Join the badger crowd; help stop unlawful culling (Part 2).
Join the badger crowd; help stop unlawful culling (Part 2).
Latest: Feb. 1, 2019
Thank You - We Smash Our Full Fundraising Target!
Just a quick line to say huge and sincere thanks for the very generous donations and messages of support in January and along the way before that, in reaching our full fundraising target.&nb…Read more
Our government has escalated badger culling in England this autumn on an industrial scale. Badgers are gone from woods, banks and meadows in a growing series of brutal bloody countryside purges. Bags and piles of mostly healthy badgers are mass-slaughtered using your taxes. Resting on dubious science and decisions. The legally required safeguards on English wildlife from removing our top-tier predator remains hidden from us. Natural England, the agency who issue licenses to kill badgers say they have no written description of their approach and that areas assessed must remain confidential for fear of landowner intimidation from anti-cull protest. This, despite an official ruling by the Information Commissioner that it would not; that Natural England is, yet again mistaken.
Will you join over 300 people who are already fighting to reveal the hidden information? If you are already part of the badger crowd can you help further? Could you run your own small-scale fund-raiser to add to our total? Might you gain support locally from as wide an audience as possible, remembering that the vast majority of the public reject badger culling as ill-founded?
With crowdfunding income from our first appeal, we have successfully completed paperwork, legal scrutiny and applied for Judicial Review of the 2017 Supplementary Culling licenses that allow further badger culling for 8 months of the year for five years. We are also challenging the consultation process for Supplementary Culling and are still looking at possibilities for challenging other new badger culling licenses issued this year.
Together we successfully climbed the first mountain of the costs of preparing for legal action. We are also raising funds for the Information Commission tribunal into Natural England secrecy, to be held this December. Helped by badger friends around the UK we met the need for a first tranche of payments this month (October) with generous donations totaling over £150 per day over the first four weeks.
But we need to pull out all the stops now to raise £12,000 before the end of this year in order to be fit for a Judicial Review Hearing, if it is granted to us. We need to fund the lawyers for work during future court appearances and to protect against costs that could be awarded against us. Many local Badger Groups and The Badger Trust are continuing to support this effort and I will update you on that next week with a separate charitable crowdfund for the JR that can attract gift aid on donations. Our combined efforts should see sufficient funds banked in order to take on all of the challenges worth pursuing.
We are positive regarding the prospects of stopping decisions that we feel are unlawful. But we cannot hesitate to begin building our funds up again as there are now just a few weeks to prepare. With the help of many, we have got to this first important stage. But we cannot rest for a moment. For the sake of badgers and for common sense; to protect England’s wildlife and to stop the wasteful, unscientific killing of badgers. Be one of the crowd and recruit others to become a part too. Thank you on behalf of our growing crowd. Together we can protect our precious wildlife.
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Feb. 1, 2019
Thank You - We Smash Our Full Fundraising Target!
Just a quick line to say huge and sincere thanks for the very generous donations and messages of support in January and along the way before that, in reaching our full fundraising target.
A massive last minute donation by dedicated brave and successful volunteers who go out all the time to help unblock illegally filled-in badger setts has finally sailed us over the line. The Badger Crowd thanks you for joining us, for what you do day in day out to stop wildlife criminals and for helping the badgers. This fundraiser has been a long-burn effort and helped to fund last summers legal cases as well as with work to try to get the Appeals of last year's judgments heard this year.
As indicated in our previous message, we have another hearing coming up at the end of this month and we are still waiting to learn about the Appeals and two other challenges against the Low Risk Area policy, badger culling for the first time in Cumbria and badger culling licences issued elsewhere in 2018.
We will be preparing for a new crowd fund over the next few weeks and as soon as we get some news on the matters that are moving forwards we will set that up and alert you.
It is heartening to see so many people determined to help bring an end to the badger culls, that are increasingly exposed both as a mistake and costly distraction to the real measures needed to remove bovine tuberculosis from cattle herds. As bovine TB spirals out of control in the first cull area, what more evidence does the government need to realize that badger culling cannot make a meaningful contribution to bTB in cattle?
Our teams of experts and volunteers are working tirelessly on the legal fight & fundraising and every penny will be carefully spent. So thanks again and I hope we will have some favorable outcomes to help bring this madness to an end this year.
Without you this would not work, so thank you for joining the Badger Crowd. Together we can Stop The Cull.
Tom Langton and The Badger Crowd
Dec. 29, 2018
New Year Resolve: Stop Badger Carnage
Since 2013 the government has used its various agencies, public money and the police constabularies to enforce the unprecedented and perverse mass killing of England’s iconic and protected badgers on the basis of flimsy epidemiology. Licensed killing gangs are reported to have shot 32,601 mostly healthy adult and juvenile badgers in 2018. This unforgivable travesty is against independent expert scientific advice and public opinion.
Of particular note recently has been the release of data that indicates a spike of around 29% of new herd breakdowns in the initial Gloucestershire pilot cull area after five years of badger slaughter; that is four years of culling and one of supplementary culling plus an observation period. What better evidence could there be that killing healthy badgers is, as expected, the massive and futile waste that government research conclusions and common sense always said it would be?
A growing range of independent experts including several professional veterinarians have been publicly questioning the statements of Ministers, the Chief Veterinary Officer and the British Veterinary Association over their cooperation and involvement in badger culling. They are calling out the ‘bare face lies and deception’ in statements and data interpretation, of a potentially criminal nature. These are strong words that are yet to be tested, but the capacity for criminal investigation into certain decisions and actions of civil servants is clearly now being talked about.
