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Environment secretary promotes 'hedgehog-friendly' gardens campaign
"[Hedgehogs] play an important role in both this country's heritage and natural environment." - Elizabeth Truss, environment secretary.

Defra works with wildlife charities to provide advice on helping hedgehogs

The UK environment secretary has lent her support to campaigns which aim to protect hedgehogs and their habitats by encouraging the public to turn their gardens into a ‘hedgehog haven’.

Speaking on Friday 23 October, environment secretary Elizabeth Truss shared simple ways that people can help hedgehogs at home and reminisced on her fond childhood memories of spotting a hedgehog in the garden.

She went on to add: “I want to ensure children for generations to come can enjoy this special sight, but this can only happen if everyone does their bit to look out for these important creatures.

“That’s why we have developed these simple tips to help adults and children alike learn more about our precious wildlife and how we can all support it.”

Defra has collaborated with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species to produce a list of five steps people can take to create a hedgehog haven in their gardens.

These five tips to help hedgehogs are:

  1. Provide shelter using log piles and hedgehog houses
  2. Let areas of the garden grow wild to imitate a hedgehog’s natural habitat
  3. Do not use pesticides on plants
  4. Leave out water, meaty dog or cat food and cat biscuits
  5. Install a gap in fences or walls – known as a ‘hedgehog highway’ – to allow hedgehogs to easily move between gardens.

The creation of these tips precedes a new government campaign which will provide one million native British trees to schools and local communities. They also support Defra’s 25-year environment plan to protect and enhance the country’s natural environment, which will be published later this year.

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RCVS launches photo contest for Mental Health Awareness Week

News Story 1
 The RCVS Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) is holding a photo competition for Mental Health Awareness Week to highlight the link between the natural world and wellbeing.

Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May) aims to encourage people to talk about their mental health and reduce the stigma that can prevent people from seeking help. This year's theme is nature - notably the connection between the natural world and better mental health.

The RCVS is calling on aspiring photographers to submit a photo on this theme to Lisa Quigley, Mind Matters manager, at with a short explanation about their submission and why nature improves their mental health and wellbeing.  

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WSAVA to host free webinar on illegal online puppy trade

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has announced a free webinar to update veterinary professionals across Europe about the illegal online puppy trade. Taking place on Tuesday, 25 May, the webinar will also discuss the importance of the new EU Animal Health Law to help prevent illegal pet sales and make sellers accountable for their actions.

WSAVA chair Dr Natasha Lee said: "Veterinary professionals regularly have to deal with the repercussions of illicit breeding and trading when presented with clinically ill and sometimes dying puppies and distraught owners. Our webinar will equip veterinarians in Europe with the knowledge to play their part in upholding the new legislation and to contribute to new solutions for regulating the online puppy trade."

For more details visit