Article: Jack the Ripper unmasked

The identity of Jack the Ripper remains one of the greatest unsolved crime mysteries in history. Jack was notorious both for the brutality of his murders and also for his habit of stealing organs from his victims. His speed and skill in doing so, in conditions of poor light and haste, fueled theories he was a surgeon. However, re-examination of a mortuary sketch from one of his victims has revealed several key aspects that strongly suggest he had no professional surgical training. Instead, the technique used was more consistent with that of a slaughterhouse worker… In fact, an intriguing array of evidence indicates a very high likelihood that Jack honed the physical skills, psychological and behavioural attributes employed on his victims to such devastating effect, during his employment as a slaughterhouse worker. Don’t miss our detailed article on this, just published at The implications for modern animal slaughtering, and our social reliance on slaughterhouses, are explored.

Or, for a video presentation, see: (38:40 onwards).

Adventure: New Zealand's Tongariro Crossing

Shortly after flying about 30 hours from the far side of the world, to help me recover from jet lag Jasmijn took me on the Tongariro Crossing - one of the world's best one-day hikes - which crosses a series of volcanoes in the centre of New Zealand's North Island. The pics are here.

Presentations: Jack the Ripper and other topics

On December 6th I’ll be speaking on Animal use and alternatives within life and health sciences education, at the Scientific Conference: Non-Animal Approaches - The Way Forward, in Brussels, and on December 7th I’ll be delivering my inaugural lecture entitled ‘Was Jack the Ripper a Slaughterman? Unexpected Journeys in Animal Welfare’, at the University of Winchester. The latter is shaping up to be particularly interesting, and even, dare I say it, entertaining, so I do very much encourage you to join me at this if you possibly can. The University will kindly be supplying plenty of food, wine, and I believe, fine company!

NB: the video of this lecture is now available here!

Article: unjustified euthanasia request part II

In part II of the scenario recently published, you're a more experienced veterinarian. A junior colleague has accepted a request for a medically-unjustified 'euthanasia', but is now having second thoughts. What would you advise? My answer is now available in In Practice.

Article: Vegetarian versus meat-based diets for companion animals

Are vegetarian companion animal diets safe for cats and dogs? Some studies have indicated nutritional deficiencies in such diets. How do these compare with meat-based diets? Are vegetarian animals more, less or similarly healthy? Additionally, many feel vegetarian companion animal diets are not natural. How much of a concern is this for domesticated animal companions? Finally, for those pet owners that choose to feed vegetarian diets, how might they seek to maximise the health of their animal companions? All of these topics are explored in our article just published in Animals. We review the existing evidence concerning the nutritional soundness of vegetarian and meat-based diets for cats and dogs, and the health status of both groups. Additional information is sourced from the manufacturers of vegetarian companion animal diets. This lengthy article provides the most comprehensive peer-reviewed examination of these topics to date.