The Court of Appeal will hear a legal challenge from the Badger Trust on Thursday over the independent monitoring of the badger culls.

The trust argues the Government has unlawfully failed to put in place an independent expert panel (IEP) to monitor the second year of the trials in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

Anti-cull campaigners state the use of an IEP to oversee data collection during the trials was promised by the secretary of state for the environment Elizabeth Truss.

Without a panel, the group argues there can be no proper independent assessment of the safety, humaneness and effectiveness of the controversial cull.

Dominic Dyer, chief executive of the Badger Trust and policy advisor at Care for the Wild commented on the hearing.

He said: “The refusal of the DEFRA secretary of State Elizabeth Truss to put in place any independent monitoring of the badger culls currently being undertaken in Somerset and Gloucestershire is a national disgrace.

“The Government assured us the badger cull would be carried out more humanely this year, but within a week of it starting, Secret World Wildlife Rescue reported receiving a dead badger from the Somerset cull zone that had been shot in the abdomen.

The caring, compassionate British public will not remain silent while NFU contract gunmen move though our countryside at night attempting to kill badgers, despite serious concerns regarding the level of training, monitoring and scrutiny.

“It is the view of the Badger Trust that Elizabeth Truss is acting unlawfully by stating at the Conservative Party Conference 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 on October 9, 2014.”

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