Wildlife campaign group Wild Justice has launched a fresh legal challenge against Northern Ireland's general licences.
The group, founded Chris Packham, Dr Ruth Tingay and Dr Mark Avery, has hit its fundraising target of £45,000 to spearhead the legal action.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) recently issued general licences permitting the killing of several species of wild bird.
These are for specified purposes, such as to preserve public health and safety, to prevent the spread of disease and to prevent serious damage to livestock and crops.
But Wild Justice said it believed the general licences were 'scientifically flawed and unlawful'.
"They are scientifically flawed because they allow the killing of several species where there isn’t evidence to demonstrate they are a problem," the campaign group said.
"DAERA is the only regulatory body in the UK to issue general licences for these purposes."
The general licences under scrutiny are TPG1, TPG2 and TPG3. Of note to farmers is TPG2, which allows users to kill or take certain birds to prevent damage to agriculture.
Wild Justice said that they believed the general licences issued in Northern Ireland were "the worst in place anywhere in the UK".
The group's activists said they had been 'lengthy and reasonable discussions' with DAERA since March 2021 to have the licences amended.
However, they have since been re-issued 'without addressing any of our concerns', the group explained.
"The general licences are legally flawed for a long list of reasons, including that they do not specify the circumstances under which they can be used or the non-lethal alternatives which should first be deployed.
"We will now challenge them in the courts with vigour."