The Badger Trust's legal challenge to the controversial badger cull, due to start in north Pembrokeshire later this year, will be heard at Swansea High Court today (Monday).

The animal charity is challenging the Welsh Assembly Government's (WAG) decision to cull badgers in an attempt to stop the spread of bovine TB.

The assembly rubber stamped the cull in January. Over a five year period, badgers will be trapped and shot in a 180 square mile area in north Pembrokeshire and neighbouring Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire in order to reduce the badger population "as far as we can".

It will be accompanied by stricter control measures, including more testing for farmers who frequently move cattle in and out of the zone.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said that bovine TB was "out of control and unsustainable" and in 2009 had cost the taxpayer nearly £24million in compensating farmers.

The judicial review is listed for a two day oral hearing, which will take place today and tomorrow, before Mr Justice Lloyd-Jones.

The Badger Trust is challenging the legality of the TB Eradication (Wales) Order 2009 of the Welsh Assembly Government It is also making a separate formal complaint under the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.

David Williams, Chairman of the Badger Trust, said: “It is with some reluctance but nevertheless firm resolve that we must, as an organisation dedicated to the welfare and protection of the badger, enter into these proceedings at the highest level.

"The decision is unjust and goes against the scientific evidence, and the law affords us this opportunity of challenging the legality of the WAG’s intention to kill badgers,and we are now taking it”.