Anti badger cull action group, Pembrokeshire Against the Cull (PAC), has welcomed a Court of Appeal ruling today (Tuesday) that halts the controversial Welsh Assembly north Pembrokeshire badger cull.

The assembly's TB Order was approved in January as part of a series of measures to tackle bovine TB which, according to Rural affairs Minister Elin Jones, cost £24million last year.

This morning the Court of Appeal ruled that the order is unlawful and said that the Minister erred in not investigating and considering whether the harm to badgers was fully balanced by any small benefit to cattle and farming. The Court also ruled that the small (6%) reduction in bovine TB, which the Welsh Assembly Government predicts the extermination of badgers will achieve, is not enough to justify a cull. This judgment overruled a previous High Court judicial review that ruled in favour of the Welsh Assembly last April.

PAC congratulated the Badger Trust in their successful appeal saying that the cull was “hugely unpopular” among many farmers, landowners and residents in north Pembrokeshire and that both the science and the cost did not support the cull.

“We hope that the Minister for Rural Affairs will take this opportunity to review other options for dealing with the disease in cattle,” said a spokesman.

“With TB levels in cattle already reducing in Wales with increased testing and quicker removal of infected cattle it is hoped that cattle control measures including improved biosecurity already introduced in the pilot area will bring levels down further.”

He added that an injectable badger vaccine is available and licensed as a more more acceptable alternative for reducing bovine TB in Badgers.

“The Welsh Assembly Government’s own models suggest vaccination can deliver similar results to culling, without the disadvantages and at lower cost,” he said.

“Culling divides communities and is proving disastrous for Pembrokeshire’s tourist industry as visitors turn elsewhere for their wildlife holidays. “We hope this result will encourage our government to take into account all these considerations.”