Representing wildlife in legal proceedings: an exploration of the badger cull in England and Wales

Sangster, Christopher David (2022) Representing wildlife in legal proceedings: an exploration of the badger cull in England and Wales. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This thesis examines how the law may be used to resolve conflicts between wildlife and the interests of humans through the specific example of the badger cull. Despite having one of the highest levels of protection, badgers remain one of the most demonised species, through both licensed culling and illegal persecution. Although the Government presented its latest road map for the eradication of bovine TB as ending cull licences in 2022, licences issued in 2021 authorised the largest number of badgers to be killed so far. With licences to kill badgers now covering almost a quarter of the entire land area of England, this would bring the total to over 200,000 badgers killed since the cull commenced in 2013, nearly half of the estimated total population of 485,000.

This thesis focused primarily on a series of cases brought for judicial review of the culling policy, interlinked with semi-structured interviews to provide a sociolegal context. This has allowed for an exploration of how the judicial review process has been utilised and what this says about the anthropocentric legal system. Whilst there are several different approaches to nonhuman rights and welfare, this thesis uses a property framework to consider the value of nonhuman property rights and equitable self-ownership. Equitable self-ownership, meaning that a nonhuman has equitable ownership of themselves whilst a human representative retains legal ownership, raises questions of who may reasonably be appointed to act faithfully as a guardian of the interests of the nonhuman and the duties that they may be under. This thesis builds on these concepts as well as existing models such as the Office for Environmental Protection to develop proposals for the effective representation of wildlife in legal proceedings.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: animal law, judicial review, human-wildlife conflict, representation of nonhumans
Subjects: M100 Law by area
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Northumbria Law School
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2022 11:59
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2022 12:00

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