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Badger cull could be stopped by fresh legal challenge

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: October 22, 2012

Large anti-badger cull protests took place in central London yesterday

Large anti-badger cull protests took place in central London yesterday

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The West Country’s controversial badger cull could be stopped at the eleventh hour by a fresh legal challenge from the Badger Trust.

Lawyers acting for the leading body opposing the trial cull in Gloucestershire and in west Somerset have served a 16-page legal letter on Natural England as the question over whether badgers should be killed in a bid to halt the spread of bovine TB becomes the next big political storm for David Cameron’s coalition Government.

Late last week it was revealed that local estimates of the number of badgers in the cull areas had been under-estimated by as much as half in some places, which meant more cost and more of a challenge to the marksmen being given a bounty for each badger killed.

That, coupled with the anti-cull campaigners gaining increasing support from both opposition MPs and backbenchers on the Government side, means in the coming days the badger cull is going to be even more in the spotlight with the parliamentary debate – forced by 100,000 signatures on an e-petition – taking place later this week.

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Over the weekend there were claims that, after years of campaigning by farmers to the Government for action over badgers and the link to bovine TB, the position had actually switched, with the Government privately appealing to the National Farmers’ Union to make sure its members went ahead with the cull in the face of mounting pressure, to save the Government from making what might be seen as another U-turn.

So the last-minute final legal challenge from the Badger Trust has been aimed as much at convincing previously undecided MPs, mainly from urban constituencies. The challenge to Natural England, which is licensing the cull, said the costs were spiralling.

“The costs of the cull are soaring out of control, with little benefit in sight for farmers and major risks posed for members of the public in the cull areas,” said Gwendolen Morgan, the Badger Trust’s solicitor. “It is time for the Government to reconsider.”

“We have now had information which reveals a number of serious flaws in the licensing process,” Ms Morgan’s legal challenge read, citing the reassessment upwards of the numbers of badgers involved. “We have advised our clients that the licences granted are unlawful.”

A spokesman for Natural England said the cull could begin this week, as soon as the final licence conditions were met by those with the guns.

“We are considering the letter and will respond in due course,” he said.

But time is running out for the badger cull itself. The cull needs to begin as soon as possible before badgers begin to hibernate as autumn turns to winter.

Those taking part in the cull have six weeks and have to kill at least three-quarters of the badgers in a cull area to help prevent badgers with TB moving away to new areas outside.

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  • Charlespk  |  October 23 2012, 7:45PM

    Badgerists will never be missed in Somerset. . But I shouldn't tell them you are one if you visit the Black Horse.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  October 23 2012, 7:43PM

    @eyeopener I make allowances for people (as you will realise from my comment @6.55pm). People express themselves in various ways. We are all made differently. If everybody that disagreed with me said something like " oh 2ladybugs I am so sorry but I think you are wrong", or "please forgive me but I don't agree with you" I think I would puke. On emotive subjects you are almost certainly going to get comments that you don't like. You need to deal with it otherwise it is hardly worth commenting on anything. Even when those people kept on down the same lines as those shown @ 6.55 I just got on with it. (Actually I ignored them which seemed to get right up their noses.

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  • eyeopener  |  October 23 2012, 7:41PM

    I'm off to do something else for a while. Perhaps to the Black Horse to buy Garge and Bill a drink as well as he who must not be mentioned; known as the 'unmentionable' to his friends. Only banter honest! Ps. please feel free to engage in some banter while I am gone :-)))

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  • eyeopener  |  October 23 2012, 7:30PM

    @ 2ladybugs "eyeopener...so it is alright for you to contradict and be rude to people but nobody else has that right?? Double standards." 2ladybugs you are often contradicting me, we are on two sides of an arguement. Whats more I would defend your right to contradict me. Its called free speech. At least when you contradict me, you do not single handedly make a fool of yourself. Oooops I may just accidentally have uttered some banter!

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  • 2ladybugs  |  October 23 2012, 7:23PM

    @eyeopener...so it is alright for you to contradict and be rude to people but nobody else has that right?? Double standards.

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  • Arachne  |  October 23 2012, 7:21PM

    http://tinyurl.com/9hf7ewn There you go, have a quick chew on that, 2ladybugs. And if you know of anyone who needs this info, please pass it on. Unfortunately, much of it does not cover the Somerset area. But it might help some genuine fragile flowers who were not as lucky as me. And if you read it, perhaps it will teach you a little respect for what others go through. No, it is not OK to abuse people.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  October 23 2012, 7:19PM

    @Arachne I was replying to your post @ 7.07 has another one disappeared?

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  • 2ladybugs  |  October 23 2012, 7:17PM

    Yes Arachne...well it looks as if our lives have been very similar. It just goes to show we know nothing of anybody else's problems, do we!!!??? However words are just that, words and if you don't like banter then it might be as well to not write on anything even remotely emotive. ps I don't expect any special treatment from any commenters.

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  • Charlespk  |  October 23 2012, 7:16PM

    "The last man who seems to have shared Mr Henry's doubts about my right to life." There you go again!! . You can't stop yourself!!!t

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  • eyeopener  |  October 23 2012, 7:09PM

    "you kept on and on trying to impress other badgerists that you are smarter than me with your attempts at 'clever' remarks. . You are not." Gosh Arachne you didn't have the effrontery to contradict something a pro-culler said? Please don't tell me you were "trying to impress other badgerists." Just how unreasonable can one get? "Arachne, my, you must be a delicate little flower if you think that the banter you have just listed is anything other than that." Well Arachne thats all of us off the hook, unless of course we have attampted any "banter" with he who must not be contradicted!

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