Judges to rule on cull of badgers

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Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (1)

Judges announce their decision today in the latest round of a legal battle over the culling of badgers.

The Government has been accused at the Court of Appeal of acting unlawfully by allowing the latest badger culls to go ahead without an independent expert panel (IEP) to monitor whether the animals are being killed in a humane way.

The Badger Trust has asked three appeal judges in London to rule there was a “legitimate expectation” that an IEP would be put in place.

The challenge arises from a decision to sanction a second year of “controlled shooting” of free-roaming badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset as part of efforts to tackle tuberculosis in cattle.

The Government says the disease led to the slaughter of more than 26,000 cattle in England last year and multimillion-pound losses.

Today’s ruling is expected to provide legal guidance for future culls.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is using the two pilot schemes in the West Country to test whether the shooting method can be rolled out to other parts of England.

Opponents say culling is inhumane and ineffective and alternatives such as vaccination should be pursued. Defra says this year’s programme will be independently audited.

Last year, the first year of the four-year pilot programme, an IEP reported that controlled shooting could not deliver the level of culling needed to bring about a reduction in bovine TB and was not humane.

Defra decided to continue the programme this year without an IEP in place.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss is being accused of breaching a substantive legitimate expectation that an IEP would monitor the entire pilot cull.

Mr Justice Kenneth Parker has previously ruled at London’s High Court that there were “no plausible grounds” to support the claim.

But the Badger Trust has asked Lord Justice Davis, Lord Justice Christopher Clarke and Lord Justice Bean to rule that the judge went wrong in law and a legitimate expectation had been made out.

The Government and farmers insist culling is necessary to tackle TB in livestock.

Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (1)
  • jharvey

    badgers are a part of british wildlife, it might be more costly to vacsinate them, but how can you tell healthy ones from ones carrying the disease,if you shoot for instance healthy females the population will decline, if you are determined to cull them there has to be a healthy ballance between that or extinction,how many native species have we caused to become extinct in the past???

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