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The group said it is not calling for the licences to be withdrawn, but is asking Natural England to reflect on the legality of the licences before issuing those for 2020 and beyond.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

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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Professor Abdul Rahman announced as keynote speaker for BVA Members’ Day 2019

Celebrated Indian vet and parasitologist Professor Abdul Rahman is set to deliver the keynote speech at BVA Members’ Day 2019.

Professor Rahman will present his insights into the human behaviour challenges of controlling zoonotic disease in his talk: ‘A One Health approach to rabies elimination in Asia’. The talk will outline efforts to gain political support for dog vaccination programmes in China, as well as the need for a collaborative approach between vets, public health, livestock and animal welfare agencies.

The event takes place on Thursday, 19 September at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the BVA website as places are limited.