Badger Trust "delighted" by Court of Appeal cull decision
1:22pm Tuesday 13th July 2010 in Badger cull in North Pembrokeshire
The Badger Trust has said it is “delighted" with a Court of Appeal ruling which reversed a judicial review supporting the Welsh Assembly Government's (WAG) controversial badger cull.
The ruling announced today (Tuesday) effectively means that the cull, which had been suspended during the appeal process will now be halted.
The three law lords: Lord Justice Pill, Lady Justice Smith and Lord Justice Stanley Burnton ruled that ministers had made an error in making an order for the whole of Wales, when they had only consulted on the basis of the Pembrokeshire Intensive Action Pilot Area.
The Welsh ministers conceded the appeal by reference to this point and the court unanimously agreed that it rendered the Order unlawful.
The law lords also ruled that April's ruling in favour of the Welsh Assembly by the High Court had made an error of law in holding that the words "substantially reduce" could be interpreted as any reduction in TB that was "more than merely minor or trivial"; and in holding that the cull could go ahead without Rural Affairs minister Elin Jones balancing the harm done by the cull against its potential benefits.
David Williams, chairman of the Badger Trust, said that the legal battle had been an enormous undertaking, both physically and financially, for an organisation with only three part time staff.
Despite a protective costs regime which saved £10,000, the trust's legal bill will be well into six figures. Mr Williams expressed his thanks to supporters for their donations and encouragement.
"Of all the wildlife organisations the Badger Trust exists to secure the welfare of our native protected species, the badger, and we will continue to do so through lawful means,” he said.
“We are pleased to see that the protection offered by wildlife law cannot be vitiated by political smoke and mirrors and that the court saw the issues so clearly.
"Scientific evidence about the futility of killing badgers to control bovine TB remains exactly the same. Killing badgers can play no meaningful part in the eradication of bovine TB and robust cattle measures are sufficient, as demonstrated by evidence that the rate of increase in new TB outbreaks in Wales is already starting to slow.”
He added that trust hoped that the Minister would now adopt a strategy of vaccination as a cost-effective, viable alternative to the cull.
"It is ironical that there is evidence that bTB in Wales is declining without badgers being killed, but still the clamour for the deaths of badgers persists in the forlorn hope that such slaughter could ease the serious consequences of bTB,” he said.
“This dreadful disease has been beaten before without killing wildlife".