Government has continued for more than a year to make claims that bTB is being reduced by badger culling, when the manner in which culling is set up, monitored and industry-led does not allow this to be credibly assessed because of the lack of scientific controls and the multiple variables at play. Accusations of the Government ‘cherry picking’ data and modelling in secret to send to the farming press, points to yet more manipulated media coverage.
The extent and implications of persistent failure of the bTB testing system with the hidden ‘reservoir’ of infected cattle that it helps establish, was underplayed by the ‘Godfray’ review of government policy options that was released in November. The review avoids the findings of key publications on the low sensitivity of the tuberculin skin test, despite widespread recognition that the current system is hopelessly defective and cannot tackle the disease. The report, nevertheless, began a process of exposing the corruptions within the world of bTB disease management.
At this year-turn, from the perspective of our legal challenges, we are approaching a number of deadlines. Intensive work by our large network of volunteers continues, Many people around the UK work tirelessly in the background on a growing range of problem areas. This includes getting to the bottom of what went on in the Low Risk Area (LRA) south of Penrith in Cumbria this autumn, with 602 badgers shot across a 190 sq km cull area in what now seems to resemble a modified proactive culling operation. The indications are that the culling method used is of a kind seen in heavily infected high risk areas, but without the scientifically recommended 2 km ring of vaccination around the killing fields in the place of so called ‘hard’ boundaries.
It was culling without target figures, over a seven week period, yet clearly to a similar extent of the other ‘new in 2018’ High Risk Area culling quotas of around 3 badgers per sq. km. Confusion over the details of this methodology has resulted in a delay in legal process. Natural England have wanted more time to answer our basic questions about the culling method for the Low Risk Area, approved in May 2018, which led to a meeting with them in December. Challenges against the LRA culling policy and all of the 2018 badger cull licences in respect of potential damage to designated international nature sites from ecosystem disruption, were ‘stayed’ (frozen) until January while we sought prompt open negotiation with government.
Meanwhile, with the approved Judicial Review Hearing regarding potential damage to SSSI’s from badger culling is just a few weeks away, we are also waiting to learn of the decision regarding permission for appeal against the two 2018 Judicial Reviews rulings at the Court of Appeal. Supporters will remember that these address the legality of Supplementary Culling and Ecological Impact Assessment (EIA) of Badger Removal. For the EIA case Natural England were found to have been in breach of their duty, and for the Supplementary Culling case, the government’s argument for culling was found to be ‘unimpressive’.
A huge supportive effort has been put in by a very wide range and growing number of people since the autumn, and our legal team has been very busy on the five matters now under consideration. Thank you for the many messages of continued support. Together we can make the failed badger culls history. With the Badger Crowd including hundreds of individuals, Badger Groups, Trusts and Wildlife Networks behind the efforts, representing the broad combined force of badger protection, we will increase our efforts to seek truth and justice for English badgers over the next year. In terms of fundraising, we expect to be soon setting up new appeals. This appeal will be renewed into January and then replaced with new ones, once there is a better understanding of the extent of work to be done in 2019.
Thanks To You - The Badger Crowd - We Will Bring #justiceforbadgers
Oct. 2, 2018
New JR challenge approved. Appeals process moves on.
WE ARE ALL HORRIFIED by the images taken by HIT, coming onto our screens of the murderous reality of the government shooting healthy badgers. This picture shows killing in the first Low Risk Area near Penrith using the very long-failed reactive culling methods of Ireland. Here bTB was brought in recently from Northern Ireland.
On the legal front, since the disappointing JR rulings in August there has been a flurry of activity keeping us fully occupied. Most recently our legal team was back at the High Court last Tuesday winning permission to challenge the lack of Natural England care in consideration of potential damage to Sites of Special Scientific Interest. These threats stem from the effects of badger culling: including driving vehicles over and shooting on SSSIs and potential carnivore release effects as a result of mammal population displacement and change. I am pleased to say that this time the Judge agreed, and we have a two-day hearing at some point in the New Year. The case addresses issues surrounding 44 SSSIs. Eight badger cull licences would be found unlawful should we succeed.
In addition to this we were sent in August a draft report regarding NE’s internal guidance on how to evaluated the ecological consequences of badger culling on internationally important wildlife. This can be viewed at:
The text borrows from the legal papers produced for our July JR hearings, we think hurriedly put together to answer the legal challenge, as opposed to carefully crafted in 2013. This is attracting a lot of interest. NE had produced a mass of material that the Judge criticized for being late. This however was due to Natural England’s policy of secrecy and they only really tried to explain their actions within weeks of and even during the trial, before they were found in breach of duty. Secrecy, we now think not just to prevent culls from being objected to by the public but because amounts of government land including National Nature Reserves and SSSIs may have been included in cull area coverage calculations, in order to bump up the area technically under cull. This to enable the cull areas to reach their 70-90% quota to proceed.
Regarding the two JRs, we are in the final stages of applying to appeal them. There has been a lot of interest on the cases and the following Links give further information:
- Carol Day writes for Wildlife and Countryside LInk regarding the implications for wildlife protection if the judgements stand and our appeals are not successful:
- There are other legal comments for those interested in the legal nitty gritty:
- And a Blog by our very own HRA expert Dominic Woodfield, that helps bring the issues within the Habitat Regulations Assessment JR more clearly into focus:
It was great to meet up with so many familiar faces on Chris Packham’s Peoples Walk for Wildlife on the 22 Sept including many concerned youngsters; there must have been at least 500 badgerists among the many thousands present, with many of them determined supporters of our Badger Crowd. Quite a spectacle, and a timely reminder of the need for everyone to work closely together.
