Badger Cull Waiting For High Court Decision

WALES, UK - The Welsh Assembly's decision to go ahead with a pilot badger cull is waiting a decision from the High Court, after the Badger Trust challenged the method of eradicating and controlling bovine tuberculosis (bTB).
calendar icon 24 March 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

Back in January, the Minister for Rural Affairs, Elin Jones announced that Wales would go ahead with a pilot badger cull. The Minister said that with bTB out of control, a targeted badger cull would take place alongside strict cattle controls. Since then the Badger Trust has been adamantly against this decision and last week applied to the High Court to stop the cull.

On Monday and Tuesday (22 and 23 March) this week, Mr Justice Lloyd Jones heard arguments from representatives of both the Welsh Assembly and the Badger Trust.

The Assembly believes that a cull could impact the level of infection of the disease, however the Badger Trust believes that the cull goes against scientific evidence and that badgers should be vaccinated against the disease rather than culled.

A spokesperson from the Welsh Assembly has said that there is a bTB crisis in Wales which needs to be dealt with. Cattle controls and badger culling are the only tools available. Vaccination is not yet tried, tested, proven or available.

In what has been branded as a "cynical publicity stunt" by the Farmers' Union of Wales, Queen guitarist Brian May attended the judicial review and said that the cull was based on 'bad science'.

Farmers' Union Wales Vice President, Brian Walters said: "It is completely galling for those who have to live with the misery and financial losses caused by TB to see a millionaire rock star dropping in to talk about the proposed cull when he has no idea of the desperate need to control this disease.

"When was the last time Brian May had to go cap in hand to a landlord or the bank manager to explain that a TB outbreak meant he couldn't keep up with payments?

"People are having their livelihoods destroyed. The epidemic is ripping families and communities apart, driving people to the very edge and costing the lives of tens of thousands of cattle each year in Wales alone."

The cull is supported by Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Dr Christianne Glossop, who recently presented with Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers’ Princess Royal Award by Her Royal Highness for her outstanding services to the industry.

If it gets the go ahead, the cull will start at the end of April or early May - after the badgers breeding season. Five culls will take place over a limited period each year within the pilot area, which measures approximately 288km².

It is expected that Mr Justice Lloyd Jones will make a judgement in the next two weeks.

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