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Pembrokeshire badger cull order may be amended

6 July 2010 - BBC News

The controversial order for a badger cull is expected to be amended following an appeal hearing last week. The Badger Trust questioned why the order related to the whole of Wales, rather than just the cull pilot area in part of south-west Wales. Rural affairs minister Elin Jones (elin.jones@wales.gov.uk) said the all-Wales clause was only included in case a cull or vaccination was needed elsewhere in future. She is expected to offer to amend the order to include only the pilot area.

The Badger Trust disputes a cull would make any difference to the spread of bovine TB. It argued at the Court of Appeal that the assembly government and the minister had not shown that a cull would "eliminate or substantially reduce" the rate of TB infection. The trust also said ministers had a duty to weigh the harm to the badger population against the possible benefits to farmers, but had not done so.

Lord Justice Pill also suggested the Badger Trust could offer a third ground to oppose the cull. That was in relation to the eradication order relating to the whole of Wales, rather than just the pilot area of north Pembrokeshire and a small part of Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

Rural affairs minister Elin Jones (elin.jones@wales.gov.uk) said on Monday the assembly government had "agreed to address this third ground of appeal in order to satisfy the court". She said: "We have evidence that there is a bovine TB reservoir in badgers in TB endemic areas in Wales. I have also said repeatedly that there are no circumstances in which we would cull badgers across Wales in areas where there is no evidence that there is a bovine TB reservoir in wildlife. Therefore we have agreed to address this third ground of appeal in order to satisfy the court."...

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