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Welsh badger cull faces new legal challenge

8 June 2010 - BBC News

The proposed badger cull in north Pembrokeshire is facing a new legal challenge. The Badger Trust has been told it can appeal against the outcome of a judicial review that backed the Welsh Assembly Government's plans. The cull aims to cut the rate of TB in cattle, but opponents say it is not justified by science.

The Badger Trust argued that Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones (elin.jones@wales.gov.uk) had not shown that a cull would "eliminate or substantially reduce" the rate of TB infection, as the law meant it had to, and that ministers had a duty to weigh the harm to the badger population against the possible benefits to farmers, but had not done so.

Mr Justice Elias agreed that these two points were "arguable", and granted the Badger Trust leave to appeal.

"Overall, it casts a shadow over the impending cull start in Wales," said Gwendolen Morgan, the Badger Trust's legal adviser. "This should give the minister pause for thought before proceeding, as to start a cull and then stop summarily would be likely to cause a serious spike in TB," she said. The largest study of culling anywhere in the world - the UK-based Krebs Trial - showed that unless it is done comprehensively, culling makes the problem worse, because it disturbs badgers' social groups, inducing them to roam further afield and infect more cows.

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