The Badger Trust is calling for an “urgent” meeting with new environment secretary Liz Truss ahead of its high court challenge on the badger cull.

The trust is challenging Defra and Natural England over their decision to not put in place an Independent Expert Panel (IEP) ahead of the second wave of the controversial cull trials.

Ms Truss replaced Owen Paterson in the cabinet reshuffle and has openly spoken of her plans to use “every tool in the toolbox” during the cull.

The trust is calling for a meeting with the new secretary before its judicial review on the cull is heard in the High Court on August 21.

Dominic Dyer, chief executive of the Badger Trust and policy advisor at Care for the Wild, said: “I congratulate Liz Truss on her appointment, but call on her not to make the mistakes of her predecessor by attempting to push ahead with further badger culling in Gloucestershire and Somerset this summer, without any independent assessment of safety, effectiveness and humaneness.

“We would like to arrange for key representatives of the Badger Trust to meet with the new Defra Secretary of State as soon as possible.”

A Defra spokesman confirmed receipt of the letter from the animal welfare campaigners and said the department would respond in due course: “It is vital we maintain and grow our beef and dairy industries and bovine TB presents a major threat to their survival.

That’s why we must use all the tools available, as has been demonstrated in other countries that have successfully eradicated TB.”

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