This year’s pilot badger cull in southern England will continue, despite a high court legal challenge by the Badgers Trust to ensure independent oversight of the techniques employed by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The cull will now continue without independent oversight, irrespective of inadequacies in last year’s attempt to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB).
Defra lawyers have since confirmed that independent oversight was only mandatory for last year’s attempt, and not this year.
Dominic Dyer, CEO of Badger Trust, said, “The trust is considering its options in respect of an appeal against the court’s decision.
“However, this judgment does not detract from the serious public concerns over the continuation of the cull, including the most recent leaks regarding potentially unlawful and unsafe activity undertaken by culling contractors during the 2013 culls.”
“The only sensible option for the Secretary of State is to call a halt to these pilots, and the potentially unnecessary and inhumane deaths of hundreds of badgers.”
The government and large swathes of the farming community believe the culling of badgers is necessary to prevent the spread of TB, particularly in cattle herds, costing the taxpayer £100 million a year.
Defra is currently testing shooting methods in order to control badger populations, but statistics from last year’s cull show the method to be lacking in both effectiveness and efficiency, regardless of the inhumane aspect.
A recent study has also highlighted the need to focus efforts on cattle rather than badgers, as researchers found badgers to be minor players in the spread of the disease.
However, farming minister George Eustice, said, “What this paper proposes would finish off the cattle and dairy industry in this country.”
Defra have also been exposed recently for attempting experimental gassing trials in secret, regardless of Article 8 of the Bern Convention which prohibits the use of poison gas in the UK.
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