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12 July 2018 09:53:07 |Animal Health,Cattle,News

Badger activists in High Court to challenge badger cull zone extension

A landmark court battle over the government's policy on badger cull has begun

A landmark court battle over the government's policy on badger cull has begun

Badger activists are in the High Court this week to challenge the government's decision to extend cull zones to nine new areas.
Ecologist Tom Langton, who is also a member of the animal welfare charity Badger Trust, is challenging aspects of the government's badger cull policy.
It follows the government's decision to allow badger culling in the Low Risk Area of England in the event that bovine TB in badgers is linked with infected herds.
There are new proposals to increase the number of cull zones licensed this year, including Avon, Berkshire, Derbyshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Wiltshire.
The High Court will hear from the past Defra Secretary Andrea Leadsom, current Secretary Michael Gove and ultimately Prime Minister Theresa May.
The Judicial Review involves two legal challenges. The first challenge looks at perceived failures by Natural England to carry out the mandatory Habitats Regulations Assessments correctly for the badger cull.

The second challenge relates to the decision by Defra to allow supplementary culling licences after four years of culling have been completed, which, according to Mr Langton, wrongly interprets the conclusion of the Randomised Badger Culling Trial.
Mr Langton, who is taking the case against the Government, said senior ministers have operated in a manner he believes is "unlawful" when it comes to bovine TB policy.
"The Government have moved from attempting a precision badger removal policy to an open ended badger eradication approach that has no scientific validity and that independent experts believe could easily do more harm than good," Mr Langton said.
"Further, no serious efforts have been made to consider the ecological impact of widespread badger removal from the countryside, particularly in relation to the impact of predator changes on sensitive wildlife habitats and species including rare birds.
"This case is an important fight not just for the badger but also for the future of our countryside and the farming industry."
Mr Langton argues that proper processes were not followed to reach the decision to expand the cull, which he says means the Government is in breach of both British and European laws.

Across England, badgers are culled as part of a government initiative to reduce the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle – a disease which causes serious loss in cattle herds and financial hardship for farmers.


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