Farmers accuse environment secretary of unlawful badger cull intervention

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has accused environment secretary Theresa Villiers of ‘unlawful’ interference over a decision to cull badgers in Derbyshire and has applied for judicial review.

Badgers in England and Wales are protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992

But since a cull pilot began in 2013, 300,000 badgers have been killed across 43 areas in England as part of a government initiative to reduce the spread of bovine tuberculosis in cattle, according to the Wildlife Trust. 

In September, the environment secretary intervened in the permit process, blocking a proposed badger cull in Derbyshire – the first intervention of its kind. A four-year vaccination trial is in place in the county, which the environment secretary argued should be continued instead of culling.

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