Legal bid to stop Welsh badger cull

Animal welfare campaigners have challenged the legality of a badger cull to curtail tuberculosis in cattle.

The Badger Trust said it was applying for a judicial review of the decision by the Welsh Assembly government to sanction a cull.

The trust has exchanged several letters before action with the assembly’s legal department since the decision in September 2009.

But it said there had been considerable delays in receiving answers and a three-month time limit was about to expire.

Further delay could risk the application for a judicial review being declined, a trust spokesman claimed.

Chairman David Williams said it was with “some reluctance but nevertheless firm resolve” that the trust was starting legal proceedings.

The decision [to cull badgers] is unjust and goes against the scientific evidence,” he said.

The law afforded the opportunity of challenging the cull’s legality and it was an opportunity that the trust was now taking.

Welsh rural affairs minister Elin Jones said TB in cattle was one of the biggest threats facing the dairy and beef industry in Wales.

In 2008, more than 12,000 cattle were culled because of the disease, prompting payouts totalling nearly £25m in compensation.

“By 2014, the cost to the tax payer could be £80m if action to eradicate TB is not taken,” said Ms Jones.