Farmers in England will now be able to apply for licences to cull ravens on farmland in order to protect livestock.

Farmers in five English counties will be able to to receive the licences - Derbyshire, Lancashire, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Dorset, Natural England has confirmed.

The increasing number of lambs killed due to ravens has led farmers to call for a cull to "responsibly reduce" numbers. The National Sheep Association (NSA) said it supports licences to allow raven numbers to be reduced.
NSA believes licences should also be readily available in other parts of the UK affected by what it says is a "massive increase" in raven numbers.As well as impacting sheep flocks, local wildlife is also facing the danger of limited food stocks, endangering prey and ground nesting bird species such as oystercatchers and lapwings.
Lamb in field
With lambing now finished across the UK, NSA has received reports of very high losses to ravens this year. 
NSA Chief Executive, Phil Stocker describes the gruesome way ravens kill lambs. “Ravens target lambs in vulnerable moments, even striking the very moment they are born, and the loss of a tongue or an eye is a terrible way for these young animals to die.
Mr Stocker says the licences are used to protect ravens from killing livestock and wildlife, and will not be given out liberally or without proven reason.

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