We have now on our plates the two potential Appeals, the damage to SSSI Hearing, a challenge to the Low Risk Area Culling including the Cumbria licence and potentially the 'new in 2018' HRA licences that were issued in July of this year.
All because Natural England continue to persist in a feeble public safety argument. Because they refuse to engage in a normal way with stakeholders on cruel pointless killing, leading to one of the biggest disruptions to the countryside over around one third of the country since wildlife legislation was first passed.
Together the Badger Crowd has had a major impact on putting things right. Recently the Chairman of Natural England has announced his retirement and in his place the MP for (surprise surprise) Penrith Cumbria; David McClean (see 2014 Cayman Islands lobbying scandal). Head of NE Legal Julie Lunt is also apparently standing down. Weakened by yet another round of Defra cuts, NE is spending a huge proportion of its resources on badger cull related work including fighting our legal challenges and doing environmental assessments with some degree of detail at last. Even if NE still think that carnivore release effect impacts are highly unlikely, which they are not. The start of many of the standard badger culls this year were delayed until the HRAs were completed this year and by a fortnight or so, with licences signed off on the same day as the HRAs.
We are all distraught about the 41,000 target for killing badgers this year and as I write those in the field on wounded badger patrol duty face over-zealous policing and the other usual challenges. Reports from the pilot cull areas show that bTB levels are no lower in the Pilot areas than at the start but this did not stop yet more hopeless government 'post-truth' statements saying that they were working.The ‘Godfray’ report is expected in a few weeks but there are fears that it will be watered down.
As the legal work gears up again we will need to shake the tin and the timing of this will be determined by how many cases move forwards and how quickly. We will be in touch again with developments and meanwhile we can only keep on doing our best and a bit more if possible. United we stand a chance of stopping the decimation that Michael Gove, Defra and Natural England have planned for our badgers.
We are The Badger Crowd.
Aug. 18, 2018
Challenges dismissed but we fight on & start the Appeal process.
This week we learned that both of our cases have been refused at the High Court. We have now had a chance to examine the judgements carefully. Both cases are finely balanced precise and particular details taken from the case evidence are under scrutiny.
Looking at the supplementary culling challenge, the consultation had looked flawed and unfair to us. With the Habitat Regulation Assessments challenge, Natural England was found to be in breach of its duty by the judge for not properly recording assessments, but nevertheless may continue to hold its original views on controversial aspects. Apparently if NE had carried out full assessments, they would have come to the same conclusion. This conclusion implies that changes to ecosystems from badger removal will balance evenly and do no harm or if it does NE will somehow know and deal with it. Consequently, the badger cull licenses were not quashed.
We have moved quickly to draft a response to the judgements and an Appeal has been made for both cases. In addition, following the May 2018 policy change allowing reactive culling in the Low Risk Area, we have commenced legal action against those actions that fly in the face of accepted science. Levels of ambiguity in the methods seem to move the badger killing process further towards a 'make it up as you go along' endpoint. The result of these policies is vicious assaults on badgers as the bovine TB scapegoat and badgers becoming the distraction everywhere. All due to incompetent cattle testing, movement control and biosecurity.
How long do we have to put up with the stupid folly of English BTB management, fuelled by vested interests and blundering government? Not long we hope. In any case we are quick to react and yet must wait for the legal process to take its course over the next month or two. Meanwhile the determined volunteers who carry out wounded badger patrols, sett sitting and monitoring are back in the fields as the 2018 badger culls begin. While we will keep this appeal open and aim to hit this target of £15,000, we will not now make further appeals for funding as their needs for equipment and fuel need to be met, but we will return with requests for donations in early winter should our funds need topping up. Rest assured, our growing team will be working daily on legal work as more futile badger killing continues. We will continue to expose the cruel folly, ignorance, greed, cheating and indifference and we will win. Together we will expose the truth, get justice and make badger culling history.
Thanks again are due to everyone helping in every way. We remain more determined than ever.
July 20, 2018
Thanks again - we await the Judicial Review outcome
The Badger Cull Hearings last week will be decided upon in the first half of August. The week before the Hearings the government wrote to us saying that Supplementary Culling had begun in the Somerset and Gloucestershire pilot areas apparently from early July and six weeks earlier than in 2017. They wrote to us wanting us to know, just before the Hearing. Measures to call for a halt because of the extra mortality caused by prolonged dry weather this summer do not seem to have been answered yet. No one has a clue how many badgers are left in the cull areas.
Meanwhile Minister George Eustice keeps repeating his mistaken understanding of the 'Brunton' report. It is hard to believe that he has read or understood it.
Reports from 2017 indicate that the methods used in the pilot areas most closely resembles sporadic reactive culling. It struggled to kill the minimum numbers of badgers needed and word is that this year badgers are being taken from places they are more plentiful including from outside the cull areas.
New in 2018 4-yr cull areas have been proposed for Avon, Berkshire, Derbyshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Wiltshire.
We are currently working on matters related to the challenges including the May 2018 revised guidance by Defra to Natural England. Hence we are keeping this appeal open to help prepare for all eventualities. We will let you know as things progress.
Save Our Badgers. Stop The Cull.
July 8, 2018
Good luck with the Hearing!
Is the message coming in loud and clear from everyone. And a huge collective thanks is due from all of us in particular to the dozen or so people who have worked hard in recent months to help organise everything and in so many ways. To all the people and organisations who have dug deep into precious funds to help get us so far and to this point. We have almost enough to cover needs now due to some generous recent donations including from the wonderful Kirklees Badger Group but please keep funding coming in if you can there will always be more ahead of us and we may need to launch further appeals.
