Badger cull monitoring appeal allowed by judge

The Badger Trust has been granted leave to appeal the government’s decision to stop independent monitoring of the pilot badger culls in England.

Last month the trust lost a legal battle in the High Court to reinstate independent monitoring of the cull operators this year.

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 .

However, during an appeal hearing in London on Wednesday (10 September), a judge gave the trust permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the High Court’s refusal to reinstate independent scrutiny of the culls.

Lord Justice Maurice Kay said there were “arguable” points for an appeal in the public interest, which had a “prospect of success”.

The judge said it was unlikely that a one-day appeal would be able to be arranged before the end of the six-week cull, which started for a second year on Monday (8 September) .

However, he said any successful appeal could have implications for the badger cull in future years.

The Badger Trust has serious concerns over Defra’s decision to abolish the independent expert panel (IEP) after the first year of the culls. The panel ruled that the methods of culling – controlled shooting and cage trapping and shooting – were ineffective and inhumane.

Defra said it had learned from the first year of the culls and made changes to improve the humaneness and effectiveness, including better training and monitoring in this year’s culls.

In a statement, Defra secretary Liz Truss said: “The culls will be monitored closely and we have published details of the monitoring procedures that AHVLA and Natural England will follow on

“As with last year, these results will be independently audited.”

Badger culling is part of a comprehensive 25-year government strategy to eradicate bovine TB in this country, which resulted in the slaughter of more than 32,000 cattle in the UK last year.

Read more stories like this