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Brian May’s request for judicial review into badger cull rejected

Rock star Brian May’s quest for a judicial review into the legalities of badger culling has failed.
The animal rights campaigner pursued High Court legal action after badger culls began in Dorset and continued in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

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But after a first judicial review request was turned down, an appeal has now also been rejected.
May’s Save Me Trust said the government went against its own culling policy and would explore other legal challenges.

The government and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said culling badgers would curb tuberculosis (TB) in cattle.

In August the news of an extended badger cull prompted the trust to lodge an unsuccessful request for a judicial review in September.

The trust accused the government of going against Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) policy, published in 2011, “which promised no culling would take place if the incidence of bTB was falling in a specific place”.

Save Me Trust CEO Anne Brummer said Defra figures showed the incidence of bovine TB was declining in both Dorset and Gloucestershire three years before the culls began.

She said: “Where a public authority issues a promise as to how it intends to act, the law requires that the promise is honoured unless there is good reason not to do so.”

However a High Court judge denied the application for a judicial review on appeal at a two-hour oral hearing, on the grounds that the initial request should have been lodged earlier.

The cull has now ended for this year, but the charity is still pursuing “legal action options” as the culls take place over four years.

May did not issue a statement but had earlier said: “This awful policy must be put to bed now, in favour of a policy that really will address the TB problem in cattle.”

Article taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-34640755

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Freedom of Information Request Reveals True Cost of Badger Cull – Nearly £7,000 per badger killed

DEFRA has finally been forced to reveal the true cost of their disastrous badger cull policy in a Freedom of Information request brought by the Badger Trust. The final bill for the taxpayer (including policing costs) is just under £16.8 million, which works out at £6,775 per badger killed.

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The DEFRA figures show:
2012 badger cull postponement costs – £2,500,000
2013 badger cull cost – £9,818,000
2014 badger cull cost – £4,459,000
Total costs – £16,777,000

The Badger Trust has pursued the government relentlessly over the actual costs of the badger cull policy but DEFRA fought hard not to reveal them. So in November 2014, the Trust went public with its own estimate of £6,100 per badger for the first two years of the culls, a figure derided as ‘inaccurate and alarmist’ by pro-cull politicians and the farming lobby, who also accused the Trust of inflating the costs to ‘fuel public opposition’ to the policy.

Reacting to the latest figures released by DEFRA, Dominic Dyer CEO of the Badger Trust said, “Despite the best efforts of the government and the farming lobby to discredit us, our cost estimates were, if anything, too low.

“Not only is the badger cull a disastrous failure on scientific and animal welfare grounds, it is also becoming an unacceptable burden on the taxpayer. When the policy was developed in 2011 the government claimed it would be a farmer led initiative, paid for by farmers. In reality it’s the taxpayer who is footing the bill and these costs will continue to rise rapidly as the policy is extended into Dorset, and possibly other counties in the future.

“If, as the former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson stated in 2013, the badger cull is rolled out to over 40 areas of England the costs to the tax payer could easily exceed half a billion pounds.”

Badger Trust Chairman Peter Martin added, “It’s time the government stopped pandering to the irrational sentiments of the farming lobby by playing the badger blame game. We live in a world of science and facts, and DEFRA’s own data show that even in TB hotspot areas 85% of badgers will not even have the disease and 98% are no risk whatsoever to cattle. Killing badgers that don’t have TB cannot possibly help the situation for farmers or for cows. This indiscriminate slaughter is not only irrational but hugely wasteful of public money at a time when key services are being axed, including 40% cuts at DEFRA.

“The Welsh Government’s approach has been far more successful by focusing on improved testing and movement controls in cattle. New incidents of bTB in Wales are down 28% with a 45% cut in the number of cattle being slaughtered. This leaves 94% of the Welsh herd now free of bTB, without culling any badgers.

“The public has a right to be outraged not only by the appalling waste of badgers’ lives but also the disgraceful squandering of tens of millions of pounds on a policy that will have no measureable impact on reducing bovine TB. If famers are worried about badgers then vaccinating them is not just more effective and humane, it’s also ten times cheaper than culling.”