Badger conservationists have signalled their intent to challenge DEFRA over the planned badger culls this autumn.
Badger conservationists have signalled their intent to challenge DEFRA over the planned badger culls this autumn, which environment secretary Caroline Spelman announced in December 2011.
On February 9 the Badger Trust announced it had given the Government notice of plans to launch a legal challenge unless the culling trials, aimed at reducing the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB), are abandoned.
Trust chairman David Williams said officials had ignored his group’s concerns over possible perturbation resulting from the culls.
He said: “In the light of this and our concerns over the legality of the decision, we would be failing in our duty to badgers if we did not pursue a legal challenge despite the difficulty and cost risks involved.
“If there is an opportunity to save many thousands of healthy badgers, as there is here, we must take it on behalf of the many local badger groups and supporters on whose behalf the Badger Trust works.
“If successful it would also save farmers the expense of a policy that would not benefit them.”
Throughout 2011 the group successfully dogged plans for a targeted badger cull in Wales, which continues to be delayed as it is considered by scientific review.
Last month DEFRA announced that farmers in Gloucestershire and West Somerset could apply for shooting licences and become part of the English cull areas.
Whereas the Badger Trust insists the culls could create “a recipe for spreading the disease“, DEFRA secretary of state Caroline Spelman believes that “unless we tackle bTB in badgers we will never eradicate it in cattle”.
According to the department scientific analysis of data from the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) – carried out from 1998-2007 – has shown a badger cull over 150km2 with a surrounding 2km buffer zone can reduce bTB in cattle by 16%.