All we want to do is stop the madness and bring some science and common sense to Bovine TB eradication. We are the people who care about our environment and who have made this possible. Our win would be modest. No culling in the Somerset and Gloucestershire pilot areas while the cattle measures; gamma interferon and hopefully actiphage testing are given a chance to start working and to help show the way out of the disease crisis. With wildlife impacts, Natural England would need to go back to the drawing board and accept the need for proper research and appraisal of the many far reaching potential ecological impacts.
These are not unreasonable or particularly difficult things to do and could have been negotiated if government had taken a different attitude and followed their guidelines and standards in a different way. Instead they choose secrecy and ignoring major stakeholders. This is where their mistakes are rooted.
One thing is for sure, if we do not get what we want it will not be the end of it. We are already preparing the challenge to the Low Risk Area reactive culling announcement.
Thank you again for helping to save our countryside from ruin.
Tom and the Badger Crowd.
June 8, 2018
Michael Gove Signs Off Accelerated Badger Apocalypse.
As we speed into June, and with just four weeks to go to the High Court Hearings, we have just about covered our £10,000 May target in Offline and Online donations. Huge thanks to everyone for helping with publicity and fundraising and in other ways – we cannot do all of this without you. Please continue to share and pass on the message that more funds are now more than ever urgently needed.
Everyone is deeply disgusted that on 18th May, right in front of the promised Defra Internal Policy Review findings, the government has revised the December 2015 Guidance to Natural England on Badger Culling to extend and speed it up. Gone is the requirement for intensive culling following the published government plan and approved precision methods. Badger killings can now take place anywhere in England too for the first time.
The approach to supplementary badger culling is unchanged in the 2018 guidance and is the subject of one of the current legal challenges. Authorisation for Low Risk Area ‘reactive culling’ just announced, seems a further logistical nightmare by design and another jump away from previous points of reference.
These are further shameful and unprecedented attempts to kill large numbers of badgers each year upon highly speculative reasoning. All of the above will now be challenged by The Badger Crowd. The proposed cull methods will destroy badger clans. It will massively and pointlessly disrupt badgers and other animals bringing changes to the natural environment where this is done. It will kill badgers that have been vaccinated, bring other damaging side effects and be counter productive and a huge distraction to the real need of BTB eradication.
Government’s bTB eradication and badger killing policies and strategies slide further towards an Open Season ‘free for all’ badger cull as many had suspected, with its many ghastly implications and invisible benefits at vast public and environmental cost. Why are the bTB herd breakdown results from the last years of the Somerset and Gloucestershire 'pilot culls' and badger numbers from supplementary culling being withheld we wonder? Because it doesn't work? Because it cannot work?
Environment Minister Michael Gove has in the few months since coming into office authorised procedures for more and more massacres of badgers in 30 or more additional cull areas, raising extermination plans to up to 120,000 badgers by 2020 and 230,000 badgers by 2025 if supplementary culling is put fully in place. If the bovine TB Policy continues to fail due to inadequate cattle measures as it did in Ireland and supplementary culling is perpetuated and with Low Risk Area Culling, around 500,000 badgers will be killed or injured by 2038. That's may be more badgers than were brutally dug out, baited and beaten to death by humans over the last hundred years in England.
We have to act swiftly. Please, please help us again to help the badgers and to get Bovine TB resolved using tried and tested, new and viable approaches and without illogical brutal treatment of our beautiful sentient badgers.
Please spread the word; the Badger Crowd is gearing up again. We will never stand by or surrender.
Thank You, The Badger Crowd.
May 7, 2018
Badger Justice: 10 Weeks to go. Funding On-Track.
It is Good News again for April. We have more than hit the £10,000 April target with more generous personal and Badger Group donations from around the UK. We are now attacking our May £10,000 target. Keep it coming everyone! The Badger Trust is winding up its successful £15,000 appeal and will close shortly with over £17,000 raised. The Badgertrust Sussex Appeal has stormed to over £12,000 (33% of total) in a few weeks and will now become the main focus while The Badger Trust looks to a new Funding Appeal for a number of legal issues on the horizon and several other aspects of the disastrous and failing Bovine TB policy.
In terms of progress with the two cases forming the July Hearing, the government has yet again asked for more time for its considerations in relation to the Supplementary Culling challenge and have released its grounds for resisting the claims in relation to the 2017 ecological assessments and licences. For the first time we learn how Natural England say that they went about their assessments. This has put a bright flare over the previous vague descriptions and short answers that we have had over the last three years. Most important has been Natural England’s attitude to assessing Carnivore Release Effects . Suffice to say we have all been extremely busy over the last two weeks and we are now ‘locked and loaded’ for the weeks ahead. All we need now is Defra's delayed response to our Supplementary Culling case.
Meanwhile we have great news coming in from vet Dick Sibley's research in Devon exposing how the tuberculin skin test has been failing. It shows not only how Phage testing needs to take over but also suggests how cows have been polluting the environment with bovine TB unchecked and helps upturn dubious modelling around the subject. A meeting of the 'Godfray' review with NGOs will be held shortly, looking urgently at how to address the spreading bTB crisis and its failing approach. It will hopefully recognize that long term culling of badgers in Ireland cannot be linked scientifically to any decrease in bovine TB and agree the need to look again at the misinformation concerning the pilot cull data put out by Ministers this year.
Thanks again to all of you for stepping up to join our work to save badgers and our wild environment from catastrophic government policy. We are The Badger Crowd.
