Badger Cull to Go Ahead, Defra Wins Legal Challenge

UK - Today the High Court has ruled that a proposed badger cull to control bovine tuberculosis (bTB) by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has won a legal challenge against the Badger Trust which will allow plans for the cull to go ahead.
calendar icon 12 July 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

The Badger Trust had hoped to overturn the policy on three grounds, all of which have been rejected by Mr Justice Ouseley.

A Defra spokesperson said: “We are pleased with the judgement. No one wants to cull badgers but last year bovine TB led to the slaughter of over 26,000 cattle and to help eradicate the disease it needs to be tackled in badgers. We will continue to work with the farming industry so badger control in two pilot areas can start as soon as is practical.”

It is unclear at the moment as to whether the Badger Trust will appeal the decision.

Joanne Pugh, National Beef Association (NBA) Assistant Director, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the High Court has given the go-ahead for two pilot areas to operate this autumn. A lot of farmers have put in a lot of work to get to this point and it would have been heartbreaking if a further delay had been created.

“We cannot tackle TB with cattle measures alone, something Mr Justice Ouseley acknowledged during the High Court proceedings, and we just hope the Badger Trust heeds the strength of this decision and decides against appealing.

“Everything is in place for the two pilot areas to operate this year and we are confident these will prove free shooting is safe, humane and effective, paving the way for 10 more areas to seek licences in 2013.”

NFU Director of Policy Martin Haworth said: “We are reassured to hear today’s outcome. Given the public interest in this issue, we always knew that there would be a legal challenge to the policy. We are pleased that the judge has ruled that the proper processes have been followed and that Defra’s approach is lawful.

“This news is critically important to cattle farmers who are blighted with this disease on their farms.

“We must remember that no other country in the world has ever tackled TB successfully without also controlling TB in its wildlife reservoir and this is why the NFU fully supports the two badger control pilot areas as part of the Government’s science-led policy of culling badger in areas where TB is persistent and high. This policy is desperately needed to tackle what is a terrible and damaging disease that affects cattle and badgers and brings misery to the lives of many hard working farming families.

“Our end goal is for a healthy countryside and that needs healthy badgers and healthy cattle. This policy, and these pilots, will help to deliver that.”

The British Veterinary Association and the British Cattle Veterinary Association have welcomed the judgement saying: "We are pleased that the High Court has ruled Defra’s policy lawful and that the pilot badger culls can now go ahead.

“The BVA and BCVA believe that the government’s approach has been robust and justifiable as it is based on our current scientific knowledge.

“Bovine TB is a devastating disease and we must tackle the disease in wildlife alongside cattle controls if we are to get on top of it.”

Further Reading

Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

TheCattleSite News Desk

© 2000 - 2023 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.