Animal crackers

Debate on effect of the moon on animals

source: New Scientist June 23 2001 p39

There is some evidence that the moon may affect animal health and behaviour. Michael Gilmore, who is working as a vet in France, wrote to Veterinary Record in January 2001 about a French belief that horses tend to be more vulnerable to colic when the moon is full. He asked other vets if they knew of similar beliefs. A vet from County Clare, Ireland, answered that Irish folk traditions hold that it is best to time calving for the waxing of the moon, which encourages healthy growth. Many farmers he knew would not castrate or dehorn livestock during a waxing moon, for fear that livestock could bleed excessively.

Meanwhile, a British Medical Journal paper by Chanchai Bhattacharjee in 2000, reported that animal bites tend to be more common in the few days prior to a full moon, with a peak on the full moon. He looked at 1,621 bite injuries from his work as Bradford Royal Infirmary casualty doctor. The bites were mostly from dogs, but some were from rats, cats and horses. Simon Chapman, an Australian researcher, however, argues that dog bite admissions do not seem to be more common when the moon is full.