Badger Trust to continue court fight against cull

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AN animal rights group has continued its fight against a badger cull which the farming industry says will help stem the spread of the deadly Bovine tB virus.

The Badger Trust has been granted permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the High Court’s refusal to quash the decision of the coalition Government to allow the killing of badgers in England.

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

The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is to introduce culling as part of its bovine TB (bTB) eradication programme while the Badger Trust considers that vaccination alongside stringent cattle testing and movement restrictions is the more effective way forward.

If culling were to go ahead in zones the size of the Isle of Wight, up to 40,000 badgers could be killed.

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.

“This action will impose substantial further costs on the Badger Trust, which is a comparatively small charity.

“Consequently, we have issued an appeal to the local badger groups on whose behalf we act and to our many supporters.”

Bovine tB is estimated to have cost UK taxpayers millions of pounds in the past few years as well as having forced thousands of farmers out of business.

Although the disease has been most prevalent in the south west there have been numerous cases in Yorkshire.

A badger cull was included in the Conservative Party’s 2010 election manifesto.