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Badger culling could resume in Gloucestershire and Somerset at any time now after the go-ahead by the government body, Natural England, today.
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27 Aug 14
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What we do

Badger Trust is a national charity, funded entirely by donations and subscriptions. Its mission; to use all lawful means to campaign for the improved welfare, protection, and conservation of badgers, their setts and habitats. The modern- day successor to the National Federation of Badger Groups (which was set up as a national voice for badger groups fighting against badger culling, persecution and for sett protection), Badger Trust supports and represents around 50 badger groups and has a growing number of individual supporters.

The badger has suffered centuries of persecution and it took years of negotiation, discussion and pressure to persuade parliament to give both the badger and its setts legal protection. With that in place we constantly liaise with and work alongside agencies like the police and the RSPCA, to prevent or prosecute illegal acts.

Despite being a protected species badgers face widespread threats from snares, road traffic accidents and acts of persecution from badger baiters, landowners, farmers and gamekeepers who illegally kill many thousands of them every year. The role of the Badger Trust and its member Groups in combating all forms of badger cruelty is a proud one, and although this persecution continues, our members remain active and vigilant and often appear for the prosecution as expert witnesses when lawbreakers appear before the courts.

Badger groups work constantly with developers and planning authorities to minimise the wilful illegal destruction of badger setts, destruction which in the past has often led to badgers being buried alive.

Over the past 4 years, we have also seen the Coalition Government embark on highly controversial badger cull policy as part of its long term strategy to eradicate bovine TB in cattle.

The badger cull pilots undertaken in 2013 in Somerset and Gloucestershire proved a disastrous failure on scientific, economic, animal welfare grounds and following a highly successful anti badger cull campaign by the Badger Trust and other wildlife protection charities, the Coalition Government has decided not to extend badger culling to other parts of the country at this time.

However the pilot culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire are due to continue and the Badger Trust will campaign strongly to stop these badger culls and is considering taking further legal action to achieve this objective.

Already we have invested a great deal of time and money in legal action and in 2010 we achieved a notable success in Wales, where -following a change of political control--the Assembly (which previously favoured culling) opted instead for vaccination, a positive, forward-looking move.

How We Win

The following is the sequence of events that enabled us to secure a famous victory and prevent a badger cull in Wales:
  • Following a consultation in April 2009, which we responded robustly against the proposed policy, the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) (a Plaid Cymru led coalition) laid an Order before the Assembly to allow a Government managed cull of badgers in Wales. The Order covered all of Wales although WAG intended to apply it to an Intensive Action Area (IAA) in Pembrokeshire.
  • In December 2009 we made an application to the High Court to seek a judicial review of the WAG decision.
  • Permission was granted and the judicial review was heard at Swansea Civil Justice Centre on 22 and 23 March 2010. The Judge refused our judicial review on 16 April 2010.
  • We decided to appeal on three grounds and were given permission to do so.
  • The appeal was heard by three judges at Cardiff Civil Justice Centre on 30 June 2010. The judgment was given in the Royal Courts of Justice on 13 July 2010 and our appeal was successful on all three grounds. The Order was quashed.
  • In September 2010, WAG launched a consultation on a new Order that would limit the Government managed cull of badgers to the IAA. We again responded robustly against the proposal.
  • The WAG laid the Order before the Assembly on 3 March 2011 and the Order came into force on 30 March 2011.
  • We sent WAG a letter on 15 April 2011 stating that we would initiate judicial review proceedings unless the Order was revoked.
  • On 5 May 2011 elections to the Assembly took place and Labour won 30 of the 60 seats and decided to form the new Welsh Government (WG).
  • In accordance with their election manifesto, the new WG announced a review of the bovine TB science and policy and set up an Independent Panel to provide advice. We had a meeting with the Minister and submitted evidence to the Panel.
  • On 20 March 2012, the Minister, after considering the panel's report, announced that the Welsh Government would be pursuing a policy of vaccination of badgers in the IAA and would not be proceeding with the badger cull.