Govern­ment chal­lenged on bad­ger cull

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

DE­FRA and Nat­u­ral Eng­land will face two chal­lenges in the High Court this July over the ex­ten­sion of bad­ger culls, part of the Govern­ment’s 25-year plan to wipe out bovine TB, which has such a dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect on farm­ers. The chal­lenges have been fi­nanced through crowd­fund­ing and are sup­ported by the Bad­ger Trust, the Born Free Foun­da­tion and other groups. One refers to Som­er­set and Glouces­ter­shire in 2016–17 and ques­tions the way Nat­u­ral Eng­land’s con­sul­ta­tion was car­ried out; the other claims that the tests to as­cer­tain the ef­fects of culling more than 70% of the bad­ger pop­u­la­tion in five of 11 ar­eas granted li­cences in 2017 were not done prop­erly.

‘This is not re­ally any­thing to do with TB, it’s re­ally to do with how Nat­u­ral Eng­land and De­fra have han­dled the con­sul­ta­tions,’ ex­plains Tom Lang­ton, who is lead­ing the le­gal ac­tion. ‘It’s about get­ting proper safe­guards for the en­vi­ron­ment and mak­ing sure that the right de­ci­sions are made. We don’t be­lieve Nat­u­ral Eng­land has gone through this whole process prop­erly.’

‘Bovine TB is one of the great­est an­i­mal health threats in the UK,’ com­ments a De­fra spokesper­son. ‘There’s no sin­gle mea­sure that will pro­vide an easy an­swer. That is why we are pur­su­ing a wide range of in­ter­ven­tions, in­clud­ing cat­tle move­ment con­trols and a cull of bad­gers in ar­eas where dis­ease is rife.’

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