March 27, 2018
Targets Set for Legal Challenges in 2018
In the last update we promised to explain about costs of future legal action by The Badger Crowd and how people might contribute further. In total we needed a whopping £79,000 to cover all eventualities, of which we have raised over half since last August. A further £37,000 is sought. However this covers the worst case scenario. As these are challenges to protect the environment we have Aarhus Convention protection from the court. Future spending includes;
- New challenge to 2016 HRAs and licences
- Legal fees before, during and following the three-day Hearing
- £10,000 Costs against us if our cases are not successful
Legal Action is an expensive business and requires careful financial control and negotiating to keep costs to an absolute minimum. A proportion of our lawyer’s fees will only be paid if they win the case and we are extremely grateful to them for helping us in this way. Funds to-date for the JR have been raised by over 300 members of the public, from small voluntary groups, Born Free, UK Badger Groups and The Badger Trust. Our expert advisors are all giving their time without charge. Over 20 Badger Groups in England and Wales have donated to the fund so far –a fabulous response from thousands of badgerists closest to the scandalous persecution of badgers in England. Folk who day-in, day-out pick up the pieces of thoughtless wildlife slaughter and injury. Thank You All (& tell your friends and relatives!). As in the past, a little bit from everyone will see us through.
Badger Trust Sussex and The Badger Trust are both generously helping with legal challenge fundraising. Both have or will be setting up additional crowd funds and can receive donations including Gift Aid benefit if personal cheques are sent to their offices or for donations made online. Please write Badger Crowd Appeal on the back of any cheques.
While we still need around £10,000 per month, we have raised this in March and are working on a similar amount for April. If anyone has fundraising ideas please get in touch. We are hoping some of the bigger wildlife and welfare charities may also chip in to help the cause of badgers and other species and habitats under threat as a result of mass badger killings and ecosystem disruption.
However, it is important to realise that these challenges are part of a wider effort to resolve the bovine tuberculosis crisis and more challenges may be needed as the blunders of the current policy are unmasked. We may also face appeals and unforeseen costs. If we win both cases and a possible third, the battle will not necessarily be over, so should we generate any surplus funds, they will be used to challenge further problems such as the matters put out to consultation by the government in recent weeks. We will not stop until the cruel ineffective killing stops.
There are two Judicial Review Applications which will be heard together on 9th to 11th July 2018. A decision is anticipated six weeks afterwards although this is not guaranteed. A further challenge to the 2016 badger cull impact assessments is also underway. This the direct result of the successful Freedom of Information Tribunal in December 2017 that the Badger Crowd won against Natural England. We are also looking closely at what could be approved in 2018.
One of the JR relates to procedures surrounding the 2017 Supplementary Culling consultations for West Gloucestershire and West Somerset and the licences issued as a result. The other relates to five of the 2017 Habitat Regulations Assessments of impacts on vulnerable wildlife within and surrounding cull areas and the related licences. We now are looking to challenge all of the 2016 HRAs and licences.
March 21, 2018
More Great News in the Badger Cull Fightback:
- Our Judicial Review Hearing is set for the High Court in London 9-11 July
- Badger Trust have agreed £20,000 funding towards the cases
- We are about to smash our £12,000 stretch target – only £70 to go!
- More 'secret' 2017 data from Natural England exposed
- We now have High Court dates for our two joined cases and will be doing much more work to prepare in the coming weeks and months.
- The Badger Trust Board has approved very significant support towards legal costs and a major boost to our fighting fund. It is essential yet still shocking to use scarce funds from badger conservation and protection to challenge the government on aspects of resolving a serious disease. Funds were needed to win in Wales. They will be needed to win in England. Our Badger Crowd is becoming a huge Badger Army of people disgusted both with what is being done to badgers and what has been proposed in recent weeks to massively expand badger culling across much of England. Huge thanks to all the Badger Trust Members and Supporters.
- We will look at how this influences our fundraising target and issue a further update on how much is likely to be needed this year shortly. I will do a new message on cost of each element of the work, how donations are best made and how much more is needed. We are exploring new related challenges that can be brought if we have the backing and get our hands on withheld information.
- Members of Badger Trust Sussex who are registered for Gift Aid have really stepped up again this year as they did with the Tribunal and are helping with fundraising, administration and communications. As are Michael and Linda Griffiths in Wales who have also made very generous contributions and are also supporting logistics . We are getting a flurry of interest and enquiries from around the UK about his work.
- Yesterday more data from 2017 was supplied by Natural England. Suffice to say it is a pandoras box of problems - for the government. No wonder they were holding on to it.
The badger world is rallying.
ON BEHALF OF THE CROWD - THANK YOU ALL.
Together we are The Badger Crowd. Remember; please share on Social Media
March 10, 2018
Great Response to Legal Appeal.
Our last update had a great response with donations and pledges now coming in daily online and offline. People are so horrified by the government’s new announcements. Nearing this appeals £12,000 target, we have extended it a little before we switch to a new appeal in a week or two.
Offline support keeps building with around £2,500 in recent pledges and donations, our plan to add £10,000 in March looks well on track. A fabulous £1,000 has been donated by the North East Essex Badger Group and £500 has been donated from proceeds of Richard Meyer’s book, The Fate of The Badger (available from www.fire-raven.co.uk).
This new edition of Richard’s classic has been published with the help of a small dedicated and hard working team of volunteers who helped to get the new edition out and we are really most grateful for their support. Such support is vital in exposing the truth about the misguided wasteful and counter-productive badger culls that no credible scientist can support.
