Badger Trust to challenge cull decision in Court of Appeal

The Badger Trust has won the right to challenge the High Court’s decision to allow Defra to proceed with a badger cull in England.

Lord Justice Laws granted permission for the organisation to appeal the decision in the Court of Appeal on the basis of the Trust’s argument that the Secretary of State had “unlawfully” used the licensing powers in section 10(2)a of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, which allows the killing of badgers for the purposes of preventing the spread of disease. The charity argues that Defra’s own evidence suggests that culling would actually cause the disease to spread.

David Williams, chairman of the Trust, said: “It is vital for the law to be clarified when it concerns the wholesale slaughter of a wildlife species in what we see as a vain attempt to prevent the spread of disease.

"At the judicial review hearing in June, it was accepted that culling would spread the disease and, only after nine years, produce a marginal slowdown in the rate of new TB incidence (12-16% is the best-case scenario but only if the RBCT* methodology were to be followed precisely: it would not be)”.

Williams added that pursuing the appeal would add “substantial further costs” on the charity, and said it was issuing an appeal to raise money. “I was delighted to hear that the first donation, for £50, arrived via our website within 12 minutes of the appeal going out,” he said.

The appeal hearing is expected to be listed in the court vacation and heard before the end of September.

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