A High Court bid to halt this year’s badger culling, which will take place without independent monitoring, has failed.
The Badger Trust argued the “controlled shooting” in Gloucestershire and Somerset should only take place if independent monitors were overseeing it.
Defra lawyers said the monitoring was only intended to run in the first year.
Dominic Dyer, of The Badger Trust, said the group was “considering its options” following the ruling.
Mr Dyer also called on Environment Secretary Liz Truss to halt the culls or reinstate monitoring. He added the High Court ruling “does not detract from the serious public concerns over the continuation of the cull”.
A Defra spokesmen said: “We are pleased that the judge has found in our favour. “We have always been clear that the independent expert panel’s role was to oversee the six-week pilots in the first year of the culls only.
“This year we have made changes to monitor effectiveness and humaneness and the culls will be independently audited.”
Defra is testing whether the shooting method can be rolled out to other parts of the country to tackle tuberculosis in cattle.
The government and farmers insist that culling is necessary to tackle TB in livestock, but opponents say it is inhumane and ineffective, and alternatives such as vaccination should be pursued.