Further, we have had £300 from Pauline Kidner’s ‘Wildlife and Badger Care’ team. Pauline has been a wonderful supporter of badgers for so long it is welcome to get endorsement from her and the team. Devon Badger Group has donated generously too and Oxfordshire Badger Group are making pledges this weekend and will be at the Oxford Vegan Festival today.
Thanks to all of you. Keep it up. Keep sharing on Social Media.
March 7, 2018
Michael Gove seeks to accelerate the killing of English badgers.
Yesterday the government decided to plough on regardless and to announce plans to licence badger killing across eight more new areas of England. Having sent out mixed messages about the extent to which the ‘Godfray‘ review will consider badger culling it is still not clear whether this review aims simply at how to cull badgers in the future, as suggested by the main announcement ,or whether the recent DEFRA statement that implies that all aspects of badger culling may be considered applies. Sooner or later someone will surely clarify?
The Badger Trust ‘Review Betrayal’ demonstration outside Defra and NFU offices in London a couple of weeks ago went very well with some great new banners but Mr Gove was not stopping to talk to us about promises made 8 months ago. There was a lot of social media interest and young people will be alerted to his approach to the treatment of sentient animals, with the related fox hunting/trail hunting issues still a huge debate, as exposed on the One Show last night as being yet another dirty countryside secret in which badgers also suffer. Now the public are learning what really goes on.
Anger will grow if the planned extermination of 50,000 badgers across Avon, Berkshire, Derbyshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire and beyond is allowed. Certainly all aspects of the 2011 policy can only be looked at properly in terms of its first five years and its rationale. It needs to be retrospective on how testing is failing in England compared to Wales where TB incidence was reduced by 42% between 2012 and 2017 with widespread gamma testing and no culling of badgers. Equally the total failure of Ireland to show any results of its long term badger culling speaks volumes.
The details of badger culling areas and environmental information is still held in secret by Natural England, who defiantly announce with their killing plans that their view on withholding information is right, despite repeated court rulings that they are wrong. Natural England know better than the judges? Defra have also been slated recently for poor information supply in a December 2017 ruling against them. NE are now refusing to speak with me about violence against lawful protest to badger culling in the countryside despite this not being a part of the legal challenge. Nevertheless we are already finding new issues in the recently released 2016 HRA details that the court enforced Natural England to release. Released due to the demands of the Badger Crowd.
With the Judicial Review we should hear next week of our court dates and move into the next phase preparing for the case. With over £35,000 raised for the tribunal and JR legal costs so far, we will still need to raise as much again and more to cover all eventualities and if needed, to continue new challenges that may be necessary. To do this we will be refreshing the crowd funding sites and setting up new ones with new targets. We will have a new fundraising campaign that many of the Badger Groups around the UK are keen to help and to promote.
On behalf of the Badger Crowd, thanks again to all of you who have helped and been so supporting in recent months on many aspects of the above work. Keep it up, the badgers need us more now than ever.
Feb. 14, 2018
MORE GOOD NEWS! Judge gives permission for High Court Action.
Dear Badger Crowd,
Yet more Great News! Our two Judicial Review Applications have now been given permission to proceed and Defra and Natural England will face us in Court. We are not sure exactly when , but are hoping for the 3-day hearing at as an early a point as possible. Thanks to your support we won the ICO Tribunal against Natural England in January and as a result we are due to see shortly the 2016 secret information on ecological impact assessments, to be released by 21st February – next week. According to what they show we may even take yet further action against those assessments and the badger killing licences that rest on them. On a related matter emerging from the Tribunal, I have written to Natural England asking for a meeting to discuss violence towards anti-cull protestors and how making information public can defuse rural tensions and reduce illegal killing of badgers in and around cull areas.
Meanwhile, for our challenge to the 2017 Supplementary Culling permission and licences, and for the 2017 new culling area assessments and licences that we are challenging, we will now start gearing up ready for the High Court. We have leading experts in the country behind our cause and a superb legal team with a powerful case built on the range of issues. We do need to keep funding coming in as it has been slow since the New Year. A number of badger groups and individuals however have been very generous again. Costs, should we lose, have been set under the Aarhus Convention for this environmental battle. We still need more funding as we go along but estimate that we are around half-way there at the moment. Pease spread the word and help to keep the financial support coming. The Badger Crowd can win. We will never surrender to the misguided, damaging, unscientific, wasteful, illogical, badger culls.
Best Wishes, Tom Langton, on behalf of the Badger Crowd
Jan. 24, 2018
We win the ICO Tribunal ! Natural England lose their Appeal.
Just a quick update to say that we heard today that Natural England have lost their appeal against handing over the badger cull information. I have asked them if they are going to try to appeal again. They have been directed by the ICO to disclose the withheld information.
In another positive development the two Judicial Review Applications are to be joined together. This reduces our legal costs by having the various challenges dealt with togehter by one judge. Big relief on the finance front! The generous donations will go further.
On that score, lets keep this fund ticking over if we can. We have had a number of offline donations and pledges worth over £1000 from a number of badger groups and charities in recent days - thanks to you all.
We may have to wait a couple more weeks before we learn about our judicial review applications.
I will update again soon with more details on the above, but a good week in the office so far.......
Stop The Cull,
all the best, Tom
Dec. 24, 2017
2017 Badger Cull numbers released.
The sickening news is that Natural England have reported on the largest ever public-funded massacre of a protected species in England, licenced by them and with around 20,000 badgers killed this autumn. This is an unknown proportion of badger populations within 19 large rural areas of England and includes removals on and around nature areas as well as farmland. Reports by local insiders, however, point to road-killed badgers having being used to boost failing cull quotas including some being brought in from outside official cull areas. This may mean that hundreds or more of the total may not be what they are supposed to be and the uncertainty is compounded.
