Approval has been given for controversial badger culls to start in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire in June this year. Dorset has been chosen as a reserve area - culling will take place there if it is halted in either of the first two areas.
The culls are designed to halt the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in cattle, which is spread by badgers. The aim is to reduce local badger populations in the pilot areas by 70%, though limits have been imposed on the numbers that can be shot, to prevent local extinction.
The Badger Trust has lost its High Court bid to stop the cull of thousands of badgers in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset.
At a hearing last month, the Trust accused the livestock industry of using badgers as a scapegoat, and underestimating the risk of cattle-to-cattle transmission of bovine TB. Today it was ruled that the legal challenge failed on all grounds.
The two proposed culling trials are scheduled to begin later this summer. Dr Gordon McGlone is from the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. He isn't happy with the decision.
The Badger Trust has lost its High Court bid to block a cull of thousands of badgers to tackle tuberculosis in cattle.
The Trust argued Government proposals for two pilot culls were "very, very controversial" at both animal welfare and scientific levels and should be stopped.
But today Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting in London, ruled the legal challenge had failed on all grounds and refused to quash a Government decision last December to allow the culls by farmers and landowners to go ahead.
At a hearing last month, the Trust accused the livestock industry of using badgers as a scapegoat and underestimating the risk of cattle-to-cattle transmission of bovine tuberculosis (bTB).