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High court blocks Northern Ireland badger cull
As many as 4,000 badgers could have been culled under the proposals.

The cull was to be a key part of Northern Ireland’s strategy to tackle bTB.

A high court judge in Northern Ireland has blocked a planned badger cull, following a legal challenge by animal welfare campaigners.

The cull had originally been announced by then agriculture minister Edwin Poots in March 2022 as a key part of a bovine tuberculosis (bTB) eradication strategy for Northern Ireland.

However, following a legal challenge brought by Wild Justice and the Northern Ireland Badger Group, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) will now have to suspend the planned cull.

Delivering his ruling on Wednesday, 25 October, Mr Justice Scofield found that before announcing the policy, DAERA had not conducted a fair and lawful public consultation and failed to advise the minister about animal welfare concerns.

The department carried out a consultation in 2021, which received more than 3,000 responses, but the judge ruled that insufficient information was provided to those responding to the consultation about the basis for the proposed decision.

As the topic was 'highly emotive' and involved a 'highly contested scientific backdrop', the department should have disclosed much more of its rationale,
according to the judgement.

In March this year, herd incidence of bTB in Northern Ireland reached a record high. It has not yet been announced whether DAERA will conduct a new consultation.

Mike Rendle of the Northern Ireland Badger Group said: “Today’s judgement has vindicated our very grave concerns about the way the bovine TB strategy consultation was conducted and the decision to implement a farmer-led cull which would inflict immense suffering on great numbers of healthy badgers.”


Image (C) Shutterstock

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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.