at my data and worked out what I hope’s going on?”

This actually gave me the giggles (much needed on a tiring day).

Kingston visit

17 07 2018

I had a great couple of days in Kingston last week. It’s pretty, quite old (even to a Euro-snob like me), and I got to spend time with Alice Hovorka and Peter Wolf.


Hochelaga Inn (made a bit less charming by a couple fighting in the room above me at 2am)

But the work aspects were really rewarding too.  Queen’s vet Andrew Winterborn had asked me to present at their Animal Care Committee’s annual retreat, so I polished and updated the talk on the biomedical effects of standard cages that I gave at UBC. This went well, and by luck gave me the chance to meet  Janet Menard, whose students had presented some especially interesting posters at SONA (showing that simple scatter feeds make lab rats less anxious: a result that’s half amazing, half downright sad).

Then that afternoon I both managed to catch an England game (it’s the World Cup again!) and meet clinical psychologist and depression researcher Kate Harkness (whose fascinating research I’d actually stumbled across while looking fruitlessly for Janet’s). This was such fun, with both of us gabbling at speed, that I can’t really sum it all up here, save to say she loved that we’re looking at the social effects of depression-like traits in mice (phew), and that she vividly reminded me of the complexity of depression by explaining that because of how it’s diagnosed, there are actually hundreds of different ways to be depressed (some of which don’t even involve feeling miserable).

Ooops wrong species

13 07 2018

We had out ISAE practice talks yesterday, which included expunging baby rat pictures from Emma and Aimee‘s talks (because if you search for mouse pictures on the web, it seems you don’t always get actual mice!)


The hydra of lit review

13 07 2018

Lovely find on Twitter from Michelle:

Screenshot 2018-07-12 22.24.20