Just a few days ago Badger Trust wrote to Defra (the government department that includes ‘environment’ in its name but which appears to be less interested in badgers and more concerned with keeping farmers onside) saying that the Government is betraying public trust on its bovine TB policy and that it believes the government is preparing to rapidly expand badger culling from Cornwall to Cumbria, which could result in a total of 200,000 badgers being killed by the end of 2020.
Now Wild Justice (set up by Dr Mark Avery, Dr Ruth Tingay, and Chris Packham CBE to ‘stand up for wildlife using the legal system and seeking changes to existing laws’) has launched a crowdfunder to take the government to court, saying they regard the badger cull “as an unwarranted assault on wildlife which will not eliminate bovine Tb from dairy herds and which operates at appallingly low standards of animal welfare“.
Wild Justice and a superb team of lawyers from Leigh Day have chosen cases to fight carefully in the past and have a successful record, challenging the government, for example, on its casual issuing of ‘not really there’ General Licences and allowing the shooting industry’s careless release of huge numbers of pheasants and red-legged partridges without assessing how sensitive wildlife sites might be impacted as required by law.
Wild Justice opposes DEFRA’s highly controversial Badger cull, licensed by Natural England. Amongst a plethora of reasons we regard it as an unwarranted assault on wildlife which will not eliminate bovine Tb from dairy herds and which operates at appallingly low standards of animal welfare.
We contend that DEFRA and Natural England have failed to define humane practices and that unacceptably high number of badgers, killed by free shooting, die slowly and painfully every year.
In 2014 an expert panel advising Government on animal welfare standards for Badger culls recommended that “in the context of controlled shooting of badgers by trained and licensed contractors, the percentage of animals surviving for more than 5 min after being shot, and the percentage being wounded but not retrieved, should not together exceed 5%”.
Natural England’s own annual reports show that this standard is never met in practice and that the number of Badgers taking longer than 5 minutes to die or failing to be recovered is consistently about 10% – twice as high as recommended.
So DEFRA appears to us to be pursuing an inhumane Badger cull, NE is licensing it and Badgers are suffering cruelly. Why? Because a humane cull would be even more expensive and would draw even greater attention to the large sums of public money being spent on an unsuccessful control measure.
Wild Justice is raising money to challenge the legality of free shooting under current circumstances and we are seeking a judicial review of Natural England’s licensing decisions.
We want to initiate a debate on the inappropriate methods employed to facilitate the cull and challenge their legality.
This is a costly challenge – we have already spent a lot of time in correspondence with DEFRA and Natural England. We need to raise £48,500 to pay our lawyers, court costs, costs of research, Crowdjustice fees and Natural England’s costs if we fail to win the legal argument.
Please help with a donation to enable us take this challenge on behalf of Badgers, those charismatic and ecologically essential members of our fauna.
Thank you for any help you can give.Chris Packham, Ruth Tingay and Mark Avery (co-founders of Wild Justice
Will they raise the money they need to launch this review? It looks like this one is catching the public mood just as successfully as previous appeals…
●…and a fourth taken at 14:45 the next day… 01 July 2020
For links to articles and to podcasts on the badger cull posted on this site please click the ‘Related Posts’ links below.