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The group said it is not calling for the licences to be withdrawn, but is asking Natural England to reflect on the legality of the licences before issuing those for 2020 and beyond.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

News Story 1
 The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) is inviting applications to its 2021 Student Grant Scheme for innovative projects designed to impact animal welfare. The scheme welcomes proposals from undergraduates studying veterinary and animal welfare degrees, but students from other disciplines are also welcome to apply.

Grants will fund projects on animal welfare topics that are relevant to the veterinary profession and help develop the student's skills as a researcher. This year, the AWF is also accepting projects which are carried out alongside EMS so long as they are supervised. For more information and to apply, visit animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk 

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News Shorts
More cases of African swine fever confirmed in Germany

More cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been confirmed in wild boar in Germany.

According to Pig World, 20 outbreaks have been identified in two districts - Brandenburg, where the original case confirmed on September 10 was found, and near the town of Neuzelle, some 7.5 km away.

The finding represents a further seven cases confirmed by Germany's Friedrich-Loeffler Institute. A Central Crisis Team has been established to coordinate the response to the outbreak.