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Defra investigates Natural England over general licences
Natural England revoked three general licences for shooting 16 species of wild bird.

Call for evidence to explore impact of decision to revoke 

Defra is investigating Natural England’s recent decision to revoke general licences for shooting 16 wild bird species.

Natural England made the decision to scrap the general licences with 36 hours notice last month, after a legal challenge from the group Wild Justice in February.

Environment secretary Michael Gove announced that he will be taking over the ultimate decision making powers for general licences. A call for evidence on the impact of revoking the licences was also launched.

In particular, Defra is hoping to gather information on the implications for the protection of wild birds and the impacts on crops, livestock, wildlife, disease, human health and safety and wider nature conservation efforts.

Wild Justice, which is comprised of Chris Packham, Mark Avery and Ruth Tingay, launched a legal challenge against the licences in February, asserting that birds could only be killed under certain legal conditions, but Natural England had not satisfied itself that those conditions were being met before issuing general licences.

In April, Natural England revealed it would revoke three general licences from 25 April, prompting concern from farmers about protecting crops and livestock from predation.
Following the revocation of the licences, naturalist Chris Packham received death threats and suspicious packages to his home.

Defra’s call for evidence closes on Monday 13 May, after which the secretary of state will take a week to consider the evidence gathered, before making a decision.

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New 'DoggyLottery' to raise funds for rescue centres

News Story 1
 A new 'DoggyLottery' to raise funds for dog rescue centres in the UK will launch on Saturday (4 July). Every four weeks, five different rescue centres will be connected to the lottery, providing much-needed funds - particularly during COVID-19 - and providing vital online exposure.

A weekly game costs £1.50 and entrants will have the chance of being one of 20 guaranteed winners. A massive 60 per cent of the raised funds will go towards the dog rescue centres, more than double that donated by leading lottery companies to charitable causes.

To find out more and play the lottery, visit www.doggylottery.co.uk  

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News Shorts
International Cat Care appoints new head of veterinary division

International Cat Care (ICC) has announced the appointment of Nathalie Dowgray as head of the charity's veterinary division.

Nathalie, who is an RCVS advanced practitioner in feline medicine, will lead the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) and a play key role in advancing knowledge and research in feline medicine.

Claire Bessant, iCatCare's chief executive said: "We're absolutely delighted to be welcoming Nathalie to the charity. She brings a depth and breadth of feline expertise and understanding which fits perfectly with the charity's work and development, and her enthusiasm for cats is infectious."