Pet Shops in England Will Be Forbidden From Selling Puppies or Kittens—and Animal Welfare Advocates Are Celebrating

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iStock

In an effort to crack down on "puppy farms" and other breeding practices that can harm animals' health, pet stores in England will soon be banned from selling puppies and kittens, according to the BBC.

The government is currently consulting on plans, which concern cats and dogs under 6 months old. In addition, another ban preventing licensed sellers from peddling kittens and puppies under 8 weeks old will come into effect on October 1.

"There are concerns that commercial third-party sales lead to poorer welfare conditions for the animals compared to when people buy directly from the breeder," the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs wrote in an overview of the ban. The agency added that the risks include separating young animals from their mothers too soon, introducing them to unfamiliar environments, and forcing them to endure potentially long journeys to get from the breeder to the pet store.

One particular case drew attention to the issue of puppy farms, where dogs are held for years—often in poor conditions—for the purpose of breeding puppies for profit. A little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lucy spent five years on one of these farms, but by the time she was rescued in 2013, the damage had already been done. She suffered from epilepsy, had a curved spine from being held in a cramped cage, and was also blind in one eye.

Lucy spent three happy years with her owner, Lisa Garner, before dying in 2016. Her case inspired TV vet Marc Abraham to launch the Lucy's Law campaign and urge lawmakers to better protect animals when they're young—and most susceptible to harm.

It's estimated that between 40,000 and 80,000 puppies are sold by third-party vendors in Great Britain each year.

In the U.S., California passed a law last year prohibiting dog and cat breeders from selling to pet stores. Pet shops in the state are only permitted to sell rescue and shelter animals. Maryland became the second state to pass a similar law in April 2018, and a few other states are now considering similar measures.

[h/t BBC]

Turn Your LEGO Bricks Into a Drone With the Flybrix Drone Kit

Flyxbrix/FatBrain
Flyxbrix/FatBrain

Now more than ever, it’s important to have a good hobby. Of course, a lot of people—maybe even you—have been obsessed with learning TikTok dances and baking sourdough bread for the last few months, but those hobbies can wear out their welcome pretty fast. So if you or someone you love is looking for something that’s a little more intellectually stimulating, you need to check out the Flybrix LEGO drone kit from Fat Brain Toys.

What is a Flybrix LEGO Drone Kit?

The Flybrix drone kit lets you build your own drones out of LEGO bricks and fly them around your house using your smartphone as a remote control (via Bluetooth). The kit itself comes with absolutely everything you need to start flying almost immediately, including a bag of 56-plus LEGO bricks, a LEGO figure pilot, eight quick-connect motors, eight propellers, a propeller wrench, a pre-programmed Flybrix flight board PCB, a USB data cord, a LiPo battery, and a USB LiPo battery charger. All you’ll have to do is download the Flybrix Configuration Software, the Bluetooth Flight Control App, and access online instructions and tutorials.

Experiment with your own designs.

The Flybrix LEGO drone kit is specifically designed to promote exploration and experimentation. All the components are tough and can totally withstand a few crash landings, so you can build and rebuild your own drones until you come up with the perfect design. Then you can do it all again. Try different motor arrangements, add your own LEGO bricks, experiment with different shapes—this kit is a wannabe engineer’s dream.

For the more advanced STEM learners out there, Flybrix lets you experiment with coding and block-based coding. It uses an arduino-based hackable circuit board, and the Flybrix app has advanced features that let you try your hand at software design.

Who is the Flybrix LEGO Drone Kit for?

Flybrix is a really fun way to introduce a number of core STEM concepts, which makes it ideal for kids—and technically, that’s who it was designed for. But because engineering and coding can get a little complicated, the recommended age for independent experimentation is 13 and up. However, kids younger than 13 can certainly work on Flybrix drones with the help of their parents. In fact, it actually makes a fantastic family hobby.

Ready to start building your own LEGO drones? Click here to order your Flybrix kit today for $198.

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A Prehistoric Great White Shark Nursery Has Been Discovered in Chile

Great white sharks used prehistoric nurseries to protect their young.
Great white sharks used prehistoric nurseries to protect their young.
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Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) may be one of the most formidable and frightening apex predators on the planet today, but life for them isn’t as easy as horror movies would suggest. Due to a slow growth rate and the fact that they produce few offspring, the species is listed as vulnerable to extinction.

There is a way these sharks ensure survival, and that is by creating nurseries—a designated place where great white shark babies (called pups) are protected from other predators. Now, researchers at the University of Vienna and colleagues have discovered these nurseries occurred in prehistoric times.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, Jamie A. Villafaña from the university’s Institute of Palaeontology describes a fossilized nursery found in Coquimbo, Chile. Researchers were examining a collection of fossilized great white shark teeth between 5 and 2 million years old along the Pacific coast of Chile and Peru when they noticed a disproportionate number of young shark teeth in Coquimbo. There was also a total lack of sexually mature animals' teeth, which suggests the site was used primarily by pups and juveniles as a nursery.

Though modern great whites are known to guard their young in designated areas, the researchers say this is the first example of a paleo-nursery. Because the climate was much warmer when the paleo-nursery was in use, the researchers think these protective environments can deepen our understanding of how great white sharks can survive global warming trends.