A court date has been set for the Badger Trust’s appeal against a judge’s decision to allow badger culling trials in England.
The appeal hearing has been listed to take place at the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, 11 September.
The Badger Trust is contesting the decision made by presiding judge Mr Justice Ouseley on 12 July, who ruled that the culling could go ahead in England.
A second judge, Lord Justice Laws, granted the trust permission to appeal the decision in the Court of Appeal last month.
Permission to appeal was given on the basis of the trust’s argument that the secretary of state had “unlawfully” used the licensing powers in section 10(2)a of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, which allows the killing of badgers for the purposes of preventing the spread of disease.
The charity argues that DEFRA’s own evidence suggests culling would actually cause the disease to spread, rather than reduce it.
Jack Reedy, spokesman for the Badger Trust, said: “The court will look at the evidence and the judge will decide whether to uphold the decision to cull badgers or not.
“We will abide by whatever they say, but consider the terms [of the decision] if we need to.”
“This policy is desperately needed to tackle what is a terrible and damaging disease that affects cattle and badgers and brings misery to the lives of many hard working farming families.”
A spokesman for the Court of Appeal said the hearing was scheduled for half a day and would likely be heard in the afternoon of 11 September. The identity of the judge who will preside over the hearing is unknown.
The two pilot culls, which were scheduled to begin in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset this summer, will now be delayed until autumn at the earliest while the decision is pending.
The NFU said it was surprised that the court has given permission to the Badger Trust to appeal, given the clarity and robustness of the High Court judgment that was handed down in July.
An NFU spokesman said: “This policy is desperately needed to tackle what is a terrible and damaging disease that affects cattle and badgers and brings misery to the lives of many hard working farming families.”
A spokesman for Natural England said: “We will continue to process the two pilot licence
applications received for west Gloucestershire and west Somerset with a view to issuing badger control licences in the early autumn, if all licensing criteria have been met.
“Control activity can then take place as soon as is practical after the licences have been issued.”
See our page on Bovine TB