Over the last month, things have been moving apace in both England and Wales, with badger vaccination well underway here in south west Wales and a further legal challenge to plans to cull in England.
The Badger Trust has been granted permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the High Court’s refusal to quash the decision of the Coalition Government to allow the killing of badgers in England. The appeal is likely to be listed in the court vacation and should be heard before the end of September. Lord Justice Laws granted permission on the Badger Trust’s ground that the Secretary of State had unlawfully used the licensing powers in section 10(2)a of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. This allows killing badgers (normally a criminal offence) for the purposes of preventing the spread of disease. The Badger Trust are making the case that on DEFRA’s own evidence, culling as proposed will cause the spread of disease.
In our own patch, the Intensive Action Area (IAA) in north Pembrokeshire, badger vaccination is still underway, led by the Welsh Government. The summer edition of Gwlad magazine, Welsh Government’s publication for farmers, reports that 275 animals had been caught and vaccinated by mid June. More recently Pembrokeshire Against the Cull have met with John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, and Christiane Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales in July and it was reported to them that the rates of capture and vaccination in the IAA are on a par with those of FERA, with 438 badgers vaccinated by mid July.
In further good news for our badgers in south west Wales, on 15 June this year, The Badger (Control Area) (Wales) (Revocation) Order 2012 came into force, revoking the Badger (Control Area) (Wales) Order 2011 that had until that time still been in effect. This therefore removes the legislation making culling possible in Wales.
The Welsh Government is also promoting its Badger Found Dead survey within the IAA (roughly the area enclosed by Cardigan, Newcastle Emlyn, Crymych, the Preselis and Newport). Badgers found dead in the area will be collected for post mortem examination. If you are in this part of north Pembrokeshire and see a dead badger, please do not handle it, but report it on their helpline number, 0800 4961439. A map of the IAA and the report of the previous badger found dead survey, which ran during 2005 and 2006, can be found on their website at www.wales.gov.uk/bovinetb