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    Michael Gove Wants Cats To Be Free To Chase Birds In An Independent UK

    The justice secretary has criticised "comical" rules that the UK must comply with if it remains a member of the European Union.

    Michael Gove has criticised "growing EU bureaucracy" that prevents cats from chasing birds.

    Following David Cameron's announcement that a referendum on Britain's membership in the European Union will take place on the 23 June, long-time Eurosceptic Gove confirmed that he will support Britain leaving the EU.

    The justice secretary joins welfare secretary Iain Duncan Smith, employment minister Priti Patel, culture secretary John Whittingdale, and leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling in Vote Leave, one of the campaigns backing Brexit.

    In a statement announcing his decision to back Brexit, Gove blasted "comical" EU rules, such as one which dictates the "distance houses have to be from heathland to prevent cats chasing birds (five kilometres)".

    Gove is referring to the Birds Directive 1979, which "aims to protect all of the 500 wild bird species naturally occurring in the European Union".

    The directive regulates travel networks and building of "urban sprawl" in areas where it is considered that there is a threat to the conservation of wild birds.

    "Individually these rules may be comical," Gove said. "Collectively, and there are tens of thousands of them, they are inimical to creativity, growth and progress."