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New legal challenge against general licences
Defra announced that it would investigate Natural England’s decision to revoke the general licences.
Wild Justice issues fresh challenge regarding GL26 

Conservation group Wild Justice has launched a new legal challenge against the general licences for lethal control of wild birds in England.

An initial legal challenge in February prompted Natural England to revoke three of the general licences in April. Wild Justice argues that the licences are ‘unlawful’ as they should not be issued unless Natural England has satisfied itself that certain legal conditions have been met.

However, now the group is launching a fresh legal challenge regarding two aspects of GL26 - firstly whether ‘alternative measures’ to lethal control are properly assessed before licences are issued.

And secondly the rules regarding killing carrion crows when they may be causing serious damage to livestock. Wild Justice is questioning whether pheasants can be considered livestock when they are kept for shooting.

The group said it is not calling for the licences to be withdrawn, but is asking Natural England to reflect on the legality of the licences before issuing those for 2020 and beyond.

A briefing point from Natural England said: ‘Natural England can confirm they have received a pre-action protocol letter from Wild Justice. But they do not comment on ongoing legal cases.’

In May this year, Defra announced that it would investigate Natural England’s decision to revoke the general licences. Environment secretary Michael Gove said he would take over the ultimate decision making powers for the general licences and launched a call for evidence.

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MSD Animal Health announces three new research bursaries

News Story 1
 MSD Animal Health has announced three new research bursaries for veterinary surgeons in the areas of swine, poultry and aquaculture. The bursaries, worth up to £4,000, add to MSD's existing bursaries in ruminant and companion animal research.

Projects are expected to be completed within one to two years, and the proposals will be judged by university academics to ensure that assessment remains independent. Full project design and application guidelines, including the specific disease/subject areas, can be found on MSD Animal Health's website

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News Shorts
VMD and VPS announce joint open information day

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) have announced a joint open information day covering topics such as veterinary medicines regulations, antimicrobial resistance, scientific advice and novel therapies.

Taking place on Wednesday 18 November, the virtual event will take the form of a series of pre-recorded webinars and a 'Slido' Q&A session. Links to the webinars and full instructions on how to use Slido will be available on gov.uk on 18 November. To join the mailing list for the event, email director.support@vmd.gov.uk