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Defra backs tougher rules on neonicotinoids
A growing body of scientific evidence shows neonicotinoids are harmful to bees and other pollinators.
Scientific evidence ‘justifies further restrictions’ - Gove 

Environment secretary Michael Gove has said the UK will support tougher restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids, as a growing body of scientific evidence shows they are harmful to bees and other pollinators.

There is currently an EU-wide ban on the use of three neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) on a number of crops that are attractive to bees, such as oilseed rape.

The European Commission has proposed to further restrict these pesticides, so they can only be used on plants in glasshouses. Currently their use is allowed for treating sugar beet and as seed treatment for winter cereals.

Mr Gove said tougher restrictions are justified by scientific evidence on the risks posed to the environment and pollinators. Unless the evidence changes, the government will maintain these restrictions after Brexit.

The move follows advice from the government’s advisory body on pesticides.

“I’ve always been clear I will be led by the science on this matter,” Mr Gove said. “The weight of evidence now shows the risks neonicotinoids pose to our environment, particularly to the bees and other pollinators which play such a key part in our £100 billion food industry, is greater than previously understood.

“I believe this justifies further restrictions on their use. We cannot afford to put our pollinator populations at risk.”

Mr Gove added that he understands the impact that further restrictions will have on farmers and is keen to work with them to investigate alternative approaches.

If the European Commission’s proposal is adopted, the UK would be able to consider emergency authorisations in exceptional circumstances, when the risk to pollinators is sufficiently low.

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Survey seeks to learn about racehorse aftercare

News Story 1
 The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is launching a survey to improve understanding of aftercare for thoroughbreds. The survey has been emailed to trainers, who are asked to share their own experiences, with a focus on life after horses finish their racing careers. It forms part of an equine health and welfare strategy being developed by the BHA. 

News Shorts
Charity welcomes new ambassadors

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has appointed the actor Anthony Head and renowned canine behaviourist, Sarah Fisher, as official ambassadors. They join existing ambassadors Paul O’Grady, Amanda Holden, David Gandy and Jacqueline Wilson.

Anthony is best known for his roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Iron Lady and Girlfriends. He has previously lent his voice to Battersea’s videos and appeals, as well as performing readings at the charity’s Christmas Carol Concert and Collars & Coats Gala Ball.

Meanwhile Sarah has worked across all three of the charity’s centres, offering advice in dealing with a variety of complex and challenging dogs. She has also fostered several Battersea animals and trained many members of staff in using the Tellington Touch method of training, to keep dogs calm and relaxed.