Badger shooting has now been given the go-ahead in parts of England. In light of this, Brian May has opened a petition to seek a parliamentary debate. Read on below for an update from Pat Hayden of the Badger Trust.
As many of you will already know, on 11th September Badger Trust lost its appeal against the judgment given by Lord Justice Ouseley on 12th July in respect of the Judicial Review we made against the Government’s decision to hold a pilot trial of the free-shooting of badgers in parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire.
Our Chairman, Dave Williams, needed to attend the Rally being held in Bristol and it was agreed that Jeff Hayden, Financial Director and the main point of contact with our legal team, together with myself, should represent Badger Trust at the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice.
This note is sent to you from the perspective of how it felt to sit in the courtroom, listening to the fate of thousands of badgers being decided solely on points of law. Science, humanity, common sense, none of these came into the equation. A couple of hours were spent on discussion on the law relating to the protection of badgers and what was in the minds of people decades ago when such laws were introduced or consolidated into existing law.
We went to Court in the hope of winning the appeal but came out knowing we had lost as judgment was given immediately and all three judges concurred with Lord Justice Ouseley. Difficult to maintain one’s composure listening to the summing up, knowing it is now likely that the shooting of badgers will commence in a few weeks’ time in those two parts of the West Country. But we have to put yesterday behind us and move forward for the sake of the badgers, they have been made scapegoats and we must continue to do our best for them.
We also have to bear in mind that whilst bovine TB is a serious problem for the farming community, the government’s proposals will only address at best 16% of the problem over a 9-year period. Many farmers recognise this and are seeking a real solution to the problem, including increasing numbers asking us about vaccination of the badgers on their land.
I felt a great sense of injustice when I left the High Court. On the positive side, Badger Trust is grateful to the Judge for clarifying the law. But the facts remain the same – the science is unaltered and the appeal was based solely on interpretation of the law and will not improve the bTB situation.
Because of this, I am writing to ask you to do one thing for badgers, all it will cost is a little of your time. Brian May has put a petition on the e-gov petition site, asking for the badger cull to be stopped. If between us we can achieve 100,000 signatures on that petition, we can request a parliamentary debate and this is a unique situation, none of the other petitions many of us have already signed can achieve that.
E-Gov petitions can only be signed electronically by residents of the UK and I implore everybody reading this e-mail to sign it and to ask everybody you know who has the welfare of badgers at heart, to do the same. To access the petition, click on this link http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38257. Please forward this message to all your e-mail contacts. Thank you for reading my note and please sign Brian May’s petition for the badgers.
Vice Chairman, Badger Trust