TEACHER LOSES APPEAL BID OVER ANIMAL CULL

By Cathy Coleman, PA News

A teacher today vowed to carry her fight to bring a legal challenge over the cull of healthy animals during the foot-and-mouth crisis despite losing the second round of the battle.

Janet Hughes, of Church Stoke, Montgomery, Powys, was refused permission at the Court of Appeal to appeal against an earlier High Court rejection of her bid to force the Government to hold a judicial review into its handling of the crisis.

Miss Hughes, a teacher of environmental science, argued that the decision to cull of thousands of sheep, taken by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Welsh Assembly, on the Brecon Beacons last summer was unlawful under the 1981 Animal Health Act. She told the court, which was sitting in Cardiff, that the many of the sheep did not have the "live virus" and that "all the pointers were there was no disease in the Beacons".

She also argued that there were many "discrepancies" in the information given to Defra and the Welsh Assembly about the situation.

In refusing the application, Lord Justice Latham said that a more "detailed and thorough" investigation at the time may have determined whether the animals had the virus or not.

But added that while he had sympathy with Miss Hughes's argument there had not been time to carry out those sort of tests. He said: "It was an emergency situation. At the end of the day the conclusion may have shown to be too cautious. There is, however, no arguable case the direction taken was unlawful."

Afterwards Miss Hughes said that she was still determined not to give up the fight and would look at other ways of fighting the case.

"I am going to carry on or else all these would have been worthless. I still feel I can take this case further," she said.