The number of badgers to be killed had to be quickly reduced by NE after the start in most of the areas to help paid contractors to appear ‘effective’. This is a bizarre part of the process that allows it to be called a ‘success’ at the end of the year. Effectiveness, as used in this context refers to the ability to always achieve the killing targets, which is important for those in charge and certainly not the effectiveness of the killing or on it reducing TB in cattle. Meanwhile Minister George Eustice keeps repeating the muddled mathematically modelled outcome of the two initial Pilot culls in their first years. What actually happened on the ground is inconclusive according to those measuring change in TB bovine rates in those two places.
NFU’s Minette Batters on the radio prefers anecdotes to this truth, as also showcased by BBC Countryfile. Chief Vet Nigel Gibbens’ report (see link below) makes for worrying reading as his replacement Christine Middlemiss inherits from him the major unfolding veterinary disaster and policy nightmare. The intensive “precision killing” of badgers described in the original 2011 cull policy simply has not been achievable, as predicted by many from the start. Meanwhile, there is still no word on the promised, review of ‘the science behind the badger cull’. Progress with this will apparently become clear over the next few weeks.
Closer to the issues in hand that are challengeable in law, we now have the Natural England tribunal completed and are waiting for the result. We move on towards the Judicial Review Applications and potential court action in the New Year. We are hoping for permission to proceed on both JR applications, to challenge aspects of ‘supplementary culling’ and to expose how essential checks and considerations regarding the disruption of internationally important habitats and species were overlooked. Please consider a small contribution and let others know that we are building our fighting fund over the Christmas and New Year period. Social media is a good way to spread the word if you can. Those of us who recognise badgers as an integral part of the fabric of the English countryside must continue the fight. Please help make 2018 the year that the disgrace of badger culling in England stops and an intensive focus upon bovine testing begins using new better tests. The welfare and future of wildlife, badgers, livestock and farmers depend on our exposing the mistakes of the past and helping to replace the current cruel, misguided and useless folly that disgraces our nation.
Dec. 15, 2017
Natural England Information Tribunal in London is completed.
This week the tribunal into Natural England’s refusal to hand over sensitive information took place. Representatives were present from the Badger Trust, Badger Trust Sussex, Badger Trust Wales the tribunal room was full, showing just how much people care. The first surprise was that NE did not want to examine our evidence on the importance of the release of the 2016 environmental impact information. They said they did not agree with us but did not to tell us why in any detail. However because the 2017 impact information had been released to us in confidence just last week, resulting in a new Judicial Review application, a powerful message was sent showing how important such information release could be.
It is hard and perhaps wrong to say too much about the tribunal while the considerations are being made. We were highly satisfied both by the cross examination of badger cull police liaison expert Ray Puttock and of our Councel Tim Nesbitt of Outer Temple Chambers examination of Natural England’s Witness A; a Natural England licensing official. With respect to the balance of importance of the release of information versus any harm to the public from doing so, we think the tribunal went very well. The results will be in four weeks-time in the second half of January, so not long now. Of course it may be too late to challenge the 2016 licences if we find fault in the impact assessments but that would not remove the need to do so and if NE refuse to do it we could challenge that decision, so we have ways to get justice for wildlife, whatever the outcome.
Our fund-raising has slowed up a bit and we need to get over the £8,000 mark as soon as possible. Let’s see if we can do that. People say that fundraising at Christmas is always difficult. Let’s see if we can prove that wrong! Let’s give badgers – and wildlife impacted by badger culling a boost this Christmas by funding this work to expose how wildlife interests on important nature reserves may have been damaged over the last five years. Thanks again to you all. On behalf of everyone, keep up the good work to protect badgers and wildlife. Remember that over 85% of the public are against badger culling, so if you can, please keep reminding your friends, neighbours and colleagues to chip in! Please tell any bird watchers - we are out to help save rare birds that may be the most rapidly impacted by badger culling operations and their longer consequences across the west of England.
Dec. 6, 2017
Natural England release 2017 HRA details
We have been looking not only at the robustness of this year’s supplementary badger culling consultation and licences in Somerset and Gloucestershire but also at 2017 badger culling licences in 11 areas, in terms of impacts upon ecosystems within and outside culling areas. As a result, yesterday Natural England released to our solicitors under a strict confidentiality agreement, details of the Habitat Regulations Assessments done for them. We are today checking them with the help of national HRA expert Dominic Woodfield who has kindly bolstered both the Tribunal and JR teams with his deep expertise in wildlife legislation. This will show if a challenge is appropriate and if it needs taking forwards this week due to tight deadlines. So please watch this space!
We now need to push this fund hard to get to £12,000 towards JR costs and especially if we are to open up a new challenge against the 2017 badger culling licences. This is a daunting prospect but one we cannot resist if badgers and protected wildlife are being destroyed unlawfully, we need to know and to make sure it does not continue. If we do progress we may need a new dedicated fund to take into the new year.
The Information Commission tribunal in London to consider Natural England’s appeal against releasing 2016 HRA details is next week and final preparations are being made. We have in addition to the latest Badger Trust donation a fantastic new personal donation from the well-known badger friends; Mick and Linda Griffiths, worth £2,500, taking our tribunal funding close to completion. Thank you Mick and Linda.
