An attempt by anti-badger cull campaigners to block the next round of the pilot badger cull has been rejected by the High Court.

See also: Cull vital to tackle TB – Eustice

The Badger Trust had launched a judicial review over concerns about how the culls, which are due to enter a second year on sites in Gloucester and Somerset, were being monitored.

It said Defra’s decision to abolish the Independent Expert Panel (IEP), which had been tasked to oversee the effectiveness and humaneness of the cull, meant there was no way to ensure standards were being met.

But in a ruling on Friday (29 August), the Administrative Court said that Defra’s decision whether to commission an independent panel to oversee of the cull was not an enforceable, legitimate expectation.

Dominic Dyer, Badger Trust chief executive, said the organisation was considering whether to appeal the Court’s decision as it still had serious concerns over how the pilot culls were being carried out.

If Defra secretary Liz Truss was unwilling to halt the pilot culls, the Independent Expert Panel should be reinstated as a minimum, he added.

“Whatever happens during the second year of the culls, in the absence of the IEP it will be impossible to trust any findings supporting a wider roll out, not least because this is already clearly the preferred option of the secretary of state.”

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