Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Badger cull campaigners lose legal battle

Court of appeal rules against Badger Trust’s claim that lack of an independent panel to monitor government’s latest round of culls is unlawful, Wednesday 29 October 2014 11.05 GMT

A legal challenge to how the government monitors the humaneness of it badger culls has been defeated.

The Badger Trust applied for a judicial review in August to declare the lack of an independent team monitoring of a second round of culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire unlawful.

But on Wednesday the court of appeal rejected the Trust’s challenge, meaning any future culls would be able to go ahead without such monitoring.

The first culls, which took place last year in a bid to tackle bovine TB which can be spread from badgers to cattle, were deemed to have failed the humaneness test by an independent expert panel. Not enough badgers were shot in the pilot culls, leading to the abandonment of plans for a nationwide roll-out.

Figures obtained by the Guardian suggest the second round of culling this year has failed, with just 253 badgers killed in Gloucestershire out of a minimum target of 615 after a six-week cull. If fewer badgers than the minimum target are killed, it can increase bovine TB infections due to the perturbation effect of making badgers move around more than usual.

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