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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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Outreach work in Mongolia aims to learn about Pallasís cat

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is supporting work in Mongolia to help improve understanding of the Pallasís cat (Otocolobus manul). The society is working with local communities to raise awareness and learn more about how people interact with the cats. The aim is to gather knowledge on the species and the threats it faces, to inform global conservation efforts.  

News Shorts
New canine health awareness week launches

The Kennel Club has launched Canine Health Week (13-19 November) to raise awareness of the most common health issues in dogs. Canine Health Week is set to become an annual initiative to highlight resources, research and information to make a difference to dog health.

According to clinical veterinary data from VetCompass, the five most common health issues are ear canal disease, dental disease, anal sac impaction, overgrown nails and arthritis. It is hoped the awareness week will help to familiarise dog owners with common conditions, to better meet the healthcare needs of their dogs.