Badger Trust cull appeal to be heard in High Court

A legal challenge over the monitoring of the badger culls will be heard by the Court of Appeal in London.

The Badger Trust will take its legal challenge over the lack of independent monitoring of the culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire to the Court of Appeal on Thursday (9 October).

This follows a hearing on 11 September, when a judge agreed the Badger Trust had a “real prospect” of success in its appeal.

See also: Badger cull monitoring appeal allowed by judge

The Badger Trust claims that Defra unlawfully failed to put in place an independent expert panel (IEP) to monitor and analyse the results of the pilot culls this year.

Dominic Dyer, chief executive of the Badger Trust and policy adviser at Care for the Wild, described Defra’s decision to scrap the IEP after year one of the culls as a “national disgrace”.

He added: “It is the view of the Badger Trust that [Defra secretary] Elizabeth Truss is acting unlawfully by stating at the Tory Party Conference that she will make a decision on the national roll-out of the badger cull prior to the general election, without any independent monitoring of the 2014 culling operation.

“I look forward to the Badger Trust putting this legal challenge before the Court of Appeal.”

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, Ms 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.