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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rocking all over the court

Tomorrow at 10.30am at the Swansea Civil Justice Centre in Quay Street (opposite Sainsburys) the courts stage the last chance to stop the badger cull in North Pembrokeshire. The Badger Trust has brought an application to judicially review the Minister's decision to go ahead with the cull and the hearings will take place on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

The Trust is also making a separate formal complaint under the Bern Convention on the Conservartion of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats and are expecting a preliminary decision on that issue by the end of the month.

The Wales on Sunday reports that protestors will be joined outside the court by Queen guitarist, Brian May:

The rocker slammed WAG officials’ plans to slaughter the badgers in Wales, calling it “tragically wrong” and based on a “flimsy pretext.”

The We Will Rock You hit-maker has vowed to use any influence he has to aid the Welsh badgers’ cause.

And he pledged to travel from London to Swansea tomorrow to observe the start of a legal challenge on the decision.

He said: “Wales is such a beautiful country and that is completely at odds with the image of badgers being dragged out of their sets and killed in their thousands. “It would be an absolute tragedy and I will do everything in my power to reverse this decision.

“There is a scary, long-term consequence of this course of action – that we won’t have any badgers left in the UK. This is the tip of an iceberg.”

The hearing will not of course be reviewing the merits and demerits of the case for a cull. Because it is a judicial review it can only look at the process by which the decision was reached, assessing whether all the evidence was properly considered and taken into account.

Obviously, the Badger Trust believe that this was not the case as there is clear scientific evidence to show that culls are ineffective in stopping the spread of bTB and that the £9,427,000 being spent on this operation could be better used on cattle control measures. We will now have to see whether the court believes that the Minister took proper regard of that evidence in deciding to go ahead with the cull or not.
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