Thanks again to everyone also, following and supporting these efforts and for your messages of support and hard work. We need to keep bringing more people into our crowd as supporters. Next week will hopefully begin for us all and at last the process of bringing justice to the sorry situation that began in 2013.
Dec. 2, 2017
Great Support From The Badger Trust
It's a working weekend for our two badger legal teams and witnesses and it is a mark of our collective strength that the Badger Trust this afternoon decided to contribute £4,800 towards the Information Commissioner Tribunal challenge fund. The tribunal is set to start the week after next. This is a badly needed contribution and adds to BT's generous hosting of a joint crowd fund towards the Tribunal and the Judicial Review Application contributions.
On top of the £500 from the Badger Trust to help get us started with the JR challenge back in August, this is a substantial boost to gaining justice for badgers and other cull-impacted wildlife in our countryside. So huge thanks again to the Badger Trust who have stood up for badgers over the decades and who's members and supporters have also been most generous, including of course the wonderful Badger Groups around the country. You are all true defenders of badgers.
Nov. 22, 2017
NEW PRE-ACTION LETTER SENT TO NATURAL ENGLAND
As we sail past our latest fundraising target, it is confirmed that a new solicitors letter was sent to Natural England yesterday, this time regarding the badger culling licences issued in 2017. Detailed scrutiny of redacted environmental information indicates concerns over the licences issued for the first time this year and what the secret information might show. Eleven licences issued in September 2017 covering areas in Cheshire, Devon, Dorset, Herefordshire, Somerset and Wiltshire are now in question.
This adds to the growing list of legal concerns already raised with Natural England and Defra. This development adds to our workload but is necessary in order to provide the clarity that the government states is essential in public consultation on major plans and programmes.
The badger culls are now one of the larger coordinated single-species disruptions of British Countryside in modern times. We are only three weeks away from the Freedom of Information Tribunal to be held in London, with Natural England still refusing to hand over the information on environmental checks. We get closer to exposing the truth about what has been going on behind closed doors over the last four years.
Nov. 20, 2017
More generous support from Badger Groups
A second update on the same day but with good reason - the anonymous donors have turned out to be Badger-Trust Sussex, coming in with perfect timing to help 'double your money' over the last few days as promised.
Also a great £750 from North East Essex Badger Group. My points of contact with these two groups are Jeff, Pat and Renee but with them are small armies of kind caring folk who understand badgers and who work tirelessly to make the word that bit less brutal for them and to protect their environment.
Just as important are all the folk who have donated hard-earned smaller individual amounts that add up to more badger power. Thanks again to you all. This leaves just £465 to find over the next couple of days. I am sure we will find it, so that we can move on to make our future ambitions realistic and achievable.
Nov. 20, 2017
Great Badger Progress - we are heading to smash our next target!
Monday morning again and the fund has done extremely well over the weekend - we are now around £750 short of reaching our current target by Wednesday of this week when £2,000 from a major donor will be added to trigger our longer stretch target.
So well done and thanks again. It seems that the whole badger community as one has risen in unison to the challenge. Thanks also to the messages of support that are ever increasing.
People are shocked by the way BBC Countryfile handled the update on the badger cull last night. No mention of numbers of badgers that the government authorised to be killed, no mention of the new potential for Phage RPA testing. No mention of how the government policy continues to fail in England but is working in Wales where gamma testing has been thorough. Well done to Dominic Dyer and the Badger Trust for trying to balance the folly.
Countryfile just arranged a simple repeating of what George Eustice said at EFRA questions a few weeks ago, that the public should follow the modelled results rather than the real results - that there is no evidence so far of it working. Just stop and think about it. Never mind what actually happened on the farm, we will get someone to adjust that and to ‘pretend’ that bovine TB came down and it works. Is that where we are with science in 2017? With the public paying? Surely we are better than that?
As an official compliant goes in to the BBC we will not be distracted too much from the immediate challenges. The Natural England Tribunal is just three weeks away and preparations are going extremely well. We will fight this nonsense in the media, in the courts and tribunals and in the light of the facts and truth.
Please see also that the Badger Trust combined appeal is now up and running. You can give with the bonus of gift aid to the Tribunal and Judicial Review fund and we will manage the best location for the funding at any given time. Here is the Link:
Nov. 16, 2017
A very generous offer of help for our badger appeal
Some very encouraging news. An anonymous donor has just offered to match any further donations from 1 pm today until next Wednesday pound for pound. So any new donations will be worth double and with £4,200 to raise by the middle of next week, we now need just £2,100.
This is incredibly helpful and makes our task that bit more realistic.
So please alert everyone that you can - let's use this generous offer while we can to get to the next important stage. When the fund hits £4,400 the remainder will be paid!
Together we are standing up for badgers and their natural communities across England.
Best wishes, Tom
Nov. 7, 2017
Our Appeal is off to a good start
Just a quick update, firstly to thank everyone who has donated to get the second appeal up and running. We need to pick up some speed with this, so please do everything you can to alert others to the appeal.
I spent this weekend at the Badger Trust conference in Preston, Lancashire to present information on the Judicial Review and ICO Tribunal cases and there is growing support behind the initiatives. We have not quite got the appeal that takes gift-aid on personal donations ready yet but it is being worked on. So for those who have been in touch about this, please be patient, it should be up and running very soon and I will do another update when it is in order to give you the Link.
Most of the main culls are over this year but sadly culling is continuing in several areas, and unlawful culling has been stimulated it is suspected in several areas.
We will work constantly to restore justice to the countryside on behalf of you and the badgers,
Regards, best wishes and thanks again for all your hard work and support, wherever you are.
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