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Wildlife and Countryside Link News

Welcome to Link’s news - a roundup of what's happened in September. For updates from our working groups, please go to the policy hub. If you would like to submit news items for our monthly e-bulletin, please contact Jodie Le Marquand. To subscribe please enter your email at the bottom of the page.

September Top Stories

New Link CEO

Here in the Link team we’re excited at the news that our new CEO, Dr Richard Benwell, will start with us at the beginning of October.

Many readers will know Richard from his previous work at RSPB and then WWT (Wildfowl and Wetland Trust), where he frequently contributed to Link work.

Richard has held a series of influential positions in the civil service, House of Commons Commission, and the environmental movement including, most recently, as Policy Adviser to the Secretary of State at Defra. We are sure you’ll all join with us in giving Richard a warm welcome in October!

Chemicals Webinar

This month Link hosted its first ever webinar. For this, Dr Julie Schneider, a campaigner at CHEM Trust, provided an eye opening talk on the invisible threat of persistent chemical pollutants. Harmful synthetic chemicals are hazardous to humans and wildlife. The cumulative and lethal impacts of these pollutants affect reproduction, immune systems, IQ and so much more. Julie’s presentation ended with a call to arms for Link members and other stakeholders to work together to tackle this growing issue. Though it may not have the same visibility as plastic pollution, it is no less important, and by working together we can help protect the environment and ourselves. You can watch a recording of the webinar here and if you’d like to suggest other topics for a future webinar, please get in touch with the Link team.

Larry the Number 10 Cat backs animal sentience campaign

On 3 September, we handed in a petition of 100,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street as part of the #BetterDealForAnimals campaign, coordinated by Link, to ensure animal sentience is recognised in UK law post Brexit. Larry the Number 10 Cat even posed for photos, and ensured ‘his people’ supported the campaign on social media.

Following the petition hand-in, the coalition hosted a reception in Parliament. Despite the sentience event falling on a very busy day in parliament, with the No Deal Bill that evening, speculation of a general election, and the loss of a working majority in the House of Commons, 27 MPs turned out to show their support. Supportive speeches were given from across the political spectrum. These included Sue Hayman MP, Shadow Environment Secretary, who explained why animal welfare is so important to her and should be to all MPs, as it is one of the issues on which they receive the most correspondence from their constituents. Deidre Brock MP and stalwart supporter Kerry McCarthy MP followed Sue Hayman’s opening speech, with the event concluded by Animal Welfare Minister Zac Goldsmith, who gave assurances that the legislation would be passed at the earliest legislative opportunity.

Zac Goldsmith MP said: “We will find the earliest possible legislative hook and we will use that to introduce into law the principle of animal sentience...Our laws here will be stronger than anywhere else, I believe, in the world. Every decision taken by government will have to be measured against this new criteria, in black and white, in law.”

He added: “It’s hard to exaggerate how important animal welfare issues are to me, and as long as I am Minister for Animal Welfare, I’ll use every opportunity I can to advance this agenda.”

Save the date for Link's annual debate

Wildlife & Countryside Link is pleased to invite you to our Annual Debate on Tuesday 3 December at WWT London Wetland Centre in Barnes, SW13 9WT.

This debate follows our AGM and is a valuable opportunity to explore a major issue and its impact on society and the natural environment.

This year’s debate poses the question:
‘With their environmental future at stake, how do we ensure the voices of people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds are heard in the nature crisis debate?’

The debate runs from 4pm - 5.30pm, after the debate, guests are invited to join us for a networking drinks reception until 7pm. Tickets availablehere.

September blogs and publications

This month, we joined FSC in their 25th year anniversary celebrations and FSC Friday. Daniel Vince-Archer, Communications Assistant, wrote a blog emphasising the collective action needed to help safeguard forests for all, forever.

As the rugby world cup begins, Link urged teams and fans attending the games in Japan to avoid eating whale meat during their visit.

Other blogs include Corinne Pluchino, CEO of Campaign for National Parks, welcoming the 'reinvigorated vision' for places and people, set out in Julian Glover's review of designated landscapes and Youth activist Mya-Rose Craig, AKA Birdgirl, explaining why she joined the Global Climate Strike on 20 September and why it is so important that we don't take no for an answer.

In September, Link published the following press releases, reports and consultation responses:

We welcome blogs from Link members and other organisations. To contribute a blog for the Link website, please contact Emma Adler, Link’s Head of Communications

Follow Link on LinkedIn and Twitter

Link has a presence on the professional networking site LinkedIn, which includes updates on our blogs, news alerts and job opportunities. Take a look at our page and follow us to keep up to date with our work.

The Link team also regularly tweets news and comment on Twitter.

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